Pilot Assistance Forum Concludes in Herndon

ALPA ended its 2013 Pilot Assistance Forum today after three days of in-depth discussions on issues ranging from sleep apnea to helping pilots make a smooth transition after an airline merger. The PA Forum gathers volunteers from five ALPA disciplines: Aeromedical, Critical Incident Response, HIMS, Professional Standards and Canadian Pilot Assistance. Formerly included inthe Association’s annual Air Safety Forum, this was the first time in several years that PA held its own, stand-alone conference. Thanks in part to the change, attendance at this year’s forum was more than twice as large as past meetings, with almost 200 attendees representing ALPA pilot groups, government, airline management, aerospace medicine, and non-ALPA airlines from the US and around the world.

At a banquet held Wednesday night at the Smithsonian Institution’s Udvar-Hazy Center, ALPA President Capt. Lee Moak presented the Association’s highest honor for PA work, the Pilot Assistance Award, to FedEx Express Capt. John Kohne. Kohne, who has worked on FDX PA programs for more than 17 years, was recognized for building bridges between his pilot group and FedEx management and raising awareness of PA programs among his peers. See photos from the banquet here.

“Pilot Assistance volunteers have passion for others, and that passion brings out your compassion,” Kohne said. “Finding the right help for a pilot who needs it is the important thing, and we are the guides.”

Capt. Moak also presented a Presidential Citation to Jazz Air Capt. Murray Munro for more than two decades of serving Canadian pilots. As Chair of ALPA’s Canadian Pilot Assistance program, Munro has personally counseled pilots and families after such crises as 2009’s CanJet Flight 918 hijacking and the crash of First Air Flight 6560 in 2011.