BOISE, Idaho — Edward Stimpson, an aviation advocate who pushed to rejuvenate struggling small aircraft manufacturers in the 1990s by limiting lawsuits against them, has died after an extended illness. He was 75.
His death Wednesday was confirmed by state Rep. Wendy Jaquet, a Democrat from Ketchum. A cause of death was not immediately known. Jaquet said doctors discovered cancerous lesions in his lungs this year.
Stimpson, president of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association for 25 years, was a major proponent of legislation signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 to prevent general aviation companies from being named as defendants in lawsuits in crashes of small planes 18 years old or older.
By 1994, a wave of lawsuits in crashes was being blamed for a downturn at small aircraft manufacturers such as Beech Aircraft Co. and Cessna Aircraft Corp., costing 100,000 industry jobs over the previous decade. Annual sales of single-engine planes averaged 13,000 from 1965 to 1982, but had dropped to only about 500 by 1993.