Dr. Steve Sparks, HAI’s New Director of Safety
His accomplishments & experience should add to HAI’s capacity to work with the FAA
The Helicopter Association International, after a national search, appointed Dr. Steve Sparks, a new Director of Safety. HAI’s selection was indicative of the new mode of regulator/regulated cooperation.
Ed DiCampli, its chief operating officer, explained “HAI is thrilled with the addition of Steve to our team…I have worked with Steve on the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) for a number of years and found his passion for safety is boundless. We are pleased that Steve will continue to strive for a zero accident vision and I am confident that his extensive background, training, and experience will be a huge asset in achieving that goal.”
Though the announcement relates his USHST experience, it does not mention his career with the FAA. In today’s collaboration SMS/ASIAS regimen, HAI has participated actively in such FAA/industry ventures. Dr. Sparks has held a number of useful positions in industry (flight training education, corporate aviation marketing, professional pilot development along and experience in customer relations) as well as within the Aviation Safety organization:
- Aviation Safety Inspector with the General Aviation and Commercial Division (AFS-800) specializing in Human Factors and educational outreach initiative. He is a certified flight instructor and is the Coordinator for the US Helicopter Safety Team (USHST).
- Aviation Safety Inspector at the Wichita FSDO specializing in part 141 flight schools, human factors, helicopter operations, and educational outreach initiatives.
- Plus other jobs within the FAA.
In May 2008, he submitted his thesis “Attention and Distraction in Pilots: a Study in the Relationship between Flight Experience, Aircraft Control and Distraction Among Pilots” in partial fulfillment of his requirements for a Doctorate of Education at Oklahoma State University. He previously earned his AB at Bethany College in 1993 and his MBA at Robert Morris in 1997.
He has authored a number of thoughtful safety essays, including:
- Defensive Flying: Being Prepared for the Unexpected
— FAA Safety Briefing July/August 2013
- Getting Crossed-eyed with Crosswinds and Turbulence The Effects of Turbulent Conditions on GA Pilots
— FAA Safety Briefing March/April 2015
- Fatal Distraction How Easily Pilot Attention is Lured Away
— ISHST essay
These accomplishments and experience should add to HAI’s capacity to work with the FAA in this new regulatory approach. His well-developed facility for writing should serve the association’s members by providing analysis and insight into the operational, maintenance and regulatory elements of their business.