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News Release

Release #82.d
August 16, 2001

Evansville Pilot Honored With ALPA Safety Volunteer Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Burke Edwards, a Trans World Airlines (TWA) captain and resident of Evansville, IN, was awarded a Superior Airmanship Award from the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) for demonstrating superb aviation judgment and professionalism while safely landing an aircraft that experienced electrical failure. The award was presented on Aug. 15, 2001 at the Association’s annual Air Safety Forum.

Capt. Edwards was commended for safely landing a McDonnell Douglas Series 80 commercial aircraft at night, after experiencing massive electrical failure. ALPA also honored the flight’s first officer, Patrick Foreman, with a Superior Airmanship Award.

While cruising at 33,000 feet, numerous electrical problems began plaguing the aircraft: the primary directional and navigation screens in front of both pilots in the cockpit lost power, the left generator shut down prematurely, and the circuit breaker could not be reset. Additionally, there were several failures in cockpit instrumentation, including the autopilot, altimeter, engine gauges, navigational displays, automatic pressurization indication, and emergency lighting. Control of the aircraft also was negatively affected with the loss of electric horizontal trim. Foreman took control of flying the plane while Capt. Edwards made several attempts to restore electrical power. The only power restoration occurred when the flight crew reset the left generator breaker and physically held it in place. However, the pilots still had to manually lower the landing gear and flaps, as well as to trim the aircraft for descent and landing. An emergency landing was made and the aircraft was successfully evacuated without injuries.

Capt. Edwards has flown for TWA for 17 years. Before joining the airline, he flew for the U.S. Navy for four years. After leaving the Navy, Capt. Edwards began his professional flying career with Britt Airlines, based in Chicago. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics and history from Butler University in Indiana and attended graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh, receiving his master’s degree in spatial geometry. Edwards has lived in Evansville for 15 years, and is based at Lambert–St. Louis International Airport.

ALPA is the union representing most commercial airline pilots in North America, and is the industry’s leading safety advocate. It represents 66,000 pilots at 47 carriers in the U.S. and Canada.


ALPA Contacts: John Mazor, Anya Piazza (703) 481-4440