Earlier this month in Dubai, in his keynote address to the Foundation’s 69th annual International Air Safety Summit (IASS), Capt. Henry Donohoe, divisional senior vice president of flight operations at Emirates, questioned whether the modern air transport pilot ranks himself or herself as second-best in the cockpit. Is automation the real commander, he asked?
To Donohoe’s way of thinking, pilots have gotten too dependent on the highly complex, highly reliable systems that are intended to reduce pilot workload and increase safety. The resulting complacency may serve to increase risk, not mitigate it, said Donohoe, who sits on the Foundation’s Board of Governors. He called for a “back to basics” approach to training and professionalism.
That sort of honest assessment is foundational to our summits and seminars, and IASS 2016 in Dubai was no exception. To a large degree, Donohoe set the tone for the event, and just about every speaker and presenter who followed him over the three days was just as forthright and compelling. What makes the Foundation’s summits and seminars different than the other hundreds of events that fill the industry calendar every year is that our events focus exclusively on safety topics and there are no marketing pitches. IASS, our Business Aviation Safety Summit, the Singapore Aviation Safety Seminars and the annual Safety Forum at Eurocontrol feature safety experts talking to safety experts about safety.
That’s not to say we don’t have any fun. Ask anyone who attended the Emirates-sponsored Desert Safari Experience and you will be sure to hear a tale or two. But we work hard every day to advance the cause of aviation safety, and IASS is an important part of that effort.
So, thank you to everyone who made IASS 2016 such a success. We appreciate the support of all of our sponsors and exhibitors, and we are humbled that so many aviation safety professionals — the vast majority of whom are Foundation members — chose to spend the three days in Dubai with us. We particularly want to thank host airline Emirates for its support, and I want to say a special thank you to Henry Donohoe, Capt. Mark Burtonwood and Tanya Eddowes for going above and beyond to help make IASS 2016 one of the best ever.
As we announced in Dubai, the 70th annual IASS has been scheduled for Oct. 23–25 in Dublin, Ireland, with Aer Lingus serving as the host airline. Mark your calendars now, and we look forward to seeing you there. Please watch our website for the Call for Papers.