August 5, 2009
FedEx Capt. John Lux Posthumously Receives
ALPA’s First-Ever Pilot Assistance Award
Virginia Beach, Va., Pilot Remembered for Outstanding Leadership in Pilot Assistance Programs
WASHINGTON—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), will recognize the late 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 at many other ALPA pilot groups. The award will be presented today during ALPA’s Air Safety Week in Washington, D.C.
“John was known as the ‘Father of Pilot Assistance’ at Federal Express, but that title doesn’t do him enough credit because his work improved the lives of pilots around the world over his many years of service,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “I regret that he isn’t with us today to receive the accolades he deserves, because he was a pilot’s pilot, and earning the respect of his peers was the only recognition he ever wanted.”
The son of a U.S. Navy torpedo plane gunner in World War II, Capt. Lux carried on the naval tradition, becoming one of the few naval aviators of his era to fly both high-performance fighter aircraft and helicopters. He first became an ALPA member when he joined Continental Airlines as a second officer in 1978 and later flew for Peoples Express Airlines and Evergreen Air Cargo before being hired at FedEx in 1985.
A dedicated trade unionist, Capt. Lux took on the task of organizing FedEx’s “helping” committees—aeromedical, crisis response, substance abuse, and professional standards—both when FedEx was part of ALPA and during the pilot group’s brief tenure as an independent union. He helped define the concept of an all-encompassing human performance program aimed at assisting pilots with all their physical, mental, and emotional needs.
Capt. Lux was known for his honesty and discretion, and he had a unique gift for being able to set politics aside and to develop lines of trust and communication with company management that paid dividends for line pilots, all the while maintaining an equally strong and trusting relationship with union leaders.
He also shared his knowledge with other pilot groups at every opportunity, helping smaller groups put together their own pilot assistance programs. In 2005 he served as an ALPA representative on the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Committee dealing with the age 65 retirement issue.
“Capt. Lux was a man of true integrity,” said Capt. Scott Stratton, FedEx Master Executive Council chairman. “He strived to make the professional lives of FedEx pilots better. As the FedEx Pilot Assistance Committee chairman, he worked diligently to resolve conflicts, provide pilots avenues to professionally recover from difficult episodes in their lives, and ensure that pilots had someone to turn to in tragic situations. Capt. Lux’s calm and confident demeanor gave pilots direction and reassurance when they needed it most. We are extremely proud to posthumously honor Capt. Lux as he receives ALPA’s first-ever Pilot Assistance Award.”
Capt. Lux died of cancer on April 30, 2009, at the age of 61. His son, Jack, carries on the ALPA tradition and currently flies as a pilot for Pinnacle Airlines.
“The ALPA family and aviation in general are poorer for the loss of John Lux, a true gentleman who was a friend to every pilot he met,” Capt. Prater concluded. “John exemplified the values of dignity, honesty, and service, and defined what it means to be a professional pilot.”
2009 marks the first year that ALPA has added a stand-alone Pilot Assistance Award. The award joins ALPA’s Safety Award, Security Award, and Superior Airmanship Award as the most prestigious honors the Association confers on its members.
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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