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Boeing Frontiers
March 2004
Volume 02, Issue 10
Boeing Frontiers
Main Feature

Sound advice on pilot safety

Dave Carbaugh

Dave CarbaughWhile attending 767 training, Dave Carbaugh once received some advice from Gordon Bethune, current chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Airlines Inc.: "Make a decision, don't just waffle about it!"

Carbaugh said he uses Bethune's advice while working with airline customers. "The challenge is to give sound advice to customers that could be for a life-or-death situation—and make sure it's the right decision," said Carbaugh, chief pilot of Commercial Airplanes' Flight Operations Safety organization. "I know one thing will always remain the same—and a priority: Provide advice on safety." The Flight Operations Safety organization is a key part of the Boeing Commercial Airplanes strategy to provide a safe and efficient global air transportation system.

Carbaugh conducts engineering test flights and production acceptance flights, and he is a check airman on the 737, 747, 757, 767 and 777. He also participates in industry forums and lectures on Boeing recommended best practices that help airline pilots operate Boeing airplanes safely.

As part of Boeing customer support activity, Carbaugh visits airlines for two-week periods and observes customers' operations, simulators, and safety practices—then gives feedback to the airline's management. Carbaugh spends one-third of his time traveling around the world, whether visiting a customer, flying, sharing advice on how to improve safety, counseling pilots on in-flight issues, or attending industry forums.

His father also was a pilot—and his mentor. Carbaugh served in the U.S. Air Force as an instructor pilot in the T-37 aircraft, a fighter pilot in the F-15, a transport pilot, and check airman in the C-141. He's a recipient of the Flight Safety Foundation President's Citation and of a Laurel Award, which Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine awards in recognition of outstanding achievements in commercial transport.

When asked if he made the right decision with his career, he replied, "I've always known I wanted to be a pilot. ... What I'm doing is rewarding and good for Boeing and the industry."

—Danette Queen


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