Napolitano Speaks At The Air Line Pilots Association Awards Dinner


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Napolitano Speaks At The Air Line Pilots Association Awards Dinner

By Steve Hall

September 02, 2010 - Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano on Tuesday delivered remarks at the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) International Awards Dinner.

Highlighting the Department's ongoing efforts to bolster aviation security and thanking the nation's airline pilots, including the crew members who thwarted the attempted terrorist attack on December 25, 2009, for their work everyday to ensure that air travelers reach their destinations safely and securely.

"As the crew of Flight 253 demonstrated during the attempted attack on Christmas Day, airline pilots and all crew members are a critical part of our layered approach to aviation security," said Secretary Napolitano.


"Over the past eight months, DHS has been leading a global initiative, in close collaboration with our international and industry partners, including America's airline pilots, to strengthen the international aviation system against the evolving threats posed by terrorists."

In her remarks, Secretary Napolitano underscored the Department's efforts to develop and implement stronger international aviation security measures-including her participation over the past year in five regional aviation security summits around the world which have resulted in historic declarations to bolster the civil aviation system by developing and deploying new security technologies, strengthening security measures and standards, enhancing information collection and sharing and coordinating international technical assistance.

She also highlighted two major milestones achieved recently by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA): implementation of Secure Flight-under which TSA assumes responsibility from air carriers for checking passenger manifests against government watchlists-for all domestic and international flights operated by U.S. carriers, and 100 percent screening of air cargo that travels domestically or departs from the United States.

Additionally, Secretary Napolitano stressed the Department's deployment of state-of-the-art technologies such as Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), which safely screens passengers for both metallic and non-metallic threats that may be concealed under a passenger's clothes, at airports across the United States. To date, more than 180 machines are currently in use at 45 airports throughout the nation. The Department will continue to deploy additional machines in the coming months.

ALPA recognized a broad range of its members for their extraordinary efforts. Capt. Ray Gélinas (Jazz Air) received ALPA’s 2009 Air Safety Award, the Association’s top safety honor, for his longstanding participation and unwavering commitment to air transportation safety. 

“I’m truly honoured and pleased to accept this award and join a very distinguished group of Air Safety Award recipients,” Gelinas said. “This award is truly something that I’m very proud of. This isn’t why we get into ALPA work. We all usually get involved so that we can make a difference. I hope that I have.”

Currently, Gélinas is the chairman of the Air Safety Committee’s Accident Analysis and Prevention Group, a member of ALPA’s Accident Investigation Board, an accident investigator for the Jazz ALPA MEC, and an ALPA Safety Two School and Advanced Accident Investigation School instructor. Prater described Gélinas’s remarkable background, adding that his “developed expertise, good nature, and readiness to get involved at a moment’s notice have truly made him an ALPA asset, and his contributions continue to enhance safe airline operations.”

The ALPA 2009 Aviation Security Award was presented to Capt. Bill McReynolds (FedEx Express) for his numerous contributions to aviation safety. Best known for his work with air cargo security issues, McReynolds currently chairs the ALPA President’s Committee for Cargo (PCFC) and serves as the director of cargo for ALPA’s National Security Committee. “Simply put, Capt. McReynolds is a results-oriented, no-nonsense professional who gets things accomplished,” added Prater.

ALPA recognized F/O Richard Wilkening (American Eagle) with its Pilot Assistance Award for his many years of incredible service in working with pilot assistance programs at his airline and at many other ALPA pilot groups. Wilkening has been a tremendous resource for ALPA’s Aeromedical and Human Intervention Motivation Study, or HIMS, Committees. Prater summarized Wilkening’s extensive contributions, saying, “Suffice it to say that his keen understanding of the demands and stress associated with airline flying, coupled with his knowledge of and experience with the tools to help affected pilots recover, as well as his compassionate and understanding nature, make him a crucial member of the Pilot Assistance team.”

The Association also honored exemplary flight crews. Capt. Yngve Paulsen and F/O Michael Aguzino received ALPA Superior Airmanship Awards for their extraordinary effort in performing an emergency landing after Atlantic Southeast Flight 5414’s left main landing gear failed to extend. American Eagle Capt. Mark Davis and F/O Andres Rubio were recognized with Superior Airmanship Awards for their outstanding performance in preventing the catastrophic loss of Flight 4756 after a malfunction of the aircraft’s flight controls during a flight over Texas.

ALPA honored Capt. Paul Ivey and F/O Edward Paterson with Superior Airmanship Awards for their outstanding performance in landing an aircraft with a severely damaged windscreen and a corresponding electrical failure and fire. And Capt. Brent Black, Capt. Steven Wycoff, and F/O Daniel Montgomery were recognized with Superior Airmanship Awards for their superb handling of an engine failure shortly after takeoff last year.

Delta Air Lines Captain Ray Miller, F/O Steven Stewart, and First Officer Gregory Fedele received the ALPA Aviation Security Award for Valor for their handling of the attempted terrorist bombing attack on their flight on Christmas Day, 2009. The Association also recognized the eight flight attendants who were working the flight.

The Air Line Pilots Association, International, is the collective bargaining representative for over 66,000 pilots of 42 U.S. and Canadian airlines. ALPA was formed in 1931 and is a member of the AFL-CIO and the Canadian Labour Congress. Its headquarters is located at 1625 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, in Washington, D.C.


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