Patterson Trust Speaker - Capt Dave Fielding
Disciplinary and Welfare Rep, BALPA (British Airline Pilots Association)
Dave Fielding studied Classics at Cambridge before making the perfectly logical step and becoming an airline pilot. He joined British Airways in 1993 on the Highlands and Islands Division, flying the BAe ATP which taught him a love for Scotland and a hate for aircraft which keep breaking down and have no cockpit heaters. When Highlands Division closed he moved down to London on the B757 and achieved his command on the Airbus A320 in 2001, with perfect timing the day before 9/11. Since then he has been a captain on the B767, B777 and the A380, which is his current type.
Dave has been a union rep since 1996, and unsurprisingly given his classics background gravitated towards the quasi-legal field of disciplinaries. This led to an interest in alcohol and welfare cases, which in turn led to him creating a BALPA peer intervention programme to identify problem individuals upstream and away from the airline operation. The Germanwings crash of 2015 changed the game dramatically, and he worked with British Airways in the period following to adapt and improve the programme. In January 2017 the Pilots Assistance Network (PAN) became the first peer support programme in Europe to be launched post-Germanwings. Most of the major UK airlines have or are in the process of implementing the BALPA / BA programme in some form.
Dave sits on the Executive Board of the European Pilot Peer Support Initiative (EPPSI) which has drawn together all the European expertise in setting up PSPs. They are in a very busy period now that EASA have mandated that all European airlines must have a PSP by August 2020. Dave has also been closely involved in the creation of IPPAC, a global version of EPPSI which aims to promote best practice and standards in Pilot Peer Support.
He would love to retire to warmer climes but is too young and finds this work far too interesting.