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March 6, 2024

Sandya Narayanswami, PhD

General Aviation Awards

Awards for National Flight Instructor, Aviation Technician, and FAASTeam Rep of the year to be presented by the FAA at AirVenture

Versailles, Kentucky – March 6, 2024 - Every 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/avionics, and safety.

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

Recipients of the 2024 National General Aviation Awards are:

Adam Magee—2024 Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year

Marty King—2024 Aviation Technician of the Year

Cary Grant—2024 FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year

The FAA will present individual awards to each National Honoree in July during EAA AirVenture 2024 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and their names will be added to the large perpetual plaque located in the lobby of the EAA AirVenture Museum. In addition to being recognized at AirVenture and highlighted in the aviation media, National Honorees also receive gifts generously provided by sponsors and contributors.

“It is an honor to announce the names of the 2024 General Aviation Awards National Honorees” says GA Awards Board Chair Sandya Narayanswami, “These important, historic awards highlight the critical role played by accomplished individuals in building a culture solidly based on aviation safety and education,” she added, “The Board and our many sponsors are pleased that these outstanding aviation professionals will receive public recognition before their peers at AirVenture.”

2024 National Certified Flight Instructor of the Year

The General Aviation Awards Committee has selected Adam Magee of Swisher, Iowa as the “2024 National Flight Instructor of the Year”. 

Adam is a highly motivated educator and aviation professional who, through his non-profit the Balloon Training Academy, teaches over 100 students per year and runs the Lighter than Air (LTA) Outreach Series webinars. 

Adam’s aviation experience includes flight instruction equivalent to an airplane CFI training 3,156 pilots, check ride prep to even more, and instruction in Private and Commercial Ground School with a 99% pass rate. Yearly, he administers roughly 10.5% of all LTA-Balloon practical exams as a DPE. He has organized annual safety seminars, designed private and commercial training syllabi, created an online flight instructor refresher course for balloon instructors which has instructed over 200 instructors. In partnership with the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), he created the Elite Balloon Instructor program to recognize excellence in balloon training and to raise the bar. He created a national training program specifically for hot air balloon pilots. These resources provide education and training to the LTA community for the first time. He is the go-to person nationwide on hot air balloon questions for both industry and the FAA. Adam strongly believes that the responsibility of a flight instructor extends beyond flight training and continuing education. It also includes working collaboratively with the FAA to create change and raise the bar on education and training across the industry. 

As an instructor, Adam schedules a quarterly LTA webinar, broadcast nationwide, with a global following. Adam’s outreach includes aviation professionals, FAA government officials (including the Administrator) and professionals at the top of their fields in aviation safety. These webinars are not teaching events as much as 'learning' events that provide the tools pilots need to continue helping themselves. This balloon outreach is welcomed by FAA offices across the country, as there are few inspectors in the FAA with LTA experience. Adam’s passion extends beyond flight training and continuing education. It also includes working collaboratively with the FAA to continually improve education and training across the industry. Adam has worked with the FAA on many projects including: Contributed major revisions to the new FAA Balloon Flying Handbook and created new knowledge test question for the FAA Airman Testing Branch.

Adam is an LTA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) for the Des Moines Flight Standards District Office. He is one of few LTA DPEs in the country. He has achieved the prestigious Level 8 Distinguished Aeronaut of the BFA pilot achievement award program (highest level). Over the 40-year history of the program 1,646 pilots have participated with only 51 achieving level 8.      Adam has represented the USA overseas at multiple Jr. World hot air balloon championships. He holds multiple FAA Basic, Advanced, and Master Wings, and 1st place in the prestigious BFA Long Jump Challenge for flight of 126 miles, reaching 15,000 feet MSL, and speeds of 60 knots in a hot air balloon.                 

Every professional gives back to their industry. What distinguishes Adam is not only his aptitude in aviation instruction but the unique and commendable fact that he approaches flight instruction from a foundation of volunteerism rather than a career-oriented pursuit.  His willingness to question and challenge existing norms enhances his own capabilities and also contributes to a culture of innovation within the general aviation community.  Adam consistently engages with the FAA, offering thoughtful insights and creative solutions that aligns seamlessly with the shared goal of fostering a safer and more effective aviation training environment. Adam is a Member of the Board of Directors, Treasurer, and Chair of the Finance Committee of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) and was a member of the organizing committee for the NAFI Summit of 2023. He was a featured presenter at many Ballooning Continuing Education Safety Seminars including National Convention and General Aviation Seminars such as the NAFI Summit. He was the General Aviation Awards National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year in 2021. He has published several featured articles for the FAA Safety Briefing Magazine, among many others. He worked with the FAASTeam to become an Industry Member and appointed training provider, providing hot air balloon specific training via the FAASTeam. He Led and was the presenter for the annual Des Moines and St. Louis FSDO FAASTeam Rep training. 

Adam’s accomplishments and efforts have brought LTA and ballooning back into the forefront of General Aviation!

2024 National Aviation Technician of the Year

The General Aviation Awards Committee has selected Marty King of Elkhart, Indiana as the 2024 National Aviation Technician of the Year. 

Marty has been in aviation since 1968 when, at age 12, he started flying lessons and his first apprenticeship. He learned how to install fabric at age 12-14, overhauled his first engine at age 15, and built his first airplane, a Pitts S1C, all while still in high school. In 1972 Marty, age 16, acquired his first paying client when he recovered Art Scholl’s Chipmunk’s rudder after a smoke canister exploded and took the fabric covering with it. King Aero was born as a sole proprietorship doing fabric work only. 

Marty served another apprenticeship in the mid 1980’s and received his A&P in 1991 and later his IA. He established his own GA service, restoration and fabric shop, King Aero, Inc. in 1991. His company still provides GA services along with restoration, fabric repair and replacement. Currently a 1940 Piper J4A-65 and a 1946 Piper J3C-85 are undergoing restorations in his shop.

In 2017 Marty started an A&P intern program with Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. That was followed by opportunities to train interns from Lansing Community College, Western Michigan University and Purdue University. He also has an active apprenticeship program.

The FAAST Team plays a big part in Marty’s volunteer activities. As a FAAST Team Representative Marty stays abreast of new technologies as information for new topics to use and understand, all while conducting FAAST Team seminars for IAs, A&Ps and Pilots. He continues to build his knowledge base of topics of interest to both mechanics and pilots. In 2023 and 2024, Marty received the AMT of the Year award for the State of Michigan and 6 counties in Northern Indiana and received the Charles M. Taylor 50-year Master Mechanic’s Award.

He is an active EAA Technical Counselor for EAA Chapter 132 and oversees several homebuilders’ activities. Marty is also assisting in developing a STEM program, STAY (STEM in Aviation Youth, Indiana) to teach 13-18-year-old students how to build a plane.  After completion of the airplane, students will have an opportunity to fly the airplane they built. For participating in the program, they will eventually receive high school credit and Marty is working on getting them college credit. Marty currently has a team of 6 A&Ps, wrote the syllabus, and is currently Classroom Instructor for the program. 

2024 FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year

The General Aviation Awards Committee has selected Cary Grant of Cave Creek, Arizona, as the 2024 FAASTeam Representative of the Year.

Cary has been an FAA Safety Team Representative since 2009 and is an experienced aviation safety advisor serving as a Lead Representative, WINGSPro, professor, and flight instructor. He co-hosts quarterly CFI open Forums and conducts FAASTeam Seminars throughout the state to flight schools such as All ATP, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Experimental Aircraft Association chapters and AOPA’s Buckeye Air Fair. He is also an Assistant Professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Mr. Grant is the president of the Arizona Aviation Safety Advisory Group (ASAG), a 50-year-old charitable organization dedicated to aviation safety in Arizona and working with organizations throughout southern California and Neveda. ASAG’s mission is to identify, highlight, and educate aviators throughout the Southwestern United States on safety issues in Arizona’s airspace and host the state’s annual General Aviation Awards Banquet.

Mr. Grant is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, serving as a Flight Instructor in T-37s, C-141 Starlifter transport, and Gulfstream G-III flying military and diplomatic dignitaries. He worked with NATO’s Operations Research Branch, where he met representatives from all the member states and represented the USAF. During this assignment, he kept his flight skills sharp by flying with the Ramstein Aeroclub in Germany and earned his FAA CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, and ATP ratings, adding to his USAF instructor and examiner positions, while simultaneously volunteering as the club’s Safety Officer. After a 20-year military career, he completed a distinguished 23-year civilian career with United Airlines, as a Captain, where he flew Boeing and Airbus aircraft until he retired in 2020.

During Mr. Grant’s time at United Airlines, he became deeply involved in the world of small aircraft and General Aviation. He owns a 1957 Piper Tri-Pacer converted to a taildragger, when he discovered the FAA Safety Team and the Wings program. He attended a safety seminar and was immediately recruited as a rep by the FAASTeam Manager. He soon found himself a Lead Representative conducting the CFI seminars in the Phoenix area, which he has been doing for over 13 years. 

Mr. Grant has continuously given back to the aviation community through programs such as ASAG, Young Eagles, Navajo Airlift flying donated goods to the reservation at Christmas, and Sky Kids, an Arizona organization designed to boost the self-esteem and confidence of children with special needs. When the National FAASTeam established the new WINGSPro program, Cary was one of the first to volunteer. WINGSPros are reps that are experts in the WINGS program and provide guidance to pilots seeking assistance in updating their WINGS phases. In addition, he assists the FAASTeam Program Managers, providing remedial training to pilots as part of the FAA’s Compliance program.

Cary has created numerous seminars on subjects as diverse as Loss of Control, The Impossible Turn, and the hazards of the airspace south of Phoenix, used by the military for live firing, Army National Guard helicopter day and night ops, parachute jumping, glider operations, and many other activities that render the “South Practice Area” unique, particularly for student pilots and unaware general aviation pilots!  Cary is currently President of the Arizona Aviation Safety Advisory Group, which under his leadership has enjoyed enormous growth and participation from the pilot community. In addition to all this, Cary is a full time Assistant Professor of Aeronautical Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott Arizona, where he teaches Commercial Aviation Safety and Domestic and International Navigation. 

The success of FAASTeam outreach is dependent upon Lead Representatives such as Mr. Grant. His dedication, support, hard work, passion, and vast breadth of expertise render him an ideal role model and advocate for all aspects of aviation safety.

Please help us in congratulating this year's honorees. For questions or further distribution of this release, please contact General Aviation Awards at

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