NBAA 14th Annual Flight Attendants Conference

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NBAA 14th Annual Flight Attendants Conference Highlights

The NBAA 14th Annual Flight Attendants Conference (FAC), held June 25 to 27, 2009, in New Orleans, LA, was deemed a great success despite the challenging economic environment, with approximately 115 people in attendance. The FAC focused on the theme of "Continuous Improvement of Business Aviation Safety" by addressing aviation and worldwide scenarios from the past and educating on how safety may be improved in the future. The event addressed the concepts of safety management systems (SMS) and risk management for both flight attendants and others within a flight department, and it also encouraged lively discussion about best practices.

New this year was the first-ever Manager/Lead Flight Attendant Roundtable on June 25, which was hosted by the NBAA Flight Attendants Committee and featured 22 Attendees representing Part 91, 91K, 125 and 135 operations. The group discussed the best practices of flight departments in the areas of cost savings, management perspectives, training, consistency of services and methods of communication.

On June 26, the Conference was officially opened by Committee Chair Judy Reif, JR Flight Services, Inc., followed by an address by NBAA Senior Vice President, Operations & Administration Steve Brown, who highlighted the Association's efforts with regard to the most recent issues facing business aviation, from the TSA's proposed Large Aircraft Security Program to the current economic downturn, and what is being done at the local and national levels to promote the industry.

Keynote speaker Fred Reid, president of Flexjet and founding CEO of Virgin America, provided hope for NBAA Members in his discussion of the current public relations challenges they are facing. "No matter what challenges, it [business aviation] will survive. There is no alternative; it's indispensible." Reid also asserted that "even Virgin America, as great as it is, still doesn't measure up to business aviation."

Additional highlights of the 2009 FAC included the following sessions:

  • "Anatomy of an Accident," presented by Jeff. Hare of J. Hare Safety & Survival Systems Training, Lauren Jarmoszko of FACTS Training International and Marianne Pruner of FlightSafety International, provided the learning points and survival tips for four separate accidents.
  • Rogers V. Shaw of the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute presented "Altitude Physiology," which included a discussion of the causes of hypoxia. At a separate session titled "Hypoxia Awareness Training," conducted by Dale McBurney of FACTS Training International, Attendees observed a volunteer going through the stages of hypoxia by using the FACTS Hypoxia Awareness Trainer device.
  • "Emergency Response Planning" (ERP), presented by Pete Agur of The VanAllen Group, discussed the tools and training necessary for a flight department to be prepared for any type of emergency. Agur stated, "Though you have ERP, unless it is practiced and rehearsed, it will not do you any good in the event of a true emergency. Everyone in the organization should be readily prepared at all times for an emergency."
  • "Personal Security for the Global Traveler," presented by Joe Hemmer of Aviation Facilities Security Group, focused on the "You're On Your Own" (YOYO) concept when it comes to personal security both at home and abroad. Hemmer provided key lessons learned from the Mumbai, India terrorist attacks of 2008.
  • In a session titled "What You Don't Know Could Hurt!" Dr. Paulo Alves of MedAire stressed the need for flight attendants to always be prepared for a medical issue and/or emergency. He noted that the transmission of diseases can occur at one of three points – at home, in the air or at a hotel – and the symptoms may not show up for a period of time based on the incubation period. Flight attendants should not assume that they picked up a virus or disease on their most recent trip; it could have been weeks ago. Being prepared at all times will reduce one's chances of becoming ill.
  • "Security and Regulatory Updates" was presented by NBAA's Steven Brown, who provided insight on current NBAA action in this area, including details on how NBAA is working closely with the TSA and Department of Homeland Security on measures such as the Large Aircraft Security Program. He also discussed how NBAA is working closely with the Canadian business aviation community to help Members prepare for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
  • Kathy Perfetti of the International Business Aviation Council presented "Safety Management Systems and Risk Assessment," which addressed both overall flight department safety requirements and more specific risk assessments relating to cabin safety. This knowledge is essential based on the FAA's future requirements for all 14 CFR Part 135 flight operations to maintain an SMS program scheduled for 2010.
  • The "Resume and Interviewing Proficiency" session presented by Scott Arnold of AirCare Solutions Group, Caryl Knapp of Flexjet and Liz Friedland of Jet Professionals provided insight into the basics and expectations of those applying for positions within the industry by discussing resumes, cover letters and basic interviewing techniques. The session met NBAA Standards of Business Aviation (SEBA) Levels 1, 2 and 3.
  • "Conflict Resolution," presented by Shari LeDonne Frisinger of CornerStone Strategies, LLC, gave Attendees tools in addressing and reducing conflicts both professionally and personally. There was discussion on how the flight attendant's role can be a challenging one when dealing with conflicts involving the cockpit crew. Using non-attack or accusatory words may reduce emotions often generated during a conflict.

Under the leadership of Paula Kraft of Tastefully Yours Catering, the Attendees interacted in five rotating "minute clinics." The Corporate School of Etiquette offered hands-on experience by creating simple desserts with typical onboard items by using cream cheese, chocolate, cookies and fresh fruit, which could be a cost-saving strategy. A representative from the U.S. Air Force provided a look inside the expectation and personal services provided to their passengers. Jean Dible of GA Food Safety gave some basic insights into the importance of food safety and how quickly bacteria can develop on food, especially on items such as rice and sushi. Susan Friedenberg presented time-saving catering techniques and a dessert recovery tip using cheesecake. An Air Culinaire representative inspired and interacted with the Attendees by creating incredible sauces using only Jello and basic aircraft pantry items, making everything from a rum raisin sauce to a chipotle sauce used on a filet mignon.

In addition to the respective speakers, 37 donated NBAA Flight Attendants/Flight Technicians Scholarships worth approximately $55,000 were awarded and presented during the FAC, and approximately $4,500 in donated gifts were presented as giveaways to those in attendance.

The FAC concluded with Judy Reif handing over the position of Flight Attendant Committee chair to Scott Arnold of AirCare Solutions Group, and Mary Ann Fash of Boeing Company was named the new vice chair. The NBAA Flight Attendants Committee thanked Reif for her time and service during her two-year term.

Next year's NBAA 15th Annual Flight Attendants Conference will be held in San Diego, CA in June 2010, and more details will be published on the Association's web site as they become available at

Any person who attends an NBAA convention, conference, seminar or other program grants permission to NBAA, its employees and agents (collectively "NBAA") to record his or her visual/audio images, including, but not limited to, photographs, digital images, voices, sound or video recordings, audio clips, or accompanying written descriptions, and, without notifying such person, to use his or her name and such images for any purpose of NBAA, including advertisements for NBAA and its programs.

Review the Attendee Brochure (PDF, 969 KB)