AOPA Foundation names ‘Hat in the Ring’ award winners

The AOPA Foundation has recognized four members of the general aviation community for their efforts to promote and grow GA. The winners were chosen by AOPA Foundation “Hat in the Ring” members — those who donate $1,000 a year to support the AOPA Foundation initiatives to teach safety, preserve airports, grow the pilot population and support charitable work being done through general aviation. The awards were presented at the foundation’s annual Night for Flight fundraising gala before a sold-out crowd in Palm Springs, Calif., during the AOPA Aviation Summit.

John Black, executive director of the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority, was given the the Achievement in Airport Stewardship award for his efforts to connect the local community to the airport through regular presentations to civic organizations and other airport groups.

Welles Murphey Jr., a supporter of the AOPA Foundation and a member of the AOPA President’s Council and the Ambassadors Society, received the Achievement in Public Service Award. He has flown hundreds of missions for Angel Flight and other humanitarian organizations. He holds commercial pilot ratings for single- and multiengine airplanes.

Dana Siewert, director of aviation safety at the University of North Dakota, was honored with the Achievement in Aviation Safety Award. He is a designated FAA pilot examiner for private through airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates and was on the FAA’s designated pilot examiner “Honor Roll” three times. With more than 11,000 accident-free flight hours, he is the holder of an airline transport pilot certificate in both single- and multiengine aircraft and commercial privileges in single-engine sea and helicopters.

Jerry Gregoire, founder and chairman of Redbird Flight Simulations, has won the Achievement in Aviation Education Award. He has guided Redbird into the world’s largest manufacturer of full-motion flight simulators for universities and flight schools. He holds an airline transport pilot rating for airplanes and helicopters and a single-pilot type rating for Cessna Citation 525 jets.

For more information: AOPA.org

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