In The News
The aviation community still debates what the term means — and how to achieve it.
BY HEATHER BALDWIN
For the past several years, professionalism has been one of the most widely used words and fervently discussed topics in aviation. Pilot and air traffic controller professionalism made the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB’s) Top 10 “Most Wanted” list in 2011. It was the focus of a 2010 NTSB forum and a 2009 Air Line Pilots Association, International white paper.
Technical ProficiencyAmong people who work in aviation, casual definitions of professionalism typically touch on two components: technical proficiency and emotional/relational proficiency. Guenther Matschnigg, a former senior vice president of safety and flight operations at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), says professionalism means “adherence to procedures and regulations; knowledge, experience and the willingness to do a job with the best information. It’s also a value,” he adds. “Don’t violate anything. Stick to the rules and don’t deviate.”
Relational ProficiencyTechnical competence is unarguably a foundational element of professionalism, but Sumwalt’s list of traits that make an aviation professional includes one additional line: “The ability and willingness to say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I am wrong.’” That is where the discussion begins to cross over into the softer, but equally important, side of professionalism — the ability to effectively manage relationships and interactions with others. This aspect tends to be not only harder to measure, but for pilots and mechanics, who tend to be highly precise, analytical, data-driven and individualistic people, it is also very challenging.
Giving BackAs with every generation before them, millennials in general need coaching and development in order to be and to grow into employees recognized for professionalism. A willingness to mentor and bring along the next generation of workers must be included in any definition of the word professional in aviation, says Dale Forton, president of the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA). “The mark of a professional today is someone who learns, earns and returns to their industry,” he says.
Barden-McKinnon Honored for Corporate, Private Aviation Contributions
St. Helena’s Janice Barden-McKinnon with National Aeronautic Association chairman Walter Boyne, left, and fellow NAA award recipients Bruce Whitman and Hugh Risseeuw at the Nov. 12 NAA fall awards dinner in Arlington, Va. Not shown are awardees Ralph Crosby and Matt Zuccaro.
- Savannah Bonty is a sophomore studying air traffic control management and aviation business at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He has spent time working with People to People in Costa Rica as an ambassador, as well as a representative in the Global Youth Program. In his post-graduate career, Bonty hopes to help manage airports more efficiently.
- Calvin Hendrickson (pictured), a junior at Western Michigan University, is studying aviation maintenance technology and works at the university’s airport. He also is a member of Alpha Eta Rho and the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association. Hendrickson hopes to pursue a career in aviation maintenance after graduating in December.
- Tyler Hutchinson is a sophomore at the University of Dubuque studying business aviation and operations, and he worked at Dubuque Regional Airport. Following graduation, Hutchinson looks forward to gaining a variety of aviation experiences.
- Ashley Thorsen is a sophomore at Hampton University pursuing a degree in aviation management, air traffic control specialist. After deciding to get her pilot’s license and taking weather classes at a community college, Thorsen realized her interest in air traffic control, and she now interns at the terminal facility at Raleigh-Durham TRACON.
- Jannesar Vahid is a junior at Kent State University pursuing a degree in aeronautics, flight technology. He has wanted to be a pilot since the age of 10, and upon arriving in Ohio as an Iranian refugee in 2009, he was thrilled for the opportunity to enroll in Kent State's flight program.API's President and CEO Sheryl Barden was at the press conference to congratulate Calvin Hendrickson after he was presented with his scholarship in person.Apply for the 2014 scholarship A completed application package, which includes application form, one essay, one transcript, one resume and one letter of recommendation, must be received by NBAA no later than Nov. 1, 2013, to be considered for the scholarship. See application for full details.For more information on the Janice K. Barden scholarship, click here.
Panel of Business Aviation Experts to Discuss Talent Development, Internships, Training and RecruitmentSan Francisco – October 18, 2013 – For the second consecutive year, Sheryl Barden, President and CEO of Aviation Personnel International and NBAA Associate Member Advisory Council member, will moderate a panel of industry experts to address new developments regarding the declining aviation talent pool. The 90-minute session is Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 10:30 a.m. during the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada. “Last year at NBAA, in front of a packed room, a panel of industry leaders postulated their theories for why the business aviation industry is currently facing ‘the perfect storm,’ and why flight departments are being forced to recruit aggressively to increase the pool of talented people,” said Sheryl Barden, President and CEO of Aviation Personnel International. “As we face a shortage of qualified aviation candidates entering the corporate aviation industry, I’m proud to be asked once again to moderate a panel of experts to help our industry’s leaders navigate the storm.” During the Career and Leadership Development panel entitled: “The Perfect Storm:” Continuing to Address the Declining Aviation Talent Pool,” hear from Barden and five industry leaders as they reveal startling statistics and discuss ways flight departments can plan to be at-the-ready, and attract and retain talented employees, especially during a shortage of trained aviation professionals. The panel will explore, and even challenge, current approaches to recruitment, talent development, internships, training, as well as ways to develop passion and commitment for aviation careers in the next generation. The five panelists include: Lee Brewster, President and Executive Director, National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies, will highlight how aviation maintenance roles are evolving. She will explore the skills gap between newly licensed A&P mechanics and the basic needs of business aviation flight departments. Capt. Carlton "Carl" Davis, Chief Pilot - Pilot Services for Boeing Flight Services, will share relevant data from Boeing’s Pilot & Technician Outlook workforce statistics as well as thoughts on how business aviation will be affected by changes in the airline industry. Kevin L. Hiatt, President and CEO of Flight Safety Foundation, will discuss the challenges put upon a safety organization due to a lack of trained aviation personnel and a tight labor pool. Charles “Chuck” Reagan, Ph.d., NBAA Board Member, is a Professor of Aviation and Philosophy at Kansas State University, and serves as an advisor to the University President. Dr. Reagan will share how the development path for students has been affected by the FAA’s 1500 hour/ATP rule for commercial pilots and how this may impact the influx of new students. Richard Walsh, NBAA Board Member-Elect and vice-president of a Fortune 20 flight department, will share his company’s approach to developing entry-level college graduates into fully functioning members of a Business Aviation flight department within a 3-year time frame. Attendees will take away a greater understanding of the talent shortage and learn how to address these six questions:
- WHO in my organization needs to know about this?
- WHAT do they need to know?
- WHERE do I find internal and external partners to help me tackle this for my organization?
- HOW do I craft solutions so my department and my organization can stay ahead of this issue?
- TODAY, how and where do I find talent and what impact do internships play?
- TOMORROW, how do I vigilantly retain talent?