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Jack Pelton

Hospitality | Tourism
Chairman and CEO
EAA |  Oshkosh

Jack Pelton was named chief executive officer of the Experimental Aircraft Association in 2015. He was elected chairman of the board three years earlier, becoming the first to hold that role outside EAA’s founding Poberezny family. In his role, Pelton leads the organization’s board and staff as the organization works to grow participation in aviation.

Known as the world’s largest aviation celebration, EAA AirVenture draws more than 500,000 people to Oshkosh annually. A 2017 study found the event created $170 million in economic impact to the five-county area.

A lifelong aviation enthusiast, Pelton comes from a family of pilots. He built his first airplane with his father as members of EAA Chapter 1 in Riverside, California, in the 1970s. He has been dedicated to restoring and flying vintage aircraft throughout his life and holds airline transport and commercial pilot certificates.

He is the retired chairman, president and CEO of Wichita, Kansas-based Cessna Aircraft Co., where he oversaw new aircraft development, testing, certification and improvements for all Cessna models. Previously, he was senior vice president of engineering for Dornier Aircraft in Germany.

He is past chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association board and served on the boards of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the National Business Aviation Association and the Corporate Angel Network. He also was volunteer chairman of EAA’s Gathering of Eagles, the annual fundraiser held during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

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