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

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Elite Aviation Hosts Monthly Speaker Series, Sendoff for FAA Safety Program Manager Phil Dixon

By Carmelo Turdo
The July monthly speaker series held at Elite Aviation Thursday evening also served to recognize the evening's presenter, FAA Safety Program Manager Phil Dixon, for his work in St. Louis. Dixon will soon be transferring to the Memphis office, and many members of the St. Louis aviation community gathered before and after the safety presentation to wish him well on his return to working near his hometown. Also among those honoring him were former St. Louis FAA Safety Program Manager Fred Harms and the staff at Elite Aviation. The party portion of the evening was planned as a surprise, at least until he arrived a the Elite Aviation hangar! 


Getting back to business, Dixon's safety presentation addressed the 1999 aircraft accident involving pilot John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife Carolyn Kennedy and her sister, Lauren Bessette. Using the conclusions of the NTSB final report, Dixon reviewed the flight itself, Kennedy's flight training record and the human factors leading up to the tragic end of this flight. Contributing factors included inconsistent flight training leading up to Kennedy's Private Pilot Certificate, lack of instrument flight certification, entry into smog and haze conditions during night flight, and the perceived need to continue on with a flight requiring more experience and skills than possessed by John F. Kennedy, Jr. at the time. There are many lessons to be learned from this case study, all of which relate to flying within one's level of skill, preparing thoroughly for each flight, and making the safety of the flight a priority over the expectations of others. 

The Aero Experience thanks Phil Dixon for his service to the St. Louis aviation community, and we wish him well in Memphis with many happy returns. We also thank Elite Aviation for hosting the Monthly Speaker Series, and we encourage our audience to contact Elite Aviation for your pilot training and aircraft maintenance needs.

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