In each of the past 42 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 safety and education.
This awards program is a cooperative effort between the FAA and a dozen industry sponsors. The selection process begins at local Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) and then moves on to the nine regional FAA offices. Panels of aviation professionals within the various fields then select national winners from the pool of regional awardees.
Recipients of this year's national awards are John Anthony Teipen of University City, MO, Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) of the Year; Michael Cheever Church of Costa Mesa, CA, Aviation Safety Counselor (ASC) of the Year; Michael O'Brian "Mike" Branham of Bella Vista, AR, Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) of the Year; and Charles Allen Hanner of Lincoln, NE, Avionics Technician of the Year.
FAA Administrator Marion Blakey will present the national awards during a "Theater in the Woods" program at EAA AirVenture 2005 in Oshkosh, WI.
"These awards highlight the important role played by these individuals in promoting aviation safety and education," said JoAnn Hill, General Aviation Awards Committee chairman. "The awards program sponsors are pleased that these outstanding aviation professionals will receive the recognition they so richly deserve before their peers in Oshkosh."
2005 CFI OF THE YEAR: John Teipen
Master CFI John Teipen exemplifies the standard of professionalism in the field of flight instruction. He is involved in all levels of aviation education from soaring and seaplanes to academics and CFI continuing education.
Earning a pilot certificate in 1984, he became a certificated flight instructor in 1996. He teaches in the aviation program at St. Louis Community College and is an independent flight instructor in the St. Louis area specializing in tailwheel endorsements and upset/spin training in his recently rebuilt 1969 Bellanca 7ECA Citabria. He also serves as an aviation safety counselor as well as a designated pilot examiner in airplanes and gliders.
The Greater St. Louis Flight Instructors Association, St. Louis Soaring Association, the local Aeronca Champ Club and EAA's Young Eagles Program all benefit from his many hours of pro bono service. Starting out as a flight instructor revalidation clinic (FIRC) lecturer for the Greater St. Louis Flight Instructors Association, he now serves as the association's FIRC director. He is also a founding member of the St. Louis pilot examiners group.
Teipen believes in continuing education for all pilots and includes himself in that regimen. During the past five years, he has added airplane multiengine land (MEL), airplane single engine sea (SES) and multiengine instructor (MEI) ratings. A regular attendee at safety seminars, he has also achieved level eight in the FAA's Pilot Proficiency Awards "WINGS" program.
He is one of approximately 450 aviation educators worldwide who holds a Master Instructor designation. This professional accreditation is granted by the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) to outstanding aviation educators who are demonstrating an ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth, and service to the aviation community. He is a longtime member of NAFI as well as AOPA, EAA and IAC.