This year’s NBAA Maintenance Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, focused on creating employment opportunities in the aviation industry. The conference featured 180 exhibitors and more than 20 educational breakout sessions. Drawing approximately 900 attendees, the conference highlighted efforts to enable the next generation of technicians as well as showcased new maintenance products and explored safety issues and technical advancements.
A series of breakout sessions offered a closer look at what is happening in the industry. The first “Product Blast-Off” session, moderated by Greenwich Aerogroup’s Daniel LaFrance, allowed 10 exhibitors five minutes each to present their newest aircraft maintenance products that may have been missed among the 180 exhibits in the hall.
During the session, LaFrance explained the importance of the event: “We know a lot of people keep coming back to the venue, which is fantastic because Lord knows it's very, very rich in sessions. There’s a lot of knowledge to be acquired, but we wanted the exhibit floor and our exhibitors to have an opportunity to participate in the learning experience directly.”
Jeff Sutton of the Leather Institute displayed the company's ink resist, a topical application for aircraft interiors that can prevent ink from staining or make it easier to remove ink stains. Global Jet Services’ JD McHenry highlighted the importance of the company’s “Finance for Aviation Professionals” course, which helps technicians understand the importance of subjects such as accounting, general financial reports and cost allocation.
Last, the NBAA Maintenance Conference held an educational session called “Avionics Obsolescence: Out With the Old and in With the New.” Moderator Elaine Karabatsos of Encompass Health Aviation along with panelists Scott Brooks of Pentastar Aviation, Rick Ochs of Spirit Aeronautics, Brandon Klisit of Standard Aero, and Jeff Simmons of Duncan Aviation explored how avionics obsolescence makes way for newer products that not only improve aviation safety but also the entire process of flying an aircraft.
For example, the panel spoke about CRT obsolescence and the improved products that will enhance functionality. “With new updated displays, you're also getting more functionality in your cockpit,” said Klisit. “You’ll have the ability to have a file server so you can go paperless and have your charts up on the MFD [multifunction display]. If you have an external camera that you want to feed video to your display, you can do that now. This opens it up to a lot more options.”
Next year’s NBAA Maintenance Conference will be held in Fort Worth, Texas, from May 7 to 9. According to the organization, this will be the first time the show will be hosted alongside NBAA’s Flight Attendants/Flight Technicians Conference.
As for this year’s show, NBAA’s v-p of operational excellence and professional development Mike Nichols deemed it a success. He said, “The strong reception to this year’s conference demonstrates once again that this is the must-attend event for business aviation maintenance professionals. From the world-class educational content to invaluable interactions with peers and vendors, there’s simply no better opportunity to stay on top of business aviation maintenance developments.”