ALPA's Communications Department provides information and support for news media inquiries. An ALPA communications representative can be reached in the Herndon, Va. office at (703) 481-4440.

News Release

Release #02.073e
August 23, 2002

Newark Pilot Honored With ALPA Superior Airmanship Award

WASHINGTON, D.C.—John D. Vick, Jr., a Continental Express captain and resident of Newark, NJ, was awarded a Superior Airmanship Award from the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), for safely landing his flight after the aircraft received two bird strikes on Oct. 13, 2001. The award was presented Aug. 22, during the Association’s annual Air Safety Forum held in Washington, D.C. Along with Captain Vick, the flight’s first officer, Jason Foley, also was honored with a Superior Airmanship Award.

Flight 3354, an ATR-42 turboprop airliner, was flying from Norfolk, VA, to Newark, NJ, when air traffic controllers gave the flight crew instructions to descend to 5,000 feet. As the aircraft leveled off, the crew felt and heard from the right side of the airplane a very large bang that sounded like a car crash but was later determined to be a bird strike. The airplane immediately began to yaw to the right and to pitch downward. While the pilots tried to level it off, the airplane continued its buffeting and the yoke was jerking uncontrollably. After declaring an emergency, the crew told air traffic control that they could maintain control and would make an emergency landing at Newark. From the cockpit, the right engine appeared undamaged and the propellers looked normal, but the outer two feet of the wing appeared to be imploded. While the aircrew was able to safely land the aircraft on the ground, the engines’ thrust reversers were inoperable and the pilots had to depend on the brakes to stop the airplane. After taxiing to the terminal, Captain Vick and First Officer Foley visually examined their aircraft and saw that, in addition to the damage to the outboard leading edge of the right wing made by the first goose, the center wing faring had a basketball-size hole. A second goose had crashed through the skin, ending up inside the wing root.

Captain Vick has flown for Continental Express for more than three years and is currently based at Newark International Airport. Prior to joining Continental Express, he was a flight instructor in Florida and Virginia. He grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and received his bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. Capt. Vick is married to the former Joanne J. Francis of Nova Scotia.

ALPA is the union representing most commercial airline pilots in North America and is the industry’s leading safety advocate. It represents more than 66,000 pilots at 43 carriers in the U.S. and Canada. Its website is


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