2004 National GA Awards Winners Named

In each of the past 41 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 numerous 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 the national winners.

This year’s national award winners are Douglas “Doug” Stewart of North Egremont, Massachusetts, named the Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) of the Year; Gary Stephen Goodpaster of Cincinnati, Ohio, who is the Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year; Keith Bryan Lewis of Spartanburg, South Carolina, 2003’s Avionics Technician of the Year; and Walter Schuyler “Walt” Schamel of Winter Haven, Florida, the Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year.

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey will present this year’s national awards during a “Theater in the Woods” program at EAA AirVenture 2004 inOshkosh,Wisconsin.

“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 inOshkosh.”

Doug Stewart

MCFI Doug Stewart (Doug@DSFlight.com) has been a CFI since 1991 and owns Doug Stewart Flight Instruction (DSFI), a flight school located at Kline Kill Airport (NY1) in Ghent, New York.  DSFI (www.DSFlight.com) specializes in confidence-building instrument training programs and tailwheel transitions.  The school is also Cirrus certified and is approved by several large aviation insurers to offer Malibu/Mirage recurrent training.

Stewart’s considerable contributions to the FAA’s safety program make him well known throughout theNew Englandarea.  “Flying the Hudson River VFR Corridor” is a comprehensive, multimedia presentation Stewart developed that has received wide acclaim from the region’s pilots.

For enjoyment, he flies a 1947 Piper Super Cruiser (PA-12).  His extensive experience in that aircraft landed him a monthly column in Vintage Airplane, a publication of the Vintage Aircraft Association.  The column is entitled “The Vintage Instructor” and is devoted to training and safety issues.  He also serves as an FAA designated pilot examiner for the Albany FSDO.

For the last several years, Stewart has served as Chief Flight Specialist in AirVenture’s Flight Instructor Headquarters operated by the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI).  In recognition of his exceptional efforts on behalf of NAFI and aviation education, he was named the 2003 Flight Specialist of the Year.  In addition, he is one of approximately 400 aviation educators worldwide who holds a Master CFI designation.  This professional accreditation is granted by NAFI to outstanding aviation educators who are demonstrating an ongoing commitment to excellence, professional growth, and service to the aviation community.

Stewart represented the Windsor Locks FSDO as well as the FAA’s New England Region.


Gary Goodpaster

Gary Goodpaster (Gary.Goodpaster@Kroger.com) graduated with honors fromCincinnatiStateTechnicalCollege in August of 1975 and started his aviation maintenance career as an airframe and powerplant mechanic (A&P).  After graduation, he worked as an A&P for several aircraft maintenance facilities in theCincinnati area including Key Aviation and Federated Department Stores.

In 1985, he began maintaining the fleet of aircraft operated by the Kroger Company atCincinnati’s Lunken Field (LUK).  In February of 2000, he was granted inspection authorization by the FAA and now serves as Kroger’s chief of aircraft maintenance.  He also holds an FCC General Radio Operator’s license.

His achievements in the maintenance field opened yet another door for him.  In 1999, he began serving as an adjunct instructor of aviation atCincinnatiState, his alma mater.  At the same time, he was also recognized as a distinguished alumnus by the college.  He is a longtime member of the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA), is a recipient of PAMA’s Joe Chase

Award and presently serves as president of the Association’sCincinnatichapter.

When not overseeing the maintenance of Kroger’s aircraft fleet, he enjoys flying radio controlled airplanes, serves as an aviation safety counselor for the Cincinnati FSDO and is a Boy Scouts of America merit badge counselor.  In addition, he holds a private pilot certificate and is a member of the Cessna Pilots Association.

Goodpaster represented the Cincinnati FSDO as well as the FAA’s Great Lakes Region.


Keith Lewis

Keith Lewis (KLewis@StevensAviation.com) developed an interest in electronics as a teenager in the 1960s.  This interest soon led to a Ham radio operator’s license.  However, it was the United States Air Force that provided him with his start in the avionics field.  In 1967, he completed Air Force Avionics Technician School inBiloxi,Mississippi.  After practicing his trade for two years, he joined the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron in theRepublic ofViet Nam.  In recognition of his outstanding achievement and meritorious service while troubleshooting and repairing avionics equipment, he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal.

In June of 1970, Lewis joined Stevens Aviation Incorporated as an avionics technician.  Stevens Aviation is a full service FBO located atSouth Carolina’s Greenville-Donaldson Center Airport (GYH).  In August of 1982, he was promoted to avionics service manager, a position he still holds today.  In that capacity, he does scheduling, works directly with customers and supervises the avionics repair department.

During almost four decades in the avionics field, he has attended more than 35 avionics factory training schools along with numerous weather radar and management seminars.  He also regularly participates in safety seminars offered by the FAA’s West Columbia FSDO and is an active member of the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA).

His early interest in amateur radio continues unabated.  Lewis now holds an FCC General Radio Telephone license with radar endorsement.  He is an active member of the Spartanburg Amateur Radio Club as well as the American Radio Relay League.  He also participates in the Weather Skywarn program.

Lewis represented the West Columbia FSDO as well as the FAA’s Southern Region.

Walt Schamel

Walt Schamel‘s (WSSchamel@aol.com) involvement in aviation began with his first flight in 1956 as a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadet.  Within ten years of that first flight, he was working as manager of the US Army Flying Club atFort Ord,California.  In that position, he immediately recognized a need for aviation safety counseling and began offering monthly flight education and

safety meetings to club members.  Thus, he became an “aviation safety counselor” before that FAA designation even existed.  Since then, he has served as an FAA Aviation Safety Counselor (ASC) or Safety Program Manager in nine different FSDOs nationwide.

The Civil Air Patrol has long been a part of Schamel’s life.  After his days as a CAP cadet in the mid-fifties, he moved up through the ranks.  From 1994 to 1997, he served as the CAP’s Oklahoma Wing commander.  He is also credited with the development of CAP’s check pilot standardization program.

His commitment to safety education continued throughout his 25-year FAA career as an aviation safety inspector.  In that capacity, he has worked at FSDOs inTampa,OrlandoandFairbanks.  He also did a 15-year stint with the FAA’s Pilot Examiner Standardization Team inOklahoma Citywhere he conducted worldwide examiner training seminars.

Since retiring in 2001, Schamel has worked as training manager for Airline Transport Professionals at Craig Airport (CRG) inJacksonville,Florida.  A certificated flight instructor (CFI) for more than three decades, he is one of approximately 400 aviation educators worldwide who holds a Master CFI designation.

Even in retirement, Schamel’s support of the FAA’s safety program continues unabated.  He is active in the WINGS and PACE programs while volunteering hundreds of hours each year as a member of theFAASafetyCenter’s production crew inLakeland,Florida, home of Sun ‘n Fun.  He also actively recruits and trains new ASCs in theOrlandoarea.

Schamel represented the Orlando FSDO as well as the FAA’s Southern Region.

Organizations providing support and sponsorship for the awards program include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) along with the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Helicopter Association International (HAI), the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), the National Association of State Aviation Officials

(NASAO), the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA) and Women in Aviation International (WAI).