|See a video of the award presentation.|
Felix Maguire earned the 2006 Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award from AOPA for his selfless commitment, tireless leadership, and commitment to general aviation in Alaska.
"Felix has worked relentlessly on behalf of general aviation in Alaska," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "From improvements for VFR pilots - including the unprecedented establishment of a VFR route across the Bering Straits to Russia - to the cutting edge of instrument flight using ADS-B [automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast], Felix has used his broad aviation background to improve safety."
Maguire, a native of Ireland, came to Alaska as a Royal Air Force officer on an exchange program with the U.S. Air Force in 1974 and stayed.
After joining the Alaska Airmen's Association, Maguire became a champion for a number of GA causes. Opening a VFR route between Alaska and Russia was one of those causes.
Given the lack of small aircraft and noncommercial aviation in Russia, some of the early hurdles Maguire had to overcome were as fundamental as getting the Russians to accept a private pilot's license as legitimate credentials to fly in their country. By working with Russian and FAA officials, Maguire and the Alaskan Airmen's Association have made it is easier for GA pilots to push farther into eastern Siberia. Russian Air Traffic Route B369, with VFR border crossing procedures is now published in the Alaska Supplement. Work continues to extend the route to Anadyr, and eventually Magadan and on to Japan.
Maguire is the civil co-chair of the Capstone Coalition, leading an effort to equip all Alaskan aircraft with ADS-B and WAAS [Wide Area Augmentation System]-enabled GPS equipment. During the early phases of Capstone, he pushed for GA pilots to be included in the initial demonstration program. He is proud of the 47-percent reduction in fatal accidents the program has achieved over five years in southwestern Alaska.
Maguire also sits on the Governor's Aviation Advisory Board, providing input to state government on aviation issues and on the Alaska Civil Military Aviation Council, where his military aviation background serves him well.
November 11, 2006