In the absence of this year’s NBAA show that was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, AIN is publishing remembrances of past conventions from captains of the industry to you, our readers. The responses highlight how the annual event resonates throughout the industry. To read more, go to the NBAA Memories landing page.
Patty Wagstaff, aerobatic champion and founder of Patty Wagstaff Airshows and Patty Wagstaff Aviation Safety
I first started going to NBAA shows in the mid-1990s when I was working with and sponsored by BF Goodrich Aerospace. BF Goodrich always had a big presence at the convention and I was lucky enough to be a part of their booth, static displays, and social events. And let's face it—NBAA has the best, first-class social events of any convention in the world.
One of the fun things we did was raffle off a flight with me in an Extra 300. I met people who were very persistent in waiting at the booth until their name was called, and sometimes it was. Persistence pays off! I made friends from those raffles that I still keep in touch with today. Since then I have been to NBAA shows for other companies, and most recently with Simcom as its upset training provider. I am a regular at some of the big trade shows such as AOPA in the past, AEA, WAI, and, of course, Sun’n’Fun and Oshkosh, but what I most enjoy about NBAA is seeing friends that I don't see often at those events.
NBAA also has an international flair, which is always fun. One year I saw some friends, big shots from Mexico, at one of the large airplane manufacturer booths and went over to greet them. They were in a meeting and looked bored and I knew they would want me to say a quick hello. Security immediately stopped me from getting any closer with a look: "What's this girl want with our most valued customers? She doesn't even have a business suit on." About then one of my friends spotted me and the whole group came out with big hugs and kisses and heartfelt greetings.
I left, giving security a small nod, and you know what—it felt good to break a stereotype.
Just one of many fun memories of NBAA. Let's plan many more. Have face mask, will travel.