On June 19th, the WAA hosted the Second Annual Safety Standdown for business and general aviation professionals. This year's theme was "The Future of Aviation Safety" and nationally renowned speakers addressed over 225 attendees at the Doral Arrowwood. A corporate operator focused day session garnered employees from various companies throughout the Northeast region who were able to interact with real time survey questions throughout the presentations utilizing the program Poll Everywhere. All attendees also qualified for one NBAA Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) credit for attending.
Morning speakers included NTSB Board member John Beatty, CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation; John Goglia, former NTSB board member; and Aaron Greenwald and Josh Olds, Unmanned Safety Institute. Also, two panel discussions took place focusing on the future of aviation safety training and fatigue. Panelists included Dann Runik, Flight Safety Intl; Eli Cotti, NBAA; and Sheryl Barden, Aviation Personnel Intl. Furthermore, employees of WAA member companies also participated: Kelly Barfield, Tom Stewart, & Chris Duffek of JP Morgan Chase; Chris Keaney of IBM; Matt Mason of American Express, and Jim Wolley of PMI.
Along with networking opportunities between various disciplines in an aviation department, attendees also joined in breakout sessions throughout the afternoon specifically tailored to their specialty. Sal Lagonia, WAA board member and owner of Lagonia Law, instructed pilots on how to navigate any situation when the FAA is calling. Food expert, John Detloff trained flight attendants on global food safety. Constant Aviation’s Kent Stauffer delivered a thought provoking discussion on human factors playing into the maintenance role. Finally, Dean Snell and John Kosak of NBAA addressed dispatchers and schedulers on working with the NY ATC and presented helpful weather resources.
Furthermore, the evening session focused on the general aviation constituency of KHPN. With 60 attendees, members of the Westchester Flying Club, Civil Air Patrol, and other groups listened to the aforementioned Greenwald, Olds, and Kosak. Additionally joining in the presentations was WAA board member, Scott Dyer; Mike Wold, HPN Tower Chief; and Vladimir Vallejo, Front Line Manager of the HPN Tower. As one of the top GA events the WAA has hosted, WINGS - Pilot Proficiency credit was offered for all attendees. On hand was Ben Struck of the FAA, to further explain that the objective of the WINGS Program is to address the primary accident causal factors that continue to plague the general aviation community and delivered a short presentation on the “Human Startle Response and Managing Unexpected Events.”
WAA Chairman Milt Hobbs commented, "We are proud to continue to bring this type of event to our membership and see it grow so much in just one year. I think it displays our unwavering support and commitment to aviation safety at Westchester County airport and our NE region. We hope all who attended were able to walk away learning something new, networking with a neighbor, and thinking differently about what safety means currently in their world and in the future."
Additional information, pictures, and attendee comments will be posted shortly on the WAA website and social media outlets. The WAA would like to thank all of our volunteers and attendees who made this year's event so successful.