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2017 Spirit of Flight Award Winner
August 25, 2017 - FAA manager and EAA member Mark Giron received the Spirit of Flight Award during AirVenture. The Spirit of Flight Award, sponsored by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, is presented annually to an EAA member who best exemplifies the spirit of research, development or flight test.
Mark Giron was instrumental in the development and roll out of the new Additional Pilot Program for FAA required Phase I flight testing. Mark and the General Aviation Operations Branch (AFS-830), were the FAA owners of the collaborative effort between EAA and FAA. Mark himself owned an RV-6 and has been an active member of the general aviation community. He foresaw the revolutionary impact achieving this significant flight test reform would have on the homebuilt (E-AB) community. Mark was not only supportive, but added a key perspective from the agency that helped us achieve a new policy and AC in near record time. From concept to completion, the program took less than 18 months.
Mark spent countless hours working through the details that each of the experts contributed and ensured it all flowed together into a workable set of parameters. Mark personally ran the scenarios over and over to ensure that our new qualification matrix made sense and worked correctly no matter what type of pilot was using the program. Mark’s personal ownership and dedication is a major reason the outcome of the Additional Pilot Program policy and accompanying Advisory Circular, AC 90-116, was so successful.
Said Tom Turner, an aviation safety professional, “I’m writing to thank you for the excellent work you did that permits an Experimental/Amateur Built airplane builder/pilot to take along an experienced, type-qualified pilot in the early flight test process … what [the developers of the Additional Pilot Program] have done made this massive safety enhancement possible.”
Mark also helped to develop the transition training letter of deviation authority (LODA) process, which helps new pilots of amateur-built aircraft obtain training in type before their first flight in a new aircraft.
Mark is a regular attendee at AirVenture and continues to be dedicated to supporting the E-AB movement both personally and professionally at the FAA.