Two Pilots on the Flight Deck Keep the Skies Safe

Commercial aviation is the world’s safest mode of transportation, and history shows that at least two fully qualified, highly trained, and well-rested pilots on the flight deck is an airliner’s strongest safety asset.

Yet some special-interest groups continue to push for reducing the flight crew on board large aircraft—possibly down to even a single pilot—to cut operational costs.

Evidence, including more than a decade of study by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration, shows that the safety risks and challenges associated with single-pilot operations far outweigh any potential benefits.

Pilots on board an aircraft can see, feel, smell, and hear many indications of an impending problem and begin to formulate a course of action before even the most sophisticated sensors and indicators provide positive indications of trouble.

Last summer, ALPA commissioned a public survey on this subject—and 80 percent of respondants agreed that two pilots working together is the best option when it comes to problem solving while operating an aircraft. And 81 percent said they would not be comfortable on a plane that was completely pilotless.

Pilots and the American public understand that air travel today is the safest means of transportation, and we aren’t willing to jeopardize lives just to maybe save a buck.

Save a buck or save a life—that’s the choice.

Join the fight: Send a tweet to your lawmakers to tell them to keep two pilots in the flight deck!

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Want to learn more? Read ALPA’s white paper, The Dangers of Single-Pilot Operations