Aviation Technician of the Year Brian Carpenter, of Corning, poses with an aircraft under construction.
Corning >> Brian John Carpenter of Corning has been named the 2017 National Aviation Technician of the Year, according to a press release from the Federal Aviation Administration Western-Pacific Region.
Carpenter has become the go-to guy when it comes to the construction and maintenance of — and education about — Light Sport Aircraft, the release said. Anytime he’s not teaching a Light Sport Repairman Workshop, you’ll probably find him in his hangar at the Corning Municipal Airport working on his Electric Motor Glider or creating an aviation educational YouTube video.
Carpenter has had a passion for aviation since he was a child, building and flying RC aircraft. In junior high, he progressed to building a self-launching glider out of homemade materials and started jumping off a small hill trying to fly.
In 1979 Carpenter earned his pilot’s certificate while in the Navy. After graduating from Helena Vocational Training Institute in Montana with his A&P mechanic certification, he worked as a lead mechanic for Aero Union, a large aircraft operation and maintenance company, now defunct, based in Chico. By 1985, he was the Chief Inspector, and was promoted to the Director of Maintenance by 1990.
In 1991 Carpenter opened his own aviation company, Rainbow Aviation Services, a full service FBO in Corning, providing a variety of aviation services including inspections, maintenance, flight instruction, test flights and aircraft certification. The principal focus of Rainbow Aviation Services is Light Sport Aircraft. Rainbow’s Light Sport Repairman Courses have been taught throughout the United States and Australia.
The company is a source of Light Sport expertise for aviation enthusiasts, flight instructors, mechanics and even FAA inspectors.
Carpenter has mentored more than 3,000 repairmen since the light sport rule was implemented in 2004, and is the only active provider of FAA-approved training for the Light Sport Repairman rating.
Carpenter has built 36 aircraft so far, and has become an innovative aircraft designer. His current project — the EMG-6, an electric motor glider — is a perfect example. He is developing a low cost, electric aircraft to meet the needs of the average person, making the aircraft affordable, and creating complete video instruction for the build.
Another example of Carpenter’s innovative approach is that he has designed more than 100 3D-printed parts for use on the EMG-6, and has written at length about optimal methods of 3D printing aircraft components.
Over the years Carpenter has given back to the aviation in community in myriad ways. He serves as an EAA Technical Counselor, presents workshops, forums and seminars for various aviation events, authors aviation educational articles and videos, including a monthly column in EAA Sport Aviation magazine, and serves as a volunteer technical expert for EAA’s Homebuilder’s Tips video series, just to name a few.
Together with his wife Carol, Carpenter co-authored two books, one about ultralights and another for sport pilots.
Carpenter holds Commercial Pilot, CFI, Remote Pilot, or drone, and A&P mechanic certificates, and a current Inspection Authorization. He is an FAA Designated Airworthiness Representative and Designated Sport Pilot Examiner, holds a Light Sport Repairman Maintenance rating, and is a Rotax Authorized Factory Instructor.
In 2006, Carpenter received the John Moody Award, the most prestigious award in Light Sport Aviation.