Press Release

LONGMONT, Colorado– In each of the past 43 years, the General Aviation Awards Program and the Federal Aviation Administration (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 safety and education.

This awards program is a cooperative effort between the FAA and a dozen industry sponsors. The selection process begins at local Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) and then moves on to the nine regional FAA offices. Panels of aviation professionals within the various fields then select national winners from the pool of regional awardees.

Recipients of this year’s national awards are as follows:

  • Flight Instructor of the Year–Rich Stowell of Ventura, CA;
  • Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year–Gene Husdon of Mission Hills, CA;
  • Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year–Joe Hawkins of Murfreesboro, TN;
  • Avionics Technician of the Year–Terry Markovich of Bedminster, NJ.

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey will present the national awards during a “Theater in the Woods” program at EAA AirVenture 2006 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

“These awards highlight the important role played by these individuals in promoting aviation safety and education,” said JoAnn Hill, General Aviation Awards Committee chairman. “The awards program sponsors are pleased that these outstanding aviation professionals will receive the recognition they so richly deserve before their peers in

2006 CFI OF THE YEAR: Master CFI-Aerobatic Rich Stowell, a resident of Ventura, California, specializes in spin, emergency maneuver, aerobatic, and tailwheel training. When not conducting training clinics elsewhere, he instructs at CP Aviation, Inc., a Part 61 flight school at Santa Paula Airport (SZP).

As a teenager growing up in Northwestern NJ in the 1970s, Stowell was inspired by the performances of aerobatic legends Leo Loudenslager and Betty Stewart during the annual Sussex Airshow. In 1982, he took his first flying lesson at Sussex Airport in a Piper Cherokee 140. Two years and 84 hours total time later, he began aerobatic training in a Super Decathlon. Work as a consulting engineer eventually took him to Southern California, where he would spend weekends flying aerobatics from Santa Paula Airport. In 1987, his then-girlfriend (now wife) made a suggestion: “Why not quit your job and give instructing a try for a year?”

Completely immersed in aviation, Stowell developed and promoted the EMT® (Emergency Maneuver Training) Program. Spinning with pilots from all over the world led to the development of his trademark PARE spin recovery checklist. Designated an “Official Spin Doctor” by the International Aerobatic Club, Stowell has performed more than 26,800 spins with students.

Articles about Stowell’s teaching techniques have appeared in Sport Pilot, Flying, AOPA Pilot, and Air & Space magazines, to name a few. He has scripted several aviation videos, including the FAA’s “Loss of Control” series, and has written numerous articles for publications such as Aviation Safety, Plane & Pilot, and Flight Training magazines. He has authored three aviation books. The newest, available later this year, is entitled, “The Light Airplane Pilot’s Guide to Stall/Spin Awareness.”

Stowell conducts numerous safety seminars annually, crisscrossing the U.S. from Alaska to Florida, California to Massachusetts. He has given seminars and instruction in Indonesia, Japan, and Canada as well. He also maintains the Aviation Learning Center web site ( Stowell upgrades his own piloting skills by participating in the FAA Wings and IAC Achievement Awards Programs. He is a member of AOPA and IAC.

Stowell represented the Van Nuys FSDO and the FAA’s Western Pacific Region. This year’s other regional CFI winners include Michael Alan “Mike” Berlin, MCFI, of West Hartford, Connecticut (FAA’s New England Region), Janice Gray Driscoll, CFI, of Kernersville, North Carolina (FAA’s Southern Region), Helen D “Pat” Knight, MCFI, of Naperville, Illinois (FAA’s Great Lakes Region), Janice Wray “Jan” Walton, MCFI, of Marion, Iowa (FAA’s Central Region), and Charles Burton “Bud”
Welch, CFI, of Arkadelphia, Arkansas (FAA’s Southwest Region).

Thanks from Rich

Wow! I truly am humbled and honored to be chosen to receive this award. Never could I have imagined that my career in aviation would have led to this. Of course, I would not be where I am today without the tremendous support, encouragement, feedback, critique, friendship, and a whole lot more from so many fine people in aviation.

This isn’t the Oscar’s®, so there’s no time limit for me to recognize all those who have been instrumental in my aviation career. Below is a list of those who deserve thanks–I appreciate everything you have done to keep me flying and to help me become a better pilot and instructor. If I have forgotten anyone, please know that the oversight was unintentional (it’s hard to think straight in all my excitement).

My wife, Jan

Clay & Judy Phelps

Greg & Margie Smith

Jim & Jean Taylor

Tim & Nicole Brill

Corky & Linda Castner

Sandy & JoAnn Hill

John & Julie Hubner

Owen & Myrna Mibus

Taz & Sue Stafford

Ted & Maxine Turner

Rob & Cathy Vuksanovic


Canada–Joe Kane, Paul “Pitch”
Molnar, Brian Stewart

Indonesia–Georges Mercadal, Tience Sumartini,
Peter van Veen

Japan–Miyako Kanao, Yoshi Someya, Kazuo

Switzerland–Claude Stahel

United Kingdom–Polly Vacher

The flight instructors who patiently taught
me how to fly

Peter Wicinski, Carl Roberto, Diane Hakala, Sue
Schwaab, Melody Rich, Kathy Gray, Frank Gamble, John Schwenk

The various instructors who have taught the
EMT Program at CP Aviation

Stewart Ayotte, Patrick Dugan, Brett Ebaugh,
Joe Greer, Dennis Magdaleno, Rob Krauter

Aviation Media

Jeb Burnside, Jim Campbell, Jane Garvey, Bill
Gruber, Jay Hopkins, Ken Ibold, Dave Kujawa, Amy Laboda, Scott
Spangler, Elizabeth Tennyson, Eric Weiner

Aviation Organizations

AOPA & AOPA ASF, CAP, FAA, IAC (especially Chapters 49, 78, 52, & 118), NASA


Karla Borden, Joe Brownlee, Jim Ford, Lowell
Foster, Scott Gardiner, Jon Hannan, Tom Hennessey, Eileen
Iandola, Ron Krantz, Elizabeth Matarese, Barry McCoy, Ladd Scott,
Obie Young


Jim Patton, Dennis Ragsdale, Paul Stough

The Ninety-Nines

New Jersey, San Gabriel Valley, San Luis
Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara Valley, Ventura County

Santa Paula Airport Businesses

CP Aviation, Inc., MARS Aircraft Repair, Ray’s
Aviation, Screaming Eagle, Santa Paula Flight Center

State Divisions of Aeronautics

Idaho–Frank Lester; Minnesota–Wayne Petersen,
Montana–Jeanne MacPherson; New Jersey– Karen Candiani, Henry
Conroy, Clare Mansfield, Ted Matthews, Greg McDonough, Tom


Eric Akola, Bill Bowman, Howard Penland, John
Sarvis, Bart Stone, Mike Vivion


David Lee Bagby

H.W. Barnhouse

Gene Beggs

Alan Bramson

Bruce G. Barrett

Gene Beliveau

Gary Black

Jenny Lynn Burnett

Doug Carmody

James Carpenter

Steve Chanin

Tony Chatto

Vicki Cruse

Pamela DeCastro

Fred DeLacerda

Wendell Dowling

Doug Dullenkopf

John Galban

Bill Gallea

Bernie Geier

Jerry Gerdes

Hilton Goldstein

Mike Goulian

Barbara Hale

Jess Hall

Linda Hamer

Lowell Hinchee

Marilyn Hubbard

KD Johnson

Dave Kaiser

William P. Kelly, Jr.

Bill Kershner

Bruce Landsberg

Tony LeVier

Jeff Liegner

John Lowery

John T. Lowry

Rod Machado

Sammy Mason

Dan Matejzcyk

Ray Maxon

Mark McKibben

Alistair McPherson

Roger McVeety

Jamie Monberg

Danny Mortensen

Bob Norris

Rochelle Oslick

Royson Parsons

Gordon Penner

Rich Perkins

Bob Phelps

David Pilkington

Paul “BJ” Ransbury

Ginny Reed

Dick Rihn

Tony Sauerbrey

Barry Schiff

Linda Scully

Marva Semet

Lyle Shelton

Allen Silver

Jim Skogen

Mike Stoddard

Kay Sundaram

Dan Tarasievich

Diane Titterington

William D. Thompson

Pat Veillette

Patty Wagstaff

Hobert Welch

Mike Wiskus

Jerry Wrage

And to all of my students, who have endured my
constant and sometimes withering badgering–you are the ones who
continue to teach me everything I need to know about flying.

Thank you!

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