LONGMONT, Colorado (March 2011) - In each of the past 48 years, the General Aviation Awards program and the Federal Aviation Administration (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 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 Joseph "Joe" Morales of Lakewood, Colorado, Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) of the Year; Russell John "Russ" Callender of Houlton, Wisconsin, Avionics Technician of the Year; MCFI-Aerobatic Judy Ann Phelps of Santa Paula, California, Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) of the Year; and MCFI Vicki Lynn Sherman of DeLand, Florida, FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year. Previously, this award was the Aviation Safety Counselor (ASC) of the Year.
The FAA administrator will present the national awards in July during a "Theater in the Woods" program at EAA AirVenture 2011 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. 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 GA Awards activities.
"These awards highlight the important role played by these individuals in promoting aviation education and flight safety," said JoAnn Hill, General Aviation Awards Committee chairperson. "The awards program sponsors and supporters are pleased that these outstanding aviation professionals will receive the recognition they so richly deserve before their peers in Oshkosh."
2011 NATIONAL AMT OF THE YEAR: Joe Morales of Lakewood, Colorado, has been an airframe and powerplant (A&P) technician for 31 years and has held inspection authorization (IA) for 18 of those years. Joe works at the US Air Force Academy for Doss Aviation Inc (www.DossAviation.com) performing contract maintenance on aircraft used in the academy's soaring and skydiving programs. Joe is also a CFI and provides flight training at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (BJC) in Broomfield, Colorado, on a part time basis.
Joe has had a fascination with aviation since he was a child. Growing up in a housing project on Staten Island, New York, he built rubber band powered balsawood models and flew them from the rooftop of his apartment building. His parents weren't crazy about this but still encouraged his interest in aviation.
Completing his A&P training after high school, Joe began employment at Lockheed in 1980 where he spent time in the Skunk Works and later on the P-3C Orion flight line. Eventually Joe became a field Quality Assurance Representative and spent five years in Canada. After Lockheed closed their Burbank facility, Joe worked at various manufacturing and modification facilities. He even spent time on the B-2 Stealth Bomber production line as well as working in general aviation. During the early 1990s, Joe earned his private pilot certificate and eventually became a CFI as well as a CFII.