Release #11.27
August 18, 2011

Hawaiian Airlines Pilot to Receive ALPA Pilot Assistance Award
Blaine, Wash., Pilot Pioneered Pilot Assistance Programs

WASHINGTON—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), will recognize F/O Madeline “Mimi” Tompkins, an Hawaiian Airlines pilot, with its 2010 Pilot Assistance Award for her exceptional leadership in supporting airline pilots who experience serious psychological trauma. The award will be presented during ALPA’s 57th Air Safety Forum in Washington, D.C.

“F/O Tompkins is passionately dedicated to her colleagues, the airline piloting profession, and the aviation community,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president. “Over the decades, her pilot assistance work has made a profound difference for individuals dealing with psychological trauma that could affect their personal lives and their careers. F/O Tompkins truly stands out as a pioneer of critical incident response in aviation, and airline pilots around the globe have benefited from her expertise.”

During Aloha Airlines Flight 243 on April 28, 1988, a 20-foot section of the airplane’s upper fuselage was lost after an explosive decompression incident at 24,000 feet. Remarkably, Capt. Robert Schornstheimer and F/O Tompkins were able to safely land the severely crippled aircraft despite significant structural damage. Tragically, one flight attendant lost her life, and all 89 passengers on board were injured.

In the aftermath of that flight, F/O Tompkins became involved with ALPA’s Air Safety Committee, and she participated on a special task force charged with developing a pilot assistance program. Beginning in 1994, she coordinated and led the union’s pilot assistance efforts, and ALPA’s Critical Incident Response Program (CIRP) was formally established in 1996. From 1996 to 2001, F/O Tompkins chaired ALPA’s National CIRP Committee, coordinating critical incident stress management responses to major accidents and incidents involving ALPA-represented pilot groups in the United States and Canada.

Today, F/O Tompkins remains very active in the pilot assistance arena, traveling around the world to share her expertise in critical response with others. At Hawaiian Airlines, she helps lead CIRP and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) work, and she is a member of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) and a certified ICISF instructor.

“No one is more deserving of this award than Mimi Tompkins,” said Capt. Chris Elley, chairman of ALPA’s Hawaiian Airlines Master Executive Council. “Her efforts over the past two decades have had such a positive impact on the emotional and mental health of traumatized pilots that many pilots have expressed that they owe their continued careers, and even their lives, to Mimi because of the CIRP organization she helped to create and to lead.”

She serves as a consultant to the Mayday Foundation, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board’s Transportation Disaster Assistance Office, and other pilot assistance organizations. A mentor for women in aviation, F/O Tompkins has also supported programs that provide scholarships to women who are learning to fly.

“F/O Tompkins is the supreme example of a pilot who turned her experience of living through a tragic aviation incident into an opportunity to help other pilots and their families who are dealing with similar challenges,” said Capt. Moak. “Her compassion and commitment serve as a powerful example for all airline pilots.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 53,000 pilots at 39 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


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