Flight Attendants/Flight Technicians Conference

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Flight Attendants 'Soar to Excellence' at 16th Annual Conference

July 3, 2011

Themed "Soaring to Excellence: Promoting Safety, Service and Professionalism," NBAA's 16th Annual Flight Attendants/Flight Technicians Conference offered a full slate of education sessions designed to help business aviation flight attendants, flight technicians and in-flight service managers provide excellent cabin safety, security and service. A total of 189 professionals registered for this event, held June 17 and 18 in San Diego, CA, with several pre-conference events held on June 16.

Day One Highlights

Following a welcome by NBAA Flight Attendants Committee Chair Scott Arnold, AirCare Solutions Group, the conference got off to a strong start with remarks by NBAA's Senior Vice President of Operations & Administration Steve Brown and the featured keynote speaker Pat Johns, author of Footprints in the Shadow of Giants.

A photojournalist and adventurist, Johns reflected on the triumphs and tribulations of participating in four 100-mile Himalayan marathons, and he pointed out the value in using the "buddy system" when trying to reach certain goals in life. He shared his core values needed to attain excellence and perform effectively in daily life.

The four first-day education sessions were:

  • Flight Attendant Drug & Alcohol Program (FADAP) – FADAP's Deborah McCormick and Heather Healey discussed how alcohol and drug addiction affects flight attendants and flightcrews, and how FADAP has been designed and implemented to assist those in need of treatment and recovery through a confidential process tailored to one's individual needs. (Learn more at www.fadap.org.)
  • Technology Impact: Flying With a Connected Cabin – Dan Prosser, Aircell Technologies, and Kevin Volland, Satcom Direct, reviewed the technology currently being used onboard business aircraft, how it has progressed over recent years and where the technology is headed.
  • Educating the Client Enhances Cabin Safety – Presented by Amy Nelson, ConocoPhillips Alaska lead flight attendant, this presentation covered the importance of educating clients on all aspects of cabin safety early on in the process. She reviewed many common cabin safety errors and provided suggestions on how to manage cabin safety.
  • Captains Roundtable – Captains Jennifer Bartram of Home Depot, David Hinckley of FlexJet and Robert Connioto of MGM Resorts Aviation all spoke on the value of having a third crew member onboard the business aircraft relating specifically to safety matters. They identified both what a corporate flight attendant brings to the team and the leadership responsibilities of this role. Two tips offered by the panel were to learn your standard operating procedures and always maintain situational awareness.

Day Two Highlights

The second day of the conference opened with the presentation of the 2011 NBAA Flight Attendants/Flight Technicians Scholarship awards, which are annually administered by the Association's Flight Attendants Committee. A total of 39 people received monetary and training awards worth more than $55,000 and generously donated by sponsors, which they will use to further their professional development and advance their careers in business aviation.

The four second-day sessions were:

  • Minute Clinics – Attendees enjoyed rotating through these four short clinics on popular topics like professional table settings; ethnic cuisines for the most popular international destinations; food safety in the galley; and the latest flight attendant software programs and mobile apps.
  • Dry Ice – Presented by U.S. Air Force representatives, this session answered questions about the use of dry ice onboard business aircraft and the correct safety procedures for using it.
  • Safety Management Systems – Thomas Anthony, director of USG Aviation Safety & Security, explained the role of a safety management system (SMS) and how it relates to a flight department and all crew members involved. He detailed the procedures that need to be in place in order to identify hazards and how to mitigate them before they result in an incident or accident.
  • Reality Bites: True Stories From Contract Flight Attendants – Paul Aston and Kendylle Wessell both told personal anecdotes about cabin emergency events that solidified in their minds the value of proper crew emergency training and the profound importance of having a flight attendant onboard the aircraft in the event of a cabin emergency. Will Macca shared his personal journey of recovery from suspected food sabotage, emphasizing the importance of situational awareness, trusting your instincts and letting your training kick in when confronted with suspicious activities.

Other Highlights

Other conference highlights included:

  • Pre-Conference Roundtable – By invitation only, the annual Lead/Manager Flight Attendant/Flight Technician Roundtable drew 37 participants who discussed issues ranging from staffing, salaries and duty time, to job responsibilities, training standards, and recognition and incentive programs.
  • Pre-Conference Workshop – Susan Friedenberg and Pattie Adams hosted a workshop for newcomers titled "How to Break Into Corporate Aviation Effectively and Produce Results."
  • Networking Events – Opportunities to meet and connect with peers included the Welcome Reception and "San Diego Sunset Cruise."
  • Giveaways – Conference giveaways generously donated by sponsors were worth a total of $10,000 and given away by random drawing.

At the close of the conference, Scott Arnold passed the Flight Attendants Committee chairmanship to Mary Ann Fash of The Boeing Company, and Dodie Thomas of Altria Client Services was named the new committee vice chair.

For more information about this conference or to get involved in the planning of the 17th Annual Flight Attendants/Flight Technicians Conference to be held in June 2012, contact NBAA Flight Attendants Committee Liaison Jay Evans at jevans@nbaa.org.

NBAA thanks the following 2011 Flight Attendants/Flight Technicians Conference sponsors and supporters:

Conference Sponsors

Friday Night Event Sponsors (Catering Working Group)

Conference Supporters

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