Paul and Gail Bowen with Greteman Group’s Ashley Bowen Cook at Safety Standdown 2011.

I spent my week soaking up aviation knowledge from the last man to walk on the moon and from Captain Kirk. Yes, my colleagues were jealous.

This week, I had the privilege of attending the 15th annual Bombardier Safety Standdown. I’ve heard about the advanced safety training seminar for years from my Greteman Group colleagues and our Bombardier contacts, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to experience it.

What started as an internal training session has morphed into a waiting-list event with more than 500 members of the business and commercial aviation community. These professionals come together to share knowledge-based training and increase personal discipline in order to develop improved safety cultures within their individual organizations. The inspirational four-day seminar reminds those in attendance that safety is an individual commitment and that the consequences of a weak safety culture are far-reaching.

Bombardier – Innovative, Dedicated

It’s fitting that Bombardier holds such an innovative event in Wichita – the Air Capital of the World and the home of Learjet. More than half of the attendees have been to the seminar before. Many return year after year because of the value it provides. Bombardier’s commitment to the event – open to all, regardless of the type of aircraft operated – serves as a strong testimonial to its support for the aerospace industry as a whole.

Subject matter experts ranged from Dr. Tony Kern, whose airmanship model serves as the foundation for Safety Standdown, to Captain Eugene Cernan, who sat on a panel discussing how safety is about each individual’s commitment to excellence.

A Visit from the Final Frontier

Wednesday evening’s guest speaker stretched the definition of aerospace. William Shatner, back from going where no one had gone before, entertained the crowd with stories of his own flying adventures.

Highlights included dedicating this year’s seminar to the late James Hoblyn, whose passion for giving back to the community made him one of Safety Standdown’s strongest proponents.

For photos of the event, visit Bombardier’s Flickr stream.

To find out more about Safety Standdown, visit