Upon graduation from college Randy Burdette was commissioned in the United States Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. Randy had many significant achievements during his 26-year Army career.
Initially as an 82nd Airborne Corps Jumpmaster. Selected to attend Army Helicopter training at Ft. Rucker Alabama Randy trained in Hueys, Chinooks, and later Cobra helicopters. He was selected as the commander of the Chinook Company assigned to the 34th Support Battalion, Ft. Hood, TX. This led to further service as the Aviation Officer for the Multi-National Force and Observers, supervising the operations of 8 countries’ aviation assets supporting the forces monitoring the border between Israel and Egypt. He served in the office of the US Army Inspector General in the Pentagon. He then served as a faculty member in the area of Program Management at the Defense Acquisition University.
Shortly after being transferred by the Army to Virginia in 1990 he moved to Dogwood Air Park, Fredericksburg in 1992. Where as a volunteer he worked with the developer of the residential air park to sell the lots and to develop the last section of the air park. Additionally, he served as the first president of the Homeowner’s Association of the air park. Upon retirement from the Army in 2002 Randy served on the Board of Directors of the Stafford Regional Airport, Stafford, VA. In 2004 Randy was appointed by Governor Mark Warner as the Executive Director of Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV). He was successfully reappointed by subsequent governors – Governors Tim Kaine, Bob McDonnell, and Terry McAuliffe.
During Randy’s tenure leading the DOAV for almost 14 years he had many accomplishments:
- The DOAV became the first state aviation agency in the country to be certified under the International Standards for Business Aviation Operations (and only the 120th organization worldwide to achieve this status)
- DOAV was also the first state aviation agency to be ISO 9001:2008 certified.
- Encouraged more business use of airports by adding the infrastructure needed at airports during adverse flying weather.
- Virginia was the first state to have instrument approaches into all its public-use airports.
- Virginia was the first state to have weather reporting at 100% of the public owned / public use airports.
- Established the Virginia Aviation Security Advisor Committee to collect and/or create the best practices for aviation security for Virginia. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) called it an example for other states to follow.
- Responsible for Virginia’s 100% participation in Aircraft Owner’s and Pilot Association’s (AOPA) Airport Support Network.
- Supported the formation of numerous volunteer organizations including Virginia Helicopter Association, Virginia Airstrip Owners Association, Virginia Volunteer Pilots Group, Virginia Seaplane Pilots Association and the Virginia Warbird Association.
- Created the Virginia Aviation Ambassadors program to encourage pilots to fly to and visit all the airports in Virginia, as well as aviation museums and safety seminars.
- Served as chairman of the National Association of State Aviation Officials.
- Served as Chairman of the Virginia Small Aircraft Transportation System
- Awarded the Kenneth A. Rowe Ambassador of Aviation Award by the National Association of State Aviation Officials.
- Awarded the FAA’s Henry O Memorial award, established to honor an individual who exemplified strong leadership qualities, extensive experience in the aviation industry and the ability to effectively communicate on Capitol Hill.
Randy Burdette has been a lifelong pilot. Aside from his Army aviation career he has owned and flown a Cessna 172, two Cessna 206’s, a Cardinal RG, and currently a Cessna 182. Additionally, he has owned and flown a Safari helicopter. He is qualified and holds certifications as a Private Pilot (VFR and IFR), Commercial, Helicopter, Single Engine, Multi-engine, and Seaplane pilot.
Randy Burdette in VAHS News: