Robert A. Feerst, of Utilities/Aviation Specialists Inc., combines thirty-eight years of aviation experience with thirty-one years of operating in the gas and electric utility. His experience ranges from managing an innovative, multi-function corporate flight operations, to managing electric utility substation, transmission, and distribution operations, construction and maintenance. He is an active consultant who works with industry wide safety and operational issues in the utility, military and civil aviation industries.
Bob is a Journeyman Lineman and a Commercial Pilot, rated in both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. Over the course of his thirty-eight years of aviation experience, he has worked with nearly every type of aviation operation that employs low-level fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. He has been involved with numerous utilities, world wide, on issues concerning helicopter power line operations, transmission systems reliability management, as well as wire and obstruction marking, accident investigation and litigation support. He also helps utilities build safe and cost effective helicopter support programs including construction, inspection and live-line maintenance.
He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science from Purdue University. His major areas of study were Industrial Engineering and Management. He also holds Masters Degrees in Aviation Business Management and in Aviation/Aerospace Operations from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is member of the Helicopter Association International (HAI), the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association (PHPA), The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) the Lawyer/Pilot Bar Association and the University Aviation Association.
Bob was elected to three consecutive two year terms as Chairman of the “Utility’s Patrol and Construction Committee” (UPAC) with the “Helicopter Association International. He has been the recipient of numerous safety awards, both military and civilian, for his efforts to promote aviation safety. He is the author and instructor of the well known “Flying in the Wire and Obstruction Environment, and Wire Strike Avoidance” training programs taught to professional aviators worldwide. He is an Associate Staff Member with the U.S. DOT/Transportation Safety Institute (TSI) and an instructor for the Advanced Rotorcraft Accident Investigation Course where he trains NTSB and FAA inspectors in rotorcraft accident investigation. He is also a DOT Certified aviation safety auditor, DOT certified aviation risk management instructor and a DOT certified Aviation Safety Program Manager. To date, he has trained over 28,000 aviation managers, pilots, safety officers (both military and civilian), engineers, lineman/patrolmen, military pilots, flight nurses, and other industry professionals from all across the globe.
He was appointed to a special committee with the Helicopter Association International and the Federal Aviation Administration as a result of the FAA’s Joint Safety Analysis Team (JSAT) “Safer Skies Initiative.” The committees stated goals are to review FAR’s, Part 77, and develop a national standard and criteria for marking wires and towers, and to review and revise the Advisory Circulars (AC’s) pertaining to low level operations and wire and obstruction marking. His capacity with the committee was to represent both the utility and the aviation industries. He is currently working with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, Transport Canada, the Civil Aviation Administration in Norway, The U.S. Department of Home Land Security, and the Utility Industries in the United States, Canada and Europe conducting tests and evaluations on a newly developed wire/obstacle collision avoidance system.
Bob is a frequent speaker at both aviation and utility conferences on issues involving aviation operations and safety. He also frequently serves as a panel member or panel chairman on technical issues having to do with aviation and/or utility flight operations issues. Bob resides in Crown Point Indiana and can be reached at (219) 662-8175 or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.helicoptersafety.com