Bill Stine logs 25 years as NBAA’s global eye

 - February 2, 2007, 9:46 AM

Bill Stine, director of international operations at NBAA, may not have done it all, but he has done a lot–from flying corporate airplanes to crop-dusting.

The business aviation association recently recognized Stine’s quarter century of service as an NBAA staff member, a rarity at most trade associations. Since 1979 he has been the association’s authority on international business aviation, communications, navigation and surveillance.

One of Stine’s early jobs was working for an FBO in New England, where he met former NBAA president John Winant. At the time, Winant was in charge of Sprague Electric’s flight department, and Stine flew for Sprague for about two years until the flight department was downsized.

While Stine went on to other– mostly flying–jobs, he and Winant kept in touch. By 1979, Stine was flying for a company in Denver when Winant called and offered him a job working with NBAA as manager of international and plans.

“I could plan to do what I was told to do is what plans meant,” Stine recalled. “I truly was not an international airplane driver. I’d flown in and out of Canada frequently and to and from the islands a little bit. It took the help of some  wonderful people in the association…to cram it into my head.”

Stine, 64, now serves as NBAA staff liaison for the association’s International Operators Committee (IOC) and contributes material about international flight op- erations to NBAA publications, including the NBAA Management Guide and NBAA International Operators Bulletin. He also coordinates the agenda for the NBAA International Operators Conference and develops sessions for the association’s annual convention and exhibitions in Europe and Latin America.

International Activities
The IOC will celebrate its 32nd anniversary next month, and Stine recalled how it has grown, reflecting the tremendous increase in international flying. He observed that most pilots in the U.S. are not very savvy about international operations. “Certainly when you are first trained, it never even enters your mind,” he said. “It certainly doesn’t enter the minds of most instructors.”

In the early years, Stine said, the IOC events consisted of six or 10 people. “Even when I got here, if we had 50 people in the room it was a big conference,” he added. Today, the conference attracts between 400 and 600 people.

“The people they meet and talk to in the coffee breaks probably give them 33 percent of what they gain from the whole session,” Stine explained. “You’re going someplace, somebody who is from there or somebody who flies there is going to be there. It’s the knowledge these guys carry around in their hip pockets.”

Two years after joining NBAA, Stine became the first executive officer of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), which Winant organized with Canadian and European business aircraft users. Later he served as IBAC director general pro tempore and is currently the organization’s corporate secretary.
Eventually, IBAC gained official recognition from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, and the first project it tackled was the future airspace navigation system.

“Today we’re probably involved in 10 or 15 different activities of ICAO,” Stine said. “That doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize that ICAO meetings go on for as long as two weeks.”

Although NBAA contributes the most money of the current 11 IBAC members to support the council’s activities, the others contribute more money on a per-member basis. Some contribute as much as one-third of their total gross income to the support of IBAC.

“It is considered important by all of the business aviation associations in the world, and there aren’t that many of us,” Stine said. “It is important to them because you have constant change going on in various parts of the world.”

When ICAO was created at the Chicago Convention in 1944, the purpose was to harmonize aviation operations around the world. But it still allowed the individual member states to adopt their own regulations within their own boundaries.

“The U.S. tends to be ‘Fortress U.S.,’” Stine asserted. “If you don’t do it the way we do it then you are not doing it right. And we firmly believe that. It’s a good thing and it’s a bad thing. We believe that what we do is the right thing most of the time, and yet it gets us into trouble believing that nobody else can be doing the right thing if they are not doing it our way.”

Stine is quick to emphasize the importance of IBAC representation before ICAO, because what goes on at ICAO has an effect on business aviation in the U.S. “So we want to make sure it doesn’t do damage in the states,” he said. “Also, we want it to be rational and to have a business aviation thought thrown into the middle of it.” He acknowledged there is a tendency in ICAO to think airline.

All of the members of IBAC provide personnel to represent the interests of business aviation operators on the many ICAO committees, either on a voluntary basis for expenses or a small stipend. “The trick is to staff [the committees],” said Stine. “We all have full plates; we all have day jobs.”

He characterizes IBAC as “a quiet organization” whose charge is to keep ICAO aware of the needs of operators other than the airlines and the crews of personal-use airplanes. And while he praised the work of the International AOPA, he conceded there has always been “a little bit of tension no matter where you go in the world” between representatives of business aviation and the owner-pilot associations. “It’s far worse in Europe than it is here,” said Stine. “But for the most part, we work together.”

After spending his early years in Ohio, Stine attended Culver Military Academy in Indiana and Ripon College in Wisconsin. He was an electronics specialist in the Air Force, has held a teaching certificate in aeronautical technology and also has experience in bank management.

Formerly a Chief Pilot
Stine, a 7,000-hour pilot, holds an ATP in both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft and is commercially rated in gliders. He has been a chief pilot for several Part 135/141 operators, flown and taught both rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft in mountainous and subtropical environments and was chief pilot for a civil engineering firm in Florida, where he did allied work in airport and facilities design.

In addition to working with ICAO panels and committees, Stine is or was involved with RTCA committees on technical aviation issues, Arinc’s aeronautical frequency committee (on which he was the group’s first non-airline chairman), the Airline Engineering and Electronics Committee as a representative of the general aviation community, the U.S. Interagency Group on International Aviation, the Mobile Satellite Users Association board of directors and previously the Comsat industry users advisory committee (past chairman of both) and the JAA’s JAR-OPS 2 government/industry committee.