Release #09.044
August 5, 2009

Capt. Hank Yaap Receives ALPA’s Presidential Citation
Seattle Pilot Recognized for Bold Leadership in Enhancing Aviation Safety

WASHINGTON—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) will recognize Alaska Airlines Capt. Hank Yaap with its 2008 Presidential Citation for his outstanding efforts to advance aviation safety. The award will be presented today at ALPA’s Air Safety Week in Washington, D.C.

Since 1995, Yaap has served as a staunch proponent of the Flight Operation Quality Assurance (FOQA) program. The FOQA program, which collects and analyzes data recorded during flight, is designed to improve the safety of flight operations, air traffic control procedures, and airport and aircraft design and maintenance. A key component of this program is ensuring the complete confidentiality of the data collected.

“Capt. Yaap is a nationally recognized advocate of safety reporting programs and recognizes the vital importance of ensuring the privacy of crews who participate,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “His innovative approach to maintaining confidentiality of the data has been a watershed development in moving the FOQA program a gigantic leap forward.”

After seven years of tireless effort, Capt. Yaap successfully put a FOQA program in place at Alaska Airlines, built on a foundation of ALPA’s standards for confidentiality. To do so, Capt. Yaap pioneered a FOQA “gatekeeper” position—a groundbreaking approach to securing the confidentiality of information provided through the program. As the first FOQA gatekeeper, Capt. Yaap identified crewmembers involved in cases in which the data indicated anomalies that required further study, and he coordinated retraining in the extremely rare cases in which it was required. He created a model for the position, and gatekeepers continue to play a fundamental role in FOQA programs today.

“Hank has worked tirelessly behind the scenes as an advocate for air safety, our pilots, and our profession,” said Alaska MEC chairman Capt. Bill Shivers. “Pilots, not only here at Alaska Airlines, but across the industry, have benefited greatly from Hank’s many years of volunteerism, and I am proud and honored to call him a colleague.”

Capt. Yaap also served as ALPA’s National FOQA/ASAP Project Team leader and represented ALPA as a member of the FAA’s FOQA Aviation Rulemaking Committee. In addition, he has participated in the government-industry Voluntary Aviation Safety Information Sharing (VASIS) and Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing System (ASIAS) Committees.

“Due in large part to Capt. Yaap’s stalwart efforts to attain the highest possible confidentiality standards for the data included in FOQA programs, the airline industry is already seeing the safety benefits,” Prater said. “We congratulate Capt. Yaap on his remarkable achievement in advancing aviation safety.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing nearly 54,000 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada.

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Contact: Linda Shotwell or Rusty Ayers, 703/481-4440 or