NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER AIRCRAFT DIVISION, Patuxent River, Md.– The United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 received a Safety “S” for earning the 2020 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Aviation Safety Award, Nov. 3.

The U.S. Naval Test Pilot School safety team, Barb Gordon and Lt. Cmdr. William Vey, are joined by the school’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Jeremy DeBons, and Commander of the Naval Air Systems Command, Vice Adm. Carl Chebi, after presentation of the Chief of Naval Operation’s Aviation Safety Award at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Nov. 23. (U.S. Navy Photo by Peter Fitzpatrick)

Vice Adm. Carl Chebi, Commander of the Naval Air Systems Command, presented the awards during back-to-back ceremonies at the respective squadrons on Nov. 3.

The award and the safety “S” displayed on each of the squadron’s aircraft recognizes the squadronfor excellence in aviation safety by maintaining Class A mishap-free safety records throughout the fiscal year, and making contributions to the Naval Aviation Safety Program. A Class A mishap is when a pilot or crew suffers deathor disability, or property damage at least $1 million.

Earning this award requires a culture of safety inclusive of everyone in the command. Safety leaders pointed to respect for the “no vote” – a policy that allows anyone to cancel a flight for any reason – asfoundational to their safety record, along with engagement from every level.

The AH-1W Cobra, displayed in front of an Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 hangar bearing an “S” to show recognition of the squadron’s commitment to safety following a presentation for the Chief of Naval Operations’ Aviation Safety Award at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Nov. 23. (U.S. Navy Photo by Kaitlin Wicker)

“It takes dedicated, experienced individuals to make a safety program work,” said Col. Richard Marigliano, Commodore of Naval Test Wing Atlantic. “At USNTPS, Lt. Cmdr. William Vey and Barbara Gordon; at HX-21, Lt. Trey Wheeler, and Doug Dickens, provide safety program leadership and focus, ensuring ground and flight test risk is appropriately mitigated. These two safety programs and the individuals that execute day-to-day safety functions ensure continued accomplishment of NTWL’s mission supporting our nation’s warfighters.”

Maintaining the highest levels of safety is difficult in any environment, but particularly challenging in squadrons that routinely push aircraft beyond their limits in order to provide new fleet capabilities.

Naval Test Wing Atlantic, a component of Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), serves as fleet advocate supporting test and evaluation of the Navy’s principal aviation systems ranging from unmanned to rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft.

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division is the Navy’s largest warfare center, employing more than 17,000 military, civilian and contract personnel. It operates test ranges, laboratories and aircraft in support of test, evaluation, research, development and sustainment of everything flown by the Navy and Marine Corps. Based in Patuxent River, Maryland, the command also has major sites in St. Inigoes, Maryland, Lakehurst, New Jersey, and Orlando, Florida.


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