A roster of aviation and political luminaries welcomed an energized crowd to the NBAA 2011 opening general session this morning at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Joining NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen onstage were U.S. Senator Joseph Manchin III (D-W.Va.), FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman, Dave Everitt, presidetn of John Deere Agricultural and Turf Division, and former U.S. Senate majority leader Bill Frist of Tennessee. In opening remarks Bolen announced that the 64th annual gathering had more display aircraft, more exhibitors and already more registered attendees than last year’s convention.
The NBAA Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership seems designed specifically for former U.S. Senator William Frist, M.D.
The 108th Congress opened for business the first week in January with a few changes of note. The racial gaffe committed by Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) during the departure ceremonies for Sen. Strom Thurmond forced him out as the Senate Majority Leader.
In the upheaval over the remarks by ex-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who learned to fly as a teenager, was named as his replacement.
Although Lott (R-Miss.) resigned his post as leader, he remains in the Senate and has muscled his way into the chairmanship of the Senate aviation subcommittee, displacing Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who was thought to be in line for the position.
• Even though the Senate and the House of Representatives did not sit in session during August, a multitude of committee and subcommittee meetings convened during this period to look into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the aftermath and how to avoid such events in the future.
In keeping with NBAA’s new effort to seek candidates who are familiar with business aviation through a “variety of professional skills and experiences,” three of the association’s four new board members are not directly from corporate flight departments. The new members are Thomas Frist, pilot and co-founder of Hospital Corporation of America. Dr. Frist is also the brother of Senate majority leader William Frist (R-Tenn.).