GA Awards Program Announces Winners of 2019 National General Aviation Awards

The General Aviation Awards Program has announced the recipients of the 2019 National General Aviation Awards. The award winners are:

Gary Dale Reeves of Decatur, Texas—2019 Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year

Jon David Monti of Gardnerville, Nevada—2019 Aviation Technician of the Year

Karen Ann Kalishek of De Pere, Wisconsin—2019 FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year

The FAA will present individual awards to each National Honoree in July during EAA AirVenture 2019 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and their names will be added to the large perpetual plaque located in the lobby of the EAA AirVenture Museum. Also included in the prize package for each National Honoree is an all-expenses-paid trip to Oshkosh to attend the awards presentation and other special GA Awards activities.

“I am very excited to announce the selection of the National Honorees for the 2019 General Aviation Awards,” says GA Awards board chairman Sandya Narayanswami, “These awards highlight the important role played by these individuals in promoting aviation education and flight safety,” she added, “The awards program sponsors are pleased that these outstanding aviation professionals will receive the recognition they so richly deserve before their peers in Oshkosh.”

2019 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year

Gary Dale Reeves of Decatur, Texas has been named the 2019 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year. Gary is an ATP and Master CFI with over 7,500 hours (mostly instruction given) in over 50 types of aircraft from Cessna 172s to Beech 1900s.

Gary is founder and chief safety officer of, an organization he created in 2013 to reduce general aviation accidents by offering free and low-cost training programs. He now specializes in single-pilot IFR using autopilots, GPS and electronic flight bag software.

In 2016, Gary created Master Flight Training to provide three-day Mastering Single-Pilot IFR programs for pilots who fly with Avidyne or Garmin glass cockpits. In the past three years, he has given this training to more than 60 pilots in 24 states involving 26 different aircraft models.

Since 2012, Gary has been a Lead FAASTeam Representative, first with the Long Beach (Calif.) FSDO and now with the North Texas FSDO. In this capacity, he has taught more than 130 free FAA Wings-credit Safety Seminars in 10 states. He is a much in-demand speaker at major general aviation events including EAA AirVenture, Sun ‘n Fun, AOPA Regional Fly-Ins, and Northwest Aviation Expo.

Gary is the official National Training Provider for both Avidyne Avionics and Genesys Aerosystems (S-TEC). He was honored in 2015 by the Long Beach (Calif.) FSDO as both Instructor of the Year and FAASTeam Representative of the Year. In 2016, he was honored as Instructor of the Year by the FAA Western-Pacific Region.

Gary is a member of the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA), American Bonanza Society (ABS), Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association (COPA), National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), and the Society of Flight Educators (SAFE). 

2019 Aviation Technician of the Year

Jon David Monti of Gardnerville, Nevada has been named the 2019 Aviation Technician of the Year. From an early age, Dave showed a propensity for all things mechanical with an interest in disassembling and improving everything he touched. Understandably, he would choose to major in Mechanical Engineering for his collegiate studies. He was also infatuated with airplanes as a youngster, soloing on his 16th birthday and earning his private pilot certificate on his 17th. He went on to earn his instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, aircraft and powerplant mechanic certificate, and inspection authorization.

In 1975, Dave founded Rebuilt Aircraft, Inc. at the South Lake Tahoe, CA Airport (KTVL), relocating two years later to Minden, Nevada (KMEV). His goal was was to provide specialized maintenance and repair services for owners of Beech Bonanzas, Barons, and Travelairs. (At the time, there were no other A&Ps specializing in these aircraft in the Northern California/Nevada area.) In 1984 Rebuilt Aircraft, Inc. became a Part 145 Repair Station, and Dave has served as Chief Inspector for the Repair Station ever since. He also served as a FAA Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR) for more than 25 years preparing numerous aircraft for export to other countries and inspecting foreign aircraft for import to the US. Dave and his staff at Rebuilt Aircraft perform an average of 40 annual inspections each year, plus numerous major and minor alterations. Dave holds an STC to upgrade early 185/225 hp Bonanzas and Debonairs to the 260 hp Continental IO-470-N engine. Customers fly their Beech airplanes to Dave’s shop from 11 states.

Dave has been an integral part of the instructional staff for the Bonanza Pilot Proficiency Program (BPPP) since 1988, providing recurrent training for owners of Beech Bonanza, Baron, and Travelair airplanes. For many years, he served as the lead maintenance instructor and inspector for BPPP. When ABS restructured BPPP in 2012, Dave helped found Bonanza/Baron Pilot Training, Inc. (BPT) to continue the kind of one-on-one training provided by the original BPPP syllabus.Dave has participated in more than 250 BPPP and BPT clinics and has touched more than 7,500 Beechcraft pilots, companions, and fellow A&Ps throughout the US.

Dave has frequently traveled to and participated in events at Sun ’N Fun in Lakeland, FL and at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, WI. In 2018, Dave represented the BPT, Inc. staff and its recurrent pilot training program at EAA AirVenture. Dave is a regular presenter at local WINGS Seminars in the Minden/Carson City/Reno area, Dave enjoys supporting his local FAASTeam in multiple roles and earning WINGS credits.

Originally appointed as an Aviation Safety Counselor in 1999, Dave has served tirelessly in this capacity as the national program evolved into today’s FAA Safety Team. As a FAASTeam Representative, Dave has supported and conducted safety seminars as a volunteer presenter and has developed multiple specialized presentations on issues of owner maintenance for the Reno FSDO.

During his 32 years as a Life Member in the American Bonanza Society (ABS), Dave has presented maintenance training topics at many ABS national conventions. Dave has written numerous articles, training syllabi, and other technical products to support maintenance outreach activities. Dave co authored “Flight Controls, Flap and Trim System Inspection, Repair, and Rigging”, a Mechanics Guide published by ABS.

Over the years, Dave has consulted with countless owners and mechanics of Beech airplanes. His encyclopedic knowledge of these aircraft is legendary, and his advice is sought to resolve complex maintenance problems, answer technical questions, and weigh in on safety-of-flight issues. In 2016, when Adrian Eichhorn (2017 National AMT of the Year) flew his 1962 Bonanza on a round-the-world flight, he frequently called on Dave for maintenance advice and support during the journey. Dave averages more than 300 pro-bono interactions each year providing guidance to Beech owners and mechanics. 

2019 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year

Karen Ann Kalishek of De Pere, Wisconsin has been named the 2019 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year. Karen has served as FAASTeam Lead Representative for the Milwaukee FSDO since 2015, and as a FAASTeam Representative since 2013. She is a Master Flight Instructor and FAA Gold Seal Instructor who holds ATP, CFI, CFII, CFIME, CFI-Glider, AGI and IGI certificates.

As Lead FAASTeam Representative, Karen is responsible for recruiting new FAASTeam Reps, mentoring them, and working with other members of the Northern Wisconsin FAASTeam to organize 15-20 WINGS Safety Seminars a year. She is an avid supporter of the WINGS program, and has validated approximately 1,000 WINGS credits since joining the FAASTeam. She was recently asked by the Milwaukee FSDO to serve in the new volunteer position of WINGS Pro, responsible for promoting WINGS involvement and activities throughout Wisconsin.

Karen is an independent flight instructor for private, instrument, commercial, flight instructor and glider candidates who averages 700 hours per year of flight instruction given. She has a special fondness for antique and experimental aircraft, and the proud owner of a Van’s RV-6. She is also a Cirrus Training Center Instructor. In addition, Karen is a Captain in the CIvil Air Patrol, serving as a CAP volunteer flight instructor, G1000 instructor, check pilot, safety officer, aerospace education officer, public affairs officer, special flight release officer, mission pilot and cadet orientation pilot.

Karen holds bachelor’s degrees in accounting and business administration and a masters in business administration. Before becoming a full-time flight instructor, she was an executive in the banking industry, taught finance courses in graduate school, and for 20 years ran her own firm providing international consulting services in 37 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East..She is a certified public accountant, licensed real estate broker, and former certified fraud examiner.

In 2014, Karen spearheaded a project to develop an aviation training program for first responders, working together with a captain in the Green Bay Fire Department who is also a pilot. She has co-presented this scenario-based training program six times (including once at AirVenture), and has shared it with other EAA Chapters.The program has been adopted by the Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics.

Karen serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) and is a member of the Wings Industry Advisory Committee (WIAC). In 2014, she founded the Green Bay IMC Club, and serves as its leader and club coordinator. For the past five years, she has served as volunteer CFI Manager at the EAA Pilot Proficiency Center during AirVenture. Since 2006, she has served as treasurer of EAA Chapter 651, and serves as a EAA Flight Advisor for the Chapter. Karen is a member of Women in Aviation and The Nnety Nines. 

About the GA Awards Program

The General Aviation Awards Program is a cooperative effort between more than a dozen sponsoring organizations from the aviation industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

For nearly 50 years, the Program has recognized aviation professionals in the fields of flight instruction, aviation maintenance, avionics, and flight safety for their important contributions to the general aviation community.

These awards highlight the important leadership roles these individuals play in promoting aviation safety, education, and professionalism.

Winners are recognized locally, regionally and nationally. National winners are recognized during AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI each July.  There, they also receive gifts provided by sponsors and contributors.

For more information, contact

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