HOLIDAY GIFTS for Aviation!!!

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2020 was a tough year for AVIATION–Need GOOD PRESENTS

AAR creates a Board Safety Committee with Relevant Experts


AOPA leads to way to HIMS for alcohol and substance abusing P91 pilots

The Holiday Season (Chanukah. Christmas and Kwanza), particularly at end of a horrific 2020 ( the pandemic and aviation safety crises), our industry is due some great gifts. Here from the news are three stories that celebrate the good things we do:

AAR names an Aviation Safety and Training Committee comprised of individuals with OUTSTANDING credentials for challenging all levels of the corporation with substantive, insightful questions. This SMS participation should serve as an example for all safety organizations!!!

NATA took an impressive step in involving its members in Blue Lightning  (DOT, FAA, DHS, DOJ) campaign of awareness and interdiction of HUMAN Trafficking!!!

AOPA defines a path for Part 91 pilots with alcohol and substance abuse recovery through Human Intervention Motivation Study!!!

None of these actions were required by any FAR or other governmental dictate. Such voluntary actions are truly GIFTS to the aviation safety community!!!

AAR forms aviation safety and training oversight committee

AAR logo

Wood Dale — AAR, a leading provider of aviation services to commercial and government operators, MROs and OEMs is pleased to announce that it has formed an Aviation Safety and Training Committee (the “ASTC”) at the board of directors (“Board”) level.

The ASTC will be comprised of three independent directors, with retired United States Air Force General Duncan J. McNabb, who last served as the ninth Commander, United States Transportation Command, serving as Chair, and Robert F. Leduc [1] and Jennifer L. Vogel [2]joining him as committee members. The ASTC will assist the Board in the oversight of aviation safety matters relating to AAR’s operations, including training employees, promoting a robust safety culture and helping ensure the delivery of services and products with safety as the highest priority.


“Forming the ASTC at the Board level is the strategic evolution of AAR’s commitment to aviation safety, which is of the utmost importance because of the number of aircraft we touch every day and AAR’s importance to the overall aviation chain of safety,” said David P. Storch, AAR’s Chairman of the Board. “We have proactively established the ASTC to help the Board in continuing to fulfill its fiduciary duties overseeing aviation safety matters and ensuring that AAR continues to have a best in class safety program.”

“The ASTC is comprised of seasoned aviation professionals who will provide valuable oversight and guidance regarding aviation safety matters,” said John M. Holmes, AAR’s Chief Executive Officer. “As a Company, we’re proud and honored that our customers trust us to perform maintenance on their planes and the ASTC will help us deliver safety programs that are on the cutting edge of industry practice.”

“I am delighted to chair the newly formed ASTC at AAR as the Company continues its journey to be best in class in delivering aviation safety,” said Duncan J. McNabb. “The ASTC will provide oversight regarding AAR’s training programs and safety culture, and I look forward to working with AAR leadership, the committee members, and the Board on this important initiative.”


NATA Expands Reach of Human Trafficking Awareness

by Kerry Lynch

– October 12, 2020, 8:29 PM


A little more than a year after the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) began to highlight the issues surrounding human trafficking and associated regulatory requirements for the aviation industry, the organization has teamed up with the U.S. government on its Blue Lightning air carrier awareness and training initiative and has now trained several thousand pilots and hundreds of air carriers on preventative measures.

Blue Lightning

While encouraged with the response to the training, NATA president and CEO Tim Obitts said more needs to be done to reach all carriers and to widen the scope of training to FBOs.

Tim Obitts

To help raise awareness among its membership during its Aviation Leadership Conference last year, NATA brought in Philip Langford, the North America president for the International Justice Mission (IJM), an organization engaged in a global battle against trafficking. Langford stressed the brutality of human trafficking “is real. It is more vast, more brutal than at any time in history.” Some 40 million men, women, and children are trapped in slavery, whether through forced labor or prostitution, in what amounts to a $150 billion business, he told conference attendees.

IJM logo

Such activity thrives where police and government intervention is minimal, Langford said, but added it is a global problem. However, he also maintained that such activity is more stoppable than ever before through government and public scrutiny and vigilance.

Obitts called the practice “one of the great scourges of society” and noted that most people are surprised at how widespread it is. This makes it critical that the aviation industry not only be aware of trafficking itself but of the requirements and obligations of the industry to be on the alert for it, he said.

To combat the use of commercial air transportation as a means to facilitate human trafficking, the U.S. Congress included a measure in the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 for flight attendants to be trained to recognize and respond to potential human trafficking. That requirement was expanded under the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 to include “ticket counter agents, gate agents, and other air carrier workers whose jobs require regular interaction with passengers on recognizing and responding to potential human trafficking victims.”

….But the congressional training requirements encompass Part 135 regulations in addition to Part 121. And while they don’t explicitly apply to the fixed-base operator, Obitts said FBOs can serve as a gateway to such activity and should be on the alert as well.

“NATA wanted to make sure that we did our part to educate Part 135 operations, as well as FBOs, on identifying the potential for human trafficking and ensure there’s an awareness,” he said. “So that’s what we have done.”

NATA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in June with the Departments of Homeland Security and Transportation to help extend the DOJ’s Blue Lightning Initiative to general aviation. Under the partnership, NATA’s Compliance Services (NATACS) agreed to educate the general aviation community on the pervasiveness of trafficking, detection, and mitigation.


While the majority of trafficking occurs through the airlines, the role of business aviation can play in the activity made for prominent headlines from convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s use of his business jet fleet in and out of Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.

Stop Trafficking Poster


HIMS logo

November 1, 2020 By Dr. Brent Blue

Human Intervention Motivation Study, or HIMS, is a program developed by the FAA to get primarily commercial pilots back into the cockpit after identification of alcohol or drug addiction and recovery from treatment. The program was developed in the early 1970s as a joint venture by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the largest airline pilot union, and the FAA, and funded by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Although the “study” is over, the HIMS term has persisted as the name of the ongoing certification procedure.

GA pilot drink

HIMS is classified as a safety program with a goal of continual monitoring and support of the pilot patient, and is considered a team effort between the pilot, the treatment program, support groups or individuals, and specially designated AMEs called HIMS AMEs. A HIMS AME has completed a weeklong initial training program with refresher updates every three years.

aopa logo

About 20 years ago, the program was opened up to noncommercial pilots seeking third-class medical certification for private flying. This was a difficult change for the FAA because noncommercial pilots do not have Chief Pilots and other integral monitoring and support systems that airlines and other commercial operators generally have, and this continues to be a challenge for private pilots today.

Special Issuance

Moreover, the initial process of a pilot getting a Special Issuance (SI) after a determination of an alcohol or drug problem is onerous. Inpatient treatment is usually required for a minimum of 28 days followed by a regular aftercare program which includes AA/NA or equivalent programs acceptable to the FAA. Random alcohol and/or drug tests are required, as are annual psychological and psychiatric evaluations from specifically approved psychologists and psychiatrists. As you can imagine, this is time consuming and expensive.

In 2010, the FAA adopted a policy for special issuance consideration with use of one of four specific SSRI medications, a reasonable change considering that so many alcohol and drug disorders are associated with co-occurring mental health disorders. Although the policy was well received at the time, the 2015 crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 unfortunately created a setback. The National Transportation Safety Board, in a recommendation to the FAA from many years ago, considers substance dependence (including alcohol) a “lifelong disorder,” and that airmen should be continuously re-evaluated to ensure their flying is safe. After more than 10 years since the recommendation came out, the FAA recently adopted the recommendation, and that leads to years of monitoring and for some pilots, lifelong monitoring under a HIMS special issuance authorization…

More frustrating for pilots and HIMS AMEs alike is the length of time required for initial SI certification and recertification. Most of the process is on paper and not transmitted electronically. Much of the delay is related to physical files being transmitted by mail from OKC to Washington, DC, and back. The process relates to how the paperwork is examined…

[1] Retired President at Pratt & Whitney Company, Retired President of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation President of Boeing Programs & Space, Power, Controls & Sensing Systems – UTC Aerospace Systems for United Technologies Corp. the President of UTC Aerospace Systems formerly Hamilton Sundstrand

[2] Impressive credentials at Continental Airlines for aviation safety oversight.

Flying Christmas Rudolph

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