The Experimental Aircraft Association searched for three years for a new leader, and concluded the best person for the job was the man already doing that job. EAA announced Nov. 9 that Chairman Jack Pelton, the former Cessna Aircraft CEO who became the association’s volunteer leader in 2012, has accepted the board’s offer to take the vacant CEO position, which comes with a paycheck.
“I was flattered when the board approached me with this offer, not out of a professional desire but as a person who believes deeply in EAA’s mission, organization, and members,” Pelton said in an online announcement. “Aviation and EAA have been irreplaceable parts of my life. Our organization—its mission, members, and volunteers—creates a community unmatched anywhere in aviation. I’m eager to see all of us work together to see EAA grow and thrive.”
Pelton has held numerous executive positions in the general aviation industry, including service as president, chairman, and CEO of Cessna Aircraft. His long history in the aviation business includes work with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the National Business Aviation Association, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Pelton also has a long history with EAA, having been introduced to the organization as a teenager attending EAA Chapter 1 meetings in Riverside, California, with his father. He continues to work on restoring and flying vintage aircraft, EAA noted in its announcement.
The EAA board of directors made another leadership change Nov. 6, electing Charlie Precourt as vice chairman of the board, a position that will make him a central point of contact between Pelton and the rest of the board. Pelton will continue to serve as the board’s chairman. Precourt, a former U.S. Air Force pilot and an active aircraft builder, is the vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK’s Propulsion Systems Division. He participated in four space shuttle missions (two of them as commander), and leads the EAA safety committee.