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.
Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association
One of my fondest memories came in 2006 when Dassault, Honeywell, and Duncan all teamed up to upgrade Jimmy Buffet’s Falcon, and, in return, he put in an awesome concert for a small crowd in Orlando and then greeted everyone afterward. It was just pure fun.
Collectively, what I look forward to the most is seeing all my friends and colleagues in the evening off the convention floor. Like so many others in our industry, one received more reception invites than could possibly be attended so it is a fun challenge how many receptions we can hit in one evening at NBAA.
I get a lot of business done at these gatherings and I think my wife Patty and I have a personal record of seven receptions in one evening. We always loved to end our Tuesday evenings closing down the Nordam reception, which was always absolutely top-notch.
A few years back, they had rented Elvis’s suite on top of the old Las Vegas Hilton. We were the last guests there with many of the Siegfried family just telling stories around a big table sipping very good wine when all the sudden they said they had rented the Elvis suite for a 24-hour period and none were staying the night in the suite so they offered it to Patty and me. Excruciatingly, we had to pass up the unique opportunity because we had an early flight out the next morning and had all our luggage in another hotel. All I could think about was missing out on that gold plated huge jacuzzi bathtub looking out at the lights of Vegas. We were just heartbroken being that close!
I also loved watching my wife drag an exhausted Ed Bolen out on the dance floor at the Wednesday evening CAN gala back when bands were brought in to perform. Patty also dragged Gene Cernan out on the dance floor where he used his sore knees as his excuse for his lack of fancy dance moves.
My most vivid but sad memory was walking around to visit my board members in the hall during 2008 as the stock market was crumbling. Each of these leaders knew that this was a harbinger of another recession, coming relatively soon after the painful recession of 2001. Everyone’s mood was just sheer dread but the true veracity of the “Great Recession” was to be experienced a few weeks later followed quickly by the debacle in D.C. of the auto executives testifying on the Hill about their bailouts.