Hobnobbing with aviation legends at the Flight Safety Foundation

The Hawaiian Islands might be very beautiful, but this offshore US state’s biggest city – Honolulu –  is the kind of tacky joint they’d choose to make an Austin Powers movie in. It was still just about cool when Elvis first sang Rock-a-Hula Baby, but not for long after that.

But it was worth being there for the 2008 Flight Safety Foundation International Aviation Safety Seminar (IASS). The IASS never fails to provide the latest thinking on how operators of all kinds can manage risk better.

Anyway I digress. One of the incidental delights of being at the IASS, which is held jointly with IATA and the International Federation of Airworthiness, is that you meet a lot of quality aviation people. I know name-droppers are ghastly, but I’ve got photographic proof of the quality of some of the people who will actually talk to me, and just wanted to show off a bit.



Don, David and Joe.JPG

Aviation legends don’t come any bigger than Don Bateman (left) and Joe Sutter (right).

Yes, that’s me in the middle, and I don’t make any claims except to have been around aviation for a long enough time to get to enjoy the company of people like this.

Joe, for those who are unforgiveably ignorant enough not to know, was the chief engineer on Boeing’s 747 programme and is usually referred to as “the father of the 747″.

Don is Honeywell International’s chief engineer, and was the inventor, when at Sundstrand, of the ground proximity warning system, followed by that massive leap in aviation safety technology, the Honeywell enhanced GPWS, generically known as a terrain awareness warning system (TAWS).

Either of those achievements is enough for one lifetime, but both of them keep on improving their inventions to this day.

If I look as happy as a pig in sh*t, it’s because I was.