As a newcomer to Flight Safety Foundation in July, I would like to introduce myself. Known in the industry as Rudy, I’ve joined the Foundation after 31 years in the airline industry. In my role as deputy director of technical programs, I will be working with Jim Burin, the director, to further develop FSF capabilities and provide more value to our members while, most importantly, enhancing safety.
After I earned my Federal Aviation Administration aircraft mechanic certificate with airframe and powerplant ratings, I began my aviation career as an aircraft maintenance technician with Eastern Airlines in 1980, working at the Miami maintenance base. In those days, most airlines had seasoned veterans who mentored new technicians. I credit all of the aviation veterans at Eastern for guiding me in those early years, a process that I believe is crucial for the proper development of expertise and professionalism.
After nine years at Eastern, I moved to US Airways — known as USAir in those days — working for the next 16 years as a line maintenance technician at the airline’s stations in Newark and La Guardia airports. At US Airways, I first began working in safety positions as part of my involvement with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers’ Flight Safety Committee. I acted as liaison, representing technicians on safety, quality and regulatory compliance issues. I also worked with the US Airways quality assurance team and the National Transportation Safety Board in the investigation of incidents and accidents.
This exposure to aircraft accidents developed my passion for enhancing air safety. I was then afforded an opportunity to work in JetBlue’s safety department. In this capacity, I was responsible for system safety evaluations and analyses of the carrier’s operational programs.
From JetBlue, I moved to North American Airlines as director of safety. North American provided me with an opportunity to leverage my experience to enhance operational safety programs and to develop the carrier’s safety management system. In addition to my airline experience, I have utilized my fluent Spanish skills in Latin American aviation safety work.
I believe my background will enhance the Foundation’s ability to serve the needs of our members, especially in Latin America. In addition, I will be part of the Foundation’s increased focus on maintenance and engineering issues, and the interfaces between the pilot and the “system outside the flight deck.” One area where I hope to add a fresh perspective is the recent focus on professionalism, specifically the effects of ground-based workers’ professionalism on safety of flight.
Throughout my career, I’ve been familiar with some of the Foundation’s technical projects and always found them to be top-notch. I’m pleased to have the chance to work on safety issues that benefit the industry as a whole as part of the Foundation team. I am looking forward to serving you.