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The university’s storied aviation history includes concerns with general aviation safety. Michael F. Robertson, an associate professor in Aviation Management and Flight, recently received national recognition for his efforts in aviation safety.

Robertson received the John K. Lauber Aviation Safety Award in September during the University Aviation Association’s Fall Education Conference in Omaha, Neb. He joins José R. Ruiz, a professor in the department, as the second Lauber Award recipient. Ruiz earned his in 2009.

“The award is a huge honor that I did not expect,” Robertson said. “ Having had two individuals from SIU win the award I think says a lot about not only the high-quality education that we give our students but also our involvement in safety management in the industry.  It is more reinforcement how our teaching and research have an impact beyond the classroom.” The award recognizes achievement that demonstrates “clear advancement of aviation safety by an individual or an organization.” Robertson is the “consummate aviation safety professional,” Ruiz said, in his nomination letter.

Ruiz discussed Robertson’s involvement in developing two Safety Management System (SMS) workshops at SIU Carbondale -- the workshops assist airports nationwide develop individual SMS plans. He also discussed the development of an online hazard reporting system for Southern Illinois Airport that resulted in various general aviation airports around the state duplicating that effort, and Robertson’s involvement in three Federal Aviation Administration pilot projects – two research grants and a consultantship valued at more than $250,000. Robertson is working on a doctorate in education with emphasis on Workforce Education and Development. Ruiz wrote that Robertson’s dissertation research study related to SMS and the safety culture.  He is also working with a federally funded grant through the FAA’s “Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility, and Sustainability” (PEGASAS) program to develop an advisory circular for SMS software for airports. He was also involved with a two-day course in November that allowed drone operators to gain FAA certification to operate unmanned aircraft systems.

Robertson’s contributions “to aviation safety resonate throughout collegiate aviation and the aviation industry,” Ruiz wrote.

National Aviation Safety Recognition
Michael Robertson Safety Award
Michael F. Robertson, Associate Professor in Aviation Management and Flight, recently earned the 2016 John K. Lauber Aviation Safety Award.

Why SIU Aviation?

SIU Aviation offers a comprehensive aviation program offering both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in aviation.  SIU Aviation has three different undergraduate majors including Aviation Flight, Aviation Management and Aviation Technologies.

SIU Aviation Flight program is accredited by Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI).