ALPA’s Air Safety Forum Continues, Honors Line Pilots – Day 2

August 31, 2010 - ALPA president Capt. John Prater welcomed a packed room to Day 2 of the 2010 ALPA Air Safety Forum, reviewing the challenges of the past year and the Association’s swift and thorough response. “Because of the efforts of many people in this room, the North American airline industry is safer and there is a renewed pride and commitment among our colleagues.”

Click here to view a photo slideshow
of Day 2 of the Forum

Prater talked about the Association’s role in advancing legislation and of the current initiatives to improve the profession and make aviation safer and more secure. “Being an airline pilot continues to be a challenge. This week serves as a reminder not just of the work that remains to be done, but recognition of that truth,” said Prater.

“Speaking on behalf of the 53,000 members of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, we are here to celebrate our many achievements and to honor some of the best among us – those who have worked long and hard to improve conditions for all of us, and those who were suddenly thrust into once-in-a-lifetime situations but relied on their training, experience and professional skills to avert tragedy,” he added.

The ALPA president introduced Nancy Graham, director of the Air Navigation Bureau of the International Civil Aviation Organization, who provided a presentation titled “What Is ICAO . . . and Why Should We Care?”

Graham talked about the Organization’s role as global air travel regulator, its use of annexes to set worldwide aviation standards, and its need for both input and volunteers from organizations like ALPA. “Thirty or so times a year, I put my life in your hands,” said Graham, who thanked airline pilots for their dedication and professionalism.

Following the Graham presentation, ALPA national committees presented panel discussions, exploring relevant, hot-topic issues of the airline industry.

The Pilot Assistance Committee conducted the first panel, a presentation titled “CIRP: Bridging the Miles, Spanning the Globe.” ALPA’s Critical Incident Response Program (CIRP) Committee uses pilots and spouses trained as peers to ease the stress reactions that accidents or incidents can produce. With a global industry, CIRP has been compelled to look beyond its North American borders and network with other pilot organizations. The panel included Lufthansa pilots who support the Mayday Foundation, a German organization similar to CIRP.

The National Jumpseat Committee’s presentation examined pilot-in-command authority, the requirements for jumpseat access, and the process required to ensure a safety and secure operation. Moderated by F/O Rich Odbert, ALPA’s National Jumpseat Committee chairman, the panel examined the captain’s role in assuring that proper jumpseating protocols are adhered to.

“Security Screening: Technology, Behavioral Analysis, and Trust,” the panel discussion staged by the National Security Committee, explored the advantages and disadvantages of implementing technology and human factors techniques to airport security screening. The panel, which included TSA Assistant Administrator Lee Kair, reviewed the elements of ALPA’s trust-based screening proposal and how they can be applied to improve efficiencies.

The President’s Committee for Cargo staged “Hijacked,” a panel discussion looking at a hypothetical hijacking of an all-cargo airliner. The industry and government representative panelists talked about their respective actions and responsibilities in responding to this kind of scenario. The discussion also highlighted the current differences between passenger and air freight security and the problems with this two-tiered system.

Later in the afternoon, members of ALPA’s Human Factors Training Group presented “Training and the Professional Airline Pilot: Today and Tomorrow.” Moderated by Capt. Chuck Hogeman (UAL), ALPA Human Factors and Training Group chairman, a panel of pilot safety representatives looked at the trend in cutbacks to pilot training and the changes that will be necessary to adequately prepare future airline pilots.

During the luncheon, ALPA pilots, industry representatives, and honorees gathered to recognize those who have exceptionally contributed to aviation safety and security. Capt. Prater began the program by honoring several pilots with Presidential Citations.

“In bestowing a Presidential Citation, ALPA recognizes pilots who have made exceptional contributions to advancing aviation safety, security, and pilot health and who embody the highest standards of professionalism,” he said. “Whether they are investigating an accident, providing support to pilots in difficult times, advocating for pilots’ jumpseating privileges, ensuring the security of our air transportation network, or demonstrating a single heroic act, these honorees have gone beyond the call of duty, and their efforts have been critical to furthering ALPA’s reputation as the leading non-governmental aviation safety and security advocate in the world.”

Capt. Prater also awarded the Airport Safety Liaison (ASL) and Airport of the Year.

This evening, pilots who exhibited Superior Airmanship skills (American Eagle Flight 4756, Atlantic Southeast Flight 5414, Continental Flight 348, and Jazz Air Flight 8216) as well as exemplary ALPA representatives in the areas of Pilot Assistance, Security, and Safety.

The crew of Northwest Flight 253 will also be honored with Aviation Security Award for Valor.