July 9, 2003 - The FAA presented its Silver Diamond Award of Excellence to the EAA Aviation Foundation honoring EAA's aircraft maintenance staff and B-17 tour mechanics during a special ceremony on Wednesday at EAA headquarters in Oshkosh. Principal Maintenance Inspector Timothy Anderson from FAA's Milwaukee Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) presented the award, which is given in recognition of EAA's commitment to excellence in the latest aircraft maintenance methods and technologies.
The award requirement, Anderson explained, is for 50 percent of the staff to undergo recurrent training in the previous year. "EAA not only met that requirement, they doubled it," he said, regarding their 100 percent participation. "But that is not something new: EAA's commitment to maintenance quality and safety has always been evident within the organization from the top down."
Anderson added that maintenance and safety are ever present at EAA, even within all EAA publications and EAA AirVenture. "EAA also shares its high-quality, top-of-the-line experience and knowledge with the rest of the industry," he said, referring to EAA's work on aging aircraft issues.
EAA President Tom Poberezny called aircraft maintenance an important part of the overall EAA team. "They keep our aircraft flying safely, and they make sure our passengers are safe while flying in our aircraft." He used EAA's B-17 Aluminum Overcast as an example.
"This year alone, our B-17 will fly more than 3,000 passengers, eight at a time," he said. What's more, the Foundation's 1929 Ford Tri-Motor flew 1,600 passengers, eight at a time, at its recent weeklong visit to Dearborn, Michigan, for Ford Motor Company's Centennial celebration.
Anderson invoked a longstanding FAA motto: "A safe flight is no accident."
The maintenance staff, led by Daryl Lenz, also maintains the rest of EAA's fleet, which includes a Spirit of St. Louis replica, a vintage Waco and Travel Air airplanes, and many others.
"We're very proud of the track records of our aircraft, and that's a direct reflection on all the hard work and dedication of our maintenance staff," Poberezny said. "In my travels to other organizations around the country, I can truly say without equivocation, these people right here are the standard setters."
Milwaukee FSDO manager John Thiem was also on hand for the presentation of the Silver Diamond Award, the most highly regarded of five awards that the FAA can give to employers.