What to take in first after my first tour? Certainly, the sheer size of the exhibit space. Not just two big halls inside, but an outside pavilion just as immense. Having an outdoor exhibit in October in Germany seemed like an iffy proposition to me. Given the nature of GSE, however, the great outdoors is a fitting choice – maybe the only choice for this much variety of equipment. From squat pushbacks to towering deicers to working, full-scale belt loaders, the outdoor pavilion was a great place to learn.
I was told the industry was a bit short on new products. However, I was barely 30 minutes into the show’s first day when I attended a JBT AeroTech press conference introducing four pieces of equipment, including a redesigned B600 making its industry debut. This one certainly had some flair to it with curved wheel wells and a cab that almost looked like any other pickup truck you might see at the local car dealer. Not bad for something that tops out at 15 miles an hour. Throughout that first day I saw new products from Semmco; Douglas; Harlan and Meggitt.
I’ve been to plenty of trade shows in my career equally as enormous as inter airport Europe, but it never ceases to amaze me how much pride product managers take in describing their products. I introduced myself, for example, to one such manager at Unitron and spent the next hour hearing about plans to grow the European market and why the company’s product was a natural to accomplish this.
I know I left with a stack of business cards about three inches thick and introduced myself to plenty of helpful people that will point me in the right direction for story ideas. Along the way, I learned some bad Irish jokes, received a picture of me holding up a three-foot long hot dog that I’d rather not discuss, and, finally, took back a lifelong memory of singing along to John Denver’s “Country Roads” – an inexplicably popular German bar song.
In other news, by now I trust my Ground Support Worldwide readers are “aviation pros” when it comes to navigating our new aviation portal, www.AviationPros.com. We launched the new site earlier this month. The site leverages our expertise in the aviation industry by combining the online presence of all properties under the Cygnus Aviation umbrella – including airport business, Aircraft Maintenance Technology, and, of course, Ground Support Worldwide magazines. Explore the site and tell us what you think.