2014 Regional Award Honorees Named

The GA Awards Program takes great pride in announcing this year’s regional General Aviation Awards honorees, These award recipients represent the eight regions of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and were selected in a competition from candidates submitted by more than 80 FAA districts throughout the United States. These regional recipients are all finalists for the national awards.

The General Aviation Awards program is a cooperative effort between the FAA and more than three dozen general aviation industry sponsors. The mission of the program is to recognize individual aviation professionals on the local, regional, and national levels for their contributions to aviation, education, and flight safety. The national judging is now underway and national award recipients will be announced no later than March 1st.

Nominations for 2015 awards will be accepted beginning in August. “Everyone knows a worthy aviation professional. I encourage you to submit a nomination for your favorite flight instructor, maintenance technician or FAASTeam representative,” urged Arlynn McMahon, GA Awards program team leader. “These awards highlight the important role played by these individuals in promoting aviation education and flight safety. The awards program sponsors and supporters are pleased that these outstanding aviation professionals are receiving the recognition they so richly deserve.”

Here are this year’s regional honorees:

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you trim the information about these honorees for copyfitting purposes, please retain the lead sentences identifying the FSDO and FAA Region that each recipient represents, and also the recipients’ email addresses so your readers may congratulate them. Thank you!

2014 Regional Certificated Flight Instructors (CFIs) of the Year

Allen Banen of Fountain Hills, Arizona represents the Scottsdale FSDO and the Western-Pacific Region. Al has been a pilot for 60 years, a CFI, CFII and advanced ground instructor for nearly 50 years, and has more than 25,000 hours logged. He holds Gold Seal Flight Instructor and Master Instructor designations, and was honored with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of safe flying. Al is a full-time flight instructor who has instructed in a wide variety of single- and multiengine airplanes. For the past 25 years he has specialized in pilot training in the Beechcraft Bonanza, Baron and Duke airplanes. Al is an active FAASTeam Representative, and a volunteer pilot for Flights For Life delivering blood throughout Arizona, baroninstructor@aol.com.

Robert James McCabe of Cherry Hill, New Jersey represents the Philadelphia FSDO and the Eastern Region. Bob is a dedicated member of the Civil Air Patrol, having served as Instructor Pilot, Mission Pilot, New Jersey Wing Commander, Evaluator and Check Pilot, and flown innumerable CAP missions for search and rescue, disaster relief, and homeland security. He holds the rank of Colonel in CAP, and presently serves as New Jersey Wing Government Relations Advisor. Bob is also a flight and ground instructor for Freeflight Aviation at Flying W Airport in Medford, New Jersey. As an active FAASTeam Representative, Bob has conducted many safety presentations on a wide variety of topics, with emphasis on technically advanced aircraft and the Garmin G1000 system. bobmccabe2@gmail.com.

Howard William Wolvington of Issaquah, Washington represents the Seattle FSDO and the Northwest Mountain Region. Howard is a full-time Gold Seal Flight Instructor and ATP-rated pilot with more than 10,000 hours of flight instruction and 8,000 hours of ground instruction logged. He has trained and endorsed more than 100 private, instrument, commercial, CFI and CFII candidates who have successfully passed their practical tests. He is a Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP), a Check CFI for the Boeing Employees Flying Association, an active FAASTeam Representative, and a Command Pilot and Mission Orientation for Angel Flight West who has flown more than 40 public benefit missions. Howard owns a Piper Comanche 250. hwolvington@earhlink.net.

Christopher Michael Carmody of Overland Park, Kansas represents the Kansas City FSDO and the Central Region. Christopher is owner and flight instructor at Aircraft Initial and Recurrent Flight Training, LLC where he specializes in providing training for the Piper PA-46 Matrix, Malibu, Mirage and Meridian airplanes. Prior to founding AIR, Christopher worked at Hangar 10 Flight Services, Kansas City Aviation Center, Skydive Kansas, Southwest Airlines, and Anheuser-Busch Flight Operations. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautics from Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology at St. Louis University. He is actively involved with the Malibu Mirage Owners & Pilots Association (MMOPA), and is also qualified in the Pilatus PC-12 and Socata TBM-850. ccarmody@airflighttraining.com.

Mary Margaret Latimer of Vernon, Texas represents the Lubbock FSDO and the Southwest Region. Mary is an ATP pilot with more than 20,000 hours logged, a CFI for airplanes, instruments and multiengine, an advanced and instrument ground instructor, a Designated Pilot Examiner, an A&P Mechanic with Inspection Authorization, and a former Control Tower Operator. She is a FAASTeam Representative, an AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer, and a Captain in the Civil Air Patrol serving as check airman, flight instructor and operations officer. Mary founded the Girls In Flight Training (GIFT) Academy, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the participation of women in aviation. mary@latimerservices.com.

Stephen John Thibault of Plymouth, Minnesota represents the Minneapolis FSDO and the Great Lakes Region. Steve is a full-time flight instructor with more than 14,000 hours of flight instruction given. He is the owner of FlightProficiency and operates Sim Flight Minnesota at Anoka County Airport. Steve has flown more than 100 different kinds of aircraft and now specializes in training for pressurized twin Cessnas and Piper PA-46 aircraft, and Garmin G1000 avionics, He is an active FAASTeam Representative and frequent presenter at FAA Safety Seminars. fltproficiency@cs.com.

Edward Joseph Comisky of Winter Springs, Florida represents the Orlando FSDO and the Central Region. Ed is co-owner and Chief Flight Instructor at Flight Training Professionals LLC at Orlando Executive Airport, and previously worked at AeronautX USA Corp. (West Palm Beach FL), Comair Aviation Academy (Sanford FL), Sporty’s Academy and University of Cincinnati (Batavia OH), Specialized Pilot Training (Cincinnati OH), and Frasca Air Services (Urbana IL), He is a CFI airplanes, instruments and multiengine, with more than 6,200 hours of flight instruction, 3,000 hours of ground instruction, and 500 hours of flight training device instruction given. ed@ftpros.com.

2014 Regional Aviation Maintenance Technicians (AMTs) of the Year

David Wayne Delcourt of Fairbanks, Alaska represents the Fairbanks FSDO and the Alaksa Region. David is the owner of Delcourt Aviation at Fairbanks International Airport, and maintains a wide range of aircraft from Taylorcrafts and Super Cubs to Cessna Caravans and Quest Kodiaks. Before starting his own maintenance business, David previously worked with Northland Aviation, Wright Air Service, and Arctic Circle Air, all in Fairbanks. He earned his A&P Mechanic certificate in 2003, received his Inspection Authorization in 2006, and became a Designated Mechanic Examiner in 2012. David@DelcourtAviation.com.

Daniel Brian Torrey of Ojai, California represents the Van Nuys FSDO and the Western-Pacific Region. Dan is the owner of Mobile Aircraft Repair Service (MARS) at the Santa Paula airport. Dan specializes in the maintenance of vintage aircraft, wood and fabric repairs, restoration and refurbishing. He is a legend in the Bellanca community and has been a keynote speaker for the Bellanca-Champion West Coast Safety Seminar for the past 12 years. Before starting MARS, he previously worked at Screaming Eagle Aviation, Santa Paula Sky Service, and Air Repair, all at Santa Paula airport. Dan is an A&P Mechanic with Inspection Authorization, a private pilot and Bellanca owner with more than 2,000 hours logged, and a board member of the Santa Paula Airport Association. marsszp@yahoo.com.

Charles Oscar Thibault of South Burlington, Vermont represents the Portland, Maine FSDO and the New England Region.Charlie is the longtime Chief Inspector at Heritage Aviation at the Burlington International Airport, and oversees the quality assurance and quality control at this large Part 145 Certified Repair Station. Charlie is involved with inspections and maintenance of a wide range of aircraft from Cirrus SR20s to Bell Jet Rangers to Bombardier Challengers. He earned his A&P Mechanic certificate in 1995, and his Inspection Authorization in 2010. CharlieT@flyheritage.com.

Max Loyd Burnette of Rockvale, Tennessee represents the Nashville FSDO and the Central Region. Max is semi-retired after 59 years in aircraft maintenance and 29 years as an A&P Mechanic. Max started out as a military aircraft mechanic in 1954, and held positions in the North Carolina and Tennessee Air National Guard as flight engineer, maintenance shop chief, crew chief and flight chief, working on a wide variety of military aircraft including F-86, F-104, T-33, KC-97, KC-135 and C-130. He earned his civilian A&P Mechanic certificate in 1986 and founded M&J Aero, maintaining and restoring aircraft from Piper Cubs to Ag-Cats to light twins. Max is a private pilot and an active participant in EAA’s Young Eagles program and his local EAA Chapter. TaildraggerDr@att.net.

Jason O’Neil Shackelford of Pea Ridge, Arkansas represents the Little Rock FSDO and the Southwest Region. Jason has been employed by Wal-Mart Aviation for the past 15 years, holding positions as maintenance technician, avionics technician, repairman, aircraft maintenance inspector and repair station chief inspector. Before joining Wal-Mart Aviation, he worked at Air Midwest and the Raytheon Service Center in Wichita. Jason holds an A&P Mechanic certificate with Inspection Authorization, and is also an accomplished avionics technician and a Level II non-destructive testing technician. These days, his primary focus is as an inspector for Wal-Mart’s corporate fleet. joshack@Wal-Mart.com.

James Robert Michalka of Portage, Michigan represents the Grand Rapids FSDO and the Great Lakes Region. Jim is the owner, operator and Director of Maintenance of Kalamazoo Aircraft, Inc. at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport, specializing in inspection and repair of piston GA aircraft. Prior to founding Kalamazoo Aircraft, Jim worked at Kal-Aero, Inc. (now Duncan Aviation) maintaining both piston and turbine aircraft at their Kalamazoo and Battle Creek locations. He is active in the Beechcraft community and has hosted the American Bonanza Society service clinic for several years running. Jim@KalamazooAircraft.com.

2014 Regional Avionics Technicians of the Year

Christopher Allen Plumb of Prescott, Arizona represents the Scottsdale FSDO and the Western-Pacific Region. Chris has worked for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University at Prescott, Arizona for the past 21 years as an avionics technician, A&P mechanic, inspector and supervisor. He established ERAU Prescott’s in-house avionics shop, and is presently runs the avionics department of its Part 145 Certified Repair Station that maintains a fleet of 24 single- and multiengine aircraft. Chris previous worked at Prescott Radio and Air Services International (Scottsdale). He is an expert on the Garmin G1000 system and on the Diamond DA42NG engine control unit (ECU). plumbc@erau.edu.

David Brian Kocak of Guilford, Connecticut represents the Windsor Locks FSDO and the New England Region. Dave is the avionics service and installation manager for V.I.P. Avionics at Brainard Airport in Hartford CT. Previously he served as avionics manager for 3 Wing Aviation and Reliant Avionics in Stratford CT. Over the course of Dave’s 20-year career as an avionics technician, his colleagues and customers have repeatedly cited Dave’s exceptional diagnostic and troubleshooting skills as setting him apart from his peers. dkocak@vipavionics.com.
Richard Scott Duyser of Caledonia, Michigan represents the Grand Rapids FSDO and the Great Lakes Region. Dick has worked for L-3 Communications Avionics Systems in Grand Rapids for 40 years, and for the past 20 years has held the positions of Senior Quality Manager and Repair Station Accountable Manager. In this capacity, he is responsible and accountable for all regulatory activities of a large FAA/EASA Certified Repair Station, including compliance, audits, documentation, training and warranty decisions. Dick is an expert on FAA and EASA regulations and ISO 9001, AS9100 and AS9110 standards. He serves as an original member of GAMA’s Airworthiness and Maintenance Policy Committee. dick.duyser@L-3com.com.

2014 Regional FAASTeam Representatives of the Year

William Henry Schroeder of Carson City, Nevada represents the Reno FSDO and the Western-Pacific Region. Bill is an ATP-rated professional pilot and CFI with more than 6,600 hours logged, and has been flying for nearly 50 years, He was Nevada’s first Master CFI and maintained Master CFI status for 16 consecutive years. He is active in the Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, serving as Instructor, Check Pilot and Mission Search Pilot. In his role as FAASTeam Representative, Bill is Lead Representative for the Reno FSDO, Representative to Northern California TRACON, and a frequent speaker at FAA Safety Seminars, well known for his presentations on mountain and high density altitude flying. He is a charger member of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) and active in the EAA Young Eagles program. checkpilot@thegrid.net.

Michael Anthony Lessard of Sullivan, Maine represents the Portland FSDO and the New England Region. Mike has pioneered the use of the Internet to enhance general aviation safety. He co-founded WINGsReality LLC, an innovative free online aviation reality show that challenges four pilots to plan and fly four simulated VFR flights, with their decision making evaluated by a panel of professional judges. He also founded WINGsReality EDU, providing an online flight review ground school course that meets the 1-hour ground school requirement for the Part 65 Flight Review. In his role as a FAASTeam Representative, Mike is Lead Representative for the Portland FSDO and is a regular speaker at FAA Safety Seminars throughout New England. He is particularly well-known for his seminars on spatial disorientation involving a “vertigo chair” that Mike built with the help of a grant from the Wolf Aviation Fund. He is an active flight and ground instructor and an AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer. flyer007@roadrunner.com.

Richard Loren Stowell, Jr. of McCall, Idaho represents the Boise FSDO and the Northwest Mountain Region. Rich is known nationally and internationally for his flight and ground training in loss of control, stall avoidance, spin and upset recovery, and emergency maneuver training. He has logged nearly 10,000 hours, including 8,700 hours of flight instruction given, has qualified as a Master CFI for 16 consecutive years, is a charter member of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE), was honored at National CFI of the Year in 2006, and might just be the only pilot to have performed more than 33,000 spins in GA aircraft. In his role as a FAASTeam Representative, Rich is Lead Representative for the Boise FSDO and has presented 65 FAA Safety Seminars and Webinars during the past five years alone. rich@richstowell.com.

Fred Everett Hetrick of Berryton, Kansas represents the Wichita FSDO and the Central Region. Fred has served the aviation community as a pilot, mechanic, aviation business owner and aviation safety advocate for more than 50 years, and is the recipient of both the Wright Brothers Master Pilot and Charles Taylor Master Mechanic awards. He was an Army National Guard mechanic on airplanes and helicopters, is an A&P Mechanic with Inspection Authorization, and a Commercial Pilot for airplanes and rotorcraft. Fred first became an FAA Accident Prevention Counselor in 1969 when that program was initiated, and became FAASTeam Lead Representative for the Wichita FSDO. He mentors young aviators through the Boy Scouts Air Explorer Squadron #8, and fosters interest in aviation through active participation in the EAA Young Eagles program. Fred’s wife Doris (also a pilot) participates with him in putting on FAA Safety Program events, and his two sons Keith and Lloyd operate aviation businesses at the airports in Topeka and Lawrence, Kansas. dmhetrick@gmail.com.

Sally Sue Sims of Sugar Land, Texas represents the Houston FSDO and the Southwest Region. Sally has been flying for 30 years, and is an ATP-rated pilot and CFI with nearly 5,000 hours logged, most of it in her Cessna 421 and more recently in her Cirrus SR22. She became an FAA Safety Counselor in 1992 and is now a FAASTeam Lead Representative for the Houston FSDO. For more than 20 years, Sally has been instrumental in organizing monthly FAA Safety Seminars at the Sugar Land Regional Airport, as well as the Pilot and Aircraft Courtesy Evaluation (PACE) and Tower Tours programs at KSGR. Sally serves on the KSGR Aviation Policy Advisory Board, and in 2004, she served as volunteer coordinator for over 60 volunteers supporting services at KSGR during Super Bowl XXXVIII. sssims@mac.com.

Byron Louis Heidorn of Plainfield, Illinois represents the DuPage FSDO and the Great Lakes Region. Byron has been an aviation maintenance professional for nearly 40 years. He presently serves as Vice President of Maintenance Operations for Executive Flight Management and Trans American Charter Ltd. at the Aurora and Bloomington airports. He previously served as Director of Maintenance at J.A. Air Center (Aurora), Platinum Jet Center (Bloomington), Rynes Aviation (O’Hare), and Elliott Aviation (Moline). Byron is an A&P Mechanic with Inspection Authorization, a Designated Mechanic Examiner, and a Private Pilot. He publishes “At The Airport,” a free bimonthly aviation news Ezine. Byron has been a FAASTeam Representative since 2005 for the Springfield and DuPage FSDOs, and is a frequent speaker at FAA Safety Meetings and counselor to individual airmen. byronheidorn@yahoo.com.

How You Can Support Excellence In Aviation

Please consider sponsoring or donating gifts to the General Aviation Awards program. Sponsorship funds pay for the out-of-pocket expenses of the program (e.g., award honorees’ travel and lodging, catering, etc). Gifts in the form of merchandise or checks are given to the individual national award recipients at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. To become a sponsor or gift donor, please click on one of the following links: