General Aviation Awards names Mary Schu 2015 National Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) of the Year

Mary A. Schu of Tualatin, Oregon has been named the 2015 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year. She currently owns and operates Mary A. Schu Aviation, providing Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) services and free-lance flight instruction in the Portland, Oregon area, as well as conducting 4-5 Flight Instructor Refresher Courses (FIRCs) each year.She also operates Mary A. Schu Consulting, providing program support for business, government and educational entities who are developing or adding aviation programs.

Mary has been an active flight instructor since 1977, with more than 20,000 hours of flight time logged, including more than 14,000 hours of instruction given.She holds ATP and CFI certificates for airplane single and multiengine land and instruments, and is type rated in the Cessna Citation 500. She is a DPE for private, commercial, instrument, ATP and flight instructor check rides in single and multiengine airplanes, and also for sport pilots.

Mary grew up on a wheat farm in eastern Washington, and was driving a tractor at age five. Her dad and three brothers took her to car races, and she secretly dreamed of becoming a race car driver. She earned a BS in Psychology and Child Development at Washington State University, and an MS in Education and Learning Disabilities at Western Oregon University. She holds teaching credentials in Oregon, and taught in the public school system until she found her true passion: teaching aviation.

For 23 years, Mary owned and operated Wings of the Cascades in Redmond, Oregon, a comprehensive aviation school taking pilots from first flight to an aviation career complete with a college degree; Wings closed in 2011. Her previous flight instructing experience included stints at Western Skyways, Kansas State University and the KSU Flying Club, FlightSafety International, Utah Valley State University, and Delta Connection Academy. She also served as a contract pilot for jet, turboprop and piston aircraft for ten different companies.

Mary is FAASTeam Lead Representative for the Portland-Hilsboro FSDO, providing numerous presentation and safety seminars. She is one of 31 industry leaders (and only three DPEs) to serve on the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) Airman Certification System Working Group assisting the FAA to develop new Airman Certification Standards (ACS) that is expected to replace the current Practical Test Standards (PTS) by the end of 2015. Mary is also an active volunteer flight crew member for the B-25 Mitchell bomber “Killer Bee” based in Titusville, Florida, and has seven hours PIC time logged toward her B-25 type rating (with a goal of becoming a B-25 DPE). Mary is a member of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI).

Recipients of the 2015 National General Aviation Awards are:

  • Mary A. Schu of Tualatin, Oregon—Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) of the Year
  • Donald D. Streitenberger Jr. of Cincinnati, Ohio—Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) of the Year
  • Ricky D. Hestilow of Arlington, Texas—Avionics Technician of the Year
  • Christopher J. Hope of Kansas City, Missouri—FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) Representative of the Year

The FAA will present individual plaques to these four National Honorees in July during EAA AirVenture 2015 in Oshkosh,Wisconsin, and their names will be added to the large permanent plaque located in the lobby of the EAA AirVenture Museum. Also included in the prize packages for the four National Honorees are all-expenses-paid trips to Oshkosh to attend the awards presentation and other special GA Awards activities.

“These awards highlight the important role played by these individuals in promoting aviation education and flight safety,” said GA Awards board chairman Arlynn McMahon, “The awards program sponsors are pleased that these outstanding aviation professionals will receive the recognition they so richly deserve before their peers in Oshkosh.”

About the GA Awards Program

The General Aviation Awards Program is a cooperative effort between more than a dozen sponsoring organizations from the aviation industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

For nearly 50 years, the Program has recognized aviation professionals in the fields of flight instruction, aviation maintenance, avionics, and flight safety for their important contributions to the general aviation community.

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

Winners are recognized locally, regionally and nationally. National winners are recognized during AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI each July.  There, they also receive gifts provided by sponsors and contributors.

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