HAMPTON, VA (Dec. 3, 2018) – The Hampton University Department of Aviation hosted the inaugural Safety Stand Down Week, November 12-16, 2018, where many prominent aviation professionals came to campus to speak to students about safety.
“At Hampton University we always provide the best education possible under any circumstances. Our aviation department is the only HBCU in America with an FAA approved ATCI program. Devoting an entire week to aviation safety shows that Hampton University is committed to preparing our students for the real world,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
Ms. Nyota Baker, Hampton University Department of Aviation, Assistant Professor, was the organizer of the week of activities. “Aviation safety is a culture. Aviation safety is a priority. It is important that all future aviators are exposed to the safety aspect of aviation and I believed that we achieved that this week. I also wanted this week to be an enlightening experience for the students. I want the students to know that the sky is the limit when it comes to their career in aviation by introducing them to aviation industry leaders from Hampton University, the military and beyond. This safety week gave the students the opportunity to be mentored and gain knowledge of the vast possibilities that are offered in the world of aviation,” Baker said.
Dr. Joyce Shirazi, Dean of the Hampton University School of Engineering and Technology noted, “The alums returned to ‘Our Home by the Sea’ as leaders in the field of aviation adorned in uniforms from various military branches, major commercial airlines, such as United, Delta, and Jet Blue, and as air traffic controllers and Vice Presidents of international airports such as Reagan, Dulles, Norfolk, Newport News Williamsburg, and Richmond. The students were mesmerized and inspired by this unofficial HU Aviation homecoming.”
Mr. Julius Armstrong, Hampton University Department of Aviation Chair, spoke to students at one of the panel sessions. “Take full advantage of the opportunity and ask those very important questions from the aviation experts; and it so happens that our experts today are Hampton alumni who are out there and doing great work,” he said.
One Hampton alum, Mr. Dave Simpson, is a United Airlines pilot of a B737 airplane, and came to speak during the safety week. Simpson is a Hampton University aviation graduate, class of 2000, and has worked for several airlines in the United States. “When do you think safety begins in your professional career? It begins today, yesterday, it starts while you’re here at Hampton. Everything that you do from this point going forward is going to be safety and professional related,” Simpson said. “In aviation, when was the last fatal crash of a United States aircraft? 2009. That was almost 10 years ago. This is the safest period of aviation, ever in the history of aviation. In the United States, we take safety serious and that is what we are all about today.”
Speakers shared their experiences and gave advice to the students attending the sessions.
“Whatever you’re doing right now, work hard at it because you can always change later, but it will come down to your habits, academically, which can be transferred anywhere in the field. Work hard, do your best, develop the habit of being a professional and excelling,” said Brad Lindow, Captain of the Solairus Aviation Cessna Citation CJ3.
The speakers throughout the week included flight attendants, air traffic controllers, pilots (captains and 1st officers), airport operations officers, and more. The students had the opportunity to conduct a Foreign Object Debris/Damage FOD walk at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, thanks to the support of the airport operations staff at Newport News.