As Yogi stated, “its like déjà vu all over again.” Another NBAA is about to start in Atlanta, GA, the association’s 63rd annual meeting. That means I was nine when they had their first and, although I have attended more than 30 such meetings, it never gets old.
The National Business Aviation Association (nee National Business Aircraft Association) has to be one of the more resilient, respected, and resolute associations in Washington, D.C. I recall the days when the likes of John Winant and Fred Macintosh would hang out at airport lobbies soliciting new members. It sure has grown. For this it can give credit to the founding fathers of business aviation that had the forethought to recognize that the business of business aircraft would need an association to represent them here and eventually abroad. They also knew they needed an association to establish standards that would mark business aircraft operators as safe, professional, and competent. There were many hurdles to this, not the least of which was the idea that the corporate aircraft was somehow the boss’s golden chariot or a big perk for the executives of a company.
We work in a cyclical business and over the years there have been good times with order backlogs exceeding the hundreds and bad times when many OEMs and MROS went out of business and corporate operators closed their doors. Despite the nature of our business, NBAA has prevailed and grown. Not only has NBAA established business aviation here in the United States, it has also been influential in establishing similar organizations in other countries allowing for the continued global growth of business aviation. Kudos for this country’s business aviation industries.
Hopefully, I have made my point as to the importance of NBAA, so I would like to add the following important observation about NBAA: One of the mistaken perceptions of NBAA is that it is a “pilots’ organization.” While that was true in the early years, it is no longer correct. NBAA’s commitment to maintenance is strong and it continues to grow.
Let me site a few examples, including:
- A very active maintenance committee that continuously monitors the state of business aviation maintenance, including regs, training, technological advancements and the health of its maintenance membership.
- An annual maintenance management conference designed for and attended by managers and floor personnel alike. This conference has very good attendance, excellent seminars, and more than 100 exhibitors and enjoyable social events.
- CAM … the Certified Aviation Manager program. Enrollment includes pilots and maintenance personnel. This program prepares the participants for the aviation manager position in a flight department. The opportunity is there for those that want it, and NBAA fosters it.
- Quick Turns, a regular publication of the maintenance committee and NBAA, now folded into NBAA’s Business Aviation Insider publication. It reports on the latest efforts of the committee and other sundry maintenance matters.
- NBAA regularly interfaces with the FAA and other government organizations, on behalf of corporate operators and maintenance issues.
- Project “Boot Strap,” an effort to raise the educational and professional bar for aviation technicians though the creation of a new and higher certified category. Working with strategic partners from aircraft maintenance and training businesses, this is a self-initiated endeavor by the maintenance committee and its leaders.
I could go on and on about the good NBAA does for aviation and in particular business aviation. The thousands and thousands of jobs it saves, the contributions to our economy and balance of trade it achieves by being on the front line on behalf of all the industries that support business aviation. But there is only so much space.
So let me close by saying those of you that are able to attend this convention are fortunate; those of you that can not, should try in the future; and those of you that maintain aircraft outside of business aviation, (airline, military, etc). perhaps you might think of attending because most of what you will see in technology does or will apply to your sphere of aircraft maintenance.
Let’s déjà vu again!