Air Line Pilots Association visit aims at ensuring secure skies
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Members of the National Security Committee of the international Air Line Pilots Association visited the North American Aerospace Defense Command headquarters today to continue building on the ongoing relationship between the ALPA and the commands charged with defending the United States and Canada.
The visit gave ALPA an opportunity to learn more about the missions and responsibilities of NORAD, as well as providing the pilots with a better idea of airspace restrictions and procedures for coordinating with NORAD should an in-flight incident occur, said Lt. Col. Bob Hehemann, of NORAD’s operations division.
“This is all about cooperation and opening lines of communication,” said Capt. Craig Hall, the Director of ALPA’s National Security Committee for Canada. “We want to make sure that, if something happens, we coordinate what we do inside the cockpit with what NORAD does.”
NORAD is charged with the mission of tracking and, if necessary, directing the intercept of any aircraft including commercial airliners should an incident such as a hijacking occur in midair. Close coordination between airline pilots and NORAD can help ensure that all involved in an incident of this sort are working together to ensure the incident is resolved safely.
“We’re not coming to this conference with problems,” said Capt. Bob Hesselbein, Chairman of ALPA’s National Security Committee for the United States. “We’re fine-tuning solutions.”
“We need to be able to understand how (NORAD does) business and how it interacts with what we do inside the cockpit,” Hall said.
While here, ALPA visitors received briefs on the NORAD mission and procedures, toured the Command Centers at the NORAD headquarters building and at the Cheyenne Mountain Directorate in Colorado Springs, Colo.