Aviation Industry Mourns Death of Leader Ed Stimpson

 - December 1, 2009, 8:19 AM

The aviation industry is mourning the death of Ed Stimpson last Wednesday morning at his home in Boise, Idaho. He was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in June, though he was never a smoker. “The aviation world has lost one of the greatest statesmen it has ever known,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “For nearly 40 years, he has been a leader in shaping aviation policy, both in the U.S. and around the world.” Stimpson began his career in aviation as the head of congressional affairs for the FAA in the 1960s under the Kennedy Administration. In 1970 he was appointed president of the then-newly formed General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). In his quarter century as GAMA’s chief, he assumed a leadership role in the direction of nearly every significant aviation policy issue of the era, including the establishment of the Airport and Airways Trust Fund, the allocation of aviation fuel during an oil embargo and a strike by the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization. Stimpson also guided the industry advocacy effort that led to enactment of the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994. He retired from GAMA in 1996 to lead the Be A Pilot program, an industry “learn-to-fly” initiative. From 2001 to 2005, Stimpson was the U.S. Ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal. For the past several years, he served as the chairman of the Flight Safety Foundation. His contributions to the industry have earned him the highest awards in aviation, including the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy and the NBAA Meritorious Service to Aviation Award. [MORE] “It is hard to put into words the indelible mark that Ed has left on this industry,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “He was a leader, a mentor and, most important, a friend to countless numbers within the worldwide aviation industry. His spirit, dedication and enthusiasm were unmatched and will never be duplicated. The general aviation manufacturing family passes along its deepest sympathy to Ed’s wife, Dorothy, and the entire Stimpson family.” Retired Cessna Aircraft chief Russ Meyer, who also served as chairman of GAMA in three separate decades, called Stimpson “a great champion of general aviation whose effectiveness and achievements rank him among the pioneers of this industry.”