Tags: America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | Todd Curtis | Germanwings | cockpit | policy

Aviation Expert: How Well Is US Cockpit Policy Enforced?

By    |   Friday, 27 Mar 2015 02:27 PM

While many have touted a U.S. policy that prevents commercial pilots from being left alone in the cockpit, aviation expert Todd Curtis says he has concerns about how well the policy is enforced.

"In the U.S., the very clear rule is if there is a pilot out of the cockpit, the other pilot [or flight attendant] would stay in and don an oxygen mask," Curtis, president of AirSafe.com, told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV on Friday.

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"But it isn't even clear to me if it is strictly enforced on all aircraft that you would have a second person in there," he said.

"One example for you: on your smaller regional airliners, we may have literally just one flight attendant. Did the rules enforce them to have that flight attendant in there and no one in the cabin, which would impose its own security and safety concerns?" he asked. 

"I would like to see some clarification from the FAA as to what exactly the rule is, not just on the larger aircraft where you have plenty of flight attendants, but even on the smaller ones," he added.

It was learned after the crash of Germanwings flight 9525 that European airlines do not have the same policy as the United States, which requires two crew members in the cockpit at all times, even if a pilot is on a bathroom break.

Several airlines have since announced that they have changed their policy so that two people will always be in the cockpit. However, the CEO of Lufthansa, which is the parent company of Germanwings, said that he still thinks that such a rule in unnecessary, although after pressure to enforce the rule, he said he plans to discuss it with industry leaders.

As to the question of allowing commercial airlines to be controlled autonomously like drones, Curtis said that it would impose "its own set of challenges, not least of which is regulatory and safety and security."

While he said that he's fine with "large cargo carriers like UPS and Fed Ex perhaps proposing that they would have autonomously controlled cargo aircraft," he said he wouldn't "want to be a passenger in an aircraft that's being autonomously flown."

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While many have touted a U.S. policy that prevents commercial pilots from being left alone in the cockpit, aviation expert Todd Curtis says he has concerns about how well the policy is enforced.
Todd Curtis, Germanwings, cockpit, policy
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2015-27-27
Friday, 27 Mar 2015 02:27 PM
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