Release #09.057
August 5, 2009

FedEx Retired Capt. David Wells Receives ALPA’s Top Safety Honor
Ellsworth, Maine, Pilot Hailed as Leader in Aviation Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), will recognize retired FedEx Express Capt. David Wells with its 2008 Air Safety Award for his unwavering commitment to aviation safety. The award, which is the Association’s highest safety honor, will be presented to Capt. Wells on August 6 at ALPA’s 55th Air Safety Forum Awards Banquet in Washington, D.C.

“Capt. Wells’s determined pursuit of the highest standards of safety has spurred remarkable progress for our industry, particularly in the safety of all-cargo flight operations,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “A consummate professional, Wells’s endless drive and steadfast commitment were reflected in each project he took on, and pilots, passengers, and shippers today reap the benefit of his inspired leadership.”

Capt. Wells began flying in 1974 while serving in the U.S. Army. After working at United Airlines for several years, Capt. Wells joined Federal Express as a flight instructor and established the company’s B-727 ground school. FedEx hired Wells as a pilot in 1978, and he flew the B-727, DC-10, and MD-11 during his career. When he retired in 2009, Capt. Wells had logged more than 16,000 hours of flight time experience and had flown as a captain for more than 23 years.

“Capt. Wells had a career-long dedication to aviation safety, protecting the interests of the pilots at FedEx and the entire piloting profession through his work,” said Capt. Scott Stratton, FedEx Master Executive Council chairman. “Thanks to his hard work and dedication to the aviation profession, every ALPA member stands to benefit. The FedEx MEC is honored to acknowledge Capt. Wells’s tremendous dedication and service to his fellow pilots. We congratulate him on his ALPA Safety Award.”

When FedEx joined ALPA in 1993, Wells became the pilot group’s ALPA Central Air Safety chairman and served his colleagues in that position for more than 14 years. Capt. Wells was a staunch safety advocate in a broad spectrum of areas. He was an integral force in ALPA’s “One Level of Safety” campaign and sought to establish a standard level of safety for all airline flying, including cargo.

Throughout his tenure at ALPA, Capt. Wells invested an enormous amount of time and energy in modernizing current flight- and duty-time regulations to reflect modern science, aircraft, and flight schedules.

In 1999, Capt. Wells participated on the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) effort to create rest requirements for reserve pilots. In addition, he joined regulators, scientists, airlines, and other stakeholders from around the world from 2001 to 2005 in a collaborative effort to design guidance for ultra-long-range operations of more than 16 hours.

“Capt. Wells’s remarkable accomplishments in aviation safety and his abiding commitment to his union are truly a model for future aviators,” concluded Capt. Prater. “He is a rare individual who has earned the deep respect of his ALPA colleagues, who join me in commending his receiving ALPA’s top safety honor.”

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.

# # #

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