WHAT WE DO
Each 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, and safety. Applicants are reviewed by a panel of distinguished industry judges in each category, who select three national winners.
National winners receive a trip to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh in July, where they are recognized by the FAA Administrator and other high-ranking FAA officials, have their names added to the large plaque in the EAA Museum, and are fêted at an awards luncheon where they receive gifts donated by GAA's industry sponsors.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
The General Aviation Awards Program is a non-profit corporation, and board members, judges, and volunteers serve without compensation. However, the Program requires $15,000 per year to pay for travel, lodging, the awards luncheon, plaques, lapel pins, and gifts for the national honorees. While donations from industry have always been central to the Program and demonstrate the commitment of the aviation industry, these alone do not cover our annual operating costs. We therefore ask for your support in order to hold a truly stellar 2023 award ceremony at AirVenture. Sponsors receive publicity through press releases, our website, the annual GAALive! broadcast featuring the Honorees, and exposure to 400,000+ pilots. Your support means we can continue to recognize accomplished aviation professionals for years to come!
MEET THE 2023 WINNERS!
2023 National Certified Flight Instructor of the Year
Robert “Bob” Raskey of Ponce Inlet, Florida has been named the “2023 National Flight Instructor of the Year”. Bob is a current FAA-”Gold Seal'' Flight Instructor; FAASTeam industry member; and B-777 Captain at United Airlines. He has over 40 years and over 23,000 hours of general, commercial, and military flight operations experience. Bob has been a flight instructor and pilot examiner on various airplanes, helicopters, warbirds, and experimental aircraft.
His aviation experiences include flight instruction, developing flight training curricula, promoting aviation career pathways, and mentoring the next generation of aerospace professionals toward opportunities in commercial and military aviation. Bob was an Instructor Pilot (T-38) with the United States Air Force, Combat Flight Lead and NATO Tactical Evaluator (F-16), and SAR (Search and Rescue) Combat pilot (HC-130) for over 20 years in the military. He retired from the USAF as a Lt Col and was awarded the USAF’s “Aerial Achievement Medal” for combat flight operations during Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
His FAA Airman Certificates include ATP (ASEL Land & Sea; AMEL), Type Ratings:
CE-525S,DA-50, L-382, HS-125 (SIC), DC3, B-777, B-747, B757, B-767, B-737, A320; Commercial Privileges (Rotorcraft-Helicopter, Instrument Helicopter, Glider). FAA Flight Instructor (ASE, AME, Rotorcraft Helicopter, Instrument). Flight Engineer (Turbojet Powered). Ground Instructor (Instrument and Advanced). He holds an M.B.A., an M.A. in International Relations; B.S in Aeronautical Science; A.S. in Computer Science. Bob is a long-time supporting member of several aviation mentoring organizations, including EAA Chapter 74’s Orlando Youth Aviation Center and the Florida Aviation Network as well as Vision of Flight.
He serves on the AOPA President’s Steering Committee for the nationwide “Aviation High School STEM Curriculum Initiative''. This inspiring committee brings together industry leaders, educators, and the next generation of aviators to create defined aviation career pathways. These efforts have achieved the placement of this “Aviation STEM Curriculum” in over 300 High Schools.
Bob has supported general aviation for over 30 years in the USA and globally. A graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and a former alumni representative on the ERAU Board of Trustees, Daytona Beach, FL, he continues to be a leader in the Florida general aviation communities. In recent years, he has given USAF (CAP) (Civil Air Patrol) “Keynote speeches” at their annual State conventions, held in Florida, to provide insight into the various aviation careers that are available in the general and military aviation sectors. Bob dedicates his time and personal planes (Piper Aztec and Piper Cherokee 6) to instructing military aviators in obtaining their FAA ratings and Flight Instructor certificates as they transition to rewarding careers in general aviation and commercial FAR 135/121 operations.
A staunch supporter of the (FAA)- FAAST team’s Safety and Awareness programs, he gives presentations to pilots and instructors on the importance of maintaining high standards of “Professionalism, Leadership, and Excellence” when involved in flight operations. These presentations were given at several leading aviation colleges, including (ERAU) Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, (FIT) Florida Institute of Technology, and the (JU) Jacksonville University School of Aviation. This “Professional Pilot” program was initially developed for the FAR 135, and FAR 121 communities, and he saw the need to present it to our rising generation of general aviation pilots to enhance training safety and effectiveness. He has been actively involved in mentoring, inspiring, and instructing aviation students to become leaders in general and military aviation professions.
At 18 years of age, right out of High School, he joined the US Army National Guard, to become an Helicopter mechanic. He was surrounded by pilots in his unit that would often ask him as he was repairing helicopters, “Have you ever thought about becoming a Pilot?” That early aviation mentoring led him to pursue a career as a pilot in the USAF. Over the years Bob has guided pilots to seek flying careers in the USAF Air Force Guard/Reserves.
These initial rewarding military careers lead to great opportunities in general and commercial flight operations. He continues relentlessly to present at various aviation schools and the FAAST program to lead the way to aviation careers. Bob’s son and daughter are both pilots and his daughter, “USAF, Lt. Savannah Raskey” was selected by the USAF Air National Guard to become a military fighter pilot and is currently in training. Bob often tells others that when you meet people in life; take the time to ask that question, “Have you ever thought about becoming a pilot or seek a career in aviation?”. Just as he was asked when he was 18 years old. Then let the power of “Curiosity and Inspiration take hold”.
2023 National Aviation Technician of the Year
William “Bill” Allen Ross of Irvington, Alabama, has been named the 2023 National Aviation Technician of the Year. Bill earned his Inspection Authorization (IA) in 2016 and has completed 5-12 annual inspections each year. Bill heads the Product Support Department at Superior Air Parts, where he has been employed since 2015 and assists mechanics, owners and pilots with technical support. Bill is often called upon to assist in product analysis during NTSB in Accident Investigations.
In his many recommendations for this award, Bill is described by his colleagues and other industry professionals as a selfless expert who sleeps, eats, and breathes aviation in all facets of his life. While it is not required, Bill attends several IA renewals during renewal periods to further his education. Each year he attends many vendor-sponsored seminars and panels designed to make parts safer and more reliable for the aviation community.
In 2017, Bill authored and Superior Air Parts published “Engine Maintenance 101” to dispel many of the myths around our industry regarding best practices for caring for your aircraft’s engines. As of this release, the book has been distributed to over 15,000 readers free of charge in both hardbound and electronic copies. Since 2013, Bill has served on the industry advisory board for Western Michigan University College of Aviation for mechanic and pilot training. Bill has also served as a keynote speaker at many of these graduations over the years and enjoys mentoring the students who will one day join our industry as maintenance technicians.
In 2016, a mentee of Bill, Adrian Eichhorn, completed a round-the-world trip. He credits Bill’s guidance, wisdom, and advice on his success and planning efforts for this trip, stating that both his many years of experience and maintenance knowledge helped him prepare and complete the flight with confidence.
Bill is also a pilot who enjoys flying his 1941 Stearman and taking veterans and Young Eagles for their first flights. First-time flyers note that Bill provides an enthusiastic and exciting full dose of how the aircraft works and even potential aviation careers. Bill and his immediate family are faithful stewards of our industry who remain active in their local EAA Chapter, raising funds for various charities and aviation groups.
Bill is a 1985 graduate of Alabama Aviation College, where he received his Diploma in Aviation Maintenance, and a 1994 graduate of the University of South Alabama. He holds an Airframe and Powerplant Certificate with Inspection Authorization, a commercial pilot’s certificate ASEL and AMEL. Today, Bill continues to consult with hundreds of pilots every year. His knowledge and expertise have touched many within our community and industry.
2023 FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year
Dennis Miller of Mishawaka, Indiana, has been named the 2023 FAASTeam Representative of the Year. He has been working as a FAASTeam representative since 2016, an endeavor that has proven to be a natural outgrowth of his passion for flying. After almost three years with the Grand Rapids District, Dennis transferred to the Greater Chicago District and quickly established relationships with the general aviation community in northwest Indiana. He uses his knowledge and experience as a pilot and flight instructor to complement safety programs and stimulate discussions with other general aviation pilots.
Dennis’ fascination with airplanes began as a young boy when his grandfather would take him to the South Bend (IN) airport to watch planes take off and land. “I remember spending several Thanksgivings sitting with my Uncle Bob, watching the movie, ‘The Spirit of Saint Louis.’” His uncle owned a Tri-Pacer, but Dennis’ parents would not allow him to go for a ride, thinking it was too dangerous.
As a teenager, Dennis finally had the opportunity for his first airplane ride. Jim Temple, a family friend and former mechanic with the United States Marine Corps, took him out in his Taylorcraft. The experience made Dennis realize how much he wanted to learn to fly and he began taking lessons at a local airport. Dennis even used a portion of his unemployment check to cover the cost of lessons after being laid off from his job! Dennis received his private pilot’s license in 1979 and went on to earn his instrument and commercial ratings. Over the years, he instructed a variety of students and became a Gold Seal Instructor upon completion of his AGI and IGI certifications. From 2009 - 2022, Dennis served as the Aerospace Superintendent for his local 4-H Club and enjoyed encouraging young people to seriously think about aviation-related careers. In that capacity, he hosted many guest speakers, planned tours of the local control tower and college flight schools, and arranged several First Flight experiences through the local EAA chapter.
Dennis has completed the Wings Basic Phase 1, Advanced Phase 1, and Master Phase 1 levels. He earned his commercial drone license and has given a number of presentations on UAVs for the local 4-H program and the St. Joe Valley Cadet Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.
Over the years, Dennis has personally seen the best and worst of general aviation. He was on site following the tragic loss of American Eagle flight 4184 in Roselawn, Indiana. Following this crash, Dennis felt compelled to do more to bring safety to the forefront of every pilot’s mind. As part of the FAASTeam, he has worked tirelessly to bring the message of aviation safety to any pilot who will listen. Dennis feels greatly honored to be recognized for his contributions to the general aviation community, and his impact is truly immeasurable.