General Aviation Mourns Passing of Ed Stimpson

Ed Stimpson

Ed Stimpson, who succumbed last week to lung cancer (despite the fact that he never smoked), stood tall as an advocate for general aviation. Equally important, he was a remarkably effective coalition builder, a skilled negotiator and a pragmatic problem solver. His career record paints that picture. Stimpson was hired to handle public affairs by the nascent General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) when it was formed in 1970. Within a year, he was leading the association as its president, a post he held until 1996. As head of GAMA, Stimpson championed the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, one of the high water marks in general aviation's legislative history. Stimpson was appointed by the Clinton administration as America's permanent representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and most recently served as chairman of the Flight Safety Foundation. He also served as chairman of the 1990s "Be A Pilot" program, a marketing campaign that stimulated interest in flying. Among his many awards was the Wright Brothers Memorial trophy, an honor he shared with Charles Lindbergh, Jimmy Doolittle and Neil Armstrong. For all his ambition and drive, Ed Stimpson is best remembered as "one of the good people" who are vital to any industry. Pete Bunce, current GAMA president, said, "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." Longtime GAMA chairman Russ Meyer said, "He was a champion of general aviation whose effectiveness and achievements rank him among the pioneers of this industry." Ed Stimpson was 75.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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