WICHITA, KS -- On the eve of the 105th anniversary of the first powered flight on Dec. 17, 1903, Cessna Aircraft Company Chairman, President and CEO Jack J. Pelton paid tribute to the Wright brothers’ world-changing feat.
"As we wrap up a year in which Cessna – and the general aviation industry as a whole – delivers more business jets than ever before, we’d be remiss if we did not pay tribute to Orville and Wilbur. Not only did their 12-second flight on Dec. 17 transform the world by giving us the power of controlled flight, but their application of scientific methodology displayed the passion needed to make the most of flight as a tool," Pelton said.
The Wright Brothers, Pelton said, inspired many others at that time who went on to make great contributions to aviation, including Wichita’s Clyde Cessna, who taught himself to fly a few years after the Wright’s North Carolina flight. Cessna Aircraft Company took its present form in 1927 and has since produced nearly 200,000 aircraft, more than any other aircraft maker in history.
"The Wrights’ legacy lives on today by inspiring our engineers, who continue to design and develop aircraft based on new ideas and technologies," Pelton said. "General aviation – business aviation – will continue to play a vital role in rebuilding the global economy by enhancing productivity – by continuing to shrink the world.
"While the mainstream media often portray general aviation as an extravagant perk only available to the wealthy, it’s clear to those of us in the industry that general aviation provides an incredible productivity tool that allows unequaled capabilities and access to the world," Pelton said.
Pelton said that general aviation aircraft make possible scores of medical, agriculture, utility and community service activities across the globe. This is a business value now being realized around the world, with the development of the global business aircraft market as evidence. Pelton believes that these global transportation needs will only continue to increase.
"Like many others, I marvel at what our industry has accomplished in just 105 years of powered flight, and I can only dream of what we might achieve in the next 100," Pelton said. "There’s no doubt general aviation faces many near-term challenges. But in taking a long-term perspective, my outlook for the industry is positive and my vision is that the best is yet to come for the businesses, communities and families benefiting from general aviation."
Pelton made the remarks in a speech after receiving the 2010 Lindbergh Award, given annually to individuals whose work over many years has made significant contributions toward Lindbergh's concept...
Textron Chairman and CEO Scott C. Donnelly will run the business until a successor is named.
Cessna was the successful bidder for select assets of Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Company. The bid of $26.4 million was the high bid in United States Bankruptcy Court.
Meyer's efforts led to the passing of the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 and the "Be a Pilot" program.