By Rob Finfrock
Industry leaders, government officials and noted aviation personalities recently joined with CJP in recognizing renowned golfer and pilot Arnold Palmer and Cessna chairman emeritus Russ Meyer for their 8,000 hours of flying time in Citation aircraft.
“These are two extraordinary Cessna jet pilots and two people who have given as much to this industry as any two people, anywhere,” noted Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) during the presentation held prior to the start of the 2014 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition Oct. 21 in Orlando, FL.
CJP Chairman Ed Turley presented Palmer and Meyer with the special gold lapel pins, each in the image of a Citation jet and sporting eight diamonds: one for every 1,000 hours they each logged flying Citations. “As you all know, they are not only veterans and pioneers, but also legends,” Turley said of Meyer and Palmer. “Thank you Arnold for all that you have done for our organization over the years, and thank you, Russ, for building a great airplane.”
In addition to his 35-year tenure at Cessna and his work in bringing the Citation series of light jets to reality, Meyer is also a three-time chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). “During that time, [Russ] was part of every major aviation policy discussion in Washington, since the creation of the Airport and Airways Trust Fund in 1971,” Bolen added. “No individual has had a greater impact on aviation policy than Russ Meyer.”
Bolen also recognized Palmer for his work as the first spokesperson for the “No Plane No Gain” industry advocacy campaign, co-sponsored by NBAA and the GAMA. “When our industry was knocked out and in trouble [in 2009] because people didn’t understand what we were, we needed someone with integrity and authority to speak on behalf of business aviation,” Bolen added. “The person who stood tall and resolute was Arnold Palmer.”
Also in attendance during the brief ceremony were noted aerobatic pilot Sean D. Tucker, and NBAA2014 opening general session speakers Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA-6), Acting NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart, and Enterprise Holdings CEO Andy Taylor.
Meyer was also the inaugural inductee to CJP’s Hall of Honor in 2012, and Palmer was inducted to the hall at the 2014 CJP Convention held in September at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia.