1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Aviation Risk Turbulence Increasing:

Mark Dombroff weighs in on the political and cultural clashes that are moving from the streets into airplane cabins. Click here to read more!


Aviation Risk Turbulence Increasing:

The Intersection of Aviation and Politics

Nearly a hundred years ago, the Nobel Prize winning German philosopher Thomas Mann wrote “[t]here is nothing that is not political. Everything is politics.”  These days, politics has become the lens through which all actions are judged.  Thanks to social media, something as apolitical as a company providing air transportation can find itself in the middle of a political and media firestorm at a moment’s notice.

For example, just this week, a woman who had come to Washington to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump had to be removed from a plane when she provoked a political argument with a Trump supporter sitting next to her.  According to media reports, the woman asked the man if he had come to protest or support President Trump.  When he responded that he was there to “celebrate democracy,” the woman began to berate him, requiring the intervention of a flight attendant.  At this point, with tempers flaring, the flight crew was called on to make quick decisions to try to defuse the conflict, and, when it appeared that the woman would not let it go, take control of the situation.

Of course, what everyone would agree is that every delicate situation now has the potential to become a public relations nightmare due to the ubiquitous cell phone.  What once would have been nothing more than a small human interest story of a few lines about someone being ejected from a plane becomes a dramatic event that everyone in the world can watch over and over again, from every conceivable angle, with arm chair pundits second guessing the actions of all of the participants.  This high profile incident joins several others that also got a great deal of attention recently, such as Ivanka Trump being harassed by a fellow passenger during boarding, and the Trump supporter who earned a lifetime ban from an airline for berating Hillary Clinton supporters.

With literally the whole world watching every minor incident, the airlines have been well served by the calm professionalism of their employees.  Perhaps we, as passengers can follow their lead.  Even if we can’t act “professionally” as passengers, at least try to be level headed and courteous to each other, particularly since we will be sitting together in a confined space for several hours as we travel.

P.S. Watch the video and look at her husband . . . .

The Intersection of Aviation and Politics

The 2017 Aviation Symposium

                  February 7–9, 2017 

The Ritz Carlton
1700 Tysons Boulevard
McLean, VA 22102 l Map

The 2017 Aviation Symposium is free of charge and includes a Continental Breakfast, Welcome Cocktail Party, Lunch and Networking Reception


Whether you’re a large airline, a regional carrier, a cargo carrier, a charter operator or a corporate/business/fractional owner-operator, the efficient management of available resources when things go wrong is of critical importance. Not only may you find your options limited by the resources available to you, but in foreign countries or other locations where you have few or none of your own people on the ground, you may have to depend on resources that you aren’t familiar with.

During this, our 11th annual Aviation Symposium, we will focus on how to effectively plan for and use to maximum advantage all resources available to mount a response—whether to an emergency requiring the evacuation of a handful of executives or hundreds of passengers, an airplane blown off the runway or a mid-air collision—that is calculated to meet the needs of the situation at hand, but also protect your brand and to position your company to “come out the other side.”

View the full agenda on the 2017 Airline Symposium event webpage


As in years past, the Symposium will be held at The Ritz Carlton, McLean, VA. A block of rooms has been set aside at a special rate, but history tells us these go fast, so book early.

The Ritz Carlton 

1700 Tysons Boulevard, McLean, VA 22102, Phone: +1 703 506 4300, Fax: +1 703 506 2694

Symposium Hotel Booking Information: 

Group: 11th Annual Aviation Symposium hosted by Dentons  Rate: Deluxe Room for $250 (single or double, plus applicable taxes)  Reservations number: +1 800 241 3333  Cutoff date: January 6, 2017

Book your reservation online Online Group Code: AIRAIRA

AERO meeting

Before the Welcome Cocktail Party on February 7, there will be a general meeting of the Aviation Emergency Response Organization (AERO), the association of emergency response professionals from across the aviation industry, including airlines of all sizes, cargo operators, charter and fractional operators, airports, insurers, consultants and others. The meeting will provide an opportunity for members to connect and non-members to learn about and join AERO.

Also at the AERO meeting, you’ll hear from Christine Negroni, author of The Crash Detectives: Investigating the Word’s Most Mysterious Air Disasters.


Please contact Barbara Butler at +1 703 336 8704 or Lauren Duda at +1 703 336 8747.

If you would like to receive CLE credit in your state, please just let us know your state of admission

The 2017 Aviation Symposium

The Airline Symposium Webinar Series – Ground Handlers: Liabilities, Claims, Insurance and Contracts

We would like to offer our thanks for the huge turnout we had for our free webinar on The Airline Symposium Webinar Series – Ground Handlers: Liabilities, Claims, Insurance and Contracts.  For those of you who could not make it, we are providing a downloadable version of the slides, as well as a link to the full presentation so that you can listen at your leisure.

The Airline Symposium Webinar Series – Ground Handlers: Liabilities, Claims, Insurance and Contracts

Save the Date: The 2017 Airline Symposium

February 7–9, 2017

Venue The Ritz Carlton 1700 Tysons Boulevard McLean, VA 22102 | Map

Write it in ink! Chisel it in stone! 2016 is flying by (no pun intended) and planning is well under way for the 2017 Airline Symposium.

More info, including agenda and registration details, to follow. Stay tuned.

Questions Please contact Barbara Butler at +1 703 336 8704.
Save the Date: The 2017 Airline Symposium

EgyptAir 804: And the Search Goes On…

No news is no news.  As of this moment, there have been reports that one of the pingers on one of the recorders of EgyptAir 804 has been heard.  So far however, no aircraft.

Even if the pingers have been heard, searchers still have to locate the recorders, which, reportedly, are located in water as deep as 10,000 feet.  Then they have to recover them.  The bottom line is that there’s still a lot to be accomplished before we, hopefully, know what happened to EgyptAir 804.

Meanwhile, the story has pretty much fallen off the front page and, doesn’t appear to qualify as “Breaking News,” even if we use the somewhat expansive definition of CNN.

Under ICAO Annex 13, Egypt is leading the investigation since they are the “state” of registry of the aircraft.  France is an accredited representative, as is the United States, the former because it was an Airbus aircraft, the latter because the engines were manufactured in the U.S.  The responsibility for determining probable cause and writing the report resides with Egypt.

The most notable interaction between U.S. and Egypt in the context of an aircraft accident came in the context of the 1999 crash of EgyptAir Flight 990.  In that investigation, to make a long story short, the NTSB concluded the cause of the crash and the death of all on-board was suicide by the relief co-pilot.  The Egyptian Government however, in a diametrically opposed result, concluded the cause was a defect in the aircraft.

If one reads the record, there is no question but that the NTSB, the world standard in accident investigation, got it 100 percent right.  It wasn’t even a close call.

One could argue there was a genuine basis for disagreement regarding the results of the investigation.  However, the reality is that the vehement disagreement of the Egyptian investigation with what was so clearly suicide, was, and likely continues to be, national pride and the simple refusal to acknowledge that suicide by a pilot for its national airline could be responsible for such a horrific act.

Well, here we are, not quite 20 years later and all we have is questions and speculation about EgyptAir 804.  Let’s hope that we don’t have a repeat of what occurred surrounding the investigation of EgyptAir 990 in 1999.  We have no reason to believe that such a thing would occur, but Plane-ly Spoken would not have ever believed it could have occurred about 20 years ago.  If it were to happen again, that would qualify as “Breaking News!”

EgyptAir 804: And the Search Goes On…

Icon to Customers: “We’ll Sell You Our Aircraft, But Only If You Promise Not To Sue Us!”

It’s a neat airplane.  It lands on water!  Its wings fold!  It’s composite! It even has a parachute!

The Icon A5 is advertised as being designed to “handle predictibly [and] like a well-mannered sports car.”

If you’ve seen the A5 at any of the industry shows at which it’s appeared, it is, undeniably, a cool airplane.  What you may know about, but probably haven’t seen, is the Aircraft Purchase Agreement and the Aircraft Operating Agreement, both of which A5 buyers are required to sign if they want to purchase the A5 [Link].

Among other provisions, the Agreements state:

  • the buyer cannot sue ICON or, alternatively, pay an extra $10,000 to buy the airplane
  • that the Agreements were “drafted jointly” to avoid any presumption that ambiguous provisions are interpreted against ICON, the actual drafter
  • creates a “Managing Pilot,” who may be the “Owner”, an “Affiliate” or a “non-affiliate of Owner”
  • obligates the “Managing Pilot” and the “Owner”, as a contractual matter, to undertake certain training and aircraft maintenance
  • obligates the “owner” to indemnify ICON if an accident occurs due to a breach of a provision of the Operating Agreement
  • mandates the aircraft will/may be equipped with a video and a data recorder, with the recorders owned by ICON and the data collected by/transmitted to ICON.

It’s pretty clear the owners of ICON are looking for a way to pro-actively avoid any liability exposure arising from the sale of their aircraft.  Reportedly, there has been something of a negative response from prospective purchasers to these terms and, once again, reportedly, the company is going back to re-visit the terms of these agreements.  The last chapter clearly isn’t written.

Decades ago, a well-known manufacturer decided to operate without products liability insurance.  The owner’s attitude was that if they had no insurance and an accident occurred, the plaintiff would sue others – avionics, engine or other manufacturers or maintenance facilities – and leave the air frame manufacturer alone.  That worked just fine until it didn’t, the result being a bankruptcy which lasted almost five years.

Plane-ly Spoken will watch the ICON “experiment” closely and keep you advised.

Icon to Customers: “We’ll Sell You Our Aircraft, But Only If You Promise Not To Sue Us!”

The Airline Symposium Webinar Series – The FAA Enforcement Process and Philosophy

We would like to thank everyone who was able to join us yesterday for our Webinar on the FAA Enforcement Process and Philosophy.

For those of you who could not join us and are curious about what you missed, you can download the PowerPoint slides HERE.

For those of you who would like to view the entire presentation, you can click on the link below.









The Airline Symposium Webinar Series – The FAA Enforcement Process and Philosophy

Third Party Providers: What They Are, What They Do and What You Need to Know About Using Them

The Airline Symposium Webinar Series

Third Party Providers: What They Are, What They Do and What You Need to Know About Using Them

The Airline Symposium, held annually in February, has grown in both numbers and profile over the last nine years. To bring you the Symposium’s benefits all year long, we are pleased to invite you to the Airline Symposium Webinar Series. These complimentary hour-long webinars take a more in-depth look at subjects touched on at the Symposium.

Dentons is proud to work with Deborah Thompson, a recognized expert in airline emergency response and family assistance, to bring you these events.

This webinar will focus on selecting and using third-party family assistance support providers following an incident or accident. We will discuss:

  • What a third-party provider is
  • What services a third-party provider offers
  • Levels of services available
  • Who offers these services
  • How to hire and control third-party providers
  • How to differentiate among providers
  • The role of the Red Cross at the local and national levels
  • Interfacing third-party providers with company personnel, passengers and families
  • And many other aspects of this little examined topic

Event Details
Date and Time
August 18, 2015
1:00-2:30 pm ET
Ann Cabiness
D +1 202 496 7387

Download PDF/Course Materials here!

Third Party Providers: What They Are, What They Do and What You Need to Know About Using Them

2015 Airline Symposium Webinar Series

McKenna Long & Aldridge and
Deborah Thompson & Associates


The Airline Symposium Webinar Series

Airline Family Assistance & The Role of
Station Personnel in Foreign Accidents


June 25, 2015
1:00 – 2:30 pm EST

 A Webinar Focusing on the Role of the Airline Station and its Personnel
in a Foreign Country in the Hours Following an Incident/Accident

Over the last nine years, The Airline Symposium held annually in February, has continued to grow in both numbers and profile.  In order to bring you the benefit of the Symposium all year long, we are pleased to announce The Airline Symposium Webinar Series.

Working with Deborah Thompson, a recognized expert in airline emergency response and family assistance, MLA will present a series of one-hour webinars “zooming in” on discreet subjects in the area. The first of the webinar series was on May 14, 2015 and focused on station personnel and their role following an accident in the United States.

This webinar will focus on an accident in a foreign country and the role and response of station personnel.

The unique problems presented by foreign accidents touch every aspect of an airlines response.  From the investigation, to language, to culture, to family assistance issues, there is virtually nothing associated with an accident in a foreign country that is the same as one occurring in the United States.  Moreover, station personnel are on the front line and may find themselves in that position far longer due to the distances involved.

Among other areas, this webinar will focus on:

·        Role of the State Department

·        The investigation process

·        Role of the National Transportation Safety Board

·        Criminal investigation

·        Cultural issues

·        Dealing with passengers and families and the special issues they present

·        Dealing with the airport and first responders, including fire, police and military authorities

·        Managing and dealing with the Media

·        Protecting the crew

·        Coordinating effectively with code share partners and other carriers

·        Dealing with contract personnel and third party providers

·        Managing and protecting your personnel

The Symposium Webinars Series gives us the opportunity to “drill down” on specific subjects of special interest to various segments of our Symposium audience.  View it as an extension, an in depth look, at subjects talked about or touched on at the Symposium.

The June 25, 2015, webinar will focus on the station’s unique role in the hours following an accident in a foreign country and the special challenges they confront.  Future webinars will focus on, among other areas, how to select a third-party provider and a host of areas directed at providing a “nuts and bolts” perspective, in a convenient format focused on reaching the greatest number of airline personnel.

Aviation Information

To stay current with all things aviation:

Visit planelyspokenblog.com

Follow @mckennalong on Twitter


All webinars in the Symposium Webinar Series will be complimentary.

Event Information and Registration


2015 Airline Symposium Webinar Series