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 #02.073h
August 23, 2002

Kentucky Pilot Honored With ALPA Superior Airmanship Award

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Arthur "Blaine" Comfort, a DHL first officer and resident of Fort Mitchell, KY, was awarded a Superior Airmanship Award from the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA). The award was presented Aug. 22, during ALPA’s annual Air Safety Forum.

ALPA honored First Officer Comfort for his help in preventing a catastrophic aircraft accident and in the process saving an untold number of human lives on Sept. 25, 2001, in Mexico City. Along with First Officer Comfort, the captain and second officer of Flight 951, Steve Norris and William McDorman, also were honored with Superior Airmanship Awards.

Flight 951 had been cleared for takeoff at the Mexico City airport when, at approximately 115 mph (100 knots), Second Officer McDorman spotted another aircraft on the same runway. At this time all three crewmembers saw an Air France Boeing 777 that had taxied onto the runway. The crew immediately rejected the takeoff. Unfortunately, even with all four DC-8 engines in maximum reverse and with maximum brake applied, it quickly became obvious that the aircraft was not going to stop on the wet runway in time to avoid a collision with the other aircraft. The crew therefore elected to veer the DC-8 off the runway to the right. The aircraft departed the runway at a speed of about 104 mph (90 knots) and traveled through the muddy grass between the runways. Before coming to rest with the nose wheel on the south edge of a taxiway, the aircraft traveled about a thousand feet, crossing a service road and successfully averting several dangerous obstacles. The two aircraft cleared each other by about 100 feet.

First Officer Comfort has flown for DHL Airways, Inc., for more than nine years and is currently based at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. He received his bachelor’s degree from Seattle University, Washington. Originally from Tacoma, WA, First Officer Comfort currently resides in Fort Mitchell. Prior to joining DHL, he flew for Eastern Air Lines and Trump Airlines. First Officer Comfort also served in the Air Force where he flew a variety of aircraft. He is married to the former Meridee McMillan from Denver, and they have two children, Sarah and Elliot.

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