The Region X Commitment to Safety Award is given annually to a Region X member who has shown a profound dedication to ensuring the safety of the National Airspace System (NAS). The award is peer-nominated, and any Region X member in good standing can be nominated for work done in their role as an aviation safety professional.
Recipients of the Region X Commitment to Safety Award
2019: Michael Collins
Michael Collins retired in 2018 after having served the National Airspace System (NAS), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and NATCA with a deep commitment to improving safety. Collins was a founding member of both NATCA's Aircraft Certification (AIR) bargaining unit and the Seattle Local Engineers Northwest Mountain (ENM) safety committee. He was on the NATCA negotiating team with National Safety Committee (NSC) Chairman Steve Hansen and ENM retired member Mike McRae for the AIR voluntary safety reporting process.
Collins also served over five years as NATCA’s Region X AIR representative on the NSC. In that capacity, he participated in monthly NASA safety team meetings and authored and coordinated submissions on NATCA comments to aircraft Airworthiness Directives (ADs), exemptions, and proposed rulemaking. He also drafted and coordinated comments on numerous FAA regulatory proposals, pointing out safety issues that should be addressed on transport airplanes.
2018: Irene Porter and Ernest Gubry, Airports Division
The University of Michigan men's basketball team was aboard an Ameristar Air Cargo MD-83 as it began its takeoff roll down Runway 23 Left at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., on March 8, 2017. The aircraft, headed to Washington Dulles for the Big Ten tournament, reached 173 knots. However, due to a mechanical failure, the aircraft did not pitch up and the pilots executed a rejected takeoff.
The aircraft overran the end of Runway 23 Left and stopped on grass, 1,000 feet from the end of the runway. All 109 passengers and seven crew members evacuated the aircraft and only one person suffered minor injuries during evacuation, according to the NTSB.
That all passengers survived this incident is a direct result of the work of NATCA-represented Airports Division (ARP) members Irene Porter and Ernest Gubry. Porter, who recently retired, and Gubry initiated, designed, planned, environmentally cleared, and funded the construction of a fully compliant runway safety area (RSA) at Willow Run. They oversaw and managed the project from initial concept through construction.
2017: Steve Rosenfeld
In 2011, a small airplane directorate invited Steve Rosenfeld to take part in pre-decisional involvement on the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 23 reorganization of the aviation rule-making committee. Rosenfeld advised the group on behalf of NATCA because of his extensive expertise and knowledge in airworthiness regulations and procedures.
For this effort, he developed official engineering safety input, questions and comments for the main body of the rule-making committee, and organized and submitted all other comments generated from NATCA Air Certification bargaining unit employees.
His efforts improved safety for general aviation (GA) aircraft by initiating a move from prescriptive to performance-based regulations, and developing an internationally recognized and standardized means of compliance. Through the rule-making decisions on these efforts, there were discussions in the industry for the next five years. Rosenfeld led efforts to develop an official NATCA response to the FAA rule-making committee by working with the National Safety Committee. He worked with NATCA to provide comments to the concurrent European rule-making effort. His efforts served as part of a broader push to harmonize the FAA with procedures abroad in certification regulation — a monumental undertaking worthy of praise.
“We thank Steve for his long-term dedication to aviation safety and for being a strong NATCA leader through these various collaborative efforts,” said Region X Regional Vice President Mike MacDonald.
The new performance-based Part 23 changes became effective Aug. 30, 2017, for use by GA industry. Rosenfeld continues to demonstrate his dedication to the safety of the NAS as NATCA lead on the American Society for Testing and Materials, the GA Aircraft Standards Committee, and on other industry civil airworthiness authorities in the FAA. Rosenfeld also serves as the NATCA Rep for the Small Airplane Directorate Part 23 training development effort to bring real-time training to NATCA Certification Safety Engineers, and helping bridge the gap between old and new certification philosophies.