Safety study award honours Mac Job

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Macarthur Job. Image: Margo Marchbank, CASA

Aviation safety pioneer and former Flight Safety Australia contributor Macarthur Job is being remembered in a way he would surely have approved of: The Australian Society of Air Safety Investigators (ASASI) and the US-based Flight Safety Foundation are jointly sponsoring the Macarthur Job Scholarship, for students of aviation-related subjects.

The winner will receive a $2,000 grant towards travel and accommodation costs to attend an ASASI seminar (or its New Zealand NZSASI equivalent).

‘This award will perpetuate the legacy of Mac Job and his pioneering work in air safety investigation and safety promotion in Australia,’ ASASI and the Flight Safety Foundation say in a joint statement.

Macarthur Job (1926–-2014) was editor of to the Department of Civil Aviation’s safety promotion publication, Aviation Safety Digest, for 14 years from 1964 to 1978. He edited (and wrote much of) issues 36 to 100. From 1967, he was also the department’s senior inspector of air safety.

Job sought to establish a rapport with his readership by talking to them as fellow pilots in their own language — letting the accidents the Digest reviewed tell their own story, rather than lecturing. Under his editorship, the Digest received the Flight Safety Foundation’s ‘Publication of the Year’ award in 1972.

After leaving the department, he joined the editorial staff of the aviation industry journal Aircraft and was later appointed a director of the Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) — a professional, non-profit organisation which at the time operated more than 40 aircraft in community development work in Papua New Guinea and outback Australia.

He became a freelance aviation writer and consultant in 1988, specialising in air safety and accident analysis. In 1997 he consulted for what became the first in an entire genre of TV programs devoted to aviation accidents, The Black Box. In the 2003 Queen’s Birthday honours he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) ‘for services to the promotion of aviation safety’. He remained a regular contributor to Flight Safety Australia until shortly before his death and was inducted into the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame in 2016.

Scholarship applicants must be enrolled as students in an Australian ASASI-recognised education program, including, but not limited to, studies in aircraft engineering, air operations, airline management, aviation psychology, aviation safety or aircraft occurrence investigation.

The entry requirement is to write a 2,000-word essay on the topic, ‘Will Artificial Intelligence do away with the need for Air Safety Investigators?’ Applications close on 30 April 2023.

Flight Safety Australia congratulates all applicants.