The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has established a new Alaska region and appointed well-known Fairbanks resident Thomas H. George the new AOPA regional representative for Alaska.
"Alaska's unique flying environment and the challenges facing aviation in the state require the focused attention of a knowledgeable, experienced, and dedicated representative," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "I can't think of a more qualified individual to represent the interests of Alaska's general aviation pilots."
Boyer will re-introduce George to the Alaskan aviation community during a series of AOPA Pilot Town Meetings scheduled July 10-12 in Juneau, Fairbanks, and Anchorage.
George is succeeding Ray Costello, who is retiring after 16 years representing AOPA in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska.
George has devoted an extensive part of his adult life to advancing aviation in Alaska and improving general aviation safety. He serves on the board of directors for the Alaskan Aviation Safety Foundation and is the organization's northern regional representative.
He is president of the Northern Alaska Aviation Symposium, a nonprofit corporation promoting general aviation in Alaska, and chairman of the Northern Alaska Aviation Users Group, a coalition of aviation groups that exchange information on flight service, weather, and airport needs for general aviation across northern Alaska.
"Tom has championed progressive solutions to aviation problems in Alaska," said Boyer. "His work on improving general aviation access to special-use airspace and improved communication with the military created a model for airspace management that should be applied in the Lower 48."
George learned to fly in Fairbanks in 1977. Since then he has accumulated more than 3,000 hours of Alaskan flying experience. He holds a commercial pilot certificate with single-engine land and sea, instrument, and multiengine ratings. He is also a certificated flight instructor (CFI).
He flies a Cessna 185 especially equipped for aerial photography and remote sensing.
George has been a researcher with the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute in Fairbanks, specializing in remote sensing and satellite data collection. He previously managed the planning division of the Alaska Synthetic Aperture Radar Facility. He also owns Terra-Terpret, a company specializing in vertical aerial photography throughout Alaska.
He is a graduate of Oregon State University and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks with a Master of Science in geology and land resources management.
He has received numerous awards for both his aviation and professional activities, including the Alaska Airmen's Association "Sparkplug Award," a NASA Group Achievement Award, and an AOPA Presidential Citation.
AOPA has 12 regional representatives working on state and regional issues nationwide for the 370,000-member pilot association.
More than 4,000 of Alaska's 8,000 pilots are AOPA members.