ALPA Volunteers Reflect the True Spirit of Giving



By ALPA National Officers

The spirit of the holiday season is giving. But for an extensive network of pilot volunteers, the spirit of giving lasts all year. These men and women are the backbone of one of ALPA’s most valuable resources, the ASO Pilot Assistance program. Pilots helping pilots is the main focus of the program, and for the pilots who volunteer through the various ASO Pilot Assistance programs, they dedicate themselves day in and day out to helping promote their colleagues’ professional performance.

The ASO Pilot Assistance program is made up of five groups: Aeromedical, Human Intervention and Motivation Study (HIMS), Critical Incident Response Program (CIRP), Canadian Pilot Assistance, and Professional Standards. Each group is dedicated to promoting the professional performance as well as health and welfare of pilots. The program coordinates and conducts research in order to address physical and emotional issues that may affect a pilot’s ability to perform his or her work. 

At the program’s core, highly trained ASO Pilot Assistance volunteers provide confidential guidance and help to pilots having difficulty in any aspect of their professional or personal lives that may affect job performance or professionalism. The cornerstone to the success of ASO Pilot Assistance lies in specialized listening skills that volunteers learn during intensive initial and recurrent training. 

These specialized volunteers often drop what they are doing and respond to calls immediately. For example, after receiving word that an aircraft had slipped off a runway during adverse weather conditions, ALPA pilots from several airlines dropped what they were doing and responded within a matter of hours. A couple of phone calls and a blast e-mail successfully reached ALPA’s Critical Incident Response (CIRP) volunteers, and within 30 minutes, a CIRP volunteer was able to alter his plans, making an immediate detour to help the crew in need. 

ALPA ASO Pilot Assistance volunteers stretch across the globe and usually can be dispatched to help a pilot within 24 hours. They walk a delicate balance of providing support and guidance, often throughout a pilot’s darkest times, while asking nothing in return. They are the definition of selfless, and their spirit of giving runs constant for 365 days a year. This holiday season, we are especially grateful to our union’s unsung heroes, the volunteers of ALPA’s ASO Pilot Assistance program. 

Categories: Pilot Assistance
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