2012 General Aviation Award Winners

Recipients of this year's national awards are: Marvin Hornbostel, Eric Christopher "Rick" Ochs, Hobart Caleb "Hobie" Tomlinson, and Jeanné Carole Willerth.


For the past 49 years, the General Aviation Awards program and the FAA have recognized a small group of aviation professionals in the fields of flight instruction, aviation maintenance, avionics, and safety for their contributions to aviation, education, and flight safety.

This awards program is a cooperative effort between the FAA and more than a dozen industry sponsors (www.GeneralAviationAwards.org). The selection process begins with local FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) managers at Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs), and then moves on to the eight regional FAA offices.

Previous national awards winners from each of those four fields then select national winners from the pool of regional winners.

Recipients of this year’s national awards are: Marvin Hornbostel of Junction City, KS, Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) of the Year; Eric Christopher “Rick” Ochs of Gahanna, OH, Avionics Technician of the Year; MCFI Hobart Caleb “Hobie” Tomlinson of Huntington, VT, Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) of the Year; and Jeanné Carole Willerth of Lee’s Summit, MO, FAASTeam Representative of the Year.

The FAA administrator will present the national awards on Wednesday, July 25 during a “Theater in the Woods” program at EAA AirVenture 2012 in Oshkosh, WI. Included in the prize package for all four national winners is an all-expense paid trip to Oshkosh for the recipient and a guest to attend the awards presentation and other activities.

“These awards highlight the important role played by these individuals in promoting aviation education and flight safety,” says JoAnn Hill, General Aviation Awards chair. “The awards program sponsors are pleased that these outstanding aviation professionals will receive the recognition they so richly deserve before their peers in Oshkosh.”

2012 National AMT of the Year

Marvin Hornbostel of Junction City, KS, is a recipient of the FAA’s Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award who has been working more than 50 years as an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) technician. He has held inspection authorization (IA) for 40 of those years.

He began his career in aviation with the U.S. Army at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he received basic aviation maintenance training followed by two years of service in Germany. After discharge, he worked with a maintenance contractor at Fort Riley, KS, performing maintenance on Army aircraft. Thirty-two years later, he retired as the shop supervisor.

During his years at Fort Riley, Hornbostel spent his spare time working on GA aircraft while learning all he could about fabric covering. His first complete restoration, in 1968, was a 1941 Taylorcraft. Two of his restored aircraft have been award winners at airshows in Oshkosh and Blakesburg, IA.

After retiring in 1990, he continued restoring fabric aircraft at his home in rural Junction City. Within a short time, his ability to work with fabric covering became widely known and turned into a business. Hornbostel, along with his son Jon, own and operate Raven Aero Service, which was formed in 1992. Raven specializes in antique and classic aircraft restoration. The business quickly outgrew the facility and was relocated to Junction City’s Freeman Field

(K3JC). Raven currently has four full-time employees. Hornbostel provides summer jobs for students from Kansas State University’s Aviation School who are interested in aircraft restoration. He also works with the Junction City High School Guided Study Program to provide hands-on training to students interested in aviation maintenance. Additionally, he provides work experience and mentorship to Army aviation maintenance technicians to help them transition into civilian careers.

Hornbostel serves on the Junction City Airport Aviation Advisory Board and is president of EAA Chapter 1364, the “Wing Nuts.” With a grant from The Greater Manhattan Community Foundation, he was instrumental in starting a Youth Aviation Education Program in the local chapter. The group participates in EAA’s Young Eagles Program, has built a flight simulator, and is presently constructing a Bowers Fly-Baby.

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