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Kern Award Winner Jeff Duncan: A Lifetime of Experience in a Relatively Short Time

May 19, 2021

While some of his fellow college students were out partying when they weren’t in class or studying, Jeff Duncan was spending his “free time” flying DC-3s and Convair CV-340s for his uncle’s aerial imaging company. Then, beginning in his senior year, the young pilot was hired by a small consulting firm to fly the owner wherever he needed to go – in a Cessna 210.

“They were accommodating enough to plan their travel around my college class obligations,” says Duncan, who had earned all his ratings at his own expense.

Duncan went on to fly for an aircraft management company, and then was brought on by CAE, where he helped clients pass training events and check rides in the simulator for the Cessna Citation X and various Falcon jets.

A stint with XOJet enabled Duncan to accrue substantial left-seat Citation time, and in 2015 he was hired by Discount Tire’s flight department. In addition to his flying duties, Duncan is also the flight department’s safety manager.

As one of the recipients of the 2020 Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award, Duncan exemplifies many of the award criteria, including continuous improvement and vocational excellence. As the safety manager for a flight department with many experienced pilots and staff, being one of the youngest on the team only seems to motivate Duncan more.

“It’s awesome to brainstorm with people with different experiences,” he notes.

Duncan does all he can do to further his engagement and education; he earned his CAM credential in 2016, is currently working on his MBA in aviation and attends numerous industry safety events. He makes a point of networking with other safety managers and participates in industry forums.

Mentors have played an important part in Duncan’s career, and he is committed to paying it forward. He has signed up for NBAA’s mentoring program and gives hangar tours and introductory flights in a small general aviation aircraft. With a finance degree and an affinity for IT, Duncan also volunteers as treasurer for both the Arizona Business Aviation Association and the Partnership for Corporate Aviation Training.

Between his nearly 6,000 hours of flight time, responsibilities with his flight department, and hours spent engaged in safety-related activities and volunteer work, it’s impressive what he has accomplished so far in his career.

Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award

Nine individuals were selected to receive the NBAA Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award in 2020. Created in 2015 to honor Dr. Tony Kern, this peer-nominated award recognizes individual pilots, maintenance technicians, flight attendants, dispatchers and other aviation professionals who excel in leadership in the areas of professional ethics, vocational excellence, continuous improvement, professional engagement, professional image and selflessness.

Learn more about the NBAA Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award.

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