Alaska has a different aviation culture, in part driven by geography/weather and partially attributable to a risk less-than-adverse approach to flying. The awarding of the FAA’s prestigious Diamond Certificate of Excellence for meeting, and in some cases exceeding, the administration’s highest level of annual voluntary training to Northern Aviation Services’ Northern Air Cargo and Aloha Air Cargo recognizes excellence in safety performance there. That’s great news about Alaska and the sort of positive reinforcement of good practices which encourages others to emulate.
The company received Diamond awards in 2009 and 2010, and Gold Awards in 2011, 2012, and 2013. This year’s 2014 Diamond recognition signals to its customers and competitors that this maintenance organization places heavy emphasis on safety, particularly in investing in the education of its mechanics’ technical competence.
Mike Bevis is the Director of Maintenance and his background is consistent with the company’s stress on training. His Dad repaired marine diesel engines and Mike used to help. After an initial foray into music as a goal, he returned to maintenance roots by going to the University of Alaska at Anchorage’s Aviation Maintenance Technology Program in 1991. Northern Air Cargo hired Mike as a mechanic during his last semester of school. From the initial position, Mr. Bevis has spent time in most of the maintenance base jobs.
Now in the MX Director position, he has decided to emphasize keeping the line personnel up-to-date on the best techniques. Mike expressed the ultimate aviation safety statement of psychic reward for his work by saying:
“That’s the ultimate satisfaction for an airplane mechanic…There’s nothing cooler than seeing the fruits of your labor go off into the sky, and knowing that it’s clean and safe, and that you did a good job.”
This message and the NAC story establish the high standards for the maintenance professional. Hopefully, all in Alaska and all in the MX business world will follow this example which the FAA has highlighted.