ALPA Honors Captain Mike Bender with Air Safety Award

Colbert, Wash., Pilot Recognized for Outstanding Leadership

WASHINGTON—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) will recognize Capt. Mike Bender, FedEx Express, with its 2013 Air Safety Award for his outstanding commitment to advancing air transportation safety. The prestigious award, which is the Association’s highest safety honor, will be presented at ALPA’s 60th Air Safety Forum, held August 4–7 in Washington, D.C.

Capt. Bender, an Anchorage-based MD-11 pilot, has made great contributions to the safety of air transportation through his dedicated work to investigate and prevent accidents. As the chairman of the ALPA Accident Investigation Board (AIB) from 2008 to 2014 and a member since 2002, he has monitored all active ALPA accident and ongoing incident investigations.

“Capt. Bender’s experiences with numerous aircraft accidents and incidents have given him an outstanding and comprehensive knowledge of aircraft accident investigation,” said ALPA president Capt. Lee Moak. “In his work with the AIB spanning the last 12 years, he has made invaluable contributions to ALPA’s efforts to determine all the factors that contributed to a specific accident or incident, which is an effective way to advance safety.”

A graduate of the University of Missouri, Embry Riddle University, and the Naval Aviation Safety School, Capt. Bender gained more than 20 years of experience as a naval aviator flying EA-6B Prowlers prior to his career as an airline pilot. In addition to his flight school and military training, he has continued to take part in further training during his career at ALPA. He also completed the FedEx Pilots Association (FPA) safety course and the ALPA Advanced Accident Investigation course and became an instructor for numerous ALPA accident investigation and safety courses.

Capt. Bender has demonstrated a dedication to remaining on the leading edge of aviation safety by continuing to work tirelessly as an ALPA safety volunteer, accident investigator, and safety course instructor,” Capt. Moak continued.

Capt. Bender has contributed his expertise in aviation safety on the international level as a member of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA) Accident, Analysis and Prevention Committee since 2009. He has also been an instrumental figure and leader in several international investigations ranging from the FedEx Flight 77 Airbus Manila runway overrun in 1999 to the FedEx Flight 80 fatal accident in Narita, Japan, in March 2009, where he led the ALPA team’s first overseas accident investigation in many years.

Capt. Bender served on several safety committees at FedEx Express, including most recently as a member of the FedEx pilot group’s Master Executive Council Safety and Accident Investigation Committee, and served as the ALPA representative on the FedEx Aviation Safety Action Program/Event Review Committee.

“Capt. Bender’s dedication and experience have served not only the FedEx pilots with whom he so proudly flies, but passengers, shippers, and flight and cabin crews around the world as well,” concluded Capt. Moak. “It is my pleasure to honor him with ALPA’s 2013 Air Safety Award.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 51,000 pilots at 31 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter .