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ACONE Crash Course 2023


Operating under pressure is part of aviation. Join AOPA Air Safety Institute SVP Richard McSpadden in a discussion about how our minds operate under pressure and how to optimize your response for peak flying performance.


FAA New England Region Regional Administrator, Colleen D'Alessandro will provide opening remarks, followed by an in-depth review of regional accidents by Stephen K. Brown, FAA Aviation Safety Program Manager.

Our featured speaker will be Richard McSpadden, Senior Vice President, AOPA Air Safety Institute. Richard will present the topic "Under Pressure: The Mind of A Pilot In Distress"

Richard McSpadden was appointed executive director of the AOPA Air Safety Institute in February 2017 and was promoted to senior vice president in July 2020. He currently leads a team of certified flight instructors and content creators who develop and distribute aviation safety material –free of charge— in order to advance general aviation safety industrywide. ASI distributes material through a dedicated YouTube channel, iTunes podcasts, Facebook, and a dynamic website. ASI material is accessed 12 million times annually.

A native of Panama City, Florida, McSpadden started flying as a teenager and has logged over 5,000 hours flying a variety of civilian and military aircraft. McSpadden is a commercial pilot, CFII, MEI with SES, MES ratings and a 525S (Citation Jet Single Pilot) type rating. He taught his son to fly, instructed his daughter to solo in their Piper Super Cub, previously owned a 1950 Navion that was in his family for almost 40 years, and currently owns a 1993 Piper Super Cub.

McSpadden holds a degree in Economics from the University of Georgia, and a Master of Public Administration from Troy University. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air War College.

Prior to joining AOPA, McSpadden had a successful career in the information technology industry, leading large, geographically dispersed operations providing business-critical IT services. McSpadden also served in the Air Force for 20 years, including the prestigious role of commander and flight leader of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flight demonstration team where he led over 100 flight demonstrations flying the lead aircraft.

Additionally, McSpadden currently serves as the industry chair for the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee.


Wednesday, March 15, 2023
6:00 PM until 9:15 PM


Boston Marriott Burlington
One Burlington Mall Road
Burlington, MA  01803
(781) 229-6565




6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Social Hour with Cash Bar and Sponsor Exhibits
7:00 p.m. – 7:10 p.m. Welcome, Introductions by David O'Leary,  Dr. Gary Kearney and Colleen D'Alessandro
7:10 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Review of Local Accidents, Stephen K. Brown, Aviation Safety Program Manager (FAASTeam)
8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Under Pressure: The Mind of A Pilot In Distress - Presentation by Richard McSpadden, SVP, AOPA Air Safety Institute
9:00 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. Door & Raffle Prize Drawings
Attendees staying throughout the full safety program will be eligible for WINGS credit.

Many thanks to our sponsors:


Since 1902, the Aero Club of New England has been promoting aviation safety. ACONE launched Crash Course in 1990, and is now the largest stand-alone GA safety event in the world. It was created by Dr. Gary Kearney who adapted the medical team "Post Mortem" debriefing process used within modern medicine when medical outcomes do not meet expectations. Since its launch, Crash Course has analyzed hundreds of accidents and shared an interactive exploration of their progression, outcomes, and lessons learned with thousands of participants.


Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM
Boston Marriott Burlington
Boston Marriott Burlington Website
One Burlington Mall Road
Burlington, MA  01803

(781) 229-6565
Additional Info:
Event Contact(s):
David O'Leary
Safety Seminars
Registration is required
Payment In Full In Advance Only
No Fee