NBAA Mourns Loss of Aviation Safety Champion Richard McSpadden

Contact: Dan Hubbard, 202-431-5970,

Washington, DC, Oct. 2, 2023 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) joins the aviation community in mourning the loss of accomplished aviator and safety advocate Richard McSpadden, senior vice president at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), who was one of two victims in a fatal Oct. 1 aircraft accident near New York’s Lake Placid Airport (LKD).

“Richard’s pioneering work in flight safety, including his leadership in education and training, saved countless lives,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We extend our condolences to his family, his friends and all those touched by the important safety lessons he shared.”

A military, commercial and general aviation (GA) pilot with more than 5,000 flight hours, McSpadden served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years, including as commander and flight leader of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team.

Since 2017, McSpadden has led AOPA’s Air Safety Institute (ASI), which promotes GA safety and pilot proficiency through education. Two years ago, he launched ASI’s “Early Analysis” video series examining GA aircraft accidents, offering his professional analysis and insights based on initial information available.

In 2020, McSpadden joined other industry safety leaders in an NBAA virtual Safety Town Hall panel focused on seeking out new standards for performance and professionalism.

McSpadden was also the current industry chair for the FAA’s General Aviation Joint Safety Committee. He is survived by his wife, Judy; his son, Grant; and his daughter, Annabel.

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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 10,000 company and professional members and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

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