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Alpha Omega Events IFALPA Conference Madrid 2015.

Annual Alpha Omega Gathering at the Top Ten Restaurant on April 12th, 2015

For all those who attended the 70th Annual IFALPA Conference at the NH Collection Eurobuilding in Madrid and the Alpha Omega Dinner at the Top Ten restaurant, it was truly a memorable weekend. Twenty-four (24) Alpha Omega members were able to make the trip with twenty-three (23) attending the Sunday dinner. The Conference officially ran from Friday April 10th to the Monday April 13th , but in actuality many participated in the Global Pilots’ Symposium (GPS) on Thursday April 9th and then enjoyed the Welcome Reception that evening at the hotel. Capt. Mike Pinho opened the GPS to set the stage for this year’s agenda, which was to develop and implement strategic action plans to create favorable aviation policies and regulations. The GPS is a joint initiative of IFALPA, ASAP, SPA and OCCC.

One of the most interesting talks was given by Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, former U.S. Trade Representative. In a very dynamic presentation, she outlined the keys to effective advocacy.

On Friday Capt. Don Wykoff (President of IFALPA) invited Capt. Javier Martinez de Velasco (President of SEPLA) to open the Conference’s first plenary session. Plenary then welcomed Iberia’s CEO who gave a brief presentation, which was followed by reports from the IFALPA Executive Vice Presidents. Interesting presentations were also given by Capt. Stefano Prola (IATA Safety & Flight Operations Manager, Europe), Dr. Olumuyiwa Bernard Aliu, President of the ICAO Council, and Mr. Juan Perz Campaneo (European economist). Friday afternoon concluded with the IFALPA Regional meetings taking place. In the evening a hospitality suite was sponsored by Dutch VNV with a lively raffle and colorful hostesses. On Saturday April 11th, plenary was opened with many Industry Presentations.

Capt. Wolfgang Absmeier, Airbus Experimental Test Pilot A380, presented the plenary with an update on the A350 program. Capt. Mark Feuerstein, Boeing Experimental Test Pilot and Chief Pilot 747-8, gave a presentation to update the plenary on the Boeing ECO demonstrator. Embraer test pilot, Capt. Celso Jose A. Fonseca, also gave an interesting talk about the latest developments at their company. Saturday evening the Awards Dinner was held at the NH Collection Eurobuilding Hotel. It started with a pre-dinner reception in the concourse. Both the food and service for the dinner were excellent. During the dinner Capt. Don Wykoff presented the IFALPA Scroll of Merit Awards. This year there were no presentations for the Clarence N. Sayen Award or the Polaris Award. As you know these awardees also become members of the A/O club. This year’s awardees were:

  • Capt. Greg Wolfsheimer
  • Capt. Kari Voutilainen
  • Capt. Greg Fallow
  • Capt. Terry Lutz
  • Capt. Ray Gelinas

On Sunday April 12th the IFALPA Committee meetings were conducted in the morning. On Sunday afternoon SEPLA welcomed all delegates and their accompanying persons for a private airshow of vintage aircraft. The airshow was extremely well received as the vintage airplanes not only were on display, but actually flew. Many Alpha Omega members attended and it was heard more than once that our members had flow in a number of the types on display. A special bus was arranged by SEPLA for Alpha Omega members to leave early for our dinner.

The Top Ten Restaurant, the site of our dinner, was directly across the street from the hotel where we had a very nice three course meal of Spanish cuisine, which included drinks. We mostly had the restaurant to ourselves but due to the layout of the tables and some other customers, it was difficult for some to hear the presentations and jokes of our new members. A good lesson for next year’s venue. This year we had a great showing with fifty-eight (58) in total at the dinner including our guests, SEPLA President Capt. Javier Martinez de Velasco and his wife Carmen. Outside of Dublin, this was our most attended dinner. Capt. Don Wykoff, and his wife Susan, were also our guests on two accounts, as Don was inducted into the A/O Club as outgoing IFALPA President. New members inducted told the appropriate jokes and gave us some insight into things we didn’t know about them.

New Alpha Omega members:

  • Greg Fallo
  • Ray Gelinas
  • Jim Johnson
  • Terry Lutz
  • Kari Voutilainen
  • Greg Wolfsheimer
  • Don Wykoff
  • Seth Rosen was unable to attend and will be inducted at our next dinner.

Steve Last shared a moment in IFALPA history with a very interesting story about the Spantax Convair 990 crash in 1970. The tale of the efforts to reinstate the pilot back to flight status and the amazing efforts of an SAS Captain of the Swedish Pilot Association on his behalf was captivating. We will post the story on our web site.

On Monday April 13th , Steve Last and Frank Santoni met with Jeremy Eldridge (IFALPA Web Designer and Coordinator) to review the next steps of the Alpha Omega web page design. This coming year we will attempt to provide a place for our club members to input their individual aviation and IFALPA history. We think it will be of interest for all to see the fascinating backgrounds of our members. More to come. Monday officially wrapped up the 70th Annual IFALPA Conference with the election of a new IFALPA President, Capt. Martin Chalk.

Next year the Conference will be held in New Orleans from 15 to 18 April 2016. The 71st Annual IFALPA Conference will take place at the Roosevelt New Orleans, Waldorf Astoria Hotel. We hope to see many of you there! Daily Conference News, with detailed information about events and award winner information, can be found on the IFALPA Website: www.ifalpa.org. Or more directly from this link: http://www.ifalpa.org/enews-broadcast/april-2015/conference-2015-madrid....

The success of this year’s A/O event was also the result of the outstanding support from Capt. Don Wykoff and his staff at the IFALPA H.Q. Special thanks to Kelly Bennett, Office Manager of IFALPA, who with the help of SEPLA found the restaurant, sampled the food, and coordinated the reservation. The following is a list of A/O attendees:






Fanie and Alet


Chris and Grudun


Dennis and Maritza


Skip and Kathy Stall worth


Greg and Robyn


Georg and Uschi


Heinz and Karin


Ray and Colleen


Brian and Nicki

G reeves

Boaz and Tali


Jim, Verna and Jill (daughter)


Steve and Jenni


Terry and Nancy




Dave and Annie


Frank and Ute


Dennis and Shelley




Joachim and Else


Zvi and Edna


Frank and Maureen


Wim and Nellie


Hans Peder and Inge-Lise


Francis and Catherine


A art


Kari and Inka Liesmaa


Greg and Lynn


Don and Susan


Guests: Martinez de Velasco Javier and Carmen Carlos and Bernis Limon were able to make the Awards Dinner but had to leave prior to the Alpha Omega dinner due to his flight schedule.

Regrets were sent in from: Bruno D’Alba, Salvador Gayon, Harry Hopkins, John Hutchinson, Ike Jones, Gene Kragness, Tom Kreamer, Richard Lamb, Patrick Lawrence, Bud Leppard, Jack Magee, Paul McCarthy, Rob McGinnis, Karel Mundel, Ted Murphy, CA NG, Barry Pate, Derry Pearce, Paul Rice, Mark Seal, Ed Smart, Laurie Taylor, Peter Ten Duis, Bob Tweedy, Tony Van Heerden, Gary Wagner, and Duane Woerth.

Submitted by: Frank Santoni

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