Air Line Pilots Association, International

Full name Air Line Pilots Association, International
Founded 1931
Members 52,000+
Affiliation AFL-CIO, IFALPA, CLC
Key people Capt. Tim Canoll, President
Office location 1625 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.
Country NADIAD, Canada

The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) is the largest pilot union in the world,[1] representing more than 52,000 pilots[1] from 30 U.S. and Canadian airlines. ALPA was founded in 1931[2] and is a member of the AFL-CIO and the Canadian Labour Congress. Known internationally as U.S.-ALPA, ALPA is also a member of the IFALPA.

Current leadership

ALPA’s four national officers were elected by the union's Board of Directors on Oct. 22, 2014, and began their four-year terms on Jan. 1, 2015.[3]

President: Captain Tim Canoll

Captain Tim Canoll, Delta Air Lines, is ALPA’s tenth president.[3] Captain Canoll previously served as ALPA's executive administrator and held positions as Delta Local Executive Council (LEC) representative, Master Executive Council (MEC) Strike Committee member, MEC Security coordinator, MEC Strategic Planning chairman, MEC Negotiating Committee member, MEC vice chairman, MEC executive administrator, and as ALPA's representative to the Unsecured Creditors Committee during Delta Air Lines' 2005 bankruptcy.[3]

First Vice President: Captain Joe DePete

Captain Joe DePete, FedEx Express, serves as ALPA's first vice president.[3] He also holds the position of National Safety Coordinator and is tasked with overseeing the Association's Safety, Security, and Pilot Assistance programs.[3] He has served as an ALPA executive vice president, FedEx Express MEC chairman, and LEC chairman.[3] He was an active member of the ALPA Organizing Committee for the merger with the Flying Tiger Line Pilots Association as well as for the merger with the FedEx Pilots Association.[3]

Vice President–Administration/Secretary: Captain Bill Couette

Captain William Russell “Bill” Couette, Envoy Air, is serving his third consecutive term as ALPA's vice president–administration/secretary.[3] Captain Couette is a five-time elected local council representative who served until the end of 2006 as the American Eagle Local Executive Council 133 chairman in Chicago.[3] He acted as Strike Oversight Board representative for the Atlantic Southeast and Skyway pilots, and also served as an ALPA negotiator, organizer, and merger representative.[3]

Vice President–Finance/Treasurer: Captain W. Randolph Helling

Captain W. Randolph Helling, Delta, is serving his third term as ALPA's vice president–finance/treasurer, having previously acted as executive administrator.[3] Captain Helling has served on the Northwest Airlines MEC's Professional Standards, Training, Legislative Affairs, and Finance Review committees.[3] He was elected MEC vice chairman in 2006 and served as secretary-treasurer and vice chairman of the Detroit Local Council.[3] He also participated as a member of ALPA's National Hearing Board from 2000 to 2006.[3]


The Walter P. Reuther Library is home to over 40 collections of archival material documenting the history of the Air Line Pilots Association. To access the collections' finding aids, please refer to the ALPA-related content at the Walter P. Reuther Library website.

Former Presidents

The following is a complete list of ALPA’s former presidents[4] since the Association’s founding in 1931:

Member pilot groups

ALPA represents the following bargaining units:[6]

Other pilot groups

Notable major airline pilots that are not part of ALPA and have their own pilots union:

Controversial safety-related conduct

While ALPA has claimed to support testing for drugs and alcohol, of pilots who survive accidents, the conduct of ALPA representatives, following the fatal takeoff crash of USAir Flight 5050 on September 20, 1989, was contrary to that stated policy. ALPA reps sequestered both surviving pilots and refused to reveal their whereabouts until such time that any testing for drugs and alcohol would be useless. This made the NTSB investigators so upset that a very unusual and strong statement was included in the official accident report:

The Safety Board is extremely concerned that no federal investigators were allowed to speak to the pilots of flight 5050 until almost 40 hours after the accident.... The Air Line Pilots Association representatives initially stated that they also did not know where the pilots were, then later stated that their location was being withheld so they could not be found by the media.... The sequestering of the pilots for such an extended period of time in many respects borders on interference with a federal investigation and is inexcusable.[7]

After the FAA prepared subpoenas to compel them to appear, the pilots finally relented and appeared some 44 hours after the accident. Upon the advice of their ALPA attorney, the pilots refused to provide any blood samples, but did give urine samples.

Valid samples, taken shortly after that accident were very important to the investigation, especially since the NTSB found numerous "crew coordination problems" during its investigation. But, the conduct of ALPA representatives, acting contrary to ALPA's stated safety policies, prevented a thorough and complete investigation.[8][9][10]

At a press briefing, James L. Kolstad, the acting chairman of the NTSB, stated "there clearly was a lack of proper procedure being followed in the cockpit" of USAir Flight 5050.

Kolstad also said "it clearly took too long" for the pilots to present themselves for drug and alcohol testing. "The public has a right to know that its transportation system is alcohol- and drug-free", Kolstad said. "Failure to promptly volunteer for alcohol and drug testing following a major accident is inexcusable. The provision of urine samples, and no blood samples, almost two days after this accident severely impedes our investigation and unnecessarily creates an environment of suspicion."[10]


How ALPA Hosed Continental pilot to remain solvent

External links

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