To the casual observer, aviation is a bright shiny airplane, the inspiring arc of a take-off or the thrill of travel which this technology brings. For those of us who work in cockpits, who crawl inside of the fuselage or even those who occupy offices, the essence of airlines is not metal but is flesh and bones. Planes are not safe, do not fly, are not maintained—without committed women and men who are the dedicated, focused professionals of our business.
The below two stories exemplify the human aspect of the GA and commercial aspects of this craft.
Tom Hendricks announced that after four years as NATA’s president and CEO, he will be leaving in August, 2016. His leaving creates a gap in aviation safety that will be hard to replace.
He, like many involved in the civil side, started out as a Navy pilot. He moved into a seat in the front of American Airlines’ fleet, where he flew B767-300ER, DC-9, B727, L-1011 Tri Star and MD-88 aircraft A4A then hired him to manage its technical and operational efforts. During that time Tom co-chaired both the ADS-B In Aviation Rulemaking Committee and the Working Subcommittee of the NextGen Advisory Committee. Additionally, Hendricks served on the Commercial Aviation Safety Team Executive Committee and the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing System Executive Board. Through those positions, Tom helped advance safety in commercial aviation.
As NBAA noted, Mr. Hendricks turned his attention to GA at NATA. There he refocused the association’s efforts by bringing additional, talented technical staff on board. He also accomplished what the goal of trade associations—defining and creating services which meet the members’ needs. His Chairman Charlie Priester summed up the Hendricks’ administration:
“Under Tom’s steady hand the association moved forward on a number of fronts particularly enhancing its reputation with policymakers and expanding benefits for NATA’s membership.”
His counterpart at NBAA, Ed Bolen, added his observations:
“Tom has been a tireless champion for general aviation, with an unyielding commitment to protecting and promoting the industry while at NATA. He brought a sterling reputation and strong leadership skills to NATA, and over his four-year tenure the association has made a number of strategic decisions that today position NATA on solid ground as it moves into its eighth decade. Tom has been a good friend to NBAA and the entire general aviation community. We wish him the best as he begins this next chapter in his life.”
Clearly this human added to the strength of the spars which support the safety of GA.
The second example involves Sal Manganaro who was awarded the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, which honors pilots with at least 50 years of SAFE flying. Mr. Manganaro earned his license 60 years ago and since then he has flown for US Navy (F8 Crusader), Capitol Airlines (DC8), Dassault Falcon Jet, and now his own company Salem Enterprises International.
He holds a PPL, ATP, single and multi-engine, and instrument rating, with seven endorsement-type ratings in high performance multiengine jet aircraft, airplanes single and multiengine land. His FAA flight instructor license is current today and Sal thinks that he learns a lot from his teaching. He presently holds a first class medical at age 78 and his pilot log includes 24,600 hours of flying.
As measured by the hours logged, the longevity of his career and the long list of students trained as well as pilots requalified, it is absolutely clear that Mr. Manganaro has added a lot of well-trained humans to the profession and shown all how planes should be flown.
These are two exemplary aviators who showed that the people of aviation are critical to our industry’s safe future.