IFALPA's Hall of Fame

Alpha Omega Dinner, Luxembourg, Sunday March 18, 2018

All those who attended the 73rd Annual IFALPA Conference at the Luxembourg Convention Center and Alpha Omega Dinner at the L’Entracte Restaurant, had a memorable weekend. We had 25 Alpha Omega members at the dinner, with spouses and guests the total was 54. 

The Conference officially ran from Friday, March 16th to Monday, March 19th, but several A/O members were present for the Global Pilots’ Symposium (GPS). 

Thursday consisted of the Global Pilots Symposium during the day.

On Thursday evening the Conference Welcome Reception was held at the Luxembourg Convention Center with a special address to all in attendance from the Luxembourg Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel.  It was a nice evening with a number of A/O members enjoying the drinks and appetizers.

On Friday, IFALPA President Captain Ron Abel opened plenary with a welcome speech outlining three strategic goals to maintain a thriving piloting profession: safety, security, and "a secure future in a global world where the interests of pilots and other workers are protected." Captain Abel thanked those present for their continued hard work and support during the challenges and successes of the past year, and acknowledged our valued sponsors for their role in making Conference a success.

Luxembourg Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure François Bausch opened the 73rd IFALPA Conference in Luxembourg by speaking knowledgeably in support of the piloting profession's challenges. He spoke in support of Ryanair pilots and encouraged them to continue to fight for their labour rights.

He was followed by presentations by special guest speakers Alexandre de Juniac, IATA Director General and CEO, and Eurocontrol Director General, Eamonn Brennan.

EVP AMF Captain Rod Lypchuk introduced the proposal for a Regional realignment. CAR/SAM (Caribbean/South America) and NAM (North America) have been realigned to CAR/NAM (Caribbean/North America) and SAM (South America).

IFALPA President, Deputy President, and Executive Vice-Presidents presented their Annual Reports.

BALPA Executive President, Captain Brendan O'Neal, presented a bid to host Conference in Manchester in 2021, following the already-selected locations of Berlin for 2019 and Singapore for 2020.

ALPA-S generously hosted the hospitality event at the Sofitel in anticipation of their hosting the 2020 Conference in Singapore. Captain Adrian Lim, Technical Secretary of ALPA-S, provided a warm welcome.

On Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day, the morning session consisted of regional meetings.  The afternoon was allocated for sponsor presentations:

Captain Absmeier discussed the past year in Flight Testing at Airbus and their plans for future research projects. The presentation was punctuated by several informative and entertaining video clips.

Captain Bryan provided updates on Boeing's past year of developments and improvements in their new aircraft and their strategies for moving forward. New aircraft being tested include the 787-10, the third version of the 787, which will complete that family of aircraft. Boeing is also looking at new technologies, including their eco-Demonstrator program.

Mr. McGregor's presentation focused on continuing cooperation with IFALPA to drive improvements in the safety of regional aviation. There should only be one level of flight safety, no matter what type of aircraft is involved. The ATR fleet has 10,000 pilots, and they need the support of IFALPA on oversight, performance-based navigation, upset prevention, and recovery training.

Captain Fonseca's presentation highlighted important events on their E2 Program Timeline:
The First Flights of E2-190 (2016) and 195 (2017), the Flight Test Campaign and the E2-190 Type Certificate received in 2018 from Three Certification Authorities, ANAC, EASA and FAA. 

That evening was the Awards Dinner with many A/O members in attendance.  As the doors opened our members secured 2 tables for A/O while others were invited guests of IFALPA delegations.  It was a very nice dinner with a full program of awards and raffled prizes.  There was no dancing or band this year which allowed for good conversations and visiting well into the night.  Being St. Patrick’s Day, Irish ALPA provided a bottle of Jameson whiskey for each table.

The awards were presented by Capt. Ron Abel as follows:

Clarence N. Sayen:

Capt. Paul McCarthy

Capt. Heinz Fruwirth

Scroll of Merit:

Capt. Renault Bosma

Presidential Citation:

Captain Evert Van Zwol

Capt. Terry McVenes

On Sunday morning we had a meeting of those A/O members in attendance who wanted to discuss future plans for the A/O dinner.  We had a healthy discussion with everyone contributing their ideas.  As a summary we decided that each Conference will have to be evaluated separately as to when it would be best to hold our Reunion Dinner.  Due to the wishes of the host organizations to hold a Sunday afternoon event which our A/O members want to attend it is difficult to pre-determine the timing of our dinner.  It was agreed that the best time would be Sunday evening with other options of a Sunday brunch or even Friday evening event.  Each of the secondary options has their own challenges.  We have had good success over the past 3 Conferences having our dinner on Sunday evening after the hosted afternoon event.  Our German A/O members have expressed their desire to help plan next year’s dinner.  Members are strongly encouraged to register on and use the A-O Club website where the subject of future reunions is under discussion. http://alphaomega.ifalpa.org (note: don't put "www" before it!)     

On Sunday afternoon the Luxembourg Pilots Association (ALPL) sponsored an afternoon event celebrating their 50th anniversary.  ALPL graciously invited all A/O member to attend whether or not they had registered for Conference.  Buses departed the Convention Center to a nice restaurant where drinks and light snacks were served.

At 18:45 Alpha Omega members and our guests boarded a bus from the ALPL event to our reunion dinner at L’Entracte in Strassen which is a suburb of Luxembourg City.  We had the entire restaurant to ourselves which started with prepared cocktails, flammekuecke, and other appetizers. Dinner of both Fondue and Raclette followed with wine and other beverages. It was enjoyed by all.

During the evening it was noted with sadness that two highly respected members, Bart Bakker and Ed Smart, had recently passed away.    

Before the main course commenced, Carole Couchman and John Goss were inducted into the Club after telling an appropriate joke and something about themselves.  Carole was presented with the first “Alpha Omega Scarf” which was made after having our Alpha Omega design digitized by Miguel Marin’s daughter. John received the traditional tie. Dessert was a colorful Norwegian Omelet (similar to a Baked Alaska).  After dinner most members returned to the hotel on a hired coach.  Goodbyes exiting the bus were somewhat hurried due to the cold temperatures (-2 C) and wind.

We had a large turnout with 54 total at the dinner and 25 A/O members. We were very pleased to host IFALPA President Ron Abel and his wife, Cindy, and ALPL President, Darrell Myers and his wife, Eva as our guests.

Many who came to Luxembourg took advantage of the free transportation offered by ALPL and a tour of the old city. Before and after Conference some spent time visiting nearby countries.

Next year’s IFALPA Conference will be in Berlin from April 26th to April 29th.  The hotel or hotels have not been identified yet. Our A/O dinner will be on Sunday, April 28th, and we will be looking for another great venue with the help of our German A/O members.

Special thanks to Capt. Ron Abel, Christoph Schewe, Ana Zachovy, and the rest of IFALPA staff for their outstanding support during the year and for our dinner.  Luxembourg Pilots Association (ALPL) Administrative Secretary, Patricia Shurmann, provided invaluable assistance in recommending and coordinating our dinner.

The following is a list of attendees.

Brennan                       Rick

Last                             Steve

Mildenberger               Thomas

Rogers                         Mark

Wycoff                        Don

Denke                          Chris and Gudrun

Diaz Barriga                German and Alejandra

Dolan                          Dennis and Maritza

Eglet                            Skip and Kathy

Fruwirth                      Heinz and Karin

Greeves                       Brian and Nicki

Hativa                         Boaz and Tali

Ho                               Jimmy and Anna

Moore                          Dave and Annie

Mueller-Nallbach        Frank and Ute

Murphy                       Ted and Pauline

Olden                          Dennis and Shelley

Puff                             Jo and Else

Santoni                        Frank and Maureen

Schuurman                  Wim and Nellie

Swain                          Robert and Linda

Tanderup                     Hans Peder and Inge-Lise

Terry                            Malcolm and Christine

Johnson                       Jim, Verna, and Jill

McCarthy                    Paul, Nancy, and Paul Jr.


Abel                            Ron and Cindy

Myers                          Darrell and Eva

New Members:

Couchman                   Carole

Goss                            John and Marion

Regrets were received from: Jussi Ekman, Greg Fallow, Georg Fongern, Ray Gelinas, Stuart Julian, Feroze Khan, Denis Leonard, Carlos Limon, Terry Lutz, Ron Macdonald, Gavin McKellar, Roger Mulberge, Karel Mundel, Hal Osteboe, Bob Perkins, Peter Reiss, Paul Rice, Eli Bahat, Peter Schmidleitner, Charlie Simpson, Ron Stacey, Francis Truchetet, Martin Vanstone, Henk Vermeulen, Duane Woerth, Greg Wolfsheimer, Gary Wagner, Bruce Kivi, Derry Pearce. .

We look forward to seeing many of you next year in Berlin if not sooner!

Submitted by: Frank Santoni


No Avatar
Jimmy Ho on Tue, 03/04/2018 - 10:24

A sudden onset of cold air from the "Mini Beast" swept over Europe during the weekend of the AO dinner but it failed to dampen the warmth and congenial mood that prevailed through out the event. Thanks for the organisation and to all who made it there. It was a great reunion for us. Take care.

No Avatar
Frank Santoni on Tue, 03/04/2018 - 16:32

Great to see everyone in Luxembourg. We're already discussing next year's gathering in Berlin!!!

No Avatar
CarolCouchman on Tue, 03/04/2018 - 17:15

Thank you for your very warm welcome to Alpha-Omega and for the beautiful scarf!! I look forward to participating in all your events.

User login