The 15th Cygnus Aviation Expo held last week in Las Vegas, NV, was bigger and better. Just wait until next year! More than 200 exhibitors from aviation service companies for aircraft maintenance, airports, and ground support proudly displayed their latest products and services. During the Thursday evening Networking Reception Cygnus unveiled plans for next year’s new and improved show, AviationProsLIVE.
The highlight event on the maintenance side was of course the AMTSociety Maintenance Skills Competition. This year 27 teams from around the world participated in this friendly competition to take home awards and thousands of dollars worth of tools. All of the winning teams and special award winners will soon be mentioned in AMT and on the AMTSociety website. Congratulations go to the U.S. Coast Guard team which placed first in the Military category and also achieved the overall fastest score among all 27 teams that competed this year, for which they received the William F. "Bill" O'Brien Award for Excellence in Aircraft Maintenance.
Several interesting sessions were held for the maintenance community including discussions with former NTSB member John Goglia and former FAA Manager Carol Giles. Faculty from Northland Community & Technical College provided a look into the unmanned aircraft segment and what they are doing to prepare aircraft maintenance technicians for careers in this emerging part of the aviation industry.
A highlight for me was the chance to discuss the current business challenges with representatives from several business aircraft maintenance providers. I hosted an in-depth discussion in the Networking Lounge with Rich Baeder, VP and general manager at Elliott Aviation of the Quad Cities in Moline, IL; Chad Doehring, manager of Airframe Service for Duncan Aviation in Lincoln, NE; and Vinnie Venditto, maintenance manager at Jet Aviation St. Louis. Some of the subjects covered were the challenges of managing multiple locations, consistent application of maintenance policy and procedures, and insight into what these companies are currently looking for when hiring maintenance technicians. In all cases it was stated these companies are currently hiring aircraft maintenance technicians.
For recaps of the 2012 Cygnus Aviation Expo we will be posting video clips on the AviationPros media center, and coming soon you will find information about next year’s event by visiting www.AviationProsLIVE.com.