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GAMA Mourns the Loss of Richard “Spad” McSpadden

GAMA NEWS 23-22 For Immediate Release: Oct 2, 2023

Oct 2, 2023
Contact: Andre Castro


GAMA Mourns the Loss of Richard “Spad” McSpadden

WASHINTON, D.C. – Leaders of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) express their deepest sorrow and condolences as the association mourns the loss of Richard “Spad” McSpadden, Senior Vice President of the AOPA Air Safety Institute.

“Yesterday, aviation lost a true giant. Our general aviation community is in deep mourning with the passing of Richard McSpadden,” said Pete Bunce, GAMA President and CEO. “Spad was a close friend. We flew F-15s together over the skies of Iraq, worked closely within the airshow community when he served as the leader of the USAF Thunderbirds, and we flew the Idaho backcountry together. I have never known an aviator with finer pilot skills who then in-turn selflessly helped others benefit from his vast expertise with such humility that pilots at any experience level felt comfortable learning in Spad’s presence.”

“Spad was pilot’s pilot,” said Eric Hinson, SIMCOM President and CEO and GAMA Chairman. “His quiet competency was evident to all of us who were fortunate to fly with him. We have lost one of our very best and a true champion of aviation safety.”

“The best tribute we can give to Richard is to continue to raise the safety bar in general aviation and share Spad’s passion to make us all better aviators. Our hearts and prayers go out to Judy, Grant, Annabel and their entire extended family, the family of the other pilot lost in this tragedy, and the AOPA team,” Bunce added.



GAMA is an international trade association representing over 100 of the world's leading manufacturers of general aviation airplanes and rotorcraft, engines, avionics, components and related services. GAMA's members also operate repair stations, fixed based operations, pilot and maintenance training facilities and manage fleets of aircraft. For more information, visit GAMA's website at


Communications Director:
Andre Castro:
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Headquarters: (+1) 202-393-1500
European Office: (+32) 2 550-3900

GAMA exists to foster and advance the general welfare, safety, interests, and activities of the global business and general aviation industry. This includes promoting a better understanding of general aviation manufacturing, maintenance, repair, and overhaul and the important role these industry segments play in economic growth and opportunity, and in serving the critical transportation needs of communities, companies, and individuals worldwide.