NBAA Preview: Bizav Convention Coming Soon to Las Vegas

 - October 3, 2011, 9:10 PM
Last year’s NBAA Convention drew 24,206 attendees, and organizers expect at least that many for this month’s event in Las Vegas.

NBAA is holding its 64th Annual Meeting & Convention October 10 to 12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This year’s gathering also marks the 40th anniversary of AIN’s creation, starting as a convention daily publication launched at NBAA’s 1972 meeting in Cincinnati.

It’s not news that the effects of the recession are dragging on, but NBAA is expecting a strong turnout, which is usually the case when the destination is Las Vegas. Attendees are expected to number more than 25,000, and the show will include more than 100 education sessions. A new feature for this year’s NBAA show is a second static display area, outside the entrance to the convention center. If you happen to be in town on the night of October 6, grab a lawn chair and some snacks and enjoy the show as the 14 aircraft slotted for the convention center static display move through the streets of Las Vegas to spots near the entrance to the NBAA Convention. Sorry, no landings at the convention center allowed, nor taxiing through the streets even if it would be entertaining for the casino crowds.

The main static display is at Henderson Executive Airport, seven miles south of the convention center. NBAA expects 74 aircraft to be parked at Henderson, and that is about the maximum number for which space is available, according to Katrina Bradshaw, NBAA vice president of static displays and forums.

Highlighting this year’s Opening General Session at 8:30 a.m. October 10 will be U.S. Senator Joseph “Joe” Manchin III (D-W.Va.); FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt (back for his second year in a row); NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman; Dave Everitt, president of John Deere’s agricultural and turf division; and doctor, pilot and former U.S. Senate majority leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, who is also being honored with the NBAA Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership at this year’s show.

“NBAA is proud to host such an exemplary group of leaders from the public and private sectors, who are not only outstanding in their respective fields, but also in their understanding of the many contributions business aviation has made and continues to make every day to citizens, companies and communities nationwide,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.

“The business aviation community is delighted to include Senator Joe Manchin and former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, who have been tremendous advocates for business aviation,” Bolen said. “Additionally, we’re pleased to welcome Randy Babbitt and Debbie Hersman, who will have interesting insights to share, given their ongoing work on aviation operations, safety and security. And we can be sure that, in discussing the importance of business aviation to John Deere, Dave Everitt will highlight the industry’s importance to companies across the U.S.”

Among other notable award recipients this year are John Winant Award winner James Cannon; Clay Lacy, receiving the NBAA Meritorious Service to Aviation Award; and Don Spruston, the John P. “Jack” Doswell Award.

This year’s can’t-miss event is the annual NBAA/Corporate Angel Network Charity Benefit and Auction, starting at 6 p.m. October 11 at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. Auction items will include vacations, aviation memorabilia, flight training, fuel, tickets to Broadway show weekends, Nascar and Super Bowl events and more.

The annual Falcon family breakfast is another key event, and this year's guest speaker is Solar Impulse CEO and project co-founder André Borschberg. The breakfast will be held at the Las Vegas Hilton at 7 a.m. on October 11.



Aircraft Plans

While most of the traditional players are expected to update attendees on their activities and possibly make some new announcements at press events scheduled during the show, some companies that are new to the event have scheduled press conferences this year. One is Superjet International, which has previously announced plans to field a bizav version of the Alenia-Sukhoi Superjet 100.

China Business Aviation Group, whose chairman and CEO Jason Liao is the chief representative of the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition in Shanghai (March 27 to 29, 2012), is holding a press conference, too. This will highlight not only the upcoming Shanghai show, which is sponsored jointly by NBAA and the Asian Business Aviation Association, but also the growing importance of China to the business aviation industry.

Quest Aircraft is bringing a Kodiak single-engine utility turboprop to the static display, with an executive interior installed by St. Paul, Minn.-based Wipaire, a Kodiak factory-authorized service center. Quest is seeking to expand the market for the Kodiak and recently developed and certified a two-zone air-conditioning system and plans to ask for input from show attendees on a new executive interior planned for release next year.

Nextant Aerospace is slated to bring four of its 400XTs to NBAA, one on static display and one at the exhibit hall, and two others based at the Flight Options facility at nearby McCarran International Airport for demo rides. The $3.9 million 400XT is an upgraded version of the Beechjet 400/Hawker 400XP with Williams International FJ44-3AP engines and Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics.

Hawker Beechcraft will again feature a full line of aircraft at its huge static display. Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support, which is responsible for upgrades like the Hawker 800XPR re-engining program and the 400XPR Pro Line 21 avionics and Williams International FJ44-4A-32 engine upgrade, will represent the manufacturer at the exhibit hall. The 400XPR engine mod should be certified next summer, and Hawker Beechcraft is bringing a 400XPR to the NBAA static display.

Airbus plans to bring an ACJ319 to the NBAA static display, the first time this airplane has been shown in the U.S. The ACJ319 features an interior designed by Alberto Pinto .

Gulfstream will have both of its newest jets at the static display, the large-cabin G650 and super-midsize G280, with production interiors. Appointments will be necessary to view the G650 and G280 cabins, although Gulfstream will have a G280 cabin mockup at the static display.

Interesting Events

While the exhibit halls and static display attract a lot of attention at the NBAA show, there are many more events to capture attendees’ interest. These range from maintenance and operations meetings held by all the manufacturers to NBAA Professional Development Courses, the Cessna/NBAA Single-Pilot Safety Standdown (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. October 9), the Chairman’s Charity Classic Golf Tournament (October 9), committee meetings, classes and the popular Light Business Airplane sessions. See for the full schedule.

The Air Charter Association of North America is returning to the NBAA show this year and is assembling a diverse cast of industry experts for a press conference/panel session at 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. on October 10. The charter industry is facing critical issues, and these will be addressed at the conference, including charter broker regulation by the DOT, illegal charter, the ethics of pricing, products and so-called “phantom aircraft,” how membership programs, jet cards and shared seats fit in today’s market and more.

Last year was the year the iPad was introduced to aviation, and many exhibits chose the device as their giveaway prizes. This year, the iPad and Android-powered tablet computers are expected to be on display to show how they can improve operations, help pilots plan flights and control cabin entertainment systems. One developer, Aircraft Performance Group, plans to demo its new iPad app’s ability not only to calculate takeoff and landing performance but also plan flights and carry a full book of planning and operational data for access during the flight. Jeppesen will be demonstrating its Mobile FliteDeck app, which replaces paper Airway Manuals. Other appealing apps will be demoed, including software for flight planning, moving maps, FBOs, fuel prices, logbooks, airport data and even in-flight weather by XM WX provider WxWorx.

To see it all, you’ll just have to come to the show.



Download NBAA's 64th Annual Meeting & Convention app for your iPhone and get access to the exhibitor list, daily schedule and an at-the-show Twitter feed. You can also use the app to create your own schedule by bookmarking any event. The app includes maps of the two static displays and the exhibit hall and a link to NBAA-related YouTube videos.