On Jan. 1, I assumed the helm of the Flight Safety Foundation, the most respected independent and impartial international aviation safety organization in the world. Following in the sizeable footsteps of our founder, the late Jerry Lederer, and the Foundation’s most recent president and CEO, Bill Voss, will not be an easy task, but it is a challenge that I sought and about which I am very excited.
Bill’s background as a pilot and air traffic controller gave him a well-rounded perspective of the basics of aviation safety. His many years at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the International Civil Aviation Organization gave him an appreciation for what can be achieved when regulators and industry partners work together to improve aviation safety. When he joined the Foundation in November 2006, Bill immediately began visiting state regulators, aviation organizations and industry groups, resulting in dozens of trips annually, hundreds of speeches and presentations, and even more meetings, conferences and one-on-one sessions — all in quest of advancing aviation safety.
His appearances were not limited to the developed world. Bill traveled to areas where help was needed most, where regulators, operators and industry needed to become better informed on safety issues. Sudan and the Middle East were among the places where Bill made a significant difference in how aviation operations and safety are handled.
Traveling on behalf of the Foundation took countless hours away from the office and, most importantly, away from his family. Without his wife, Carol’s, support and understanding, that would have not been possible. For that, I would like to recognize and thank her on behalf of the Foundation.
Throughout Bill’s tenure at the Foundation, he was known for his insight into individual safety issues. He has a gift for shaping an issue so it can be understood by everyone, inside and outside of the aviation community. For that, we will be forever indebted.
This spring, Bill plans to write one more column for AeroSafety World, and to provide us with his unique perspective on global aviation safety and on his tenure at the Foundation. I look forward to reading that piece and seeing and consulting with Bill as he embarks on a new flight path here in Washington.
As the new president and CEO, I am excited to share my thoughts with you each month in this column as I, along with the Foundation Board of Governors and a very dedicated and talented staff, move the Foundation into a new generation!