Senator Jim DeMint (R from South Carolina) is looking to change the rules about airlines being able to access recordings from the cockpit. He is currently working on a bill, called the “Pilot Professionalism Assurance Act,” that allows airlines to review the cockpit voice recorder when there are cases against the pilots for misbehavior or “to evaluate or monitor the judgment or performance of an individual pilot.”
Currently, labor contracts between pilots and airlines stop an airline from using the data stored in the flight-recorders against the pilots. Airlines can only listen to the voice recorder if there is an accident or major incident being investigated by the FAA or NTSB.
Today, there is an anonymous reporting system, where pilots can report safety lapsesÂ to the FAA. This allows the FAA to record statistics and help to fix future issues. Â There is a fear that there one filesÂ a report, then the airline or the FAA will want to listen to the conversations and pilots would be much less likely to report such safety issues.
I have some serious issues with this proposed legislation. I feel the bill (even the name) questions professionalism of the pilots. Yes, there have been some pilots who have been making poor decisions, but as I talked about the other day, a huge majority of pilots are extremely professional and do they do their jobs well. Should people that do their job well be punished? I think not.
What do you think about this proposed legislation? Is reducing the privacy of pilots worth the increased safety? Would you want a voice recorder at your work that your boss could listen to?WSJ