ALPA’s First Pilot Assistance Forum a Resounding Success

It’s all about saving lives. Nearly 300 pilots gathered in Denver last week to learn what it takes to help their fellow pilots in need during ALPA’s first Pilot Assistance Forum.

The forum is a “measure of ALPA’s efforts to explore, educate and advocate pilot assistance,” said Capt. Jeffrey Kilmer (FDX), ALPA National Human Performance Committee Chair, in his opening remarks. “This forum represents the hard work of pilot assistance volunteers, the insight of medical professionals and the international pilot assistance community, the unique perspective of aviators dedicated to pilot assistance, and ALPA staff.”

Pilot volunteers representing 25 ALPA carriers, as well as representatives of more than 10 non-ALPA airlines and other unions, international representatives, and airline management were in the audience.

ALPA’s president, Capt. John Prater, thanked all the attendees for participating and supporting the event. “We’re all here to improve our profession,” he said. “In many other settings I may have a different opinion of our relationship with management, but here in this field we work with our management counterparts closely. The success of our profession requires us to be closer and better partners.”

The three-day forum held April 10-12 provided a full schedule and impressive list of speakers who represented all aspects of pilot assistanceCIRP, Professional Standards, HIMS, Aeromedical, and Canadian Pilot Assistance. Notable speakers included FAA Federal Air Surgeon Dr. Frederick Tilton, NTSB Vice-Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt, III, Dr. Don Hudson, ALPA Aeromedical Office, and Dr. Gerhard Fahnenbruck, CISM-Clinical Director and ICISF Instructor, Stiftung Mayday.

Other speakers included: ALPA Executive Vice President and Canada Board President, Capt. Dan Adamus (ACJ); Capt. John Rosenberg (NWA), ALPA National Professional Standards Chair; Capt. Dana Archibald (EGL), ALPA National HIMS Chair; Capt. Murray Munro (ACJ), ALPA National Pilot Assistance Chair; Capt. Jim Foster (XJT), ALPA National Aeromedical Chair; Rob Neighbour, ALPA National CIRP Chair, and Pete Janhunen, ALPA Assistant Director of Communications. Educational sessions included informational presentations regarding Professional Standards, HIMS, CIRP, identifying potential ALPA volunteers, avian flu, anger management, cervical cancer, effective MEC structures, what to do when you lose your medical license, active listening, and skin cancer. (ALPA Members: Log onto and follow this link to watch video presentations as well as view the speakers’ PowerPoint presentations.)

The forum closed with a banquet featuring Sumwalt as keynote speaker. Close colleague and friend Capt. Mimi Tompkins introduced him. (Click here to view Sumwalt’s keynote address: DSL/Cable | Dial-Up)

“Pilot assistance? Do we even need it today?” Sumwalt said. “We need it now more than ever before. ALPA is fortunate to have volunteers and staff dedicated to fulfilling this mission. You are meeting the challenge.”