Former Georgia governor and general aviation pilot Sonny Perdue was confirmed April 24 as the Secretary of Agriculture on an 87-11 Senate vote.
A veterinarian who was Georgia’s governor from 2003 to 2011, Perdue has been a pilot for about 48 years.
A 2009 AOPA "Politicians and Planes" profile of Perdue noted that during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign as a state senator challenging an incumbent governor, he set up his metro Atlanta campaign office at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, and would fly his Bellanca Super Viking to events throughout the state.
“It was a huge advantage being able to get access to the state,” Perdue said at the time, giving his aircraft the nickname of his $22 million Bellanca because it helped him win a $3 million campaign against an opponent who, Perdue said, spent $25 million.
Perdue added turbine flight hours in the state’s twin-turboprop King Air, and a helicopter rating to his pilot credentials during his term of governor.