2021 General Aviation Award Winners

Awards for National Flight Instructor, Aviation Technician, and FAASTeam Rep of the year to be presented by the FAA at AirVenture


Versailles, Kentucky — February 11, 2021 — Every year for more than 50 years, the General Aviation Awards program and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have recognized aviation professionals for their contributions to general aviation in the fields of flight instruction, aviation maintenance/avionics, and safety.

Recipients of the 2021 National General Aviation Awards are:

  • Ronald Jay Timmermans of Orlando, Florida—2021 Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year
  • Michael Colin Dunkley of Coshocton, Ohio—2021 Aviation Technician of the Year
  • Adam Timothy Magee of Swisher, Iowa—2021 FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year

The FAA will present individual awards to each National Honoree in July during EAA AirVenture 2021 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and their names will be added to the large perpetual plaque located in the lobby of the EAA AirVenture Museum. In addition to being recognized at AirVenture and highlighted in the aviation media, National Honorees also receive gifts provided by sponsors and contributors.

“I am very excited to announce the selection of the National Honorees for the 2021 General Aviation Awards,” said GA Awards board chairman Sandya Narayanswami, “These awards highlight the important role played by these individuals in promoting aviation education and flight safety,” she added, “The awards program sponsors are pleased that these outstanding aviation professionals will receive the recognition they so richly deserve before their peers in Oshkosh.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Click on any of the headshots below for high-resolution images. If you trim the information about these honorees for copyfitting purposes, please retain the recipients’ email addresses so your readers may congratulate them. Thank you!

2021 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year

Ronald Jay

Ronald Jay “Ron” Timmermans of Orlando, Florida has been named the 2021 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year. Ron received his BA in Architecture from Iowa State University in 1972, and had a 40+-year professional career as an architect and project manager before devoting himself to aviation on a full-time basis. He has been an independent flight instructor since 1998. These days, he owns and manages AileRon T, LLC, and he flies a Beechcraft Bonanza co-owned with his wife Barbara – who originally inspired him to become a Flight Instructor.

Ron has logged more than 4,000 hours of dual instruction given, nearly 1,300 of those hours in the past five years. He instructs at locations throughout Florida from Miami to Naples to Tampa, where he serves as a mentor and advocate for emerging and young pilots and CFIs. Before relocating to Florida, Ron lived in North Texas and performed flight training in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Ron holds a wallet full of FAA airman certificates, including ATP-AMEL, Commercial-ASEL, CFI-IA, MEI-IA, AGI-Instrument, and Remote Pilot. He is a NAFI Master CFI and Master Ground Instructor, a Gold Seal Instructor, and an American Bonanza Society (ABS) Master Aviator. While Ron has instructed in everything from primary trainers to high-performance turbines, he is particularly well-known in the Beech community due to his active involvement in the Beechcraft Pilot Proficiency Program (BPPP) and Bonanza/Baron Pilot Training (BPT) program.

Ron began providing training to Beechcraft pilots in 1998 and developed the BPT training curricula that were approved for WINGS credit by the FAA. He instructed in BPT events throughout the United States from Oregon and California to New Hampshire and Florida and numerous other venues in between. In addition to providing instruction for Bonanza and Baron pilots, Ron has also been active in the BPT Companion Training Course for those pilots’ significant others. Since 2012, Ron has been active in the BPPP program of the ABS Air Safety Foundation.

Ron’s involvement in the Beech community has included authorship of some 50 articles published in the ABS Magazine and was elected to the ABS Board of Directors. He is a frequent consultant to owners and buyers of Beechcraft airplanes, and conducts frequent Beechcraft transition training.

Ron has served as a FAASTeam Lead Representative for the Orlando FSDO since 2011 when he moved to Florida. Prior to that, he served as Lead Representative for North Texas FSDO. He has presented at 30 WINGS safety seminars at events throughout Florida and at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. He has also been a frequent presenter at AOPA’s Rusty Pilots Seminars, Safety Seminars and Flight Instructor Refresher Courses.

Ron is a big supporter of the FAA WINGS program. He served on the WINGS Industry Advisory Committee (WIAC) and helped found the WINGS Industry Network in 2020. He also serves on the FAA’s WINGS Usability Working Group that began in 2020.

Ron’s outreach activities include presenting NAFI MentorLIVE webinars for flight instructors, and hosting broadcasts for Florida Aviation Network live-streaming events to a national audience. He is a regular presenter at ABS national conventions, EAA AirVenture, Sun ‘n Fun, AOPA Regional Fly-Ins, and numerous other aviation events. Ron is a contributing member of  AOPA, EAA, NAFI, SAFE, ABS, BPT, BPPP and Quiet Birdmen. RonTimmermans@att.net

2021 Aviation Technician of the Year

Michael Colin Dunkley

Michael Colin Dunkley of Coshocton, Ohio has been named the 2021 Aviation Technician of the Year. The story of Mike’s aviation career is both unusual and remarkable.

Growing up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Mike was always curious about how things worked, sometimes upsetting his parents around Christmas when he would take his toys apart to see how they worked and then couldn’t put them back together again. As he grew older, he found he could put them back together and fix them when they broke. The closest he got to aviation was building plastic models of airplanes.

Mike attended a Technical High School where he was able to learn machining, sheet metal work, and similar things. Upon graduation, his plan was to pursue a career as a fitter/machinist. However, a friend of Mike’s father suggested he consider a career in aviation maintenance, which is what prompted him to apply to Air Rhodesia (an airline in Africa now known as Air Zimbabwe) to be admitted into their five-year apprenticeship program. Much to his surprise, he was accepted.

So, in 1970 at age 16, Mike joined the airline to begin his apprenticeship, during which he was exposed to every aspect of maintaining a fleet of aircraft in an airline environment. When this apprenticeship training was over, Mike left the airline for a period of two years, then rejoined Air Rhodesia/Air Zimbabwe as a line and heavy maintenance technician and later as a supervisor and inspector.

In 1985, after 15 years with the airline, Mike moved into General Aviation maintenance when he joined Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)—the Christian organization that provides aviation and related services to more than 1,000 Christian and humanitarian agencies, as well as thousands of isolated missionaries and indigenous villagers in remote areas of Africa, Asia and South America. Mike’s first job with MAF was as liaison for turbine field operations at a time when MAF was just beginning to use turboprop aircraft. Two years later, he found himself on loan to a humanitarian organization bringing relief to civil-war-torn Mozambique, maintaining a fleet of up to 11 aircraft ranging from single- and twin-engine Cessnas to a King Air 200. Mike later moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), assuming the role of Director of Maintenance for a large program operating Cessna 185s, 206s, 210s and Caravans. 

In 1995, Mike returned to the U.S. working for Christian aviation organizations, first with Moody Aviation for 10 years as a supervisor and instructor, and then with MMS Aviation in Coshocton, Ohio with whom he continues to serve as a supervisor and instructor. Both Moody and MMS are faith-based organizations supported by donations from churches and individuals and dedicated to training mechanics and airmen for careers in the missionary aviation field.

During his time at Moody, one of the Cessna 185s had a bird strike on the wing but the new leading edge but was found not to align properly. Mike proceeded to fabricate a leading edge from a long sheet of aluminum with the correct radius using a stair bannister, some 2x4s, and a number of young student mechanics supplying the necessary manpower. The beautiful new leading edge was a perfect fit.

Work in the missionary and humanitarian field can be unpredictable and require flexibility and ingenuity. As an example, MMS sent Mike on a Rapid Response trip to Honduras to make repairs to a Cessna 206 that had been in a bird-strike accident. He got there, but the replacement windshield and firewall were held in customs and it seemed as if Mike would have nothing to do until they were released. Then the bush hospital where the plane was located had a power outage that threatened to cancel scheduled surgeries. Mike and his apprentice mechanics were able to repair the hospital’s generator using parts found in a shed, restoring power to the hospital and enabling the surgeries to go forward. Ultimately, the replacement windshield and firewall was released from customs but required a second trip two months later to install.

After four decades of learning, performing and supervising aviation maintenance, Mike now spends his workdays passing his knowledge and experience to a multitude of young apprentices who are being trained to serve as missionary aircraft mechanics. Perhaps Mike’s boss at MMS Aviation, CEO Phil Maddux, says it best: “In his role as instructor and mentor, Mike has multiplied his effectiveness many times over, creating a legacy of craftsmanship and excellence.”

During his long aviation maintenance career, Mike has become formally trained on a wide variety of aircraft and engines, including the Boeing 707, 727 and 737; Cessna high-performance single-engine and Caravan; Pratt & Whitney PT6; Piper PA46 Malibu/Mirage; Continental piston engines; Beechcraft King Air 200; and numerous other courses related to safety and maintenance.

In the words of Paul Gillenwater, FAASTeam Program Manager for the Columbus (Ohio) FSDO, “Mike Dunkley represents an organization and, in fact, and entire sector of aviation that often goes unnoticed and unseen, but to those lives that are affected by their selfless dedication, it couldn’t be more impactful. Mike is just one example of the type of skilled aviators who forego a salary and work as locally-supported missionaries to fulfill their calling.” mike.dunkley@mmsaviation.org

2021 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year

Adam Timothy Magee

Adam Timothy Magee of Swisher, Iowa has been named the 2021 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year. Adam holds both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Accounting from the University of Missouri, and is a Certified Public Accountant. On weekdays, Adam is the proverbial mild-mannered CPA who works as a Financial Reporting Officer for a $3 billion bank, tasked with analyzing new accounting standards and tax laws, figuring out how the bank will comply with them, and explaining it in an understandable way to the bank’s Board of Directors. Outside of banking hours, Adam doffs his suit, tie, green eyeshade and elastic arm band in favor of a white silk scarf and is transformed into a safety superhero for lighter-than-air (LTA) aviation, a.k.a. hot air ballooning.

Adam grew up ballooning. His mother Elizabeth Magee is also a LTA instructor pilot, and by the time he was 5 years old, he was already participating in “hangar flying” with his mom and other veteran LTA pilots. As an adult, Adam took the complex issue of hot air ballooning safety and, working with his local FAASTeam, crafted a solution. In 2015, he cofounded The Balloon Training Academy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to training LTA students and providing continuing education to LTA pilots. Adam serves as president of The Academy and was responsible for creating the non-profit, drafting its bylaws, obtaining 501(c)(3) approval from the IRS, creating its website, creating the content, marketing it to the LTA community, and generally building the organization from the ground up. He also runs the Academy’s popular Facebook page where he posts questions and safety tips for LTA pilots. The Academy is now a Training Provider and Industry Member of the FAASTeam. Adam’s pro-bono activities helped earn him 2019 District and Regional CFI-of-the-year awards. He received the Balloon Federation of America (BFA) Directors Award, and also the Bill Murtoroff Spirit of Ballooning Award for youth aviation education.

Adam is a Commercial LTA Pilot rated to hot air balloons, which confers CFI privileges as well. He has been appointed as a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) for Private and Commercial LTA. He is also an appointed FAASTeam Representative, WINGSPro and DRONEPro working with the Des Moines FSDO FAASTeam Program Manager.

Working with the National Association of Flight Instructors, Adam spearheaded the NAFI Elite Balloon Instructor program that recognizes hot air balloon instructors who are raising the bar on hot air balloon education and training. In October 2020, Adam was named a Director and Treasurer of NAFI.

Adam has achieved BFA’s Level 8 (highest level) Distinguished Aeronaut achievement award. He has served as Safety Officer, Weather Officer, and Event Director of hot air balloon
festivals and events. Adam is also a valued LTA Event Official on the international level and is one of few Americans in the jury pool for international hot air balloon competitions. He has spoken at National BFA Safety Seminars across the U.S.,
and was a featured speaker at the BFA 2018 National Convention in Philadelphia.

A life member of BFA, Adam served a three-year term on BFA’s Hot Air Competition Board of Directors. He has volunteered with BFA’s Youth Program since 2009, and organized BFA Youth Summer Camp in Dubuque, Iowa from 2012-2014. In 2015, Adam wrote the BFA Youth Camp Guidlines which are still used today. He also contributed to BFA Balloon Event Guidelines and participated on the organizing committee of the first ever BFA Balloon Event Symposium. Adam is a Board member and Treasurer of The National Balloon Museum in Indianola, Iowa.

Adam has written articles for the BFA’s magazine BALLOONING Journal on hot air balloon training. He has also written articles for balloon club newsletters across the U.S. Adam was asked to be a presenting speaker at the first ever Balloon Instructor Symposium in November, 2019 in New Jersey.

Active in the FAA WINGS program, Adam has achieved multiple Basic, Advanced and Master WINGS. Adam is also a UAS (drone) pilot and active in safety work in that aviation segment as well.

Adam has shifted the safety culture of the ballooning community. Three of his articles have been published by the
FAA Safety Briefing Magazine. He has created hot-air-balloon-specific content for FAAsafety.gov, added
numerous WINGS courses, provided PowerPoint and presentation help on ballooning to the National FAASTeam, and reached almost 1,000 balloon pilots during the past six months via National FAA LTA Outreach Series. Thanks to Adam’s tireless efforts, there is now more LTA content available and more LTA participants in the FAASTeam than ever before.