Title: Fiberglass Mentorship
Nominees: Michael Gold, Dave Ganzer
Nominator: Eric Stewart
Description: Nothing’s worse than seeing an airplane project go dormant in the corner of a garage or hangar. It’s kind of a double whammy: of lost dreams from the past and lost possibilities in the future. It follows then that nothing is better than seeing someone come along and adopt a forgotten dream and revive it. And that’s exactly what Michael Gold has done with VariEZ N74CW. Michael acquired the airframe and subsequently discovered it had been significantly damaged in a hard landing and decided to return it to flightworthiness. A musician and banner-tow pilot by trade, Michael had no experience homebuilding, but he did have an awesome community at Santa Paula Airport where he found a heavyweight in the experimental world willing to mentor him: Dave Ganzer. Ganzer was a composite structures, design, and project engineer for Scaled Composites, with designs like Ares and Gemini under his belt, and is currently a Senior Engineer at AeroVironment. While N74CW probably won’t make it to this year’s MEFI, we think that this kind of mentorship embodies the spirit of MEFI and experimental aviation and deserves a nomination.