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National Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) of the Year
  For nearly 50 years, the General Aviation Awards Program has recognized a small group of aviation professionals in the fields of flight instruction, aviation maintenance, avionics, and flight safety for their important contributions to the aviation community.

This awards program is a partnership and a cooperative effort between more than a dozen sponsoring organizations from the aviation industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The selection process begins with local offices. Panels of aviation professionals from within those four fields then select national winners from the pool of regional winners.

The FAA administrator annually has presented the national awards in July during a “Theater in the Woods” program at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Included in the prize packages for each national winner is an all-expense paid trip to Oshkosh for the recipient and a guest to attend
the awards presentation and other GA Awards activities. Generous contributions from industry sponsors pay for the winners’ expenses, while the FAA provides the support and structure for nominations to proceed from local to national levels. Hard working volunteers within the industry provide the various administrative tasks.

The General Aviation Awards Program is a cooperative effort between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation industry sponsors to recognize annually outstanding individuals in the fields of Avionics, Flight Instruction, and Maintenance. In addition, the program recognizes outstanding individuals serving the FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) as representatives.

The awards highlight the important roles these individuals play in promoting aviation safety, education, and professionalism. Winners will be recognized locally, regionally and nationally. National winners will be recognized during AirVenture-Oshkosh each July. There, they will also receive gifts and merchandise provided by sponsors and contributors.

For More information about GA Awards, please vist their webpage http://www.generalaviationawards.com/

Recipient of the National Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) of the Year 2017:
Charles Orville Gensler (NAFI#18957) Charles Orville Gensler of Parker, Colorado has been named the 2017 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year. Chuck’s lifelong interest in aviation began early at the knee of his father—a U.S. Air Force Pilot in three wars—who took him to countless airshows where he watched the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels perform. This led Chuck to enroll in USAF ROTC while at the Citadel earning his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. Upon graduation in 1974, he entered Air Force flight training, graduating near the top of his class.

The USAF Air Training Command selected Chuck as an instructor pilot, and he quickly discovered his true passion as a teacher. He accepted a position as a career trainer in the Air Force, and spent the next 24 years in various roles educating and training military pilots, including Squadron Commander, Air Ops Inspector, and Director of Ops/Training for the Civil Air Patrol. Chuck retired from the USAF in 2000 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

After military retirement, Chuck turned his attention to General Aviation, embarking on a quest to bring GA pilot training closer to the level of proficiency offered by the military and airlines. For the next seven years, he served as Chief Flight Instructor of the Aspen Flying Club. Then in 2007, he co-founded Independence Aviation in Denver and served as its Chief Flight Instructor for the next six years. At Independence, he helped grow the business from three
CFIs and two airplanes to more than 18 instructors and 13 aircraft. Chuck continues to instruct at Independence Aviation as Chief Flight Instructor Emeritus.

Chuck was one of the first CFIs in the Denver area to begin teaching in Technically Advanced Aircraft. In 2004 he became one of the first CIrrus Standardized Instructor Pilots (CSIPs) in the area, and in 2011 qualified as a Platinum CSIP (one of only 81 worldwide). Chuck was also an early adopter of iPads in the GA cockpit, and has conducted numerous safety seminars on the effective use of this technology. He is also a strong proponent of the use of flight simulators and flight training devices to help maintain pilot proficiency, and was instrumental in incorporating the Redbird Xwind training device into the curriculum at Independence Aviation. In 2016, he led a team that developed a novel continuous proficiency training program at Independence called the Complete Proficiency Approach in which GA pilots receive recurrent proficiency training every 60 days throughout the year.

Chuck holds ATP, CFII, and MEI certificates, and has logged 9,400 hours total time, 8,000 of them instruction given. He has been an active FAASteam representative for more than 15 years, and has participated in numerous safety seminars focused on aviation safety, aeronautical decision making, and using technology in the cockpit. Chuck volunteered to be the co-general manager of the EAA Pilot Proficiency Center at AirVenture 2016, supervising 20 instructors conducting more than 25 training scenarios in a variety of Redbird flight simulators. Based on his strong performance, he was asked to fill this role again at AirVenture 2017. Chuck volunteers his time to the COPA Pilot Proficiency Program (CPPP), the IMC Club, and Challenge Air.
Past National CFI of the Year Recipients:

2016 Robert J. Hepp (NAFI# 216994)
2015 Mary A. Schu (NAFI# 215075)
Howard W. Wolvington (NAFI# 16507)
Dean W. Eichholz (NAFI#
2012 Hobart C. Tomlinson (NAFI#19656)
2011 Judy A. Phelps
2010 Jeffrey R. Moss
2009 Arlynn MC Mahon (NAFI#20271)
2008 Max Trescott
2007 Michael G. Gaffney
2006 Richard L. Stowell, Jr
2005 John A. Teipen (NAFI#13290)
2004 Douglas Stewart
2003 William J. Edwards (NAFI#12331)
2002 Kirby V. Ortega (NAFI#14010)
2001 Phillip J. Poynor
2000 Gregory N. Brown
1999 David H. Faile
1998 John C. “JC” Boylls (NAFI#4659)
1997 James E. Trusty
1996 Ludwig J. “Lou” Wipotnik
1995 Lyn Carlson
1994 William E Huber
1993 Kenneth W Medley
1992 William K Kershner
1991 Lloyd J Probst

1990 Sandra Provenzano
John U. Rockcastle (NAFI#8012)
Jeffrey Hanson
1987 June B. Bonesteel (NAFI#7685)
1986 Genie Ray O’Kelley
1985 Harold W Spencer
1984 James G BYRNES
1983 Mary J. Reindl
1982 Gladys M. Morrison
1981 Fred H. Atkinson
1980 Lee G. Barnes
1979 Evelyn B. Johnson
1978 Obie Sigrest Young (NAFI#2947)
1977 Edward Alan Englehardt
1976 Gregory G. Gorak (NAFI#1245)
1975 Unknown
1974 Unknown
1973 Willard C. Marvin
1972 Thomas M. Smith
1971 Unknown
1970 Unknown
1969 Unknown
1968 Unknown
1967 Henry “Hank” S. Hubbell