Tom Peghiny to Receive Moody Award

 Tom Peghiny has been selected to receive the 2001 John Moody Award. USUA Regional Representatives, past Moody Award recipients and the USUA Board of Directors ratified the selection of Peghiny. The award will be presented at the 2002 Ultralight Awards Ceremonies during the USUA Annual Convention on Saturday, February 9, 2002.

The John Moody Award, named in honor of "The Father of Ultralights" John Moody, was established in 1991. In 1976, Moody was first to provide the public a complete ultralight kit including both engine and airframe. It is ultralight aviation's highest and most prestigious award honoring the history and development of ultralighting.

The John Moody Award is presented annually to an individual, a group of individuals or an organization for efforts over a period of years that reflect credit upon America and themselves by having made significant contributions or advancements of enduring value to ultralight aviation in the United States. Past recipients of the Moody award include Dennis Pagen, Chuck Slusarczyk, Dr. Henry O. Malone Jr., John Ballantyne, Boris Popov, Vincent Vitollo, Ultralight Flying! magazine, Dan Johnson and Homer Kolb.

Peghiny has distinguished himself as a true pioneer of ultralight aviation. As a champion competitor, Advanced Flight Instructor (AFI), innovative designer and engineer, test pilot, and manufacturer for a period of almost three decades, he has made significant contributions of enduring value which have helped shape the sport and industry of ultralight aviation in the United States.

At age 13, Peghiny began his life's journey in air sport aviation by devoting himself to the designing and building of light aircraft. From the beginning he established himself as a leader and in 1969 while still a junior in high school, started an aviation club, which among other projects lead to the building of a very early bamboo "Batwing" Rogallo hang glider. But just designing and building was not enough. As a result of a dream and passion for flying, Peghiny became heavily involved in competition flying. He was the youngest competitor in the First National Hang Gliding Championships in 1973 and throughout his competition career has captured 35 first-place awards, including the prestigious Masters of Hang Gliding at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.

Peghiny's substantial reputation in the sport led to his appointment as Vice President of Research and Development for Sky Sports, upon graduation from high school in 1974. With his active participation, Sky Sports became one of the largest hang glider manufacturers in the United States. While a partner at Sky Sports he is credited for designing the first double-surface flex-wing hang glider, the Kestrel. During his tenure at Sky Sports, the company began to conduct early experiments in developing powered hang gliders. These efforts contributed to design evolutions, which became the genesis of the ultralights of today. His first powered hang glider flight was in the fall of 1975.

In 1981, Tom joined Pioneer International Aircraft, initially as test pilot. Because of his engineering, design talent and experience, he was promoted to engineering manager. Under Peghiny's leadership a design team was formed which led to the development of the Pioneer Flightstar and Dualstar ultralights. These were a new breed of ultralights and one of the first "advanced" ultralights available to the industry. Quality engineering, unique design, superior materials, and parts manufacturing were their trademarks. Pioneer produced more than 700 of the early model Flightstar ultralights, ending production in 1984 when the company was sold to an Argentina firm. Tom remained in a design consultant role with the new company, and through his work, a 2-seat version called the Aviastar was developed. Aviastar was the name of the Pioneer planes produced in Argentina.

In 1991, Tom and a partner Mark "Spark" Lamontagne formed Flightstar, Inc. to manufacture updated versions of the Flightstar single-seater, and in the process, designed and developed a basically new 2-seater which they named the Flightstar II. In 1995, Flightstar formed a partnership with Lockwood Aircraft in Sebring, Florida to produce the Flightstar line of products. Since then, more than 600 aircraft kits have been produced and sold by Flightstar dealers worldwide.

In 1997, Tom and Spark established a relationship with the Japanese company HKS, a major after-market automotive parts manufacturer. HKS now produces 4-stroke engines for the ultralight industry and Tom has formed HPower, Ltd. to distribute the HKS engines in North and South America.

For almost three decades, Tom Peghiny has played major roles in the air sport and ultralight aviation industry as an innovator, designer, and manufacturer. Because of his experience and reputation in the industry, Tom was asked to appear before the Congressional subcommittee hearings on the original FAR Part 103 ultralight regulation. He was also appointed as a manufacturer representative to the Part 103 Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC).

In 1997, Tom and his company Flightstar, was awarded the U.S. Ultralight Association Meritorious Service Award and in 1998, Tom was awarded the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association President's Award for Outstanding Individual.

Tom Peghiny holds a Pilot, Basic Flight Instructor, and Advanced Flight Instructor rating with USUA.