2010 Press Releases

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NBAA Marks Passing of Aviation Industry Leader John Baker

Contacts: Dan Hubbard (202) 783-9360, dhubbard@nbaa.org
Patrick Dunne (202) 783-9362, pdunne@nbaa.org

Washington, DC, March 15, 2010 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today honored the memory of aviation industry legend and former Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) president John Baker, who died last week at his home in Angier, NC.

“John Baker was a leader in general aviation (GA), in every sense of the word,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “He saw a period of significant growth and expansion, and he never did anything halfway. With John’s passing, GA has lost one of its most effective champions.”

Baker started flying in a Piper J2 Cub when he was 15, went on to fly fighters in Korea for the Air Force, then enrolled in law school, graduating with honors. In the 1970s, he became the Federal Aviation Administration’s Assistant Administrator for General Aviation, and in 1977 took the reins of AOPA as that organization’s second president. 

In his 13 years as AOPA president, he helped unlock a $4 billion surplus in the Aviation Trust Fund, kept GA airspace restrictions to a minimum, stared down a proposed annual Federal tax on all GA aircraft, blocked wholesale closings of Flight Service Stations and helped lead the fight for aviation product liability reform.

Baker often joined forces with other industry leaders, including Ed Stimpson of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and John Winant of NBAA. Together, Baker, Stimpson and Winant won recognition and respect for the industry, along with equitable access to the National Airspace System.

“Really, that’s their collective legacy,” said Bolen. “GA would not be what it is today without their leadership and hard work, but in all the battles, John was the most outspoken of the three. There was never any doubt where John stood on any issue, and he leaves an enduring legacy of accomplishment for the industry he represented.”

Baker is survived by his wife Kathy and three children, John Michael Baker, Camille Knouff and Robert Brian Ezzell.

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.

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