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.

Growing up in Omaha, NE, Willerth was exposed early on to GA. Both of her parents were avid aviators. Her mother, a “Powder Puff Derby” cross-country air racer, taught Willerth to fly at the Cessna Pilot Center (CPC) in Omaha where she instructed. Catching the air race bug, Willerth went along as her mom’s copilot in two All Women’s International Air Races.

In 1991, after 14 years of concentrating on family and a computer-marketing career, Jeanné started flying again. In 1998, she entered the 2,400-mile Air Race Classic with her mother and her then 17-year-old daughter, a student pilot. She received a scholarship from the 99s in 1999 and earned her instrument rating, followed by single engine and multiengine commercial ratings.

After managing computer training centers and teaching computer science at a college, she shifted gears. Her next career change involved flying and adding a CFI, CFII, AGI, IGI, and MEI along with presenting at aviation safety seminars nationwide. She also became a volunteer FAA Aviation Safety Counselor.

Willerth instructs at Air Associates, a CPC at Johnson County Executive Airport (KOJC) in Kansas City and at Lee’s Summit Airport (KLXT) where she chairs the airport board. She has more than 2,000 hours and teaches primary, instrument, multiengine, and Garmin G1000 transition training. She’s also a mentor for “late in life” learners and specializes in getting dormant pilots back in the air.

Willerth is married to Lee’s Summit attorney Joe Willerth and they have three grown children.

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