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Longtime GA Advocate Sen. James Inhofe Goes West

Senator James Inhofe Presenting at AirVenture Oshkosh 

Longtime general aviation advocate and EAA member Sen. (Retired) James Inhofe (R-OK) died on Tuesday, July 9, at age 89. Sen. Inhofe retired from the U.S. Senate in 2022 after serving more than a quarter-century and leaving a lasting mark on Congress and general aviation.

“Jim Inhofe had a remarkable, positive influence on the growth and preservation of general aviation as a member of Congress,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and Chairman. “His passion for aviation, as well as his in-depth knowledge on the workings of Congress, provided countless results that benefited those of us who fly. EAA awarded Jim our highest honor, the Freedom of Flight Award, in 2022, to recognize those accomplishments. He leaves a tremendous legacy, and we offer condolences to his family.”

During his time in Congress, Sen. Inhofe had a significant impact on the general aviation community with his support of numerous key pieces of legislation. He was instrumental in reforms to manufacturer liability through the passage of the General Aviation Revitalization Act. He also championed pilots with the Pilot’s Bill of Rights and BasicMed medical certification and was a strong proponent of aviation workforce development.

Sen. Inhofe was an 11,000-hour pilot and owner of numerous general aviation aircraft, including an RV-8, Cessna 340, and Grumman Tiger. He was a regular at AirVenture, attending more than 40 consecutive events, hosting his annual Congressional Forum, and updating attendees on his legislative activities supporting general aviation.

Before serving in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Inhofe served in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Oklahoma House and Senate, and as mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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