Heather Penney and Ben Diachun, who each have extensive aviation experience and recreational aviation interests, have recently been added to the Experimental Aircraft Association board of directors. They were approved as Class III directors for EAA and will serve one-year renewable terms on the EAA board.
“We are grateful that Heather and Ben have accepted our invitations to join EAA’s board, whose members volunteer their time and expertise to lead our association as we pursue our mission of growing participation by sharing The Spirit of Aviation,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and chairman of the board. “Their passion for flight and experience in the aviation community will help represent the wide spectrum of interests among the entire EAA membership.”
Penney (EAA 1266991) was part of the first wave of women who went directly to piloting military fighters after pilot training. A veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, she flew F-16s for 10 years and is best known for her duty over Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001. Penney also directed various U.S. Air Force programs for Lockheed Martin for more than a decade, and is now a senior resident fellow for the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies at the Air Force Association.
Penney has more than 3,300 hours of flight time and remains very active in recreational flying, having flown a Taylorcraft BC-12 coast-to-coast and raced jets at the Reno National Championship Air Races. She currently owns and flies a PT-17 Stearman and a 1950 Cessna 170A.
Diachun (EAA 424842) is president of Scaled Composites, LLC in Mojave, California, the legendary company founded by Burt Rutan. Diachun began at Scaled Composites in 2003 as a design engineer and has held key technical and leadership roles on such historic aircraft projects as SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo, GlobalFlyer, and the Model 401 advanced research aircraft. He was part of the team that in 2005 received the Robert J. Collier Trophy for the development of SpaceShipOne.
Diachun earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Science degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University. He holds a commercial pilot certificate with instrument and multi-engine ratings.