Release #09.061
August 6, 2009

Pilots Commended for Extraordinary Efforts to Advance Safety, Security, Pilot Assistance, and Jumpseat Access
ALPA Confers Awards at its 55th Air Safety Forum

WASHINGTON–The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) honored airline pilots who have set the standard for excellence in the industry through extraordinary contributions in the areas of aviation safety, security, pilot assistance, and jumpseat access. The awards were conferred by ALPA’s president during the Association’s 55th Air Safety Forum, which was held August 5-6 in Washington, D.C.

ALPA’s 2008 Superior Airmanship Award was presented to Compass Airlines Capt. Steven Peterka, First Officer Clifton “Lee” Cain, and Flight Attendant Gloria Heurematte for their performance and outstanding teamwork as they successfully conducted an emergency landing as a result of an inflight cabin fire on a flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., to Regina, Saskatchewan, in May 2008.

A second Superior Airmanship Award was bestowed on United Airlines Capt. Everett “Ross” Miller and First Officer Douglas Cochran for their exemplary performance in preventing a catastrophe aboard United Airlines Flight 731, which suffered a near-total electrical failure with accompanying loss of all radio communications moments after taking off from Newark Liberty Airport in January 2008.

FedEx Express Capt. David Wells received the Association’s highest safety honor for his unwavering commitment to aviation safety. His accomplishments include work to establish a standard level of safety for all airline flying, including cargo, through ALPA’s “One Level of Safety” campaign. He also helped lead the Association’s efforts to press for modernization of FAA’s flight- and duty-time limits and rest requirements.

ALPA conferred its highest security honor on Air Canada Jazz Capt. Craig Hall for his longstanding contributions to aviation security. Among other accomplishments, his efforts include developing and implementing the Canadian Restricted Area Identification Card (RAIC) program, a leading- edge aviation security initiative to more effectively and securely identify airline pilots and other airline employees.

The Association posthumously recognized FedEx Express Capt. John Lux with its inaugural Pilot Assistance Award for his many years of exemplary service in building and maintaining pilot assistance programs at his airline and for many other ALPA pilot groups. Capt. Lux helped define the concept of an all-encompassing human performance program aimed at assisting pilots with all their physical, mental, and emotional needs.

In addition, ALPA granted 2008 Presidential Citations to three pilot members whose efforts to advance aviation safety were extraordinary.

Delta Air Lines Capt. Larry Newman received a 2008 Presidential Citation for his long-held commitment to making air traffic policies and procedures as safe and efficient as possible. As chairman of ALPA’s Air Traffic Services Group from 2001 to 2009, his accomplishments included helping to spearhead ALPA’s efforts to move the industry from ground- to space-based navigation.

The tireless dedication of Piedmont Airlines Capt. Stephen Ormsbee was integral to ALPA’s “One Level of Safety” campaign, which pressed for enhanced safety regulations for regional airlines. His work, for which he received a 2008 Presidential Citation, helped prompt a new FAA regulation mandating that commuter aircraft with 10-30 passenger seats be operated under the same safety rules as aircraft with more than 30 seats.

Alaska Airlines Capt. Hank Yaap, a nationally recognized advocate of safety reporting programs to improve the safety of flight operations, air traffic control procedures, and airport and aircraft design and maintenance, was also honored with a 2008 Presidential Citation. Capt. Yaap’s innovative approach to ensuring confidentiality of FOQA program data was a watershed development in moving the FOQA program forward.

Moreover, three ALPA pilots received 2008 Presidential Citations for their extraordinary efforts to advance aviation security.

Retired Delta Air Lines Capt. Dennis Dolan was recognized with a 2008 Presidential Citation for his leadership and tremendous accomplishments in aviation security, including directing ALPA’s Security Task Force’s efforts in the wake of 9/11 to identify vulnerabilities on the nation’s airliners and in the air transportation system and to develop the solutions needed to better secure passengers, crews, and cargo.

First Officer Scott Graham of United Airlines received ALPA’s 2008 Presidential Citation for his work to enhance aviation security, especially in the areas of identifying countermeasures to shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, establishing secondary cockpit barriers, and enhancing flightdeck access training. He also helped to create the first model for federal flight deck officers’ professional standards for any ALPA pilot group.

FedEx Express Capt. Bill McReynolds’ dedicated work to enhance security at all-cargo airlines has translated into remarkable progress in an area in which the airline industry continues to remain vulnerable. He received ALPA’s 2008 Presidential Citation for his advocacy to allow all-cargo pilots to serve as federal flight deck officers and to standardize the way in which all-cargo airlines respond to security threats.

ALPA also presented three 2008 Presidential Citations to pilots for outstanding efforts to assist pilots and their families in times of crisis.

ALPA bestowed a 2008 Presidential Citation on American Eagle Airlines Capt. Dana Archibald for his inspired activism on behalf of the Human Intervention Motivation Study (HIMS) occupational substance abuse treatment program. Capt. Archibald built the first user-supported ALPA HIMS program and serves as chairman of the FAA HIMS Advisory Board.

FedEx Express Capt. Valerie Thal-Slocum received a 2008 Presidential Citation for more than a decade of work with ALPA’s Critical Incident Response Program (CIRP), which assists pilots and their families in times of crisis. Capt. Thal-Slocum is a respected CIRP coordinator who shares her knowledge with fire-and-rescue first responders and non-ALPA pilots.

Also receiving a 2008 Presidential Citation was American Eagle Airlines Capt. James Woodke. For more than 18 years, he has worked to build and maintain the CIRP at American Eagle. A certified field traumatologist and crisis responder, he chairs American Eagle’s CIRP Committee and is a board-certified expert in traumatic stress, emergency crisis response, and school crisis response.

First Officer Richard Odbert of FedEx Express was given ALPA’s 2008 Presidential Citation for his exceptional efforts to facilitate secure access to airlines’ jumpseats for off-duty airline pilots. Through his action, the revitalized ALPA Jumpseat Committee has helped to refine the Cockpit Access Security System, which is used to approve or reject jumpseat requests, on both domestic and international flights.

In addition, Delta Air Lines Capt. Bob Hesselbein was granted ALPA’s 2008 Presidential Recognition Award for his exemplary efforts to advance aviation security. His drive and determination have been among the deciding factors in many of the most important aviation security advancements since the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

ALPA also conferred two awards for Outstanding Airport Liaison Representative. The 2008 awards went to American Eagle Airlines Capt. Mike Maas and to United Airlines Capt. Jeffrey Sedin for their years of work advocating for pilot interests at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

ALPA selected Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport as its Airport of the Year for 2008. Pilots lauded San Jose’s efforts to address pilot concerns throughout its ongoing multiyear airport modernization project, especially commending measures aimed at limiting the height of buildings surrounding the airport.

The crew of CanJet Flight 918 was recognized with ALPA’s Aviation Security Award for Valour for their bravery during an attempted hijacking of their aircraft on April 19, 2009.

Finally, ALPA honored the crew of US Airways Flight 1549 with the Association’s first-ever Distinguished Crew Safety Award in recognition of their heroic acts in conducting an emergency landing of their crippled Airbus A320 in the Hudson River and safely evacuating all 155 passengers and crewmembers from the sinking jetliner.

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, 703/481-4440 or