1960s

1960s

Although the late 1950s marked the birth of the jet transport, the 1960s marked the first widespread use of this revolutionary new form of transportation, which created a whole new set of safety concerns. During this decade, the NTSB was created under the new Department of Transportation (DOT) to investigate accidents – an idea ALPA strongly advocated for many years. (The agency severed its organizational ties to DOT in 1975.) And, in the ’60s, ALPA led the way to improved regulations covering aircraft emergency evacuations – the culmination of decades of work spearheaded by a dedicated ALPA safety volunteer, Capt. Vic Hewes of Delta Air Lines.

In the 1960s, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was created - an idea ALPA strongly advocated for many years.

1960 —Following two years of concerted ALPA effort, the FAA issues a regulation requiring weather radar on all large transport aircraft (with certain exceptions). This action improves the safety of these aircraft by allowing pilots to detect and avoid thunderstorms.

1960 —The FAA institutes Project Scan – a “third-party” reporting system for pilots to report near-misses without fear of enforcement action. Under Scan, pilots report to the Flight Safety Foundation, which will analyze reports and send statistical summaries to the FAA. The FAA will not have access to the original reports. ALPA endorses the project, which is to run only six months, and expresses hope to the FAA “that it may be expanded into an effective incident reporting system.”

1961—The Feinsinger Commission recommends to President John F. Kennedy that four-man jet crews gradually be reduced to three-man and that ALPA and the FEIA merge. Neither “peace nor safety on the airlines will be fully assured as long as there are two unions in the cockpit,” the commission says.

President John F. Kennedy signs legislation making aircraft hijacking punishable by death or prison terms.  ALPA fought diligently for proper punishment for these serious crimes against humanity. 1961

1961— After a great deal of lobbying by ALPA and other airline interests, President Kennedy signs legislation making aircraft hijacking and other violent acts aboard aircraft federal crimes punishable by death or prison terms.

1963 —During ALPA-promoted fire tests in Cleveland, OH, toxic gases from burning aircraft cabin interiors are discovered. Findings lead to flame-resistant materials in cabins, a greater impetus to improve fire-extinguishing capabilities, and an improved likelihood of passengers surviving future airline accidents.

1963 —The ALPA Executive Board meets to discuss the failure of the American Airlines Master Executive Council to abide by ALPA policy on crew complement while negotiating its new contract. ALPA policy calls for pilot-qualified FEs on jet aircraft, but the MEC is not willing to negotiate for this standard. The Executive Board decides to remove the MEC as the bargaining agent for the American pilots. The MEC refuses to accept the decision and decides to separate from ALPA and form its own independent union – the Allied Pilots Association – in April.

1964 —18th Meeting, ALPA BOD, which
creates a special committee to formulate policy on crew complement for each new transport aircraft.

1966 —President Lyndon B. Johnson signs a bill creating the DOT to consolidate various agencies dealing with transportation, including the FAA (renamed the Federal Aviation Administration). The law also creates the five-member NTSB within the DOT to investigate transportation accidents. Before this time, the CAB investigated aviation accidents. ALPA had passed internal policy and lobbied for this change since 1940.

"The human skills of today's professional airmen are our most important asset in dealing with the mounting traffic problems."
- ALPA President Charles Ruby, 1967

1966 —19th Meeting, ALPA BOD, which
reinstitutes mandatory policy requiring three pilots on all new aircraft and makes that policy part of ALPA’s Constitution and By- Laws (Article XX).

1967 —ALPA’s All Weather Flying Committee visits the Douglas Aircraft Company to examine and flight-test the Elliott head-up display on the DC-9 – the first such installation on a civil jet transport. ALPA’s All Weather Flying Committee adopted a policy calling for the use of HUDs on civil transports in 1962.

1967 —ALPA President Charles Ruby meets with FAA Administrator William McKee to caution that the United States’ crowded skies require three-member flight crews on the new Boeing 737. Ruby says, “The human skills of today’s professional airmen are our most important asset in dealing with the mounting traffic problems.”

1969 —ALPA hires its first aeromedical advisor.