This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
The Flight School Association of North America (FSANA) announced it will hold its upcoming annual International Flight School Conference as a live event. The three-day 2021 edition will be held in Orlando, Florida, at the Rosen Plaza Hotel starting on March 3.
FSANA president and CEO Robert Rockmaker told AIN he has received encouragement from the group’s membership to go ahead and stage the conference, which normally attracts hundreds of visitors, as an in-person event rather than virtual.
Currently, it is scheduled to have more than 25 multi-track education sessions and an exhibit hall with up to 30 exhibitors. It will launch with a preview day on March 3, which will include an attendee reception, a pair of afternoon sessions on mentoring and flight school accreditation, and a welcome dinner.
“For 2021 we have increased the number of education tracks to meet the increased demand for additional content in the ever-changing world of flight training,” said Rockmaker. “Anyone in the business of flight training should attend to team, network, and meet supply chain partners and others who interface with their industry.”
Despite the word “international” in the event’s name, Rockmaker noted the organization has not yet started to officially advertise it to international markets. However, he said, “The international markets are finding us,” and non-domestic attendees have been growing over the past few years, reaching up to 8 percent last year.
He noted that FSANA is closely monitoring the pandemic situation, and should there be drastic changes, it is prepared to be flexible. “By the time we get to March 2021, we expect that many international city pairs will be open and people will be moving around with greater ease,” Rockmaker explained. “The flight training industry is looking forward to the in-person meeting since the need for new pilots is going to be back sooner than later.”
He added that the event hotel practices the highest levels of sanitization in all public and meeting room spaces, with sleeping rooms receiving a special fogging before each guest is allowed into the room, as part of its current Covid operating procedures. Social distancing will be observed and conference attendees will be seated in accordance with current government guidelines.
If held as scheduled, the event would be one of the first live aviation industry conferences to take place in the span of a year.