Former Cessna executive Charlie Johnson has been named interim CEO of Denver-based XTI Aircraft following the Feb. 5 death of Jeff Pino.
Johnson has been a member of the board of XTI, which is developing a six-seat, vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft, the TriFan 600, for business aviation.
Pino, a former Sikorsky Aircraft president, was killed in a plane crash Friday near Phoenix.
“Jeff was a brilliant strategist, visionary and expert in all things aviation,” XTI founder and chairman David Brody said in a news release Monday. “As our friend, he was all of that and so much more.”
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Brody said Johnson, who was Cessna president and chief operating officer from 1997 to 2003, will take on oversight of the TriFan’s development.
“We want to assure everyone that XTI is not changing or delaying its technical development plans,” Johnson said in the release. “As we mourn the loss of Jeff and address the needs of the organization, we remain totally committed to the program.”
Johnson joined Cessna in 1979 as manager of production flight test. A former Air Force fighter pilot, Johnson accumulated more than 1,000 hours of military flight time, including on combat missions flying an F-105 in Southeast Asia.
Last October, the Kansas Aviation Museum inducted Johnson into the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame.