REMINDER: Aviation Legends – Kings, O’Brien, McSpadden and More – to Address New Safety Town Hall, Oct. 7

Contact: Dan Hubbard, 202-783-9360,

Washington, DC, Sept. 30, 2020 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) will gather the industry’s leading lights on aviation safety for a riveting discussion to seek out new standards for performance and professionalism in a new, virtual Safety Town Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

The event will be moderated by veteran aviation journalist Miles O’Brien, who will have a thought-provoking conversation with John and Martha King, Richard McSpadden, and dual-engine flameout pilots Bruce Monnier and Gerald Downs, about the skills that keep the safety chain from breaking.  

The Town Hall will include the presentation of the first-ever NBAA Above and Beyond Airmanship Award. The new award recognizes action taken to avoid injury, loss of life, and/or major or catastrophic business aircraft damage. The first recipients are co-captains Monnier and Downs of Air Trek, Inc., for landing a Citation jet, contaminated with diesel exhaust fluid, and therefore without power.

Preeminent flight safety advocates will then join a town hall discussion moderated by O’Brien and bringing together the Kings and McSpadden.

When:       Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020

          11 a.m. – Noon (EDT)

Register:   Attend the Safety Town Hall for free

Who You’ll Hear From

Miles O’Brien

An Emmy and Peabody winning journalist with over 32 years in news broadcasting, Miles O’Brien covers technology, aerospace and aviation for PBS and other organizations. He is the science correspondent for PBS News Hour, a director for documentary series NOVA and a reporter for FRONTLINE, and was a CNN correspondent from 1992 to 2014, anchoring series such as Headline News and Primetime.

A third-generation general aviation pilot, O’Brien is among the most prominent journalists covering aviation today. He has reported extensively on civil aviation issues and accident investigations, including a 16-hour marathon of live coverage during the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.

O’Brien has also been an honored guest at NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE). He has hosted the Dassault Falcon Family Breakfast in multiple years.

John and Martha King

Legendary pioneers of aviation skills programs used by millions of pilots worldwide, John and Martha King are the founders and co-chairs of King Schools. They are known around the world for their innovative flight-training videos.

The Kings are also familiar faces at NBAA-BACE and other events, where they frequently share their training expertise with business aviation pilots. They have continually advocated for general aviation, including as congressional witnesses before committee hearings in Washington, DC. In 2009, they received NBAA’s American Spirit Award.

In 1994, the Kings became the first couple to hold every category and class of FAA rating on their pilot and instructor certificates. They fly their Dassault Falcon 10 wherever they go, swapping captain and co-pilot duties on each leg.

Richard McSpadden

A commercial pilot and CFII with over 5,000 hours in 30 years of flying, McSpadden serves as AOPA’s senior vice president, Air Safety Institute (ASI). The institute works to reduce general aviation mishaps through research, education and industry collaboration.

McSpadden has extensive experience in ground, flight, and special event operations. Prior to joining ASI, he led large, global operations in the information technology industry. McSpadden served 20 years with U.S. Air Force, commanding the Thunderbirds flight demonstration team and leading over 100 flight performances flying the number one aircraft.

Co-Captains Bruce Monnier and Gerald Downs

An airline transport pilot, flight instructor and captain for Air Trek, Inc. with over 4,000 hours, Monnier was captain and pilot for the flight that experienced a dual-engine flame-out from diesel-exhaust contamination. He worked with Downs – an airline transport pilot with more than 10,000 hours, instructor and holding ratings in fixed-wing, helicopter, glider and gyroplane aircraft over his 48-year aviation career – to dead-stick the airplane’s landing into Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.

The Safety Town Hall is part of NBAA’s Virtual Safety Week, which also includes the Single-Pilot Standdown and National Aviation Safety Forum.

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The association represents more than 11,000 company and professional members and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

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