In October 2017, Jonathan Davis was awarded the BC General Aviation Association (BCGA) Sparky Imeson Memorial Bursary in the amount of One-Thousand dollars. This bursary is awarded to a pilot for the purpose of obtaining training to become more proficient in mountain or off airport flying. It is awarded in memory of Sparky Imeson who dedicated his life to teachingpilots to fly safely in the mountains.
In Jonathan’s scholarship application he stated that he was currently in university enrolled in a program specializing in research methods. In his short essay he writes:
“I am planning to pursue research late this summer with a focal point on General Aviation Pilot Complacency in Regions of Mountainous Terrain. The funding from this scholarship could help me to pursue this research, and also allow me to further my own personal experience with mountain flying.”
This dedication to furthering flight safety from a “young” aviator was exactly what our community needed. Shortly after being awarded the bursary Jonathan asked if he could be the BCGA delegate on the COPA / Transport Canada General Aviation Safety Campaign panel which consists of representatives from most aviation associations and groups across the country. Well, as an English poet once wrote “nothing is as contagious as enthusiasm” so with that Jonathan got involved in the campaign and has brought some great fresh ideas to the table.
Over the past year Jonathan has also been working on his University thesis titled:
FROM THE GROUND UP: A STUDY ON GENERAL AVIATION FLIGHT SAFETY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
Jonathan’s study involved a survey that was distributed to over two-hundred pilots followed by a series of flight simulator evaluations done in at a local flying school. In his study, Jonathan compared pilot’s perception of their own abilities to their actual performance to identify weaknesses in pilot training, recency, and regulatory oversight. He also conducted interviews with his subjects in order to identify themes that pilots see as contributing to accidents, incidents and gaps in knowledge.
I had the privilege of being one of his subjects and the further honour of being invited as an external reader to assist his professors in assessing his thesis defence in April of 2018. Jonathan is a shining example of a young person in aviation that is willing to put in the time, energy and commitment to enhance safety for all. Not only did he impress a room full of professors but has did the aviation community proud. Jonathan’s one-thousand-dollar bursary was meant for him to use to add a few hours of specialty flying to his logbook. Instead, he spent all of it to pay for flight simulator time for his pilot subjects in order to complete his study, thus giving back to the community just as Sparky Imeson did.
Jonathan’s full thesis will be made available in the coming weeks, it truly is an interesting read and very well done. It is clear that this was more than a school project, it was the beginning of a mission toward reducing general aviation accident rates and enhancing flight safety from the ground up. Jonathan is still the BCGA delegate on the COPA / Transport Canada Safety Campaign despite now living back in Newfoundland as he furthers his flying career as a First Officer on a Swearengin Metroliner. Jonathan hopes to continue his research on this topic to the master’s level and on behalf of the community we thank him to his commitment to safety and passion for all things aviation.