In the Holiday Spirit, good news about good people in aviation

celebrating good aviation people

2021 made it clear that aviation safety depends on GOOD PEOPLE

Holidays appropriate time to recognize women and men of good will

A talented Lawyer, A helicopter Expert and a Representative who supports AIP

Happy Holidays to these and all in our business

The Holiday Season is special time for aviation professionals. The fortnight, that captures all of these important religious celebrations, is a period demanding high safety focus on all of us.

Below are a few, randomly selected people who symbolize these responsibilities—

  • GAMA adds an impressive lawyer to its team
  • USHST names an experienced, talented woman to co-head its Government Team
  • Chairman DeFazio takes credit where credit is DUE!!!

These individuals, like all dedicated to aviation safety, are gifts to our industry.

GAMA Welcomes Alex Burkett as General Counsel and Director of Safety and Regulatory Affairs

Dec. 17, 2021

Burkett @GAMA

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced the addition of Alex Burkett to serve as the association’s General Counsel and Director of Safety and Regulatory Affairs.

Burkett joins GAMA with many years of experience in aviation policy and safety. Most recently, he served as Staff Director and Special Advisor on Aviation Safety for the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Aviation Subcommittee. Burkett has also spent time working at United Airlines as Director of Regulatory Compliance, and the National Transportation Safety Board as an attorney.

Burkett employment history

“Alex brings over a decade of policy, safety and legal expertise to GAMA. We will rely on his knowledge and experience to advocate and support the priorities of our membership. He will be able to provide GAMA with a keen understanding of the policy issues that are paramount to the health of our industry, such as safety and certification. Alex is a great addition to our talented team,” said Pete Bunce, GAMA President and CEO.

Burkett is a native of Georgia and received his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and his juris doctorate from Florida State University College of Law. Burkett is also a licensed private pilot.

Burkett education




U.S. Helicopter Safety Team Names FAA’s Karen Gattis as Government Co-Chair WASHINGTON DC

Karen Gattis


The United States Helicopter Safety Team has named Karen Gattis, FAA Flight Standards Acting Deputy Director for General Aviation Safety Assurance (GASA), as its new government co-chairman. As a regional partner with the worldwide Vertical Aviation Safety Team, the USHST was formed in 2013 to lead a government and industry cooperative effort to promote safety and work to reduce civil helicopter fatal accidents.

Based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Gattis is a 17-year veteran of the FAA. She previously had oversight of ten General Aviation offices as a Division Manager with an emphasis on helicopter operations and air tour operations. Gattis served in the Army National Guard from 1981 to 2015 and retired as a Colonel. In the National Guard, she served as the Director Joint Chief of Staff and as Aviation Brigade Commander. She also is certified to fly multi-engine commercial aircraft and rotorcraft.

Gattis CV

“Karen Gattis will be an excellent asset for the USHST,” said Wayne Fry, who is stepping down after completing a term of nearly four years as the USHST government co-chair. “She has extensive experience in aviation safety and an expert understanding of safe practices. I am happy to hand the reins to her to lead our efforts to reduce helicopter accidents and fatalities here in the United States.”

Detailed information about USHST safety enhancements and safety documents aimed at reducing the number of fatal accidents can be found on the USHST website. The documents are organized into eight safety categories: Private Flying, Commercial & Civil Flying, Customers & Crews, Training, Infrastructure, Unintended IMC, Low Altitude Operations, and Loss of Control.

FAA helicopter

It is very common practice for Members of Congress to issue press releases announcing AIP grants.

gold Pinocchio

The carefully worded texts leave the average constituent that her/his elected official was responsible for getting the $$$ to the local airports. Almost all of the time, the inferred claim is either dishonest or  deceptive.

Chair DeFazio, however, is taking credit where credit is due. He has led his Committee to full funding of the Airport Improvement Program for years. All of aviation should thank this man for his steadfast commitment to this infrastructure development program!!!


December 21, 2021 3:20 a.m.

Rep DeFazio at Tower


On Monday, Congressman Peter DeFazio announced that Oregon’s airports would receive just over $42 million during the next fiscal year from the Infrastructure and Jobs Act.A release said the funds are designated to address safety improvements to runways and taxiways, modernizing aging terminals and reducing aircraft noise near airports.

$295,000 is designated for the Roseburg Regional Airport.

DeFazio said, he is pleased the administration is moving swiftly to get Oregon and the nation the resources needed to rebuild. DeFazio said as Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he will “…continue my work with the Biden administration to ensure we implement this new law and secure much-needed funding to make Oregon’s airports safer, greener and less congested”.

The release said last week the Federal Aviation Administration announced apportionments for Oregon’s airports under the infrastructure law. That funding is for the next fiscal year alone, with Oregon set to receive over $210 million over the next five years for airport infrastructure from the new legislation.

DeFazio at construction