Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Midwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show Features Experts, Exhibitors

By Carmelo Turdo
The Midwest Aviation Conference &Trade Show (MACTS) opened today at the Maryland Heights Centre in St. Louis County.  The Super Safety Seminar, held concurrently with the Flight Instructor Revalidation Clinic, featured the FAA's Al Gorthy, aviation safety expert Cathe Fish, pilot/Missouri Congressman Sam Graves and Sara Newton from the FAA Medical Division.  During breaks between presentations, many of the the several hundred attendees visited representatives from local aviation service providers and non-profit organizations at this year's trade show, also held in the main auditorium.  MACTS has become an annual gathering of the "Who's Who" of St. Louis general aviation, and the addition of new exhibitors this year reflects the cautious optimism of the local aviation community.  

Al Gorthy, Assistant Manager of the FAA's Regional Runway Safety Program, is a regular speaker at MACTS and other safety seminars.  His theme today was "Trust, and Verify."  The causes of runway incursions can be divided generally into these categories: pilot (60%), Air Traffic Control (20%) and vehicles (20%), with piston-engine aircraft involved in 61% of the incidents.  Tragedies can occur when any one of these actors makes an error, so taking a few seconds to understand the current operating environment can avoid, or at least minimize, the chances of catastrophic mistakes.
"Attentiveness and awareness must work in concert with one another," Gorthy observed.  "Situational awareness, by definition, is a continuous perception of what has happened, what is happening and what may happen...There is time involved, and it's moving,"  he continued.  "It is also not linear, and may be moving up and down as well as forward," he added.  Improving one's situational awareness is the key to reducing the number and effects of human error that are at the root of runway incursion incidents.
Cathe Fish, National Accident Prevention Counselor & AOPA Air Safety Institute Instructor, is another MACTS regular presenter that has no trouble keeping the attention of the audience when she discusses human factors in aviation.  She wasted no time getting to the point of her message: "The name of the game is error management," she began.  "Expecting and preventing errors.  Knowing exactly what to do when bad things happen.  Never being complacent.  Avoiding temptation."  Then she gave a concrete example used in aviation every day: "Why do we have standard operating procedures?  They are there to protect us from being bitten by our human factor."  Fish also explained that four of the top six causes of aviation accidents in the St. Louis area are pilot-related, regardless of pilot experience.  Several examples of commercial aircraft accidents, caused by crew mismanagement of minor aircraft malfunctions, were used to illustrate the need for proper error management in addressing the weakness of the human factor.
Fellow pilot Congressman Sam Graves gave an update on the recently enacted "Pilots Bill of Rights."  "It basically gives us due process," he explained, referring to the ability of pilots cited by the FAA in pending enforcement actions to receive information on the case in order to become a participant in the investigation.  Also, better access to NOTAMS and other flight-critical information is part of the new law.  Other legislative proposals that would negatively affect general aviation, like user fees and "aeronautical use" of private hangars requirements, are perpetual threats that Congressman Graves works to defeat in Congress.
Trade Show participants began arriving around 7:30am, setting up displays and welcoming early arrivals to the auditorium.  Area aviation service providers and non-profit groups, including Ideal Aviation, Air Associates, St. Louis Community College Aerospace Institute, Southwestern Illinois College, the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, Missouri Aviation Historical Society, EAA Chapter 32 and the St. Louis Ninety-Nines among others, were available to discuss their contributions to the greater St. Louis area aviation community with pilots and enthusiasts in attendance.  The Trade Show will continue tomorrow during the "Learn to Fly" activities.  Here are the Trade Show participants from today - be sure to visit them tomorrow:
St. Louis Community College Aerospace Institute

Missouri Aviation Historical Society

Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum

Southwestern Illinois College

EAA Chapter 32

Gateway Flight Training and IMC Club International

AeroWorks Aircraft Interiors

Missouri Pilots Association, St. Louis Chapter

St. Charles Flying Service FBO

Air Associates FBO

Parks College of St. Louis University

Women With Wings

Ideal Aviation FBO

The Ninety-Nines, St. Louis Chapter
Be sure to visit Maryland Heights Centre tomorrow from 1-3pm for the "Learn to Fly" program, and meet special guest Mr. Dave Desmond, Chief F/A-18 Test Pilot, Military Tactical Flight Operations, at The Boeing Company.  Flight simulators will be available, and EAA Chapter 32 will be available to discuss registering youth for Young Eagle flights in the coming spring and summer.
Special thanks to Mr. Dave Pressy, Mr. Phil Dixon, Missouri Pilots Association Gateway Chapter and Maryland Heights Centre for their assistance in reporting today's event. 

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