Volunteer Spotlight — Mike Gallaway

This piece originally ran in the April 2021 issue of EAA Sport Aviation magazine.

Mike Gallaway, EAA 530544, was a late bloomer when it came to his aviation journey. But ever since he dipped his toes into aviation when he was in his late 20s, he’s been totally committed. Inspired by an aerobatic flight, Mike earned his pilot certificate six months later and immediately dove headfirst into the aerobatic side of general aviation.

Eventually learning about the International Aerobatic Club through a gentleman who happened to be pumping gas at the airport at the same time as him, Mike attended his first IAC meeting that same day and has been involved ever since. Within a few months, Mike competed in his first aerobatic contest and has flown in contests, including the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships, for the past two-plus decades. In addition to the actual flying portion of Mike’s involvement with the IAC, he’s also volunteered hours and hours of his time over the years.

“The whole sport is volunteer. Everything is volunteer,” Mike explained. “Even though we participate as competitors, when we’re not flying, we’re volunteering. We’re judges, assistant judges, boundary judges. We’re doing something to keep the contest moving. When I got involved in the IAC in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I had some very good mentors, and I was encouraged to become a judge, which I did. I was a regional judge and it takes a few years of experience, and that’s all volunteer. After that, I became a national judge, and you’re invited to judge at the U.S. Nationals. … Based on many years of experience at the U.S. Nationals, I became a CIVA judge, which CIVA is the aerobatic arm of the FAI, which governs all air sports. I actually became the No. 1 judge in all the world, which is based on a mathematical formula.”

Since he began judging aerobatic competitions over 20 years ago, Mike has judged around 100 contests. Because he’s passionate about the sport of aerobatics, Mike has continued to donate extensive amounts of his time to the IAC.

“Really it’s just a function about being passionate about the sport. When you’re involved in this sport of aerobatics, you want to make it better. All of us as competitors want to make sure it’s a judged sport. You don’t want someone judging you that doesn’t know what they’re looking at. I’ve made it a point to study the sport, and I’ve spent a lot of time watching aerobatics. Over the years, I’ve gained some acumen in being a judge. Quite frankly, it’s just been my passion to make the sport better.”

Volunteers make EAA AirVenture Oshkosh — and just about everything else EAA does — possible. This space in EAA Sport Aviation is dedicated to thanking and shining the spotlight on volunteers from the community. Sadly, it cannot capture all of the thousands of volunteers who give so much to the community every year. So, next time you see a volunteer at AirVenture or elsewhere, however they are pitching in to make EAA better, be sure to thank them for it. It’s the least we can do. Do you know a volunteer you’d like to nominate for Volunteer Spotlight? Visit EAA.org/Submissions.

Post Comments