Don Spruston, director general of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), is the 2010 recipient of the NBAA John P. “Jack” Doswell Award, granted each year for lifelong individual achievement in supporting business aviation. Spruston has been director general of the IBAC since 1999.
In announcing the award, NBAA said, “Under Spruston’s leadership, IBAC has effectively advocated for the interests and concerns of business aviation before the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)–the global standards-setting body for civil aviation around the world, including for safety and operations standards.” Spruston led the development of new safety standards, NBAA said, for Annex 6, Part II of the Chicago Convention governed by ICAO, which addresses the modernization of operational rules and safety for general aviation worldwide. NBAA called the feat “a milestone in the history of IBAC” and credited Spruston’s leadership for the accomplishment.
When asked how he became interested in aviation, Spruston told AIN, “Aviation has been part of my life from birth. One of my first memories was walking out the front door of our home in Trenton, Ontario, and into an open-cockpit biplane.” He started flying on his own a few years later at the Royal Military College of Canada, soloing in 1963 after his second year at the university. He went on to earn his ATP certificate. He then became a managing partner of Canadian Aviation Safety Associates. He evaluated civil aviation authorities and was an advisor to ICAO in establishing its Universal Safety Oversight Audit Program. Spruston’s favorite airplane to fly was the historic Lockheed JetStar, which was also the first corporate airplane that he flew.
From 1988 to 1991, Spruston served as director general of aircraft services for Transport Canada and managed a flight department operating more than 90 aircraft. In 1991 he became director general of civil aviation, managing the Canadian aviation safety regulatory program. He conducted evaluation flights for Transport Canada, checking out new safety equipment that was subject to potential regulatory requirements, including ground proximity warning systems, and navigation equipment for development of airspace criteria, such as MLS and Rnav.
Spruston writes often about aviation safety. Among his many honors, he has received the Transport Canada Safety Award, the Canadian Owners and Pilots President Award and the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute C.D. Howe Award.
“The global business aviation community would not be the same without visionaries like Don Spruston,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “He has been a tremendous advocate and leader in promoting the industry’s agenda and furthering its cause. NBAA is pleased to recognize his outstanding contributions.”
The Doswell Award will be presented to Spruston today at the VIP luncheon (by invitation only).