Capt. Moak Opens ASF by Challenging Attendees to Act in the Spirit of the Giants

August 6, 2014 - ALPA president Capt. Lee Moak formally opened the 60th Air Safety Forum on Wednesday morning with a rousing celebration of safety, security, and pilot assistance advancements obtained through the hard work of ALPA pilot representatives and staff.

The highlight of the packed meeting was the recitation of outstanding achievements from the past, focusing on ALPA’s giants in whose footsteps current representatives now walk. Capt. Moak recalled several pilots who ALPA honored with the safety, security, or pilot assistance awards over the years. (View a special video celebrating past award winners.) And he challenged the pilots present to ask themselves—in the spirit of these giants—how they can contribute and what they can do.

ALPA’s Air Safety Organization (ASO), the largest nongovernmental aviation safety organization in the world, will remain the leaders in advancing the piloting profession, he said. Capt. Moak emphatically stated that ALPA will continue to focus on the three main pillars of the ASO and celebrated ALPA’s strong partnerships with industry and government, welcoming the invited guests from those arenas. Those partnerships, he confirmed, are what allows ALPA to be the strongest voice for airline pilots and, with the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations, the conscience of the global industry.

Capt. Moak emphasized three upcoming issues that ALPA will exercise its collective voice on: carriage of lithium batteries, closing and restricting airspace, and denying Norwegian Air International its application to operate in the United States. While the International Civil Aviation Organization has improved the safety standards for transport of lithium batteries as cargo—and the U.S. government recently harmonized with those standards—the transport restrictions on cargo airliners do not go far enough and ALPA will continue to advocate for additional improvements. ALPA also expects to share the pilot viewpoint in upcoming FAA summits on the political balancing acts involved with closing airspace. And finally, Capt. Moak spoke at length about the “Deny NAI” campaign and the security concerns involved, such as the question of oversight.

After his rousing opening, Capt. Moak introduced Ed Bolton, the FAA’s assistant administrator for NextGen, to speak to the crowd about the forthcoming modernization efforts. Bolton shared that the FAA is looking at NextGen in three basic phases: now, the midterm (2018–2020), and the distant future (2020–2025). He announced to attendees that the FAA would publish a road map by October 18 that lays out the milestones, timelines, metrics, and cost of the first set of priorities over the next one to three years.

In explaining the importance of NextGen, Bolton drew a comparison to the U.S. space industry. Previously number one in the world, Bolton said the United States’ ranking has slipped. NextGen, he concluded, is the way to make sure the United States remains number one in the global aviation industry.

Keep an eye on for continuing coverage of the events at the 60th Air Safety Forum, and join the conversation on Twitter @WeAreALPA and #ASF60. And watch the webcast to “attend” the event from wherever you are.