OSHKOSH, WI (August 1, 2008) -- For the first time in its 45-year history, the General Aviation Awards Program has a place to call home, and a place where the names of the annual recipients of the national awards can be publically recognized and honored.
A display honoring the recipients of the national Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year, the Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year, the Avionics Technician of the Year, and the FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year (previously the Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year) was mounted in the EAA AirVenture Museum Hall of Fame during AirVenture Oshkosh 2008.
“Here now is a place where these names will forever be recorded,” said JoAnn Hill, chairperson for the awards program. “All of these people keep general aviation alive and well and safe; if we didn’t have good people, the industry wouldn’t survive.”
The display was inspired by 2006 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year Rich Stowell, a Master CFI-Aerobatic. His intent was to give back to the industry that recognized his service. JoAnn suggested that a good use for his efforts would be to recognize industry winners in one permanent location. She approached EAA President Tom Poberezny, who was eager to host the awards at AirVenture.
Ironically, prior to mounting the display at the Museum, only Sandy Hill, awards committee’s communications director, and Larry Crehore of White Eagle Laser Engraving in Longmont, Colorado — the company that did the engraving — were the only two who knew every award winner’s name. “That had to change,” Sandy said.
Even so, while the plaque is on display, there are still several blanks in the listings of past winners. In spite of extensive research into past recipients, the awards committee is unable to identify seven past CFIs of the Year and three past AMTs of the Year. Sandy said he hopes visitors to the Halls of Fame can help fill in the blanks for the National CFIs of the Year for 1968-1971 and 1973-1975, as well as the National AMTs of the Year for 1974 thru 1976.
The General Aviation Awards Program is a cooperative effort between the FAA and more than a dozen general-aviation industry sponsors, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, the Aircraft Maintenance Technology Society, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the National Air Transportation Association, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, the National Business Aviation Association, the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association, and Women in Aviation International. The program’s executive committee includes the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Association of Flight Instructors.
“The program recognizes aviation professionals on the local, regional, and national levels. These people are under-appreciated and under-recognized,” JoAnn said. “Even if they don’t make it to the national level, they’re now being recognized at their local and regional levels. They’re getting a resounding pat on the back, and they’re role models for younger people coming into these fields.”
The committee seeks to raise $2,500 to cover the cost of the display and its upkeep. To contribute to the fund, contact the GA Awards committee treasurer, AEA’s Executive Vice President Debra McFarland at DebbieM@aea.net or 816-347-8400.
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