August 5, 2009
Capt. Bob Hesselbein Receives ALPA’s
Madison, Wisc., Pilot Recognized for Exemplary Leadership in Enhancing Aviation Security
WASHINGTON—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), will recognize Delta Air Lines Capt. Bob Hesselbein with its 2008 Presidential Recognition award for his exemplary efforts to advance aviation security. The award will be presented today during ALPA’s Air Safety Week in Washington, D.C.
“Capt. Hesselbein’s drive and determination have been among the deciding factors in many of the most important aviation security advancements since the terrorist attacks of 9/11,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “All of ALPA’s pilots join me in congratulating Capt. Hesselbein on his achievements and this well-deserved recognition.”
In 1986, Capt. Hesselbein joined ALPA after a distinguished military career. He served as the Security chairman of the Northwest Airlines pilot group prior to becoming chairman of the Association’s National Security Committee in 2005. During his tenure as chairman, Capt. Hesselbein played a key role in galvanizing congressional, industry, and regulatory support for a range of aviation security initiatives.
Capt. Hesselbein worked ceaselessly to press for the development of standards for secondary barriers and to urge airlines to install them on all aircraft. ALPA maintains that a secondary barrier, combined with standardized crew procedures for protecting the cockpit door when opened during flight, adds an important layer of security to prevent the hostile takeover of an airliner. At ALPA’s request, the FAA asked the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) to establish defined standards for secondary barriers. RTCA created its Special Committee 221 to take on that work, which is ongoing.
A staunch proponent of enhanced security for cargo on passenger airlines and on all-cargo freighters, Capt. Hesselbein worked in tandem with ALPA’s President’s Committee for Cargo to pursue more-stringent vetting and inspection of cargo and persons with unescorted access to cargo shipments.
Capt. Hesselbein has been a strong supporter of the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program. He has championed the program and voiced ALPA’s concern that, while the TSA has supported the increase in the FFDO ranks, the administration has not increased the funds necessary for its logistical support and infrastructure. ALPA calls for enhancements in managerial structure; internal communications, guidance, and the flow of information; protocols for weapons carriage and transport; and reimbursing out-of-pocket training expenses. Capt. Hesselbein has advocated for these improvements to the FFDO program to key decision-makers at the TSA, on Capitol Hill, and in the national news media.
In addition, Capt. Hesselbein began an initiative called Threatened Airspace Management (TAM), which is aimed at modifying ATC procedures and policies to be used during any type of security-related event that an airborne aircraft might experience. He held meetings with numerous government and industry personnel on this topic and greatly raised awareness among stakeholders concerning the need to prepare for the unexpected.
Capt. Hesselbein’s leadership helped build momentum for the initial steps in the effort to make biometric identity verification a reality for airline pilots. He helped to lead ALPA’s team in garnering Transportation Security Administration (TSA) support for the ALPA-conceived CrewPASS program and encouraged the agency to develop the biometric standards, database capacity, trial programs, and national standards that would bring the screening program closer to implementation. Due in large part to Capt. Hesselbein’s efforts, trial CrewPASS screening programs are under way at several major U.S. airports, and the program is expected to soon expand nationwide.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing nearly 54,000 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada.
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