Advisory Council Member

Michael Ott, FRAeS

Director, Program Operations/Captain
Phoenix Air Group, Inc

Council Member since 2020

Mike came to aviation early. Growing up in Marietta, Georgia, he flew for the first time as an eight-year-old with his father, a private pilot. Determined to pursue a career in aviation, he attended the Naval Academy, majoring in English and earning 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. In his next aviation career, Mike joined Phoenix Air Group during 2001. Twenty years later, he has worked as a line captain in the Learjet 35 and Learjet 36, as well as the Gulfstream I, II, and III, in addition to 14 years as the company’s Safety and Security Manager and a designated IS-BAO Auditor. Now Director, Program Operations, he is the company’s liaison and senior aviation advisor to the Bureau of Medical Services at the Department of State. He has earned Master of Science degrees from Troy University (International Relations) and Purdue University (Aviation and Aerospace Management). 

An ATP in both multi-engine airplanes and helicopters with four type ratings, Mike has flown more than 14,200 hours, including more than 7,000 international hours and landings in 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 U.S. student to his family in Ohio.  

In 2010, Mike designed, wrote, and implemented the company’s Safety Management System (SMS), including IS-BAO Registration, in 30 days. Beginning in August 2014, he led the decontamination team for the famous Ebola evacuation flights and flew several of the missions. 

In recognition of his achievements, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) awarded him the inaugural Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award in 2016. The Bombardier Safety Standdown presented Mike with the prestigious Safety Award in 2019, and in 2021, the Royal Aeronautical Society named him a Fellow of the Society. 

In 2006, Mike attended the first of his consecutive Safety Standdowns, serving ever since as an enthusiastic supporter of the event. Giving back to his industry and community, he also serves as a member of the IS-BAO Standards Board at the International Business Aviation Council and a member of the NBAA Safety Committee, serving previously as Treasurer on the Board of the Georgia Business Aviation Association. Beyond aviation, he volunteers as a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and artist patron for the Virginia Opera, having volunteered earlier 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 lives on the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River in Virginia and wishes that he could spend more time on his bicycle.