NBAA Convention News

First-time Exhibitors Shine in Las Vegas

 - October 16, 2019, 12:00 PM
Bird Control Group is showing its laser-based system for making birds uncomfortable around airports.

From start-ups to long-established aero firms, and from manufacturers and service providers to government agencies and non-profits, more than 75 exhibitors are making their NBAA-BACE debuts at the Las Vegas Convention Center this year. Each has an exciting story to tell and solutions to offer, like the first-timers profiled below. Be on the lookout for them.

ECHA Microbiology is introducing DIY fuel analysis kits.

Microbial contamination is high on the list of aviation fuel hazards, capable of compromising aircraft and ground fuel systems and safety. ECHA Microbiology (Booth C12842), an authority on microbiological and corrosion problems, is showcasing its microbial contamination inspection and correction services. The UK company’s widely used MicrobMonitor2 fuel analyzer enables anyone to conduct quick, easy fuel assessments that formerly only trained microbiologists could perform in a laboratory. Alternatively, it offers testing and training services, including site audits, surveys, and investigative studies. 

Accredited to ISO 9001:2015 standards for consultancy, analytical services, and microbial contamination mitigation and amelioration products, its microbiologists have published some 250 academic papers, and are often called upon by research bodies, trade associations and legal authorities, the company said.

Bird strikes remain an increasing threat to aviation and avian safety. Bird Control Group (BCG; C13348) is showcasing its intelligent, laser-based Avix bird repellent system. The patented, handheld and mounted programmable lasers deter and dispel birds singly or in flocks, achieving up to a 90 percent reduction in bird nuisance activity, according to the Netherlands-based company. London City Airport reported a 28 percent drop in low-level bird strikes following the system’s trial deployment in 2016, and the airport has used BCG’s system since. Non-harmful, animal and environmentally friendly, the laser simply “spooks” birds when played on the ground around them. The company’s automated system can be configured, monitored and controlled wirelessly, and used in a variety of sites where birds are unwelcome, including croplands and vineyards. BCG has American offices in Wilsonville, Oregon, and also in Santiago, Chile.

More than 30 cutting edge aero-tech companies call Costa Rica’s Aerospace Cluster home.

Add aerospace to the reasons that make Costa Rica worth visiting. The Central American country, known for its biodiversity, also boasts more than 30 cutting edge domestic and international companies within the Costa Rica Aerospace Cluster (Booth C8422), a number of them AS9100 and/or NADCAP certified. Cluster companies encompass specialties including electronics manufacturing and component assembly; high-precision machining and tooling; and finishings and coatings. Ancillary support services such as materials and production process support; transportation companies; and avionics software and hardware engineering are also prominent in the country’s aerospace landscape. Additionally, the government offers aerospace companies incentives as low as 0 percent income tax, as well as 0 percent taxes on imports and exports, while a robust network of Free Trade agreements provides preferential access to 2/3 of the world's GDP including China, the U.S., and the EU. Costa Rica also ranks number one in Latin America in innovation efficiency, according to the World Intellectual Organization.

After more than 75 years of providing aircraft ice-protection technology, CAV Systems (Booth C8322) has arrived at NBAA to showcase its cutting edge fluid-based anti-ice systems, which can prevent the formation of ice on wings, tails, propellers, windshields and struts. Established as TKS Ltd. by the UK government in 1942 to develop anti-icing systems for new military aircraft (combining the firms Tecalemit, Kilfrost, and Sheepbridge Stokes), the company worked directly with major aircraft manufacturers from its inception and was rebranded as CAV Systems in 2017 when spun off as an independent business.

A TKS system was first used in business aviation on the Hawker Siddeley HS.125 twinjet in the early 1960s, and they remain aviation’s only fluid-based ice protection systems, used throughout the business aviation and commercial fleets. Tecnam’s P2012 Traveler utility piston twin is the latest airframe equipped with TKS anti-icing, earning FAA certification in August.

The shortage of women in cockpits, executive offices and on shop floors is among business aviation’s most critical issues, and Women in Corporate Aviation International (WCA; Booth N2814) has been leading the effort to counter the dearth since its founding in 1993. A division of non-profit Women in Aviation International, WCA arrives at NBAA-BACE on the heels of awarding some $64,000 in scholarships to 15 recipients, to be presented at the 26th Annual Scholarships & Networking Luncheon at the convention. The scholarships include Pilatus PC-12NG pilot training from FlightSafety International; advanced student pilot training from Sporty’s; and maintenance technicians training from StandardAero. Comprised of aviation professionals and other interested individuals, WCA has significantly stepped up its outreach in recent years, beginning with the roll-out of its mentorship program in 2015, and has awarded some 100 scholarships to date.

With the pilot shortage impacting business aviation, Aero Crew Solutions (ACS; Booth C8329) of Atlanta is touting the benefits of its cockpit and cabin crew recruiting and career advancement services. Operators looking for crews can learn how the Atlanta company uses social media, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to reach the pilots and flight attendants with its digital recruitment campaigns. Its digital recruitment services include posting, analytics, and competitor monitoring.

For pilots and crew members looking for jobs, ACS can explain details on application procedures and common interview errors, virtual job fairs with live-streamed presentations, and online seminars the company hosts. ACS also provides resume critiques, application reviews, and interview and check ride prep, available via telephone or in person.

Debuting at NBAA-BACE, artist David Uhl depicted the story behind the first beer delivery following the D-Day invasion, completed via a repurposed Spitfire drop tank.

Well-known for his Norman Rockwell meets Vargas style motorcycle paintings, fine artist David Uhl (David Uhl Studios; Booth C8623) also takes inspiration from the world of aviation, as seen in his Aviation and Military collection. This year Uhl debuted “Joy Juice,” his latest work in the series, a whimsical but historically supportable illustration of “the first known landing of beer during the D-Day invasion,” in the artist’s words. The painting depicts the 270-gallon payload being poured into a drop tank for delivery to France by a Spitfire one week after the troops landed. “Flying at 15,000 feet ensured the beer was chilled when it arrived,” Uhl said. Also fresh off the easel is “Strategic Maneuvers," the latest painting in his Nose Art/Pin Up collection, introduced at the Reno Air Races a decade ago. Set in World War II’s South Pacific Theater, the image depicts a soldier-artist decorating the nose of a P-38 with the voluptuous figure of a young woman, with the model posing live in this imagined scene. Uhl’s work is available as original oil paintings and limited edition prints.

Restoration specialist West Metro Aviation of Minneapolis (Booth C12645) is highlighting its full range of services for GA aircraft ranging from Piper Cubs to Beechcraft King Airs. Located at Buffalo Municipal Airport (KCFE), the well-equipped shop maintains an open-door policy. “Come on out, have a cup of coffee, ask some questions, and see what we’re doing out here,” said airshow pilot and owner Michael Wiskus.

For restorations, West Metro can take on entire projects or provide owner assistance, and for projects requiring fabric work, it offers refined fabric processes and craftsmanship.

Its maintenance services support airframes from American Champion, Aviat, Beechcraft, Cessna, Cirrus, Mooney, Piper, and others. West Metro also handles transactions, offering a full spectrum of pre-buy inspection and detailing services, along with deep expertise in GA aircraft for buyers and sellers.

Avion Power (Booth C13445) is showcasing its lightweight Voyager battery-powered portable starters for single- and twin-turbine helicopters and light fixed-wing aircraft, and APUs. Avion developed its Modular Battery System under contract to a U.S. Army Special Operations airborne regiment, where it has been deployed in operations since 2010. The Voyager is a portable version of the starter. The 28V, 15-pound Voyager provides 20kW of cranking power, and its 20 amp-hour capacity enables more than 10 turbine helicopter engine starts per charge. When not powering an engine spool up, it can power a full load of onboard electronics, or simplify maintenance activities requiring auxiliary power. Voyager’s lithium-ion nanophosphate battery, the safest, most appropriate battery chemistry for aviation applications according to Avion, provides good thermal stability, high current output, and long life cycles.