NBAA Convention News

NBAA Convention News looks back

 - October 5, 2001, 11:12 AM

Join us on a journey into the archives; a trip through 30 years of bizav's vibrant growth

This special issue of Aviation International News represents the 30th year this publication has supported NBAA. For the past 29 years, we have published issues of NBAA Convention News on site at the annual convention. This year-by-year retrospective on past conventions was scheduled to run in our New Orleans publications on September 18, 19 and 20. Because of the extraordinary events of the past weeks, we’re using this NBAA 2001 Special Edition to bring you much of the news you would have read in New Orleans–in effect, bringing an important part of NBAA’s annual convention to your doorstep. As part of that service, we have included this retrospective in the belief that looking back with our collective wisdom may help give us some of the perspective needed to move forward with greater courage.

It was Sept. 12, 1972, when NBAA Convention News published its first issue at the annual NBAA Meeting and Convention in Cincinnati. What started as a 28-page, black-and-white opening-day issue has evolved into one of the most trusted and respected publications in aviation. Included in each year’s retrospective is a sampling of headlines recalling the top stories of each convention, the issues facing the industry and what its leaders were doing about them. Each retrospective also includes a summary glance back at key topics. Some of the observations are humorous, some serious and some even a tad embarrassing, but all reflect the spirit of imagination, determination and professionalism that have shaped the history of this formidable niche in the world of transportation.

In reviewing 29 years’ worth of NBAA Convention News, some recurring themes bear mention, even if they didn’t make the top headlines. For instance, in every issue over the years is a plethora of stories about the makers of small nuts-and-bolts parts, tools and accessories that this industry can’t get along without. There are stories about service providers, salespeople, insurers, financiers, fuel-service providers and others who make up the grass roots of business aviation’s infrastructure–always a mainstay of NBAA Convention News’ coverage of the annual gathering. Other boiler-plate areas include reporting on NBAA staff and committees and the yeoman work they do on behalf of the membership.

Finally, there were the names and faces that keep coming up, year after year, in association with NBAA and its activities. These were not necessarily the major players (though some of them were), but rather people who always seem to be involved, with little expectation of recognition. Space prohibits listing all these names, and to spotlight a few would be a disservice to the many.

NBAA Convention News was founded in 1972 by the team of James Holahan, editor, already a veteran aviation journalist with an “edge,” and Wilson Leach, publisher, just two years out of college and full of big ideas. Jim retired as editor-in-chief in 1999, and Wilson now heads the company as its managing director, having been in it, heart-and-soul, for three decades.

We asked Jim to write this retrospective on 30 years of aviation publishing, but he politely declined. It seems he’s too busy with his duties as president of the school board in his home town in New Jersey. But he was still on the job 10 years ago when NBAA Convention News reached its 20th birthday. All you need do is change the number from 20 to 30, and his words ring as true today as they did a decade ago.

Jim wrote, “It’s been an exciting 20 years, not only because so many advances have been made in all of the things that fly, but because of the great people who conceive, develop, build, fly and maintain these machines. We feel proud to have rubbed shoulders with them in their glories and successes as well as in their sorrows and failures. It is these wonderful guys and gals to whom we dedicate these anniversary issues. We regret that all of them aren't still around to accept our thanks.
NBAA 1972, Cincinnati, Ohio

This is where it all started. Business aviation had lots to talk about in Cincinnati in 1972, and NBAA Convention News was there. The magazine issues back then were all black and white, the pictures fewer and farther between and the type faces perhaps a bit unfamiliar to today’s readers. But the focus then as now was on news. Some highlights: Mitsubishi introduced its MU-2K model at Lunken Airport, as did Beechcraft Hawker with its -600 version of the BH-125. The marketing agreement between Beech and Hawker of the UK presaged Raytheon Aircraft’s current stewardship of the design, the origin of which dates back to the early 1960s. In addition, Beech delivered its 1,000th turboprop aircraft, a King Air, to Miles Laboratories. Executive Jet Aviation was on the cutting edge of bizav, with its contract management program raising hackles among traditional charter operators. The company reported an uptick in business and ordered three IAI Commodore Jet 1123s, later to be labeled the Westwind. As for NBAA itself, the association reported that membership was “inching toward 1,000.” Total attendance at the convention was 2,942; and 120 companies exhibited in 248 booth spaces.

Historical Headlines:

• Garrett-AiResearch Looking for Firm Orders for Turbofan Version of JetStar
• Beechcraft Hawker Premiers Its Stretched BH-125, the Series 600
• Falcon 10 To Make U.S. Debut at Pan Am Business Jets Next April
• EJA Reports Upswing in Business, Signs for Three IAI Commodore Jet 1123s
• Beech Delivers Its 1,000th Turboprop, a King Air to Miles Laboratories
• Mitsubishi Introduces MU-2K
• NBAA Membership Inches Toward 1,000
• Grumman To Purchase American Aviation
• New Atlantic Aviation Facility To Open at Houston Hobby Airport Next Month
NBAA 1973, Dallas, Texas

Attendance numbers, always of interest to exhibitors, were a big story for this year’s big show in Big D. For NBAA’s 26th meeting and convention, there were 4,361 registrants, almost 1,000 more than the previous record year, 1969. Among the big news was the unionization of pilots at Executive Jet Aviation. Company president Bruce Sundlun said, “While we like being a leader in the corporate aviation field, I personally did not enjoy being probably the first NBAA member to have its pilot force become unionized.” One more positive area in which EJA also took the lead was hiring women pilots. In 1973, the company hired Olympic equestrienne Kathy Kusner. Contacted in 2001, the still-well-known horsewoman asked, “Does Executive Jet still exist?” Ironically, the news story on EJA and its pioneering woman pilot appeared on the same page with one of Marathon Battery’s wet-T-shirt “Pilot’s Bosom Buddy” ads. Those who remember the marketing campaign understand the irony  of the political incorrectness. Kusner flew for EJA for only a few months in 1973.

Historical Headlines:

• Helicopters Make a Strong Showing in Dallas
• Bell Introduces Plans for LongRanger
• EJA Pilots Vote 29 to 11 To Join Teamsters
• NBAA ‘Data Bank’ Project Faces Rough Start
• Bendix Introduces Low-cost RDR-140 Radar
• Pan Am Announces $1.6 million in Runway Improvements at Teterboro
• IAI Weighs Benefits of GE vs Garrett Turbofans for Model 1124 Westwind
• Citicorp Study Shows Correlation between Bizjet Usage and Company Profits
• Butler Aviation Sells Mooney to Republic Steel
NBAA 1974, Los Angeles, California

Recurrent themes punctuated the convention topics this year. Avionics makers continued to reflect the digital revolution, with AiResearch releasing its AirNAV-100 digital Rnav. It used a tape cassette to record its waypoint database. Harry Combs, president of Learjet, pled his case to the FAA for higher altitudes for business aviation. Before business aircraft were capable of operating there, the upper flight levels had been the distinct preserve of the airlines. Sundstrand introduced a ground proximity alerter that combined a number of data inputs, but relied most heavily on the radar altimeter. It was the precursor to today’s database-reliant enhanced ground proximity alert systems. On the inflight telephone front, air-to-ground radiotelephones continued to expand their areas of coverage in an era long before anyone had ever heard of cellphones. For the rotary-wing set, the Bell LongRanger, introduced as a concept the year before at NBAA in Dallas, made its first flight and Gulfstream revealed plans for a Lycoming ALF502 turbofan-powered version of its Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop-powered Gulfstream I. Meanwhile, an insurance study cited an increase in business aviation accidents. With the uncertainty of high interest rates and inflation, NBAA expressed concern about company controllers taking a bead on the flight department when times got tough.

Historical Headlines:

• AiResearch Unveils AirNAV-100 Digital Rnav, with Tape Cassette Database
• IAI Begins Taking Orders for TFE731-powered Westwind 1124
• Learjet President Combs Pleads for Higher Ceilings from FAA
• Airborne Telephone Net Continues Its Expansion
• Sundstrand Introduces Ground Proximity Alerter
• In an Uncertain Economy, Company Controllers Look Askance at Aviation
• Aerospatiale Corvette Arrives with FAA Certification
• Insurance Study Cites Increase in Bizjet Accidents
• Bell LongRanger Makes Its First Flight
• ALF-502-powered Gulfstream I Variant Proposed
• Yakovlev Seeks U.S. Dealer for Yak-40 Trijet
NBAA 1975, New Orleans, Louisiana

The fuel crisis was still in force and announcements of new airplanes were scarce, limited to progress reports on the Falcon 50, announcement of a new family of Learjets called Century III and word of a new version of the Lockheed JetStar to be powered by Garrett-AiResearch TFE73I-3 turbofans, replacing the Pratt & Whitney JTI2A turbojet engines in the original JetStar. New helicopters included the announcement of a firm launch for the Bell 222 program and the commencement of production for the LongRanger. Avionics makers were the big innovators at NBAA 1975, with the future state-of-the-art defined by the development of fledgling flight management systems. Avionics announcements at New Orleans prompted an NBAA Convention News editor to write, “The day is indeed coming when we can throw away our Jepp and NOS books and carry a vest pocket tape cassette instead and–now hear this–completely update it by plugging into a telephone line!”

Historical Headlines:

• Rising Fuel Costs Spark Lively Discussions
• New Learjet Family Built Around More Efficient Wing
• Lockheed Plans JetStar II Rollout Next Spring
• Bell To Fly Prototype Model 222 Next Year
• New Cessna Chairman, Russ Meyer, Surveys the Bizav Outlook
• Grumman Sounding Out Pilots on Possible Gulfstream X To Replace GII
• Bill Lear Named Man of the Year; Moya Lear Accepts Award
• Surplus Airliners Win Roles as Corporate Transports
• Sikorsky Introduces S-76, Billed as ‘Flying Office’
• Agusta A109 Performs Demos at Lakefront Airport

NBAA 1976, Denver, Colorado

NBAA convened in the Mile-High City for its 1976 annual meeting and convention. Production rates were continuing to climb, despite an unsettled economy. Cessna surprised the gathering with the introduction of its Citation III, a 10- to 15-passenger swept-wing turbofan twin with a $2.5 million price tag. At the same crack-of-dawn press breakfast, Cessna also revealed plans for a stretched version of its straight-wing Citation to be known as the Citation II and an improved version of its baseline Citation, now to be known as the Citation I. The Citations I and II would be powered by 2,200-lb-thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-1A turbofans. The Citation III got its giddyup from a pair of Garrett TFE731s. On the avionics front, the major players among manufacturers put their heads together at an NBAA-sponsored seminar to present the challenges faced by their corner of the business aviation industry. Finally, in a meeting of bizav’s Who’s Who, the TakeOff program was announced. Under the plan, industry leaders would combine their efforts to raise interest in learning to fly among the general public. The goal was to stimulate new student starts. TakeOff was a precursor to today’s industry-sponsored Be A Pilot program.

Historical Headlines:

• Sweptwing Citation III Revealed in Surprise Announcement
• NBAA Membership Reaches 1,349 as Directors Are Elected
• Hawker-Siddeley Touts Its Latest, the HS 125-700
• Thrust Reversers for TFE731s Tested on Falcon 10
• TakeOff Program Launched To Stimulate Student Starts
• Avionics Manufacturers Share Market Savvy at NBAA Seminar
• Cessna and Arnold Palmer Sign a Five-year Lease on a Citation
• Hytrol Anti-skid Systems Introduced for King Air and Citations
• Executive Jet and Dassault in Court Battle over ‘Reincarnated’ Falcon 20
• Learjet Production Increases to 10 per Month
NBAA 1977, Houston, Texas

Among the big news events at NBAA 1977 in Houston were the arrival of the first three-engine business jet–the prototype Falcon 50, the display of the first winglet-equipped bizjet–Learjet’s Longhorn series and the announcement that Bill Lear was at it again, with plans for a twin-engine turboprop that would fly fast at pennies per mile. In those fuel-obsessed times, economy was king (remember when every car commercial included its mpg, city and highway?). On page 18 of the second-day issue of NBAA Convention News, an article appeared about a new 570-lb-thrust turbofan under development by a company no one had ever heard of–Williams Research Corp. The WR19-3 was earmarked for the developmental Foxjet twin (Tony Fox also announced plans for a trijet) and the American Jet Industries Hustler turbofan/turboprop hybrid. Allen Paulson, president of AJI, placed a “firm” order for 25 WR19-3s (neither the Foxjets nor Hustler made it to production). Also announced at NBAA 1977 were Aerospatiale’s plans to build a hybrid lighter-than-air, rotary-wing “Helicostat,” to be developed for the logging industry. As envisioned by Goodyear, the airship would be powered by
four helicopter airframes mounted on booms. A version of the concept, developed by Frank Piaseki, was built but crashed during flight tests when one of the helicopter engines failed. Finally, NBAA announced it had topped the 1,500 mark in member companies with a total of 1,510.

Historical Headlines:

• Falcon 50, First Three-engine Bizjet, Arrives at 30th NBAA Convention
• Bill Lear Announces Plans for Learavia Twin-turboprop
• Longhorn Learjets Arrive Sporting First Bizav Winglets
• A Twin-engine JetStar May Be in Lockheed’s Future
• Tony Fox Reveals Plans for a Trijet Foxjet
• Piper’s Cheyenne III Makes Its Public Debut
• Bell 222 Aims for Deliveries in Early 1979
• Arabs Eye Possibility of a Yak-40 Trijet on Floats
• Unique Computerized Approach To Jet Sales Yields $51 million
• Garrett’s ATF3 Program Is on Schedule; Falcon 20 Retrofits Planned
NBAA 1978, St. Louis, Missouri

A large part of the story of 1978 can be told from the midyear report by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). The report shows an increase in aircraft shipments of 2.9 percent (to 10,042 from 9,789) over 1977. That’s the first half of the year. The increase in billing was even more compelling at 16 percent ($962.8 million from $830.9 million), reflecting better sales of higher-priced aircraft such as business jets and turboprops in the first six months of 1978. Those halcyon numbers did not reflect sales by some major foreign manufacturers including Dassault (Falcons), Mitsubishi (MU-2s) and British Aerospace (Hawkers). Turboprop sales reflected an increased awareness of fuel economy, with the healthiest increase of any segment at 31.6 percent, while sales of jets were actually down by 5.7 percent. The report cites 1974, during which total sales of jets and turboprops amounted to 358 airplanes. By 1977, that figure had risen to 533, with projections for more than 600 units to move in 1978. At the close of the second day of NBAA 1978, the turnstiles had already seen a record number of ticks. Registered visitors numbered 7,887, with one day left to go. That contrasted with 7,102 for all three days of the 1977 show, held in Houston.

Historical Headlines:

• Citation III Gets a T-Tail and 51,000-ft Ceiling
• Burt Rutan Makes ‘Defiant’ Statement about Twin-engine Aircraft
• Collins Shows Six New Products, Including WXR-300 Digital Radar
• Foxjet Pirates Learavia’s Chief Engineer To Speed Development
• Swearingen Unveils Merlin IIIB with More Power, Upgraded Avionics
• GAMA Reports Soaring Shipments, Billings up 16 Percent over 1977
• Pilots Consulted On Design of New MU-300 Mitsubishi Jet
• Executive Jet Adds a Lear Jet 25D; Fleet Numbers 14
• Switch To Microwave Landing System Makes Progress
• Study Shows Controllers Suffer from Hypertension

NBAA 1979, Atlanta, Georgia

NBAA officials expected record attendance at the 32nd running of the annual meeting, and were not disappointed–9,893 people showed up. Though not on the static line at Atlanta DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK), the biggest newsmaker among new designs was the Gulfstream III, a two-foot stretch of the GII with a reshaped nose and winglets. Also on the front page of NBAA Convention News’ opening day edition was the IAI Westwind 2, having made a surprise flight from Israel to Atlanta. The latest iteration of the twinjet featured tiptanks with incorporated winglets. The wingtips of the latest Learjet, the 55, also sprouted winglets. The Longhorne edition of the Learjet family made its first appearance at NBAA 1979. With conventional square tips on its swept wings, the Cessna Citation III made a surprise appearance at a private gathering sponsored by Cessna before the convention’s opening day. Also predating the show in Atlanta, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries held a gala introduction for its Diamond I (now the Beechjet 400A). One of two flying prototypes was on hand for the “Texas Fandango” press event in San Angelo. Meanwhile, Sikorsky expressed concern over the dearth of heliports, nationwide.

Historical Headlines:

• Gulfstream Rolls Out GIII, ‘Bizav’s New Flagship’
• Westwind 2 Flies in from Israel in Surprise Appearance
• Learjet 55 Makes Its NBAA Debut
• Citation III Prototype Headlines ‘Secret’ Cessna Gathering
• Piper Cheyenne III Makes Its First Public Appearance
• Rockwell Introduces 980 and 840 Commander Propjets
• Mitsubishi Teases Bizav Press with Texas Preview of Diamond I Prototype
• ALF502 Engine Trouble Delays Challenger 600 Certification Program
• Max Bleck Caps His Career with Piper CEO Slot
• N.J. Construction Firm Takes First Delivery of Bell 222
• Sikorsky President Decries National Dearth of Heliports
NBAA 1980, Kansas City, Missouri

Fiscal 1980 was the best year ever for NBAA, showing a surplus of $116,250 on the books. That contrasted with a $9,000 operating loss during the 1978-79 fiscal year. The association enlisted 391 new members before the June 30 end of the 1980 fiscal year, and the association leadership vowed to reach the 3,000-member plateau by 1985 (by the end of 1985, NBAA had a total of 2,941 members, up from 2,217 in 1980). On the front burner of political issues, NBAA chairman Earle Bauer cited court battles over noise restrictions to be “the highest of priorities.” NBAA was deep in litigation with Santa Monica, Calif., over a proposed plan to lower the city’s airport’s decibel limit to 85 dB from 100 dB. New federal airport and airways development and improvement legislation also ranked high on the NBAA agenda. The association noted it had appeared before Congressional committees 10 times over the preceding 12 months. On the operational side, LearAvia v-p of sales Sheldon “Torch” Lewis said he was “beginning to ooze a little perspiration,” over the scheduled first flight of the LearFan. With $100 million in financing and 133 orders fanning the flames, the all-composite, pusher-turboprop LearFan ultimately made its first flight on “December 32, 1980,” a Bill Learism for the actual date of first flight, Jan. 1, 1981.

Historical Headlines:

• Gulfstream Wins GIII Type Certificate on Convention Eve
• Pan Am Sells Its 50-percent Stake in Falcon Jet Corp. to Dassault
• Sperry’s Multi-color CRTs Portend the Future of Flight Instruments
• Garrett Seeks Bird-strike Requirement Waiver for ATF3-6 Turbofan
• OMAC 1 Pusher Turboprop To Fly in November
• Collins Rnav and Vertical Nav Systems Fly with Westwind 2
• Business Flying Is Saturating Air Traffic Control, Warns FAA Administrator Bond
• National Distillers Accepts First Green Gulfstream III
• Piper Stretches Cheyenne II To Create XL Version
• EJA President Tibbets Applauds Learjet Certification Review
• Swearingen Merlin IVC Introduced with 10-ft Wingspan Increase
NBAA 1981, Anaheim, California

The air traffic controllers’ strike weighed heavily on everyone’s mind at the 1981 edition of the NBAA Convention. A 350-strong contingent of striking Los Angeles-area controllers picketed the Anaheim Convention Center, where new FAA Administrator J. Lynn Helms addressed the meeting on opening day. Before Helms’ appearance, NBAA chairman and symposium monitor Earle Bauer read a statement from the association backing the nonstriking controllers. The resolution, which had been drafted by the entire NBAA board earlier that day and sent to Washington, drew a standing ovation. Outside, the Patco controllers vowed, “We won’t roll over and play dead.” Meanwhile, back in Boston, colorful attorney and Patco founder F. Lee Bailey blasted the government, the press and what he called the complacency of business aviation in an interview with NBAA Convention News. He said, “Someday, when this country gets over its four-year-long attention span, I think we’ll look back on this and find that the whole thing was handled with charisma, but not with a lot of forethought.” At the time, a federal judge had already suggested that Patco be decertified as a bargaining unit.

Historical Headlines:

• NBAA Expresses Support for Non-striking Controllers
• Patco Pickets Appearance by New FAA Administrator J. Lynn Helms
• NBAA President Winant Inaugurates IBAC at Anaheim Meeting
• EFIS Era Dawns for Bizav, as Collins Preps for CRT Production
• Sperry and Collins Compete in EFIS Gold Rush
• Cessna Promises Buyers They’ll Be Flying Citation IIIs by 1983
• Lear Fan Pusher Prototype Jogs in from Reno for NBAA 1981
• Curfew Clamped on New York’s Westchester County Airport
• Pilots Rank Comfort, Fuel Economy and Quiet Ops as Top Concerns
• FAA Administrator Helms Puts TCAS on Front Burner
• No-tail-rotor Hughes Helicopter To Fly by Year-end
• ‘Thoroughly New’ IAI Astra Draws 16 Orders
NBAA 1982, St. Louis, Missouri

Control of LearAvia, the company developing the Lear Fan, was passed to 55-year-old Robert Burch, a Denver banking executive. The financially troubled company faced formidable challenges. As posed by James Holahan, founding editor of NBAA Convention News, the Lear Fan 2100 program was “probably the most difficult development task in all of civil aviation–building an all-composite airplane with two enclosed turbine engines driving a single tail-mounted propeller through a complex gearbox.” Asked why he thought he could meet the challenge when he had no background in aviation, Burch responded, in part, “I guess you might say that I’m dumb enough to think I can do most anything if I really want to do it.” NBAA Convention News featured a lengthy report on the Mitsubishi Diamond I, which made its NBAA debut at the 35th NBAA air fair. Executives from turbine-engine builder Garrett wore brave faces in spite of threatening economic news, vowing to continue their R&D efforts. From New York, Cessna chairman Russ Meyer announced plans for a “turnkey” ownership program for piston and jet operators alike. Under the plan, Cessna would provide financing, insurance and even pilots for anyone who wanted to buy an airplane. Finally, for the first time, news came of low-cost marine loran systems beginning to appear in helicopters and some light aircraft, providing inertial-nav-like capability at a fraction of the cost and complexity.

Historical Headlines:

• Two Lear Fan 2100s Touch Down after Longest Flight To Date
• New LearAvia Investor Burch Gains Control of Lear Fan Project
• First Production Challenger 601 Pays a Surprise Visit
• Cessna’s Russ Meyer Offers Turnkey Ownership Program
• Mitsubishi Diamond I Makes Its NBAA Convention Debut
• Laser-based Inertial Navigation Systems Introduced from Honeywell and Litton
• Deteriorating Sales Don’t Daunt Garrett, which Presses Its R&D Efforts
• Lingering Effects of Patco Debacle Hamstring Show Demo Pilots
• Collins Avionics Announces Pro Line 2
• Piper Braves Sullen Economy with Garrett-powered Cheyenne IV Turboprop
• Canadian Marconi’s VLF/Omega System Holds 1,000 Waypoints
NBAA 1983, Dallas, Texas

It was to be the first of a family of airplanes that would lead the industry for the next 20 years. Beech president Linden Blue introduced the revolutionary Starship 1, an all-composite, canard-equipped twin-turboprop pusher, which made its debut at NBAA 1983 in the form of an 85-percent-scale “proof-of-concept” aircraft. The Starship was inspired by the configuration of the homebuilt LongEZ. Indeed, both airplanes came from the fertile mind of Burt Rutan, who was later named a
v-p at Beech. Rutan’s Starship performed a stunning flyby over the NBAA static display at Dallas Love Field, stopping traffic and lowering jaws for a full 10-minute performance that rocked the aviation world. Needless to say, the future according to Beech did not unfold as advertised. Almost lost in the glow of the Starship’s flybys, Gates introduced a mockup of its version of a twin-pusher turboprop, the Piaggio GP-180. From IAI came news of the September rollout of its Astra, boasting “coast-to-coast range at Mach 0.8.” Marketed in North America by Atlantic Aviation, the $6 million twin-turbofan seated six to nine and was projected to enter corporate service in October 1985. And British Aerospace dropped by with its latest Hawker, the HS 125-800.

Historical Headlines:

• Collins Introduces First AHRS for Business Aviation
• DOT Secretary Elizabeth Dole Expands on Noise and Deregulation
• Laseref Tightens New-tech Grasp on Aviation
• Piper Resumes Cheyenne IIIA Production; a Sign of Recovery?
• All-new Global GNS-1000 Makes Its Debut
• Chichester-Miles Leopard Mini-bizjet Development Continues
• Government Bailout Gives Canadair a Fighting Chance
• King Unveils KNS 660 Multisensor Management System
• Three Loran-C Models Enter Explosive Market
• Fighting Decibel Wars Proves Costly To NBAA, Fleet Drops by 340
NBAA 1984, Atlanta, Georgia

With an article on page 95 of the second-day issue of 1984’s NBAA Convention News, the business aviation world began to watch as a brash, confident young mathematician named Richard Santulli took over Executive Jet Aviation. The 20-year-old charter and management company had tumbled from a high-water mark of operating more than 20 Learjets, to a nadir of only nine 20-Series Lears and one Learjet 35. Chaired by famed Enola Gay pilot Paul Tibbets, EJA sorely needed the cash infusion supplied by Santulli’s RTS Capital Corp., one of the leading lessors of helicopters in the country. In the 1984 story, Tibbets outlined the future of EJA under Santulli’s stewardship. First, former president Bruce Sundlun, who had held that position since 1971, was out. Next, Tibbets expected that EJA would be able to provide door-to-door service from the outback of Iowa to the center of Wall Street. Though he lamented that 1983 was one of EJA’s leanest years with fewer than one million passenger miles flown, Tibbets was optimistic, noting a slight uptick in activity for 1984. “We are a company which has never been what people on the outside thought it was,” he said. “We’ve been looked at as a ‘strange outfit.’ We were one of the first charter operators to sell our services on a passenger-mile basis. Our fares are structured so we can deadhead 30 percent of the time. The customer pays a little more, but we make up for it in service.” Tibbets made no mention of Santulli’s germinating concept of fractional ownership. Two years later, however, NetJets would start selling its first fractional shares.

Historical Headlines:

• NBAA’s Winant Calls for Troops To Battle Airport Bizav Access Quotas
• Learjet Suspends Production of All Models, Idles 1,000 Workers in Wichita
• Dassault Shows Home Movies of the Latest Falcon Family Member, the 900
• EJA Acquired by Santulli-led RTS Capital Services
• Yeager Sets Speed Mark in Piper Cheyenne 400LS
• Avtek 400 Composite Turboprop Pusher Flies as a Proof-of-concept
• Bendix Buyout of King Radio Is Almost a Done Deal
• Gulfstream Picks TFE731-3 To Power Its Peregrine Single
• Paulson Says He’s Bullish on Gulfstream IV Project
• Despite Blue’s Resignation, Beech To Proceed with Starship Program
• Former Epps Lineman Evander Holyfield Turns Pro after Olympics
NBAA 1985, New Orleans, Louisiana

A pair of mergers dominated the headlines when NBAA graced the Crescent City with the music of its turbines in 1985. In the midst of rampant leveraged buyouts, a struggling Chrysler Corp. under the leadership of former Ford executive Lee Iacocca bought Gulfstream Aerospace from its founder, former line mechanic Allen Paulson. At a time when the industry was beginning to become accustomed to singing the blues, General Dynamics bought Cessna Aircraft. Today Cessna is owned by Textron, while Gulfstream was sold back to Paulson, then to investment firm Forstmann Little for $850 million, and finally to General Dynamics in 1999 for a stock transfer amounting to about $5.2 billion. When he engineered the 1985 purchase, Iacocca said, “We here at Chrysler don’t know much about airplanes, but we like to think we do know something about running companies. That’s why we bought Gulfstream.”
In other harbingers of future developments, the Collins glass cockpit suite earmarked for the Beech Starship gave NBAA attendees a fresh look at how they could equip their future panels. Avionics makers began to shift their focus from loran to GPS, led by established navigator maker Arnav. Finally, Dr. Sam Williams introduced a concept test-bed airframe known as the V-Jet (because of its forward-swept wings) to showcase the possibilities of his developmental 1,900-lb-thrust FJ44 turbofan.

Historical Headlines:

• Iacocca on Hand To Talk Up Chrysler’s Purchase of Gulfstream
• General Dynamics Completes Acquisition of Cessna
• Gulfstream IV Makes Crescent City Debut Two Days after First Flight
• Global GNS500A To Be Fed by GPS Signal
• Max Bleck Named COO of Troubled Gates Learjet Corp.
• New-concept Glass Avionics from Collins Selected for Starship
• Doppler Weather Radar Ready for Bizav Debut
• Williams International Proposes V-Jet Testbed for New FJ44 Turbofans
• Loran Maker Arnav Eyes GPS as a Next-Generation Nav Sensor
• GAMA’s Torpid Sales Continue Through August, with No Relief in Sight
• Aerobatic Star Art Scholl Killed while Filming ‘Top Gun’
NBAA 1986, Anaheim, California

Attendance was up at this year’s NBAA bizav extravaganza. By the end of the second day, 1,000 more people had registered to attend the show compared with the previous year’s convention. At 450, there were more exhibitors than ever before, and there was excitement in the air as the Rutan brothers added spice to the aviation landscape, each in his own way. Designer Burt, wearing a suit and shorn of his signature mutton-chop sideburns, had assumed the title of v-p at Beech Aircraft. He displayed a trio of aircraft models at NBAA in Anaheim, purportedly to be the follow-on family to the developmental Starship. Rutan proposed building proof-of-concept flying scale models of a cabin-class piston twin, a turbofan derivative of the same airframe and a five-seat light single with coast-to-coast range. In the end, the elongated certification process and financial failure of the Starship put the kibosh on any of the projected follow-on designs. Meanwhile, older brother Dick made the news in Anaheim as the Voyager round-the-world airplane shed a propeller on a test flight at Mojave, Calif. The aviation world held its collective breath in anticipation of Rutan’s world flight later that year together with copilot Jeana Yeager. A British Aerospace designer predicted that a supersonic business jet could be built by 2000, at a selling price of $60 million. (No, the then-fledgling NetJets program was not in the market for an SSBJ at the time.) Snowmobile-maker Bombardier bid to take over financially strapped Canadair from the Canadian government. And Boeing actually sold one of its purpose-designed 77-33 (737 derivative) corporate bizliners. This was long before the current BBJ program and long before NBAA Convention News editor-in-chief Randall Padfield coined the term bizliner.

Historical Headlines:

• Bombardier Places Bid for Canadair with Canadian Government
• Gates Learjet Sold to New York Investment Firm
• New V-P Burt Rutan To Build Three Proof-of-concept Aircraft for Beech
• GE CF34-powered FanStar Flies in from Mojave with 14 Hr on the Hobbs
• Piaggio P-180 Avanti Completes First Flight in Genoa, Italy
• Boeing Sells First Corporate 737 Derivative
• British Aerospace Designer Projects a $60 million Supersonic Bizjet by 2000
• National Distillers Flight Dept. Sold, Including Teterboro Hangar and GII
• Primus 870 Is the Keystone of Sperry’s Weather-avoidance Package
• Weight Increase Puts Starship into FAR Part 25 Category, Delays Certification
NBAA 1987, New Orleans, Louisiana

It only came in for one day, but the engineering prototype of Cessna’s newest jet, the Citation V, visited the NBAA Convention static display line at Lakefront Airport in New Orleans. Integrated Resources, a New York investment firm, came to NBAA 1987 as the new owner of Gates Learjet Corp., and put the Combs Gates chain of FBOs on the sales block. Rumors among the convention halls were that AMR Services was a likely bidder. That deal came to fruition, and AMR operated the award-winning FBO chain until selling it to Signature in 1999. Recently appointed FAA Administrator T. Allan McArtor told NBAA members he was proposing “a national blueprint for new airport development and a transportation project paralleling the building of the interstate highway system of the 1950s.” He said he would file a report within 60 days. According to Beech president Max Bleck, FAA approval for the Starship was expected by year-end. In fact, that approval slipped six months to June 1988. Richard Santulli’s NetJets program made some adjustments in its first year of operations. Executive Jet had just acquired charter operator American Air Services, which was renamed Executive Jet Management. Other affiliates included EJA Group, formed to market the NetJets program, and EJA International, an entity formed to market fractional shares to Japanese businessmen touring in the U.S. EJA Group and EJA International were partly owned by golf great Jack Nicklaus, who was also the first to pony up the dough for a share in a NetJets Citation in 1986.

Historical Headlines:

• Investment Firm Acquires Learjet, Puts Combs FBOs on the Block
• Newly Appointed FAA Administrator Calls for More Airports
• Starship Certification Expected by December
• Executive Jet Tweaks Its New Fractional NetJets Program
• Garrett and Dassault Okay Plans for TFE731 Falcon 20 Mod
• NBAA Membership Down by 40 in Fiscal 1986
• Citation V Touches Down at Lakefront Airport for a One-day Visit
• 33-year-old Investor Buys Butler Aviation, Says It Isn’t for Sale
• Piaggio Touts 1988 as ‘The Year of the Avanti’
• Marketed by Mooney, TBM 700 Looks for a Niche
• Symposium Outlines Challenges for Supersonic Business Jet
• Two Years on the Market, only Three Corporate 737s Have Been Sold
NBAA 1988, Dallas, Texas

It was quite some time coming, but the Beech Starship returned to Dallas Love Field in 1988 with its FAA type certificate, five years after a proof-of-concept prototype wowed everyone with a fly-by in the same airspace during NBAA 1983. The road to certification of the all-composite, canard-configured pusher turboprop had been fraught with pitfalls. FAA requirements for airframe strengthening and lightning-strike protection boosted weight and complexity out of the FAR Part 23 category and into the much more restrictive Part 25. Perhaps most profound was its timing, since the Starship arrived on the bizav scene during an era of retrenchment and survival. Alas, Beech’s heritage of different-looking new designs (Staggerwing, Bonanza, King Air) was not enough to bring market success to the Starship. Meanwhile, Gulfstream and Dassault both expressed guarded interest in a future supersonic business jet. Gulfstream also showed interest in the lower end of the product scale with its announcement of support for Ed Swearingen’s Williams-powered light jet–today known as the SJ30-2 and still awaiting FAA certification. Embraer said it had frozen the design of its CBA-123 turboprop-twin pusher. The project ultimately evolved into the ERJ-145 regional jet, perhaps in response to the success of Bombardier’s Canadair Regional Jet, development of which was in deep discussion as NBAA convened in 1988.

Historical Headlines:

• Five Years after a Stunning Intro, Starship Returns to Dallas with FAA Ticket
• Piaggio’s Avanti Begins Production Phase, Two Years before Expected Certification
• Collins Unveils Pro Line 4, Its Latest, Most Advanced Avionics Suite
• Dassault Thinks Out Loud about a Possible Supersonic Bizjet
• ‘We Have the Opportunity for 100 Citation Sales,’ Says Cessna Chairman Russ Meyer
• Gulfstream Will Build and Sell Swearingen’s Williams-powered Fanjet
• Butler Skips NBAA Show as a Cost-cutting Measure
• Medaire Asks, ‘What Would You Do if the Boss Was Having Trouble Breathing?’
• Embraer Freezes Design of 19-seat CBA-123 Pylon-pusher Turboprop
• Canadair and Shorts Move Closer To Regional Jet Go-ahead
• Gulfstream Says, ‘Don’t Give Up on the Business SST’
• AASI’s Jetcruzer Single-engine T-Prop Trucked to Love; ‘Will Fly Soon’
NBAA 1989, Atlanta, Georgia

It’s been said that powerplant development drives airframe development, a truism that dates back to the Wright Brothers, who needed to build a lightweight engine before they could make the first powered flight. The arrival of the 1,900-lb-thrust Williams FJ44 turbofan allowed the introduction of a new generation of economical, fuel-efficient light passenger jets. Ed Swearingen was the first to announce plans for such a jet, followed by Gulfstream’s decision in 1988 to back it as the “Gulfjet” (only to withdraw its support less than a year later). The next year at the NBAA Convention in Atlanta, Cessna announced plans for its CitationJet, also to be powered by the small Williams turbofans. Other news of particular note at the last NBAA confab of the 1980s concerned the release of specific plans for the newest bizjet from Dassault, the twin-turbofan Falcon 2000. Honeywell introduced its Primus 2000 avionics suite and a company called Flight Visions set its sights on delivering the first head-up display (HUD) for business aviation. British Aerospace announced a stretched version of its long-favorite Hawker series, to be known as the Hawker 1000, while Beech brought along its biggest King Air ever, the 350. NBAA president Jonathan Howe reconfirmed the association’s commitment to former president John Winant’s dedication to international cooperation. The International Business Aviation Council ultimately led to transatlantic cooperation in the form of the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE), held for the first time in April 2001 as a joint effort of NBAA and the European Business Aviation Association.

Historical Headlines:

• Cessna Reveals Plans To Build Williams-powered CitationJet
• ‘Falcon X’ Is Revealed To Be the Falcon 2000
• Beech Brings the Biggest King Air ever to Atlanta, the Model 350
• BAe Reveals Plans for Hawker 1000, a Larger, Rangier Model
• Flight Visions Sets Sights on Providing GA’s First Head-up Display
• Honeywell Introduces Primus 2000 Avionics Suite
• Int’l Bizav Council Seeks Solid Base To Carry Its Message Worldwide
• Beechjet Gets Pro Line 4 Avionics Package
• PHI Leader Bob Suggs Dead at 77, Wife Carroll Takes Over Company
• ‘Bizav Reflects the Health of the Economy,’ Says NBAA President Jonathan Howe
• Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey Conducts First Rotor-tilting Test Flight
• Eight-year-old Corporate Angel Network Strives To Stay Airborne
NBAA 1990, New Orleans, Louisiana

One of the big stories at the first NBAA Convention of the 1990s was the “rebirth of Butler Aviation” under the leadership of new president Bill Boisture. A “Butler’s Best” advertising campaign sought to generate a new image for the oft-maligned FBO chain. Dassault introduced its “early ordering” plan, with Falcon Jet’s Gene Rainville hawking the virtues of the midsize Falcon 2000 like a Vegamatic salesman from the podium at the traditional Falcon breakfast. Some have said that Cessna’s decision in 1990 to launch the Rolls-Royce Allison GMA3007-powered Mach 0.92 Citation X hotrod was a reaction to years of industry jibes referring to the Citation family as “Slowtations.” In the race to provide the market with the ideal midsize bizjet, Cessna ensured it would sprint to the finish line. Meanwhile, under the auspices of new owner Bombardier, Learjet introduced its larger-cabin Model 60, a replacement for the Longhorn 55. In a foreshadow of the future, at a Thursday afternoon panel titled “Noise in the ’90s,” NBAA president Jonathan Howe stressed the importance of a national noise policy to replace the jumble of local regulations and restrictions. As part of the discussion, a Gulfstream staff scientist warned that, “Depending on the part of the world in which you happen to be flying, Stage 3 aircraft may be the only type allowed after the year 2000.”

Historical Headlines:

• Cessna Introduces Plans To Build the Citation X, the World’s Fastest Business Jet
• Now Owned by Bombardier, Learjet Unveils Plans for Its Big Model 60
• First Day Attendance Beats Last Year’s by 900
• Aviation Enthusiast Bob Pond Takes Delivery of First U.S. Piaggio Avanti
• First Production TBM 700 Makes the Trip to New Orleans
• IAI Mulls New Larger Bizjet Based on Astra Wing
• Cash-poor Piper Aircraft Skips NBAA for 1990
• Long-awaited Robinson R44 Program Is Off and Rotary-Winging
• ‘Flight Department Closures Will Not Drastically Hurt NBAA,’ says Chairman Haap
• PHI Chairwoman Suggs Spurns Takeover Offer
NBAA 1991, Houston, Texas

On page one of the opening day issue at NBAA 1991 in Houston, NBAA Convention News founding editor James Holahan painted a bleak picture: “Piper has gone broke. FBO bankruptcies are hitting a high-water mark. At least two manufacturers have spent into nine digits bringing out airplanes that advance the state of the art, only to find their highly promising products rejected by shrunken markets.” Industry inertia reflected the effect of the ailing “national and international economies on a once booming industry.” That was 10 years ago. To gain some perspective, it may be interesting to listen to then-outgoing NBAA chairman Fred Haap. He said, “The most significant change has been in the dramatic increase in corporate aviation and the number of aircraft represented. You can see it in the convention exhibits. NBAA has clearly become the voice for business aviation in this world and is recognized as an authority on all issues of aviation. From the pilot standpoint, we see less of the macho pilot with the white scarf flowing in the breeze and more true professionals. We’re seeing more women assuming their roles as professional pilots as well.” Through all the doom and gloom of the economic shadow that spread across the land, ultimately optimism triumphed. Showing courage by launching far-reaching new-aircraft programs at the top end of the product line, Bombardier and Gulfstream have each reaped the benefits of their gutsy decisions. Having weathered the hard times, Cessna has flourished and even Piper has returned from the brink of disaster as a viable company with new ideas and exciting products.

Historical Headlines:

• Despite a Struggling Market, Bombardier Mulls Global Express Program
• Gulfstream Counters Bombardier with Word of Its Developmental GV
• Bizav Faces One of the Most Difficult Periods in Its Mercurial History
• Wind Tunnel Tests Complete, Cessna Publishes Citation X Performance Specs
• An Emotional Stuart Millar Sells Piper Aircraft, Blasts Product Liability
• NBAA Starts International Operations Bulletin Board
• Honeywell’s Laser Gyros Are Smaller and Better, Primus 2000 Premiers
• IBAC Instrumental in ICAO’s Latest Satnav Proposal
• Cessna’s Russ Meyer Chills ‘Hot Air’ over Pending Sale by General Dynamics
• Dassault Sets Falcon 2000 Price Tag at Below $14 Million
NBAA 1992, Dallas, Texas

In the midst of the worst recession since the stock market crash of 1929, the business aviation industry wasn’t paying any attention to the wolf outside the door. Gulfstream formally launched its ultra-long-range GV, Bombardier continued to mull its Global Express and Dassault dallied with the idea of a Falcon 9000. Meanwhile, Learjet revealed plans to invest in a Model 45, IAI introduced the Astra IV concept (later to become the Galaxy) and Cessna rounded out the midsize class with its Citation X speedster. Cessna came to Dallas with photos of a Citation III with one Allison GMA3007 engine on its right pylon, dwarfing the Garrett TFE731 on its left side. Dallas was also the NBAA debut of Signature Flight Support, formed through the merger of Page Avjet and Butler Aviation. With 37 facilities nationwide, the new company brought some revolutionary ideas to the FBO business, starting with the very term itself. Colorful CEO Paul Meunier vowed to “redefine this business” with Signature’s “FSOs.” Tough economic times led to serious speculation about turning the annual meeting and convention into a biennial event, sparing exhibitors the cost of annual expenditures in display space and travel. A new NBAA president, Jack Olcott, addressed the problem while initiating a spirited media campaign to promote business aviation nationwide. Finally, Executive Jet announced plans to partner with aviation services providers in the Commonwealth of Independent States to improve travel conditions for Western business executives exploring prospects in the region.

Historical Headlines:

• GV a Go, Falcon 9000 Makes the Long-range Bizjet Battle a Menage `a Trois
• Learjet Unveils Plans for Its Model 45
• IAI Unveils a Glimpse of the Astra IV; Reveals Co-op Plans with Yakovlev
• BAe Takes Its Bizjet Division off the Auction Block, for Now
• Butler/Page Merge To Form Signature, CEO Vows To ‘Redefine This Business’
• Destined for the Citation X, GMA3007 Turbofan Flies on Citation III Testbed
• Executive Jet Initiates Partnership Search To Improve Travel in the CIS
• Swearingen Pulls Up Stakes in Delaware, Heads for West Virginia
• Honeywell Introduces Primus 1000, Learjet 45 Is First Customer
• New NBAA President Olcott Launches Vigorous PR Media Campaign
NBAA 1993, Atlanta, Georgia

It wasn’t a big year for hot news at the NBAA Convention in Atlanta. Most of the new aircraft programs had been launched at the past two shows, and the respective manufacturers were holding press conferences to outline progress. Even the IAI Galaxy had been unveiled before, though under the name Astra IV. Gulfstream invested heavily in promoting its decision to go ahead with the GV, while Bombardier kept its powder dry, waiting for more orders before giving its Global Express the official green light. The rivalry between the two manufacturers was kindled at NBAA 1993, and fanned to a flame by a windstorm of words over the ensuing years. Other news included the buyout of General Motors’ Allison Gas Turbine Division by a group of investors headed by division management. Universal introduced a new flight management system at NBAA 1993, with updatable memory cards that held up to 80,000 waypoints. The UNS-1M incorporated its own five-channel GPS receiver. And 1993 was the first year a picture appeared in NBAA Convention News of someone talking on a cellphone on the exhibit floor–the honor went to Serge Dassault, patriarch of the French firm that bears his name.

Historical Headlines:

• Falcon 2000 Touches Down in Atlanta for NBAA Debut
• IAI Makes It Official, the Astra IV Is Now the Galaxy and It’s a Go
• Gulfstream V on Track for First Flight, Global Express Waits for More Orders
• New Citation Ultra Has P&WC JT15D-5s and Honeywell Primus 1000 Avionics
• Xerox Touts Its Pinstripe Canadair RJ Shuttle
• A Raytheon Hawker? The Fabled UK Mark Reestablishes Its Wichita Connection
• Executive Jet’s NetJets Branches Out with Hawker 1000 Program
• Cal Corp. Introduces Low-price, Low-weight Satcom at $300,000
• Tridair Expects STC Soon on Twin-engine JetRanger Mod
• Learjet CEO Barents Says Business Jets Cost Too Much
NBAA 1994, New Orleans, Louisiana

Learjet announced a half-million-dollar price-cut on its Model 31A, an effort to stimulate sales in a still-moribund economy. Other manufacturers showed evolutionary products rather than some of the more radical ideas floated a few years earlier. For instance, Bombardier showed up with its Challenger 604, an advanced version of the 601-3R with many previously optional items made standard. Dassault announced plans for its 900EX, described as a “rangier” version of the 900 trijet. (Chairman Serge Dassault called it a “9,000-nautical-mile business jet…with one stop.”) The French manufacturer had begged out of the ultra-long-range market the year before when it decided to shelve plans for a Falcon 9000 to compete with Bombardier’s Global Express and the Gulfstream V. Swearingen received backing from Taiwan, in a move that ultimately led to its current configuration as Sino-Swearingen. Through all the belt-tightening, the glimmer of optimism still came through in the attitudes presented by representatives from most levels of the industry. In some cases, the optimists had been around long enough to recognize that “whatever goes down must eventually come back up,” at least as far as business is concerned. In some other examples, perhaps a naive outlook spurred starry-eyed confidence in ideas that just had to work, because they looked so good on paper. Whatever the case, there was enough energy and funding invested over the economy’s lean years to put some dynamic new products in place when the stock market eventually decided to turn itself around.

Historical Headlines:

• Cessna Is Bullish on Its New Excel; Says, ‘It’ll Knock Your Socks Off’
• Raytheon Acquires Beech; NBAAers Ask, ‘What’s In a Name?’
• Dassault Airs Plans To Build Falcon 900EX
• Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW500 Series Shapes Performance of New Models
• Dassault Establishes Falcon Jet Corp.
• Pilatus’ Big PC-12 Turboprop-single Makes Its NBAA Debut
• Challenger 604 Makes Unannounced Entrance at Lakefront Airport
• Economic Recovery and Global Market Generate Bizav Market Surge
• BMW/Rolls-Royce Meeting Deadlines in BR710 Development Program
• Paul Meunier Ousted as Head of Signature Flight Support
NBAA 1995, Las Vegas, Nevada

Part of the big news at this year’s NBAA confab was the venue itself. For many years, the association had eschewed Las Vegas for not being businesslike enough for its convention. With the growth of the annual meeting, however, the number of sites capable of handling the NBAA audience had shrunken to a precious few, and Glitter Gulch finally got the nod in 1995. While NBAA had long served as the political voice of business aviation, never had that aspect of its existence been more prominent than in the last half of the last decade of the century. During the 1995 convention, the halls were buzzing with talk about Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) assertion that user fees were a logical response to aviation “fat cats” who didn’t pay their way in the national airport and airspace infrastructure. Many in aviation could not understand how McCain, a former U.S. Navy aviator shot down over North Vietnam, could turn his back on his aviation brethren–especially since he had been a vocal champion of the so-called General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, which limited product liability exposure to aircraft manufacturers. Meanwhile, Raytheon showed that bizav hadn’t forgotten how to stage a big production number. Its opening extravaganza for the Premier I entry-level jet harked back to bizav’s halcyon days in the 1960s and ’70s. First delivery was scheduled for fall of 1998. Raytheon missed that target by 28 months. And as was becoming an NBAA Convention tradition, Gulfstream (GV) and Bombardier (Global Express) traded barbs in the war of words over whose ultra-long-range business jet was better.

Historical Headlines:

• McCain Takes Square Aim at Business Aviation ‘Fat Cats’ with User-fee Proposal
• Gulfstream V Rolls Out Five Days Ahead of Schedule
• Raytheon Launches Premier I with Flash, Fanfare and Great Promise
• Executive Jet Fields a ‘Dream Team’ To Launch European Program
• Challenger 604 Wins Canadian Type Certificate; FAA Nod Due Next Month
• Cessna’s Citation X Speedster Due for FAA Ticket in Three Weeks
• A War of Words Escalates in the Global Bizjet Competition
• Dassault Repeats, ‘Falcon 900EX Has 9,000-mi Range–with One Stop.’
• Collins Releases Pro Line 21, Will Appear in Cockpit of Premier I
• Low-cost Satcom from American Mobile Satellite Competes with Inmarsat
• European Bizav Vies for Acceptance and Airport Access
NBAA 1996, Orlando, Florida

As NBAA strived to increase membership, it welcomed more smaller flight departments. This was reflected in the fleet numbers, which showed more and smaller jets on the books. Among the issues beginning to rear their heads was the prospect of reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) and the costly equipment requirements for participating in the program. The first to receive factory approval to RVSM standards was the Falcon 2000. The Teal Group, a Washington, D.C.-area think tank, delivered its first 10-year business aircraft forecast, predicting that a total of 4,319 business aircraft worth $42.2 billion would be produced from 1996 through 2005. On the pre-owned side of the ledger, 1996 saw a market in which used bizplanes in the creampuff category were getting tougher to find. Fractionals took on another foothold, when Bombardier entered the fray with the Flexjet division of its Business JetSolutions faction. To revisit the NBAA numbers game, for the second year in a row, better than 24,000 had registered as of the close of business on Day Two of the Convention. This year saw 828 exhibitors filling 3,107 booths. At host FBO Showalter Aviation at Orlando Executive Airport, 183 aircraft jammed the static display area.

Historical Headlines:

• Gulfstream V Demonstrator Makes Its Third Flight, a 40-Min Hop to Orlando
• Raytheon Unveils Developmental Hawker Horizon, Due To Fly in 1999
• Brian Barents Named Head of Newly Formed Galaxy Aerospace
• Boeing Says, This Time, Its Foray into Bizav Is for Real
• Bell Boeing Pledges To Deliver a Civil Tiltrotor
• NBAA’s Travel$ense Program Helps Set the Yardstick for Business Jet Use
• Human Factors Is the Focus of NBAA’s Management Group
• Vantage Lifts Off in First Flight Tests over California
• Sino-Swearingen SJ30-2 Makes First Flight with Williams FJ44-2 Turbofans
• Moya Lear Puts It All Down in a Book
• Honeywell Bills Its Primus Epic Suite as ‘Avionics for the Millennium’
NBAA 1997, Dallas, Texas

There were only a few of the faithful at NBAA in Dallas in 1997 who remembered the association’s humble beginnings in 1947. Among them was George Haddaway, since passed on, who helped chronicle NBAA from the days of Beech Staggerwings and converted World War II bombers. Chuck Yeager had yet to bust Mach 1 in 1947, and 50 years later the dream of a supersonic bizjet seemed just as elusive. Already a builder of Mach 2-plus fighters, Dassault inaugurated a market research campaign asking corporate operators what they would like to see in a supersonic bizjet. A stunned Boeing reacted quickly to strong market interest in its Boeing Business Jet division, boosting production. Meanwhile, Airbus launched its effort to cash in on the popularity of bizliners by announcing a VIP version of its A319. Bombardier finally received certification for its “in between size” Model 45, and VisionAire proposed to put a bizjet in every T-hangar with its all-composite, single-turbofan (P&WC JT15D) Vantage. Israel Aircraft Industries and Galaxy Aerospace rolled out the Galaxy, creating a new category among business jets to be known as super midsize. And avionics makers began to find a navigable course toward the future of airspace and ATC with Collins’ introduction of its golfball-size AHS-3000 inertial sensor. Free Flight capability was–and remains–the Holy Grail.

Historical Headlines:

• NBAA Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary with Big Doings in Big D
• Boeing and Airbus Launch the War of the Bizliners
• At Long Last, Learjet Receives FAA Okay for Its Model 45
• Dassault Asks Operators, ‘Would You Like Us To Build a Supersonic Bizjet?’
• Vantage Takes Aim at Building ‘Everyman’s’ Business Jet
• Collins Introduces Its Tiny AHS-3000 Inertial Sensor
• Galaxy Rollout Sparks the Start of the Super-midsize Era
• European Bizav Battles ETOPS and Crew Rest Regulations
• NetJets Europe Faces Burgeoning Demand
• Premier I Schedule Slips, Certification Expected in 1999
• Raytheon’s Travel Air Frax Program Gaining Momentum and Sales
NBAA 1998, Las Vegas, Nevada

NBAA trod a narrow path as peacemaker in the smoldering contretemps between fractional-share providers and conventional FAR Part 135 charter operators. Some charter operators claimed that fractionals held an unfair advantage by operating under FAR Part 91–specifically in the areas of operating at airports without weather reporting and runway length requirements. Charter providers maintained that fractional owners had little or no control over the aircraft they flew in, and were buying a service rather than a product. But challenging the Part 91 status of fractionals put other joint-use aircraft operations in similar jeopardy, claimed NBAA, and needed to be approached with due caution. Meanwhile, top frax provider Executive Jet launched a torrid spending spree with some $3 billion in orders, including up to 25 Boeing Business Jets earmarked for fractional service. Other manufacturers saw the large-cabin, stingy-engine super-midsize class as the product of the future, with Bombardier launching its Continental. And finally, companies that had begun to offer Internet flight-tracking services (presenting FAA air traffic data, including tail numbers) agreed on a plan to block aircraft tail numbers to protect the privacy of aircraft operators in the IFR system.

Historical Headlines:

• Controversy Swirls around NBAA Board’s Survey on Fractional Regs
• EJA Signs for $3 Billion in Bizjets, Including up to 25 BBJs
• Cessna Announces New Sovereign, Stretched CJ2 and Refined Encore
• Bombardier Enters the Super-midsize Arena with Continental
• Galaxy Super-midsize is on Target for 1999 Certification
• Flight Trackers Agree To Plan To Block Tail Numbers
• Industry Symposium Sees a Robust Future for Business Aviation
• Fairchild Launches Envoy 7 Widebody Bizjet, First Deliveries Scheduled for 2002
• Williams Sees Its Product Line as an Impetus To Develop Smaller Jets
• Business Wings Display Opens at Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
• Startup Fractional Flight Options Begins Selling Shares in Pre-owned Jets
NBAA 1999, Atlanta, Georgia

While facing controversy over how fractional-ownership programs should be regulated, NBAA celebrated the watershed occasion of signing its 6,000th member during the 1999 Atlanta confab. The burgeoning membership reflected an economy moving upward like a lightly loaded Learjet. One industry spokesman was moved to say, “You’ve always wondered what good times would look like. Get a camera. Because this is it.” In a crush of deal making, many of business aviation’s top players hastened to take full advantage of the upswing, while solidifying their positions in case of a downturn (memories of the not-so-good old days had not faded completely). Executive Jet joined FlightSafety International in Warren Buffett’s highly regarded Berkshire Hathaway fold. TAG Aviation acquired established U.S. charter operator Wayfarer, making TAG arguably the world’s largest charter operator (Jet Aviation would beg to disagree). Also putting ink to paper were AlliedSignal and Rolls-Royce, signing maintenance contracts with Executive Jet. Though not on that order of financial magnitude, Learjet delivered its 2,000th Learjet with Moya Lear on hand, and Sino Swearingen sold an SJ30-2 at the show to Tiger Air of Kansas City, Mo. Pratt & Whitney Canada pledged a new line of turbofans dubbed the PW6XX, designed for general aviation and small business jets and, as a harbinger of its ultimate involvement in business aviation, United Airlines signed a deal making it the service provider of choice for owners of Airbus Corporate Jetliners, the bizjet version of the A319.

Historical Headlines:

• For the Hard-core Bizav Faithful, these ARE the Good Old Days
• Honeywell/AlliedSignal Merger Close To a Done Deal, IHAS Systems Introduced
• Boeing’s First Customer BBJ Arrives in Atlanta, Supersized BBJ2 Offered
• United Signs Maintenance Pact for Airbus Corporate Jetliner
• NBAA’s Olcott Faces the Fractional Challenge, Head On
• Wayfarer Buy Makes TAG World’s Largest Charter Operator
• Fly-it-yourself Owner-Pilots Eagerly Await Newest Generation of Minijets
• Galaxy Cuts Inaugural Ribbon at Alliance Airport Facility near Dallas
• Now Owned by GD, Gulfstream Expects EVS Approval by Year-end
• Market Surveys Confirm Fractionals’ Strength Is Driving the Growth of Bizav
• Warren Buffett Relishes His Role as One of Bizav’s Top Players
• Fueled by Ferrari Takeover, Piaggio Revives the P.180 Avanti Pusher T-Prop
NBAA 2000, New Orleans, Louisiana

Record backlogs, $2.4 billion in orders and high technology on a fast track characterized the tone of last year’s NBAA Convention in New Orleans. Though the dot-coms had tumbled and Wall Street was spooked, the effects had not yet slackened the stride of business aviation. Despite facing a daily nightmare of delays with its Premier I program, an undaunted Raytheon Aircraft launched development of its Hawker 450, a light-midsize jet projected to sell in the $9 million range and follow the composite-fuselage, metal-wing planform of the Premier. Gulfstream and Bombardier fired off daily verbal blasts at each other’s GV-SP and Global Express programs. The debate was sobered by respectful remembrances of the recently passed Allen Paulson and the tragic crash of a Challenger test flight in Wichita. Dassault announced an upgraded version of its Falcon 2000, now known as the 2000EX with a 900-nm range increase and the all-new Honeywell easy flight deck, designed to enhance the machine-to-human interface. Though a Honeywell market forecast called for a slackening of economic growth, Cessna predicted sustained double-digit expansion through 2004. On the avionics front, Honeywell announced its Apex project, designed to develop general aviation products on three levels; for business jets, turboprops and the piston-powered market. Universal Avionics said its Vision 1 synthetic vision system could fly as early as 2001. And everyone watched with interest as Vern Raburn presided over the development of his audacious Eclipse 500. Designed to sell for less than $1 million, the Williams EJ22-powered six-placer breaks new ground in a number of areas, including the method of joining its metal surfaces. Never before used on an airplane, “friction stir welding” was introduced to NBAAers in New Orleans.

Historical Headlines:

• NBAA Celebrates 2000 Boom Times: ‘This Is as Good as It Gets’
• Raytheon Announces Plans for All-new ‘Light Midsize’ Hawker 450
• Gulfstream Advances the Big Bizjet Arms Race with Its Enhanced GV-SP
• Bombardier Fires Back a Salvo: ‘GV-SP Still Trails the Global Express’
• NBAA Mourns the Passing of Allen Paulson, ‘Mr. Gulfstream’
• Falcon 2000EX Offers 900 More Miles of Range and easy Flight Deck
• Cessna Enhances Its Top-of-the-Line Citation X with 400-lb Weight Increase
• Honeywell Targets Three Levels of General Aviation Operators with Apex Lines
• Despite Market Forecast, Cessna Predicts Double-digit Growth through 2004
• Universal Avionics Vision 1 Synthetic Vision System Could Fly Next Year
• Bombardier Copes with Tragic Crash of a Challenger in Wichita