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Tony Bingelis Award 2018 Recipient Announced
July 19, 2018 - Gerard Blake, EAA 22645, has been named as the recipient of the 2018 Tony Bingelis Award. Gerard was nominated by fellow members of EAA Chapter 524 in Frederick, Maryland, due to his tireless efforts to support homebuilders in the area as a teacher, EAA technical counselor, and EAA flight advisor.
“I was very surprised and humbled not only to be nominated by my chapter, but to receive the award,” Gerard said. “I’m not the type of person who seeks awards, but I’ve certainly enjoyed my long history of being part of EAA, and I certainly appreciate the recognition.”
Gerard first took flying lessons at age 16 and joined the Air National Guard the next year. A long career as both a pilot and A&P mechanic and engineer proceeded, and he found his love of teaching when he trained part-time guardsmen with the Air National Guard.
In addition to serving as a mentor in the homebuilding world, after discovering his passion for teaching Gerard taught at Frederick Community College for 23 years.
Gerard trained A&Ps at Frederick Community College, helped establish EAA Chapters 240 and 524, was a pioneer in starting the first EAA SportAir Workshops, and taught RV forums that lasted for days. He also formed a flying club in Frederick with other chapter members that built and currently flies a Zenith Zodiac 601 XL-B.
“A joyful part of the experience was the camaraderie we all gained from one another, feeding off of one another to help solve problems and physically put the airplane together all the way up through the test flight,” Gerard said. “We’ve been flying the airplane for the last five years. It was a super experience.”
Gerard has helped with restorations, and he said he has done so many first flights he cannot recall the number anymore.
Gerard will be presented with the Tony Bingelis Award at the Homebuilders Dinner on Thursday evening during AirVenture at 6 p.m. in the Nature Center.