Jack Pelton, former CEO of Cessna Aircraft and current chairman of the board of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), has been named the managing director of operations for the Aviation Alliance, a group of individuals and aviation businesses that will “offer remanufactured, modernized turbine-powered aircraft to the aviation and defense industries.”
The first project will be for a well known airplane that Aviation Alliance says will be “better than new,” and if the specs come true, there will be no denying that claim.
That project is dubbed the Excalibur 421, a refurbishment and re-engining of Cessna’s iconic 421 Golden Eagle pressurized piston twin. With two PT-6-135A turboprops powering it, the Excalibur 421 will be able to cruise at a high-speed cruise of up to 300 knots with a range of over 1,400 miles with reserves and a ceiling of 30,000 feet. Alliance has an ambitious timetable for the program, with the completion of the demonstrator airplane scheduled for late summer and first deliveries by the end of this year. Price of the completed Excalibur 421 is $2.5 million.
Pelton, who departed from Cessna two years ago after global jet sales plummeted as a result of the economic downturn, is currently heading up the EAA. Last year the association’s former president suddenly stepped down and Pelton assumed the reins of chairman. In the absence of a current day-to-day association head, Pelton has apparently assumed many of those responsibilities. In an email to Flying, Pelton said that he has been consulting with Aviation Alliance for some time and that the new leadership position would not impact his role at EAA.