Release #13.40
July 18, 2013

ALPA Recognizes Air Safety Liaison Capt. Mike Maas for Service, Excellence
Union Presents Safety Award to Columbia Metropolitan Airport

WASHINGTON—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) presented American Eagle Capt. Mike Maas with the Airport Safety Liaison Award for 2012 for his exceptional performance in effectively addressing safety-related issues with Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). The Association also named Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) the recipient of the ALPA Airport Award for 2012.

ALPA recognized ALPA airport safety liaison (ASL) Capt. Maas for his outstanding work with Chicago O’Hare International Airport. When the airport needed to rename existing and designate proposed taxiways, Capt. Maas assisted the facility in adopting a sensible taxiway naming protocol to reduce any potential confusion by pilots, air traffic controllers, and ground personnel. The FAA soon realized that the protocol provided an excellent model for safe surface movement at other airports, and recently incorporated Capt. Maas’ recommendation in proposed changes to the agency’s advisory circular and engineering brief, which provides guidance for all U.S. airport design.

As part of his ASL duties at ORD, Capt. Maas also worked with the airport and other stakeholders to reposition a proposed light-emitting diode (LED) advertising billboard, which was to be installed in front of two runway approach light systems. The group agreed to relocate the billboard beyond the runway edges and away from the approach lighting arrays, allowing pilots to safely land during poor weather or low visibility conditions without visual interference caused by the sign.

Each year, the union also identifies an airport served by its members that has made significant contributions to flight safety and has selected Columbia (SC) Metropolitan Airport as this year’s honoree.

“Columbia Metropolitan Airport clearly recognizes the tremendous advantage that results from engaging with the airline pilots who use their airport in all decisions that have any potential to affect flight operations or safety,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president. “The collaborative spirit embodied at Columbia Metropolitan illustrates an approach that every airport should take to make safety the priority in its operations.”

Columbia Metropolitan Airport’s recent taxiway signage and runway renaming project serves as a powerful example of the airport’s commitment to fully communicate with pilots about projects that affect airport operations and the substantial benefits that can result. Airport operations were enhanced by the inclusion of ALPA’s airport safety liaison and other stakeholders in this process.

Both awards were presented during a ceremony as part of this week’s ALPA Air Safety Forum in Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 50,000 pilots at 33 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at

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