NBAA'09 Opens With Muted Optimism

 - October 20, 2009, 10:37 AM

It would have been next to impossible to open the 62nd NBAA Convention this morning in Orlando, Fla., without squarely aiming at the 800-pound gorilla in the room: the state of the U.S. economy. NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen didn’t mince words, saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been quite a year.” FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt also talked about the need for a safety management system to take aviation safety to the next level. Afterward, Forbes magazine publisher Rich Karlgaard explained the intricacies of how the economy imploded last fall, as well as why there might be significant hope on the horizon. Bolen also introduced International Association of Machinists president Tom Buffenbarger, who spoke to the need for a team effort to slay the “dragons of darkness” that have lined up against business aviation in the past year. NBAA also dedicated this year’s convention to the late John Winant, the association’s first president in 1971, a man Bolen said, “more than any other individual was responsible for NBAA being what it is today.” A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place immediately after the opening session, marking the official opening of NBAA’09.