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Annual Alpha Omega Gathering at the Bourbon House Sunday, April 17

For all those who attended the 71st Annual IFALPA Conference at the Roosevelt Hotel and Alpha Omega Dinner at the Bourbon House Restaurant, it was a great several days. We had another good turnout with 24 Alpha Omega members in attendance at the dinner. 

The Conference officially ran from Friday, April 15th to Monday, April 18th, but in actuality many participated in the Global Pilots’ Symposium (GPS) on Thursday and then enjoyed the Welcome Reception that evening at the hotel.

Capt. Boyd Kelly, IFALPA Regional VP US/Central Pacific welcomed a record attendance of 325 pilots to the sixth edition of the Global Pilot’s Symposium (GPS). GPS is a joint initiative of IFALPA, ASAP, OCCC, and SPA.  IFALPA President Captain Martin Chalk explained the theme of this year’s GPS was to explore ways to overcome challenges that undermine the pilot profession.  Panel discussions on Global Pilot Supply (Don Wycoff A/O was a panel member), Labor Management Relationships (moderated by Seth Rosen A/O), Recurrent Training for Pilot Leadership, and Pilot Assistance Program were held.  Several A/O members were in attendance.

On Thursday evening the Conference Welcome Reception was held at the Roosevelt Hotel.  It was planned to be at the pool but weather moved the event inside.

On Friday Capt. Martin Chalk, IFALPA President, opened the 71st IFALPA Conference with a warm welcome and then a thank you to the sponsors.  He later asked delegates and attendees for a moment of silence in remembrance of Captain Borris Delancy, past IFALPA RVP CAR/EAST who passed away in December 2015.  Capt. Chalk presented his annual report and then invited his fellow Executive Board Members to present theirs.  After these reports there were presentations and discussions on “The Rise of Drones” and “Collaboration with Industry Partners.”

In the evening a hospitality suite was hosted by the German Airline Pilots Association who would like to host the 2019 IFALPA Conference.  They are in competition with the Dutch VNV.

On Saturday, April 17th, the Conference Plenary Session opened with a presentation from IFALPA’s platinum sponsors, AIRBUS (Capt. Wolfgang Absmeier, Airbus Experimental Test Pilot A380) and Boeing (Capt. Mark Feuerstein, Boeing Experimental Test Pilot and Chief Pilot 747) with updates on the latest developments within their companies.  This was followed by similar presentations by Embraer and Bombardier.  Several Alpha Omega Members participated in further discussion.  Capt. Fanie Coetzee (A/O), EVP PGA, led a panel group including Capt. Don Wycoff (A/O) who talked about Fatigue Risk Management and Jim Johnson (A/O) who presented on “Just Culture.” Capt. Miguel Marin (A/O), Chief of the Operational Safety Section at ICAO, participated in an interesting discussion about the issues of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

There was a pre-dinner reception on Saturday with local musicians and women in colorful Mardi Gras outfits welcoming the attendees. The Awards Dinner started with President Captain Martin Chalk giving a heartwarming speech in remembrance of Captain Borris Delancy.  His wife, Ms. Antonia Chriswell, accompanied by Capt. Jo Moxey (Bahamas ALPA, President), accepted his Scroll of Merit Award.

Capt. Chalk then awarded the Scroll of Merit to three other distinguished pilots for their meritorious and invaluable accomplishments:

  • Captain Jussi Ekman
  • Captain German Diaz Barriga
  • Captain Richard Woodward (Capt. Shane Loney from AusALPA accepted for Richard who had a previous commitment in Australia).
  • Capt. Chalk then awarded the Clarence Sayen Award to Captain Don Wycoff for his outstanding contributions to IFALPA as its President.

The Alpha Omega Club was well represented at several full tables enjoying wonderful food and after dinner entertainment.

On Sunday morning the Alpha Omega Coordinators and myself met with Capt. Martin Chalk, IFALPA President, and Cristoph Schewe, IFALPA Managing Director, to introduce our team and have a general discussion about our Club.  It was a very cordial meeting with a free exchange of ideas.  Topics covered were: Alpha Omega Club Member fees for the IFALPA Conference, Alpha Omega website help, and establishing a data base for Alpha Omega member expertise.  Martin and Christoph were very receptive to our questions and inputs and will be getting back to us after some discussions with the Board.  Website help will be coming in June following IFALPA staff cleanup of Conference paperwork.

On Sunday US ALPA sponsored an afternoon event at Mardi Gras World where those in attendance could see the floats used during the annual Mardi Gras celebrations.  After walking through the large buildings of floats traditional New Orleans food and drink were available for all.

Our Alpha Omega members were able to get on the early bus back to the hotel in order to get ready for our dinner that evening.  At 7:15 we walked as a group 3 blocks to the Bourbon House Restaurant for 45 minutes of pre-dinner cocktails.  Dinner started at 8pm with a 3 course traditional meal which received raves by everyone in attendance.  During the dinner we welcomed two new members to the club, Capt. Jussi Ekman and Capt. German Diaz Barriga and were also able to officially induct Mr. Seth Rosen who was unable to make it last year in Panama.  After the appropriate joke and ceremony each member received their special tie.

We had great turnout for the evening with 55 in total and 24 Alpha Omega members. We would have had even more but several members were unable to come at the last minute due to illness or unavailable flight connections. Our guests at dinner included Capt. Martin Chalk, Capt. Tim Canoll (IFALPA President) and his wife Susan, and the awardees and their spouses.

The private room, the historic setting on Bourbon Street, and the excellent service at Bourbon House enabled us to have an evening to be remembered.

Those who came to New Orleans found a city full of good food (and drink) with many things of interest to see and do.  A few things our members found to do were:  walking down Bourbon and Royal Streets (Two totally different but adjacent streets), having a “Hurricane” at Pat O’Briens Bar, having a Bourbon Punch at “Bourbon House”,  riding the street cat to the Garden District, visiting a historic cemetery, having a beignet at Café du Monde, touring the World War II museum, taking a paddle wheel boat to the “Battle of New Orleans” National Monument, visiting the Plantations, having oysters and crawfish at many different places, having a “Sazerac” drink at the Roosevelt’s Sazerac Bar, visiting St. Louis Cathedral.

On Monday IFALPA had their elections and here are the results:

  • Captain Ron Abel (Deputy President)
  • Captain Patrick Magisson (EVP TSS)
  • Captain Jack Netskar (EVP PGA)
  • Captain Mike Geer (EVP NAM)
  • Captain Chris Witt (RVP CAR/East - 1 yr term)
  • Captain Ariel Shocrón (AAP Committee Chairman)
  • Captain René Joziasse (PGA Committee Chairman)
  • Captain Scott Schwartz (DG Committee Chairman)

Also on Monday it was decided that the 2018 IFALPA Conference will be in Luxembourg. 

Next year’s IFALPA Conference will be in Montreal from May 5th to May 8th at the Bonaventure Hotel.  Miguel Marin our Montreal Coordinator is already looking for a good place to have our Alpha Omega Dinner on Sunday, May 7.

Special thanks to Capt. Martin Chalk, Christoph Schewe, Carole Couchman, and the rest of IFALPA staff for their outstanding support during the year and for our dinner.

The following is a list of attendees.

  • Coetzee           Fanie and Alet
  • Denke              Chris and Gudrun
  • Dolan              Dennis and Maritza
  • Eglet                Skip and Kathy
  • Gelinas            Ray and Colleen
  • Greeves           Brian and Nicki
  • Hativa             Boaz and Tali
  • Johnson           Jim and Verna and their daughter Jill
  • Khan               Feroze and Azra
  • Kragness         Gene and Vicki
  • Kreamer          Tom
  • Lutz                 Terry and Nancy
  • Marin               Miguel and Claudia
  • Melvin             Bill
  • Moore              Dave and Annie
  • Murphy           Ted and Pauline
  • Olden              Dennis and Shelley
  • Puff                 Jo and Else
  • Rice                 Paul and Ruby
  • Santoni            Frank and Maureen
  • Seal                 Mark and Kate
  • Swain              Robert and Linda
  • Tanderup         Hans Peder and Inge-Lise


  • Chalk               Martin
  • Canoll              Tim and Susan

New Members:

  • Ekman             Jussi and Satu
  • Diaz Barriga     German and Alejandra and their daughter Fernanda
  • Rosen              Seth and Claire

Regrets were sent from: Eli Bahat, Rick Brennan, Greg Fallow, Georg Fogern, Fred Deveaux, Heinz Fruwirth, Jimmy Ho, Steve Last, Carlos Limon, Ron MacDonald, Jack Magee, Paul McCarthy, Gevin McKellar, Frank Mueller-Nalbach, Roger Mulberge, CA Ng, Barry Pate, Bob Perkins, Peter Reiss, Peter Schmidleitner, Francis Truchetet, Tony Van Heerden, Aart Van Wijk, Kari Voutilainen, Duane Woerth, Greg Wolfsheimer, Don Wycoff, Charlie Simpson.

Submitted by: Frank Santoni

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