The Greg J. Laslo Excellence in Writing Award



Greg Laslo was NAFI Mentor’s editor until 2011. The award named in his honor is presented to an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to NAFI publications through content in Mentor magazine, eMentor digital newsletter, NAFI NOTAMs blog, and contributions in other industry outlets.




Recipients of the NAFI Greg J. Laslo Excellence in Writing Award


2023 Jen Watson, Dana McIlwain, and Josh Watson: (View 2023 Press Release)

Jen Watson, Dana McIlwain, and Josh Watson are the creators of The Right Seat advice column that debuted in the January/February 2023 issue of Mentor. After writing feature articles for Mentor, Jen Watson and McIlwain proposed authoring an advice column reminiscent of a “Dear Abby” for pilots. Jen’s husband Josh was recruited to round out the team.

Jen and Josh Watson are co-owners of AeroDynamic Aviation San Jose, California. Jen Watson holds certificates for ATP AMEL, CPL ASEL and ASES, CFI, CFII, MEI, and AGI. She is an FAA Gold Seal flight instructor and two-time NAFI Master Flight Instructor. Josh Watson is an A&P mechanic with inspection authorization and runs the operational and maintenance aspects of the school. He is an instrument rated pilot and is pursuing a commercial pilot certificate with the eventual goal of becoming a CFI.

Dana McIlwain earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in flight training and worked as an academic director for a Part 141 school. She has been a flight instructor since 2015 and is a safety inspector for a three-letter agency. 

Boots2022 Boots: (View 2022 Press Release)

Boots is my full name. It’s not a nickname. I was born and grew up in Hollywood, California, which usually is enough of an explanation. It’s the only name on my driver’s license, FAA certificates and passport. I obtained my private pilot certificate in about 1968, my instrument, commercial and multiengine about three years later, and my CFI, CFII and multiengine CFI around 20 years ago. I also obtained my A&P certificate with an IA about 25 years ago. Most of my flying was based at the Van Nuys Airport (KVNY), and I owned a Cardinal RG for about 10 years. I’ve flown in many parts of the world, including Central America, Africa and Europe, but never actually flew or wrenched for a living. I was on the Rare Bear racing team when we were winning at Reno. I am still active as a flight instructor and live in Knoxville, Tennessee.


2016 Joe Clark:

Clark, a longtime aviation writer and frequent contributor to NAFI Mentor, and other aviation magazines, is a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He served as a U.S. Navy attack jet pilot and owns a Cessna 170. In addition to his magazine articles and academic essays, Clark is the author of two books, From Cubs to Jets, Essays From a Life in the Air, and PSST! Wanna Know a Secret. Clark's 9,000-plus flight hours include the A-7E Corsair II, the A-4 Skyhawk, and 88 aircraft carrier landings. He graduated from the University of Florida, worked as a newspaper journalist and then began flying professionally. He logged 3,000 hours as a flight instructor and Part 135 charter pilot before enlisting in the Navy.

 After earning his wings at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi, his first assignment was Fleet Composite Squadron TEN in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he flew the A-4 Skyhawk. Upon completion of that tour, he began A-7E transition training at NAS Cecil, Florida, and joined a West Coast Corsair II squadron based at NAS Lemoore, California.

After leaving military service in 1990, Clark joined Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) as a flight instructor, and since 1998 has been an assistant professor of aeronautical science at ERAU in Daytona Beach, Florida. ERAU recently honored him with a meritorious service award in recognition of his articles published in Mentor magazine and other publications.

Clark and his wife, Ardis, live in St. Augustine, Florida, where they own and operate BluewaterPress LLC, a publishing company with a significant menu of aviation titles as well as books of general interest.


2015 Larry Bothe

Larry has been flying for 40+ years and has over 7500 hours in more than 90 types of aircraft, including more than 3000 hours dual instruction given. He lives in Seymour, IN and is an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner and FAASTeam rep for the Indianapolis, IN FSDO. Larry was the 2004 Indianapolis FSDO Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year and the 2009 NAFI Flight Specialist of the Year. He is rated in airplanes (land and sea), gliders and helicopters; and is part-owner of a 1961 Champion Model 7EC taildragger. In between checkrides Larry instructs for Cherry Hill Aviation in Seymour.




Natalie Hoover

2014 Natalie Bingham Hoover: 

Natalie Bingham-Hoover is the Assistant Chief Flight Instructor at Air Venture Flight Center at KOLV in Olive Branch, Mississippi. She has more than 5,500 hours total flight time and has given more than 4,000 hours of flight instruction. She holds ATP, MEI, and CFII ratings and is a Gold Seal CFI. She is type-rated in the CRJ-200 and Beechcraft 400A. She is the lead FAA Safety Representative for Tennessee, and was the 2012 FAA Safety Representative of the Year for Mississippi.


2013 Alexander Burton: 

Alex Burton is the chief flight instructor and base manager for Selair Pilots Association in partnership with Selkirk College based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. He is a Class 1 instructor and pilot examiner and holds an ATP endorsed for both land and sea. 

Alex has been a regular contributor to Mentor and other aviation publications both in Canada ad the United States. His two-volume collection entitled Flight and Flying is available through Amazon Books for Amazon Kindle.