AOPA Foundation names 'Hat in the Ring' award winners

October 11, 2012

The AOPA Foundation has recognized four members of the general aviation community for their efforts to promote and grow GA. The Hat in the Ring Society awards were announced at AOPA Aviation Summit. The awards were sponsored by Hat in the Ring members who commit to donating $1,000 a year to support AOPA Foundation initiatives to teach safety, preserve airports, grow the pilot population and uphold general aviation's image.

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

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

Dana Siewert, director of Aviation Safety at the University of North Dakota, has been 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 Inc., has won the Achievement in Aviation Education Award. He has turned Redbird into the world’s largest manufacturer of full-motion flight simulators for universities and flight schools. He is a pilot holding an airline transport pilot rating for airplanes and helicopters and a single-pilot type rating for Cessna Citation 525 jets.

Benét Wilson

Benét J. Wilson | AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor

AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.