Almost 50 years ago, a group of GA leaders met and decided that the best of their business (CFI, AMT and FAST member) needed recognition. Their mission was twofold: (1) to show the general public the safety excellence of this segment of aviation and (2) by rewarding these individuals to encourage others in these roles to aspire to this standard, thereby further driving the competence in these professions. The means of achieving these goals is the annual announcement of the General Aviation Awards (for a description of past recipients’ accomplishments, click on this link).
The coalition of more than 20 sponsors announced the three 2016 award winners. The merits of each are well described by the organization (details); so here are their names and a few interesting facts about each:
Robert James Hepp of Fairfax Station, Virginia—Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year
- Bob owns and operates Aviation Adventures LLC, the largest non-university Part 141 flight school in the Mid-Atlantic region
- Pioneer in the use of simulators and advanced flight training devices, and has incorporated them into training programs.
- Bob’s company established and operates the aviation programs with and for George Mason University, Liberty University and over 40 Flight Training Affiliates.
- Bob developed the Rusty Pilot Program and then worked with AOPA to bring that program to a nationwide audience of pilots.
- Bob has remained a very active CFI for more than three decades with more than 14,000 hours of dual instruction given, providing instruction from pre-solo to CFI, ATP, and type ratings.
Adrian Allen Eichhorn of McClean, Virginia—Aviation Technician of the Year
- Adrian retired from the Army in 2000, he took on a series of prestigious pilot jobs, including flying a Challenger 604 for the Washington Redskins, flying the Gulfstream IV “N1″ for the FAA Administrator and Secretary of Transportation, and now flying the Airbus 320 for JetBlue Airways.
- He was the guiding light behind the maintenance training portion of the original Beechcraft Pilot Proficiency Program (now Beechcraft PIlot Training), providing maintenance instruction to more than 2,500 owners and pilots of Bonanzas, Debonairs and Baron.
- Adrian spent countless hours developing a high-definition Ultra-Scope engine inspection system that provides stunning, high-quality images of the inside of piston aircraft engine cylinders.
- Adrian has served as an Aviation Safety Counselor and FAASTeam Representative for nearly 20 years, giving dozens of safety presentations.
Richard Lawrence Martindellof San Diego, California—FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year
- Rich is employed by King Schools as Vice President, Course Content and Experience.
- He works directly with the King Schools’ Professional Pilot courses, and supervises the work of four CFIs and a graphic artist for all the King Schools aviation courses.
- As Lead Representative of the FAA Safety Team in San Diego, Rich has worked with and trained most of the other district Lead Reps.
- He often speaks throughout the region at EAA chapters, flight schools, flying clubs, and airport businesses.
- He recently helped set up a 300-seat seminar at the Salk Institute in La Jolla to discuss “The Science behind Why Smart Pilots Do Dumb Things” offering insight into how aviators see and process information (sometimes incorrectly).
- Rich excels in teaching leading-edge aviation topics from ADS-B to UAS to the redesign of the Multiplex Airspace System in Southern California.
- He writes newsletter articles and maintains an online blog titled “Let’s Go Flying.”
- Rich is a member of the San Diego Airports Aviation Advisory Committee.
- He regularly teaches Private Pilot ground school courses for the San Diego Air & Space Museum at the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems campus.
- He is an active pilot and instrument flight instructor.
- He is also a trained aviation accident investigator, and is frequently called upon as a subject matter expert by local media to comment on aviation mishaps.
Congratulations to all three of these deserving honorees. The ceremony at the EAA AirVenture® should be a memorable moment in your careers.