Longtime FAA executive Jay Pardee, who pioneered the agency’s shift from reactive to proactive and predictive safety initiatives over the last 20 years, died suddenly June 12. “Many of us at the FAA are policy people,” one Pardee colleague and friend said. “Jay lived and breathed safety his entire career.” That 44-year career included helping in the mid-1990s to establish the Commercial Aviation Safety Team, which drove the U.S. airline accident rate toward zero and in 2008 won the Collier Trophy for the greatest annual achievement in American aviation. Pardee then led the evolution of that effort into the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program to pursue further safety gains. ASIAS is now being adapted to helicopter operations. Joseph Del Balzo, an acting FAA administrator and deputy administrator in the 1990s, called Pardee “the global ambassador of data-driven, risk analysis.” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said Pardee’s leadership and innovation “is in large part responsible for today’s outstanding U.S. commercial aviation safety record.” Pardee began his aviation career as an airframe and powerplant mechanic at a fixed-based operation. He earned an engineering degree and went to work as a flight test engineer at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., the U.S. Navy’s flight test pilot school and test and evaluation center before joining the FAA.
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