Maj. Paul Van Brunt.
Capt. Scott Johnson
Assistant Public Affairs Officer
MINNESOTA – Maj. Paul Van Brunt of the 130th Composite Squadron has been recognized as the 2013 Minnesota Flight Instructor of the Year, the Federal Aviation Administration Minneapolis Flight Standards District Office announced.
In addition to his flight instruction duties, Van Brunt serves as the squadron’s public affairs officer and standardization-evaluation officer and previously served as deputy commander for seniors.
He’s also a member of the local FAA Safety Team.
For nearly 50 years the General Aviation Awards Program has recognized a small group of aviation professionals in the fields of flight instruction, aviation maintenance, avionics and flight safety for their important contributions to the aviation community. The selection process begins with nominations from aviation professionals and members of the FAASTeam, as well as local FAA offices. Following the selection of state winners, panels of aviation professionals select regional and national winners in the spring.
Van Brunt was nominated by Capts. Scott Johnson, public affairs officer for Group III, and Tyra Cerny of the St. Paul Composite Squadron in recognition of his flight training efforts in CAP and his work with students at two local flight schools: Air-Trek North and Stick-n-Rudder Flight Training at Airlake Airport in Lakeville.
“Paul is the flight instructor that other instructors turn to when they have challenging students needing assistance getting over a training plateau,” Johnson wrote in his nominating letter. “Many local flight instructors turn to Paul when they need instruction themselves in aviation instruction technique and flight safety.”
In 2012 Van Brunt trained six CAP cadets as pilots from start to finish – including successful completion of the private pilot practical exam and acquisition of a pilot’s license – with a 100 percent first-time pass rate. In doing so he volunteered more than 250 flight hours, entailing not only a commitment to duty but personal financial sacrifice.
Saying that he is honored and humbled by the award, Van Brunt also said the Minnesota Wing is rich with available flight instructors and airplanes, and he would like to see them used more in the cadet flight training process.