2012 National General Aviation Award Winners Named

LONGMONT, Colorado (29 February 2012) - In each of the past 49 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...


In addition to serving on the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) board of directors, Rick is chairman of the AEA's Member Benefits Committee and is the FAA Ambassador for the Columbus FSDO. He serves on the National Business Aviation Association's (NBAA) Maintenance Manager's committee and co-chairs the Advanced Training and Education sub-committee. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Youth Aviation Adventure program.


A soon-to-be-instrument-rated private pilot, Rick also holds Radio 1, 2 & 3 repairman certificates and an Airframe Mechanic certificate as well as an FCC General Radio Operator license. He regularly flies the company's Cessna 182 with the latest avionics technologies installed by the Spirit Avionics team.


A member of the EAA who regularly participates in FAA FAASTeam outreach initiatives, Rick is married to Pam and they have four children.


Ochs (Rick@SpiritAvionics.com) represented the Columbus FSDO area and the FAA's Great Lakes Region. This year's other regional Avionics Technician of the Year winners include John Tildon Austin Jr of Honolulu, HI (FAA’s Western Pacific Region); William David “Bill” Betts from Smithfield, NC (FAA’s Eastern Region); and James Andrew “Jim” Lightfoot Sr of Milliken, CO (FAA’s Northwest Mountain Region).


2012 NATIONAL CFI OF THE YEAR:   Master CFI Hobart Caleb “Hobie” Tomlinson of Huntington, Vermont, has been named the 2012 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year. He is employed by Heritage Aviation at Burlington (BTV) and is an independent flight instructor as well as a designated pilot examiner (DPE). Not only is he a current 5-time Master CFI but in 2010, he earned the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.


Hobie inherited his love of aviation from his father who was a WWII US Army instructor pilot in Burlington. After his dad taught him to fly, Hobie went on to earn commercial, instrument, multi-engine, airline transport pilot certifications as well as flight instructor ratings and several type ratings. He has amassed more than 35,000 total flight hours.


In 1964, Hobie graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston with a major in Aircraft Maintenance Technology and an Aircraft and Powerplant (A&P) certificate. After graduating from Vermont Military Academy, he served a six-year tour in the Vermont National Guard. Meanwhile, he worked as a flight instructor, aircraft mechanic, and charter pilot for Northern Airways.


Hobie earned his initial flight instructor certification in 1965 and has been an active CFI ever since. He always finds a way to be a teacher in virtually every job setting. Today, his primary areas of specialty are in instrument and multiengine training at the CFI and ATP levels as well as tailwheel aircraft and seaplanes. He is also a Cirrus (CSIP) certified instructor, has served as an FAA DPE since 1977, and has accumulated over 11,000 instructional hours since becoming a CFI.


A FAASTeam lead representative for his local FSDO, he presents safety seminars and writes a monthly safety newsletter for over 300 subscribers. He was also responsible for presenting and advising on the eight-part CFI workshops and routinely participates in the Northeast Safety Expo. Additionally, he has earned and maintains the FAA Master-level WINGS.


Starting in 1967, Hobie spent the next 33 years as a flight engineer, pilot, and simulator instructor with Trans World Airlines (TWA). Since 2005, he has been Heritage Aviation’s director of safety and a Citation CE560XL check airman. He is also responsible for creating and teaching safety management systems (SMS) curricula to all employees.

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