|Jack Pelton received the 2011 LAMA President's Award on Monday afternoon. PHOTO BY SPENCER THORNTON
On Monday, Jack Pelton, known to most AirVenture attendees as the president, CEO, and chairman of Cessna Aircraft throughout the 2000s, received the 2010 LAMA President’s Award from the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association—the 20th year LAMA has presented the award.
Pelton guided the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer through development of several new aircraft, including the market’s best-selling business jets.
Yet to aviation sport and recreational enthusiasts he is most respected for bringing the Cessna 162 Skycatcher LSA to the market after the FAA issued rules creating the new light-sport aircraft category.
Under Pelton’s watch, Cessna certificated the two-seat, training-capable Skycatcher to ASTM consensus standards two years after its debut at EAA AirVenture 2007. Cessna collected more than 1,000 orders for the Skycatcher, making it the segment’s most successful launch.
Pelton has since left Cessna Aircraft, but he is described by numerous coworkers as “a true airplane guy, one who likes to spend time in the hangar talking flying with other aviators.” He has owned and flown several Cessna light aircraft, and his wife, Rose, owns—and took flying lessons in—the first Skycatcher delivered.
Cessna’s entry to the LSA market brought validation to the concept of the industry governing itself in the design, creation, and safety monitoring of a wide range of entirely new aircraft.
The members of LAMA and most players in the light aviation industry feel a debt of gratitude for Pelton’s strong and unwavering support of this daring new development.