August 5, 2009
F/O Richard Odbert Receives ALPA’s
Omaha, Neb., Pilot Recognized for Enhancing Aviation Security
WASHINGTON—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), will recognize FedEx Express First Officer Richard Odbert with its 2008 Presidential Citation for his exceptional efforts to facilitate secure access to airlines’ jumpseats for off-duty airline pilots. The award will be presented today during ALPA’s Air Safety Week in Washington, D.C.
“F/O Odbert has led our union’s efforts to grant authorized airline pilots full jumpseat access on both domestic and international flights,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “Thanks to his dedication, every ALPA member stands to benefit and joins me in congratulating him on receiving this prestigious award.”
Authorized individuals who are not involved in the operation of the aircraft can fly in an airliner’s jumpseat, which is an auxiliary seat located in the cockpit or the passenger cabin. Jumpseat access is an important resource on which airline pilots depend for many reasons, including moving between home and base.
For decades, reciprocal jumpseat agreements existed among airlines, both domestic and international, allowing properly screened pilots and other airline personnel to fly in the jumpseat of an airliner as long as the captain granted his or her permission. Shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, however, the FAA severely restricted the use of the cockpit jumpseat on international flights.
Since then, ALPA’s Jumpseat Committee, led by F/O Odbert, has pursued enhanced security screening standards and pressed to restore airline pilots’ access to both domestic and international jumpseats. F/O Odbert has become one of the industry’s leading authorities on the issue and a vital resource for government agencies. Through his action, the revitalized ALPA Jumpseat Committee has helped to refine the Cockpit Access Security System (CASS), which transmits queries to airline employee databases and receives either approval or rejection of the request, including both domestic and international flights.
“While the new capacity to approve international jumpseat requests is extremely encouraging, airline pilots will not realize the full benefit that jumpseat access offers until the system is incorporated into U.S. aviation security policy,” continued Capt. Prater.
The international aspect of the CASS system has yet to be formally included in the Aircraft Operator Standard Security Program (AOSSP) accepted by the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Aviation Administration.
“Every airline pilot, even those not in the Air Line Pilots Association, has benefited from First Officer Odbert’s tireless work on national jumpseat issues,” said Capt. Scott Stratton, FedEx Master Executive Council chairman. “This is a good example of a FedEx pilot working for the benefit of FedEx and the entire airline industry, as well as its pilots. We join ALPA and all other pilots in congratulating First Officer Odbert on this award.”
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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