Michael Ott - 2019 Award Winner
Director, Government Contracting/Captain
Phoenix Air Group, Inc
Mike came to aviation early. The oldest son of two Douglas Aircraft employees, he moved from Charlotte to Marietta, Georgia when his parents went to work for Lockheed. He flew an aircraft for the first time as an eight-year-old on a flight with his father, a private pilot. Determined to pursue a career in aviation, he attended the Naval Academy and earned a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps. Serving for 12 years, he worked as a CH46E transport helicopter pilot, a Forward Air Controller/Air Officer (combat tour with recognition for valor), Master Training Specialist, Laser System Safety Manager, and an instructor pilot in both helicopters and airplanes. Having earned a master’s degree in International Relations, he next served as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. Again determined to resume his career in aviation, Mr. Ott left the Foreign Service to join Phoenix Air Group during 2001. For fourteen years as a line captain in the Learjet 35/36, as well as the Gulfstream I, II, and III, he was also the company’s Safety and Security Manager and a designated IS-BAO Auditor.
In 2010, Mike designed, wrote, and implemented the company’s Safety Management System (SMS), including IS-BAO Registration, in 30 days. In 2014, he joined the Board of the Georgia Business Aviation Association, serving as treasurer until 2017. Beginning in August 2014, he led the decontamination team for the famous Ebola evacuation flights and flew several of the missions. In further recognition of his achievements, the National Business Aviation Association awarded him the inaugural Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award in 2016.
Mr. Ott is now Director, Government Contracting for the company, with primary responsibility as the company’s liaison and aviation advisor to the Bureau of Medical Services at the Department of State. As an ATP in both multiengine airplanes and helicopters with four type ratings, Mr. Ott has accumulated more than 14,200 flight hours, including more than 7,000 international hours and visits to 126 countries. Most unusual among these destinations was North Korea, where he served as Mission Commander in June 2017 on a flight to return an injured US student to his family in Ohio.
Giving back to his industry and community, Mike serves as a member of the IS-BAO Standards Board at the International Business Aviation Council and as Communications and Events Team Lead for the NBAA Safety Committee. In 2006, he attended his first of 13 Safety Standdowns, serving ever since as an enthusiastic supporter of the event. He also volunteers as a fund raiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and artist patron for the Virginia Opera, having previously served as a fee arbitrator for the State Bar of Georgia and physical therapy assistant at the Shepherd Center for Brain and Spine Rehabilitation in Atlanta.
Currently, Mike is enrolled in Purdue’s Master of Science in Aviation and Aerospace Management program, lives on the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River in Virginia, and wishes that he could spend more time on his bicycle.