October 24, 2012 – The EAA board of directors created a new chairman of the board position and on Sunday elected Jack Pelton to fill that role. Jack is the first formally elected non-executive chairman in the history of EAA.
The chairman’s term is three years with the board’s option to reelect the person for a second three-year term. Six years is the maximum any one person can serve as chair.
Jack is also acting as president and CEO of EAA while a replacement for Rod Hightower is found. Hightower resigned that position on Monday.
Jack is the retired chairman, president, and CEO of Cessna Aircraft. He is a lifelong EAAer with extensive flying experience in all types of airplanes from experimentals to warbirds to business jets.
Jack grew up in an aviation family in Southern California. His father, who flew in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, was active in EAA Chapter 1 at Flabob Airport in Riverside, California. Among the airplanes his family owned was a Cessna 140A, the final version of the popular taildragger that had the single strut and tapered wing. Jack’s mother was also a certificated pilot.
Jack began his aviation career at Douglas Aircraft. At Cessna he quickly rose from the head of engineering to the top job.
Jack and his wife, Rose, live in Wichita, Kansas, and have their hangar at Stearman Field on the northeast side of town. In that hangar is a Ryan PT-22, the airplane Jack’s dad learned to fly in. The Peltons also own and restored a Cessna 195 that once belonged to Duane Wallace, the nephew of Clyde Cessna, who built the company into the largest producer of general aviation airplanes in the world.
Jack also owns and flies a Stearman and has a turbo Cessna 206 for traveling. Rose is learning to fly in the couple’s Cessna 162 Skycatcher LSA.
In his interim role as president and CEO of EAA, Jack will be spending time in Oshkosh ensuring a smooth transition to the new leadership. The EAA board of directors has set no timetable for hiring the new CEO.
“I have committed my time to help ensure a smooth and effective leadership transition, no matter how long it takes to find the right person,” Jack said. “EAA is very important to me, and its success is vital to all of personal aviation. I am fortunate to have the time in retirement to help out and I am happy to do my part.”