Indivuals Honored By The GA Awards Program In Conjunction
With The FAA
In each of the past 49 years, the General Aviation Awards
program and the 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, education, and flight safety.
This awards program is a cooperative effort between the FAA and
more than a dozen industry sponsors. The selection process begins
with local FAA Safety Team managers at Flight Standards District
Offices (FSDOs) and then moves on to the eight regional FAA
offices. Previous national awards winners from each of those four
fields then select national winners from the pool of regional
Recipients of this year's national awards are Marvin Hornbostel of
Junction City, Kansas, Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) of the
Year; Eric Christopher “Rick” Ochs of Gahanna, Ohio,
Avionics Technician of the Year; MCFI Hobart Caleb
“Hobie” Tomlinson of Huntington, Vermont, Certificated
Flight Instructor (CFI) of the Year; and Jeanné Carole
Willerth of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, FAA Safety Team
Representative of the Year. Previously, this award was the Aviation
Safety Counselor (ASC) of the Year.
The FAA administrator will present the national awards in July
during a "Theater in the Woods" program at EAA AirVenture 2012 in
Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Included in the prize package for all four
national winners is an all expense paid trip to Oshkosh for the
recipient and a guest to attend the awards presentation and other
GA Awards activities.
"These awards highlight the important role played by these
individuals in promoting aviation education and flight safety,"
said JoAnn Hill, General Aviation Awards chairperson. "The awards
program sponsors are pleased that these outstanding aviation
professionals will receive the recognition they so richly deserve
before their peers in Oshkosh."
2012 National AMT Of The Year: Marvin
Hornbostel (pictured) of Junction City, Kansas is a recipient
of the FAA’s Charles Taylor Master Mechanic who has been
working more than 50 years as an airframe and powerplant (A&P)
technician. He has held inspection authorization (IA) for 40 of
His passion for airplanes started early. Growing up during World
War II, his dream was to fly B-17s. Of course, the war didn't wait
for him but when his dad gave him his first rubber band powered
balsa model airplane, his future was decided. He began his career
in aviation with the United States Army at Fort Rucker, Alabama,
where he received basic aviation maintenance training followed by
two years of service in Germany. After discharge, he worked with a
maintenance contractor at Fort Riley, Kansas, performing
maintenance on Army aircraft. Thirty-two years later, he retired as
the shop supervisor.
During his years at Fort Riley, Marvin spent his spare time
working on general aviation aircraft while learning all he could
about fabric covering. His first complete restoration in 1968 was a
1941 Taylorcraft. Two of his restored aircraft have been award
winners at airshows in Oshkosh and Blakesburg, Iowa.
After retiring in 1990, he continued restoring fabric aircraft
at his home in rural Junction City. Within a short time, his
ability to work with fabric covering became widely known and turned
into a business. Marvin now provides summer jobs for students
interested in aircraft restoration from Kansas State
University’s Aviation School. He also works with the Junction
City High School Guided Study Program to provide hands-on training
to students interested in aviation maintenance. Additionally, he
provides work experience and mentorship to Army aviation
maintenance technicians to help them transition into civilian
Marvin serves on the Junction City Airport Aviation Advisory
Board and is president of EAA Chapter 1364, the "Wing Nuts."
With a grant from The Greater Manhattan Community Foundation, he
was instrumental in starting a Youth Aviation Education Program in
the local chapter. The group participates in EAA’s Young
Eagles Program, has built a flight simulator, and is presently
constructing a Bowers Fly-Baby.
2012 National Avionics Technician Of The
Year: Eric Christopher “Rick” Ochs
(pictured) of Gahanna, Ohio has been named the 2012 National
Avionics Technician of the Year. He owns and manages Spirit
Avionics Limited, an FAA certified Part 145 repair station at Port
Columbus Airport (CMH) in Columbus, Ohio.
Rick grew up in Columbus as an avid hot-rodder and attended a
vocational education program entitled "Communications Electronics"
in high school. It was there that he developed an interest in
electronics and nurtured his mechanical aptitude. He obtained his
formal avionics training in the United States Navy and began his
career on the flight deck of the carrier USS Forrestal (CV-59) as
an avionics troubleshooter. After his discharge from service, he
received additional avionics education in the industry via a
succession of positions at large and small companies.
In March of 2000, he founded his own company, Spirit Avionics.
The business began as a one-man operation. Presently, Spirit
Avionics employees 10 people and services military, federal,
corporate, and private aircraft.
With over 25 years of avionics experience, Rick is a well-known
leader within the avionics community. He has been dedicated to
establishing avionics technician national certification and
academic accreditation standards to enhance professional
development. He also is heavily involved in industry and FAA
initiatives to properly recognize avionics technicians for their
critical role in aircraft maintenance and modifications.
Rick currently works on initiatives to elevate the professional
credentials of aircraft technicians through his involvement with
the National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies
(NCATT). NCATT is a non-profit organization dedicated to
establishing globally recognized training accreditation and
certification standards to qualify aerospace professionals in their
respective career fields. They've developed industry certification
standards for aircraft electronics technicians and he is working in
their workshops to help establish standards and credentialing
requirements for professional avionics technicians.
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.
He is a member of the EAA who regularly participates in FAA
FAASTeam outreach initiatives.
2012 National CFI Of The Year: Master CFI
Hobart Caleb “Hobie” Tomlinson (pictured) 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
Hobie earned his initial flight instructor certification in 1965
and has been an active CFI ever since. 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.
2012 National FAA SSafety Team Representative Of The
Year: Jeanné Carole Willerth (pictured) of
Lee’s Summit, MO, is the 2012 National FAASTeam
Representative of the Year. Her personal mantra is “aspire to
inspire before you expire!" She believes true leadership
requires giving back. Whether it is lobbying for general aviation,
recruiting new members for the 99s, or fulfilling a Vietnam
veteran’s last wish for a flight over Kansas City,
Jeanné is a leader.
Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, Jeanné was exposed early
on to general aviation. Both of her parents were avid aviators. Her
mother, a "Powder Puff Derby" cross-country air racer, taught
Jeanné to fly at the Cessna Pilot Center (CPC) in Omaha
where she instructed. Catching the air race bug, Jeanné went
along as her mom's copilot in two All Women's International Air
Races. In 1991, after 14 years of concentrating on family and a
computer-marketing career, Jeanné started flying again. In
1998, she entered the 2400 mile Air Race Classic with her mother
and her then 17-year-old daughter, a student pilot. She received a
scholarship from the 99s in 1999 and earned her instrument rating,
followed by single engine and multiengine commercial ratings.
After managing computer training centers and teaching computer
science at a college, she shifted gears. Her next career change
involved flying and adding a CFI, CFII, AGI, IGI, and MEI along
with presenting aviation safety seminars nationwide. She also
became a volunteer FAA Aviation Safety Counselor.
Jeanné instructs at Air Associates, a CPC at Johnson
County Executive Airport (OJC) in Kansas City and at Lee’s
Summit Airport (LXT) where she chairs the airport board. She has
over 2,000 hours and teaches primary, instrument, multiengine, and
Garmin G1000 transition training. She’s also a mentor for
“late in life” learners and specializes in getting
dormant pilots successfully back in the air.
A believer in lifelong learning, she’s a supporter of the
Wings Pilot Proficiency Program. In recent years, she helped the
FAA coordinate and present the eight quarterly training modules for
CFIs. In addition to presenting safety seminars, she helps organize
the annual FAA’s annual Safety Stand-Down.
In the 90’s, Jeanné started flying children to
Shrine hospitals with her father. She has now become a passionate
advocate for public benefit flying and volunteers for Angel Flight
Central, Pilots ‘n Paws, Challenge Air, and Young Eagles. She
is a past chair of the Greater Kansas City 99s and serves on the
local Missouri Pilot’s Association board. She is also a
member of AOPA, EAA, The 99s, NAFI, and the American Bonanza
Support and sponsorship for the General Aviation Awards program
is provided by Women in Aviation International (WAI), The Society
of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE), the Professional Aviation
Maintenance Ass'n (PAMA), the Ninety-Nines International (The 99s),
the National Business Aviation Ass'n (NBAA), the National Ass'n of
State Aviation Officials (NASAO), the National Air Transportation
Ass'n (NATA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Ass'n (GAMA), the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Experimental Aircraft
Ass'n (EAA), the Aircraft Maintenance Technology Society (AMT
Society), the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Ass'n (AOPA), and the
Aeronautical Repair Station Ass'n (ARSA).
Additional support is being provided by Advocates for Aviation
Safety Foundation (AASF), Aeronautical Proficiency Training LLC
(AVTrain), Master Instructors LLC (MI LLC), National Aviation
Safety Foundation (NASF), and Rich Stowell Consulting