The AOPA Convention is beginning to look more and more like the NBAA gathering. Members used to come to the annual event to see the new piston airplane offerings. At this year’s event, held in Palm Springs, Calif., from November 9 to 11, there were 10 jets on display. While most of them flew in, a few were mockups of aircraft under development.
The sales executives showing off their new jets were enthusiastic about the reception they received. The record number of attendees–12,973–displayed a great deal of interest in the very light jets.
What inspired the salespeople was the fact that many of the spectators were not just tire kickers, but qualified prospects for future sales. Most of the new jets are designed to be owner flown, and a good number of the people at the event were already flying sophisticated equipment, in many cases turboprops, and they were serious about the prospect of stepping up to jets.