Aviation advocate dies

Edward Stimpson, an aviation advocate who was instrumental in lobbying for legislation that limited lawsuits against aircraft manufacturers — credited for reviving the GA industry — died Nov. 25 after a long illness. He was 75.

Stimpson, who served as president of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association for 25 years, was a proponent of legislation signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 to prevent general aviation companies from being named as defendants in lawsuits in crashes of GA planes 18 years old or older.

Shortly after leaving GAMA in 1996, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the United States permanent representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with the rank of ambassador. He was later honored with aviation’s most coveted award, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, and most recently served as the chairman of the Flight Safety Foundation.

He also served as chairman of Be A Pilot in the late 1990s, an industry-wide campaign to increase the number of people learning to fly. He also on the board at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, where a residence hall and laboratory were named after him.

“It is hard to put into words the indelible mark that Ed has left on this industry,” said GAMA’s current President and CEO Pete Bunce. “He was a leader, a mentor, and most importantly, 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.”

“The opportunity to work with Ed for almost 40 years was clearly one of the privileges of my life,” said Russ Meyer, former Cessna president and CEO, who served as chairman of GAMA in three separate decades. “He was a great champion of general aviation whose effectiveness and achievements rank him among the pioneers of this industry.”

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