Bridging the gap: Work and passion in transportation safety
15 January 2013
Posted by: Jean-Marc Ledoux
Figuring out what makes us tick is a lifelong process. We need to learn what truly makes us passionate. But how do we bridge the gap between passion and work?
To be passionate about our job, we need to feel a sense of accomplishment and to be able to flourish both as an individual and professional in the workplace. My passion for aviation dates back to 1976 when I first decided to become a pilot. But after more than 20 years working as an airline pilot and having travelled all over the world, I felt the need to try my hand at something new while remaining in aviation.
When the opportunity arose to become an aviation accident investigator at the Transportation Safety Board, I leapt at it. The organization’s mission of advancing transportation safety was a big factor for me in deciding to change my career path. And here I am now with nearly 14 years of investigations under my belt, both in Canada and abroad.
The challenging work of an investigator has surely helped fuel my passion for this job. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when an investigation leads to a safety improvement in the aviation industry. While it’s not always easy to tangibly see exactly how an investigation impacts safety, I know each one helps to raise awareness among key industry partners all over the world—from airline executives and pilots, to aircraft manufacturers and government bodies responsible for aviation. As people, we learn a great deal from experience, both our own and others’, and I’d bet these industry officials have gained valuable lessons from the TSB’s reports and recommendations.
Today, even as an experienced pilot, when I fly my small aircraft just for fun, being alert is always at the forefront of my mind. My work as an investigator has made me appreciate just how fragile safety is.
We each have a role to play. We need to remember that at any time our actions and decisions can lead to an accident.
The TSB plays a critical role in advancing safety, but we all can make a difference—airline CEOs, pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers, air traffic controllers and ramp workers all contribute to improving transportation safety. I imagine that, like me, you’ll want to continue to enjoy the passion of your work for as long as possible.
So, let’s all be safe—both on and off the job—and keep a close eye on the fascinating world of aviation.
Jean-Marc has more than 35 years of civil aviation experience. He joined the TSB Air Investigation Branch in 1999 as an investigator and, since 2003, has been the Quebec Regional Manager. Aside from being a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme team, he has a black belt in karate and loves downhill skiing.
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