2021 NBAA Tony Kern
Professional in Aviation
Note: This article was originally posted at the National Business Aviation Association website.
Carl Bennett acknowledges it’s not always easy asking your colleagues tough questions and probing for the truth.
“I’m not always everyone’s best friend,” said Bennett, director of safety for Mayo Aviation, a Colorado-based national aircraft management, maintenance and charter provider. However, Bennett always tries to balance any difficult information he has to share with something positive. “I never deliver any bad news without some sort of silver lining,” noted the highly respected safety professional.
As one of the recipients of the 2021 Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award, Bennett exemplifies many of the award criteria, including continuous improvement and vocational excellence. Even though he is undoubtedly knowledgeable enough to teach aviation safety classes, he is enrolled in Florida Institute of Technology’s master’s of science program in aviation safety. “I owe it to our clients and my company to be as informed and educated as I can be,” said Bennett. “I’m still learning and looking to add value.”
Bennett, who has a long background as a regulatory specialist in domestic and international transportation safety, compliance, training and operational requirements, says that he likes digging into the regulations and being familiar enough with them to be able to give his colleagues just the information they need. “I can take that burden off of people,” he said. “I like streamlining and simplifying the info.”
Growing up in rural Ohio, Bennett saw some airplanes flying overhead when he was four years old and was told by his family that he wouldn’t stop looking up. He now has more than 30 years of experience in Part 135 operations and was a founding board member of the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association. A past chairman of the Radiopharmaceutical Shippers and Carriers Conference, he is an expert on the regulations covering not just passenger and cargo carriage, but also with radiopharms, infectious substances, aircraft reconfiguration and more.
Bennett credits his success in working with both the FAA and other regulators and the Part 135 industry to his non-adversarial way of approaching his job.
“I try to partner with everyone I work with,” he said. “I try to get to know the regulations at least as well as the regulators, and I have learned how to listen, cooperate and provide creative solutions if possible. It’s important to do what you say you are going to do. Learn from your mistakes and correct them.”
Ultimately, Bennett notes that learning how to communicate is a top priority. “It’s important to listen and not always be in transmit mode,” he avers.
Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award
Seven individuals were selected to receive the NBAA Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award in 2021. Created in 2015 to honor Dr. Tony Kern, this peer-nominated award recognizes individual pilots, maintenance technicians, flight attendants, dispatchers and other aviation professionals who excel in leadership in the areas of professional ethics, vocational excellence, continuous improvement, professional engagement, professional image and selflessness.