Without the vast training resources of the military or the airlines, Mitch Launius believes that smaller business aircraft operators often have to work just a bit harder to ensure the utmost in professionalism and safety.
“It starts by caring about being the best you can possibly be, and then acting upon it,” said Launius, a long-time contributor to business aviation safety and training, who was one of the 2020 recipients of the prestigious NBAA Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award.
Launius is the owner of 30 West IP, which provides pilot training – both in-person and now increasingly virtually – on international procedures to flight departments of all sizes.
“We find that more preparation is necessary for pilots who might only fly internationally three or four times a year,” notes Launius. “It’s harder to plan when you aren’t doing it routinely.”
Launius also points out how important it is for pilots to know that their organization’s leadership supports them. “Knowing that they have your back and encourage your decision-making is key,” he said.
A former U.S. Army aviator and business aircraft senior captain and IS-BAO project manager for JCPenney Aviation, Launius spent 34 years in the cockpit, accumulating more than 13,000 hours of flight time, much of that in Challenger and Gulfstream aircraft. He is the North Atlantic Regional Lead on NBAA’s International Operators Committee, serves as a member of an FAA working group on general aviation international authorizations and tabletop exercises, and was recently selected to represent IBAC as a member of the ICAO Personal Training and Licensing Panel.
Launius credits his professional volunteer activities with helping him to stay current with international regulations and procedures.
“I have to read all the time, and I get to see what other committees and teams are doing,” he said. “We work closely with the FAA and have relationships all across the industry that help us stay ahead of the curve.”
The staff of 30 West IP actually spends 30% of their time on non-revenue projects, which is greatly appreciated by the business aviation community, but also turns out to be good for business, according to Launius. The company is known for its occasional free, well-attended webcasts, which usually address recent international regulatory or procedural changes.
Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award
Nine individuals were selected to receive the NBAA Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award in 2020. Created in 2015 to honor Dr. Tony Kern, this peer-nominated award recognizes individual pilots, maintenance technicians, flight attendants, dispatchers and other aviation professionals who excel in leadership in the areas of professional ethics, vocational excellence, continuous improvement, professional engagement, professional image and selflessness.