Flight Safety Foundation’s Dyad of Big News

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FAA’s Bill Johnson Receives FSF-Airbus Human Factors in Aviation Safety Award

FSF Names Dr. Hassan Shahidi as New President and CEO

Both fulfill Flight Safety Foundation’s Mission

The aviation safety community is comprised of regulators, regulated, oversight (Congress/OIG/GAO) and the public. Each perspective carries with it certain biases—the institutional imperative, the operational realities, a form of omniscience and a bias for zero risk. Some of these views are formed in spite of a lack of technical information, an abundance of concern for constituents’ perception and a valuation of past precedents.

Outside of these perspectives is an organization with no investment in previous policies, with an extraordinarily high level of technical expertise and with the benefit of operational experience—the Flight Safety Foundation. As its slogan makes clear—independent, impartial and international.

Thus, it is impressive that FSF issued two announcements on the same day—one honoring and FAA senior executive with a high recognition and the second naming a MITRE quantitative expert as the Foundation’s new president and CEO.

Bill Johnson, Ph.D., the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) chief scientific and technical adviser for human factors in aircraft maintenance systems, was honored Monday with the Flight Safety Foundation–Airbus Human Factors in Aviation Safety Award.

The award, presented on the first day of the Foundation’s 71st annual International Air Safety Summit (IASS), praised Johnson’s “extensive work in, and significant contributions to, human factors research and development, with a focus on human performance in the maintenance and repair of complex systems.” The presentation was made by Craig Hoskins, vice president safety, security and technical affairs, Airbus Americas, and a member of the Foundation’s Board of Governors.

“A major contribution to continuing flight safety is our keen focus on the human in the system. Examples include the design of the aircraft and support equipment, attention to process and procedures, work scheduling, fitness for duty, and the diligent attention to trying to do things right, all of the time. I am delighted to play a part in assuring that we maintain the important human factors focus. Thank you for this award.”

Johnson joined the FAA in 2006 and since then has guided research related to human factors challenges in aviation maintenance, identifying practical ways to ensure safe and efficient human performance in maintenance and engineering.

His research has extended into many domains, including civil aircraft, military helicopters, space vehicles, military electronics and the electric power industry. One of his best-known efforts involved developing and conducting advanced technology maintenance human factors training for Lufthansa Technik and its 10,000 employees and 30,000 external customers worldwide.

A prolific writer and public speaker, he has influenced safety programs around the world.

Johnson, who earned a bachelor’s, masters and Ph.D. in education from the University of Illinois, has more than 40 years of experience in applied research and development. He also has been a licensed pilot and a licensed airframe and powerplant mechanic for more than 50 years.

His FAA biography adds:

Dr. Bill Johnson advises on the identification of practical ways to ensure continuing effective, efficient, and safe human performance in maintenance and engineering.

Dr. Johnson has over 40 years applied research and development experience with a focus on human performance in maintenance and repair of complex systems. His research efforts concentrated on every day solutions that affect human behavior and performance. He has conducted research and development in training, job aiding, safety and additional human factors in a variety of domains including, but not limited to, Navy helicopters, civil aircraft, the NASA orbiter, Army electronics, and the electric power industry. Additionally, Dr. Johnson has managed the development of advanced technology maintenance human factors training for Lufthansa Technik, a system widely adopted throughout the world

Member, professional organizations and societies:

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
  • Royal Aeronautical Society
  • International Society of Air Safety Investigators
  • The Flight Safety Foundation

Industry and government awards:

  • 2013 Transportation Safety Award from DOT Secretary’s 46th Annual Awards
  • 2011 Sir Francis Whittle Safety Award for the International Federation of Airworthiness

Academic achievement:

  • D. and Ed.M. in Education, University of Illinois
  • BS in Industrial Education, University of Illinois.

SEATTLE — Flight Safety Foundation announced today that Dr. Hassan Shahidi, a long-time senior executive at the influential MITRE Corporation and a leader in aviation safety and air traffic management, will become its new president and CEO in January 2019. Shahidi will succeed Jon L. Beatty, who has led the Foundation for the past four years. The announcement was made during the Foundation’s 71st annual International Air Safety Summit.

Shahidi is currently director of aviation safety and new entrant integration at MITRE. He played a leading role in the development of the highly regarded Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) capability, which enables government and industry to proactively identify safety issues. He helped extend the data sharing concept to Asia Pacific, with the launch of the AP-Share initiative, a collaborative partnership with the Foundation to promote and advance safety data sharing in the fast-growing region. Shahidi, who has over 35 years of leadership in aviation, holds several advanced degrees in economics and engineering and a private pilot license.

“Dr. Shahidi brings unique and deep experience in evidence-based approaches to safety, which is critical to maintain and improve our stellar record in all aspects of aviation,” said John Hamilton, vice president of Engineering at Boeing Commercial Airplanes and chairman of the Foundation Board of Governors.

Jon L. Beatty

“We’re extremely grateful for Jon Beatty’s stewardship of the Foundation,” Hamilton added. “He set the leadership bar high and really put the Foundation on sound financial footing while improving our membership base. We’re confident Hassan will take us to the next level and help us confront the challenges of explosive growth and disruptive technology around the globe.”

Beatty, a former United Technologies and International Aero Engines executive who joined the Foundation in April 2014, will remain with the Foundation until the end of January to assist in the leadership transition.
“I’ve enjoyed my tenure at the Foundation enormously and can look back with pride on the many accomplishments we’ve achieved, working together, during one of the safest periods in aviation history,” said Beatty. “I’m confident that the Foundation will be in good hands.”

Shahidi added, “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to lead the Foundation. I’ll be building on the Foundation’s legacy of advancing aviation safety globally and working in partnership to reach new levels of safety by harnessing technology, people, and data, while embracing change.”

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Dr. Hassan Shahidi is a Portfolio Director in the MITRE Public Sector’s Center for Advanced Aviation System Development, where he leads research and engineering relating to aviation safety and drone and commercial space operational integration. He directs the Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) capability development, a government-industry safety data sharing partnership, he helped launch in 2007. He extended the concept of safety data sharing to Asia Pacific, dubbed AP-Share, in partnership with the Flight Safety Foundation. Dr. Shahidi has over 35 years of experience in applying systems engineering and data analytics to advance air traffic control in the U.S. and around the world. He led a number of air traffic modernization initiatives including performance-based navigation (PBN), airspace design analytics, traffic flow management, and terminal automation concepts. Prior to MITRE, Dr. Shahidi led a number of initiatives in the 1980s as part of the Martin Marietta air traffic modernization program. He holds a private pilot license. Dr. Shahidi is a recipient of various industry awards, including RTCA Outstanding Achievement Award. He holds a bachelor and master in international economic and studies, a master in systems engineering and operations research, and a doctorate in engineering management.

A good day FSF!!!


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