2019 General Aviation Award Winners

Recipients of the 2019 National General Aviation Awards are:

  • Gary Reeves —2019 Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year
  • John “Dave” Monti —2019 Aviation Technician of the Year
  • Karen Kalishek —2019 FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year

2019 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year

Gary Dale Reeves of Decatur, Texas has been named the 2019 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year. Gary is an ATP and Master CFI with over 7,500 hours (mostly instruction given) in over 50 types of aircraft from Cessna 172s to Beech 1900s.

Gary is founder and chief safety officer of PilotSafety.org, an organization he created in 2013 to provide free, low-cost training to pilots nationwide. He specializes in using modern computer technology to deliver training via webinar and video. One of his specialties is training pilots in the use of glass cockpit avionics, autopilots, and electronic flight bag software.

In 2016, Gary created Master Flight Training to provide three-day IFR Mastery programs for pilots who fly with Avidyne or Garmin glass cockpits. In the past three years, he has given this training to more than 60 pilots in 24 states involving 26 different aircraft models. 

Since 2012, Gary has been a Lead FAASTeam Representative, first with the Long Beach (Calif.) FSDO and now with the North Texas FSDO. In this capacity, he has taught more than 130 free FAA Wings-credit Safety Seminars in 10 states. He is a much in-demand speaker at major general aviation events including EAA AirVenture, Sun ‘n Fun, AOPA Regional Fly-Ins, and Northwest Aviation Expo.

Gary is the official National Training Provider for both Avidyne Avionics and GenesysAerosystems (S-TEC). He was honored in 2015 by the Long Beach (Calif.) FSDO as both Instructor of the Year and FAASTeam Representative of the Year. In 2016, he was honored as Instructor of the Year by the FAA Western-Pacific Region.

2019 Aviation Technician of the Year

Jon David Monti of Gardnerville, Nevada has been named the 2019 Aviation Technician of the Year.  Dave holds an instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, aircraft and powerplant mechanic certificate, and inspection authorization.In 1975, Dave founded Rebuilt Aircraft, Inc. at the South Lake Tahoe, CA Airport (KTVL), relocating two years later to Minden, Nevada (KMEV). His goal was to provide specialized maintenance and repair services for owners of Beech Bonanzas, Barons, and Travelairs. In 1984 Rebuilt Aircraft, Inc. became a Part 145 Repair Station, and Dave has served as Chief Inspector for the Repair Station ever since.  He also served as a FAA Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR) for more than 25 years, preparing numerous aircraft for export to other countries and inspecting foreign aircraft for import to the US. Dave holds an STC to upgrade early 185/225 hp Bonanzas and Debonairs to the 260 hp Continental IO-470-N engine. Customers fly their Beech airplanes to Dave’s shop from 11 states.

Dave has been an integral part of the instructional staff for the Bonanza Pilot Proficiency Program (BPPP) since 1988, providing recurrent training for owners of Beech Bonanza, Baron, and Travelair airplanes. For many years, he served as the lead maintenance instructor and inspector for BPPP.

Originally appointed as an Aviation Safety Counselor in 1999, Dave has served tirelessly in this capacity as the national program evolved into today’s FAA Safety Team. As a FAASTeam Representative, Dave has supported and conducted safety seminars as a volunteer presenter and has developed multiple specialized presentations on issues of owner maintenance for the Reno FSDO. 

During his 32 years as a Life Member in the American Bonanza Society (ABS), Dave has presented maintenance training topics at many ABS national conventions. Dave has written numerous articles, training syllabi, and other technical products to support maintenance outreach activities. Dave co authored “Flight Controls, Flap and Trim System Inspection, Repair, and Rigging”, a Mechanics Guide published by ABS.

2019 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year

Karen Ann Kalishek of De Pere, Wisconsin has been named the 2019 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year. Karen has served as FAASTeam Lead Representative for the Milwaukee FSDO since 2015, and as a FAASTeam Representative since 2013. She is a Master Flight Instructor and FAA Gold Seal Instructor who holds ATP, CFI, CFII, CFIME, CFI-Glider, AGI, and IGI certificates.

As Lead FAASTeam Representative, Karen is responsible for recruiting new FAASTeam Reps, mentoring them, and working with other members of the Northern Wisconsin FAASTeam to organize 15-20 WINGS Safety Seminars a year. She serves in the position of WINGS Pro, responsible for promoting WINGS involvement and activities throughout Wisconsin.

Karen is an independent flight instructor for private, instrument, commercial, flight instructor, and glider candidates. She is also a Cirrus Training Center Instructor. In addition, Karen is a Captain in the CIvil Air Patrol, serving as a CAP volunteer flight instructor, G1000 instructor, check pilot, safety officer, aerospace education officer, special flight release officer, mission pilot, and cadet orientation pilot.

Karen holds bachelor’s degrees in accounting and business administration, a Masters in business administration, and a Ph.D. in management.In 2014, Karen spearheaded a project to develop an aviation training program for first responders, working together with a captain in the Green Bay Fire Department who is also a pilot. The program has been adopted by the Green Bay Fire Department and the Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics.

Karen serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) and The Ninety-Nines. In 2014, she founded the Green Bay IMC Club, and serves as its leader and club coordinator. Since 2006, she has served as treasurer of EAA Chapter 651, and serves as a EAA Flight Advisor for the Chapter.