Training Highlights 49th annual AEA International Convention & Trade Show

More than 1,650 avionics shop owners, managers and technicians, as well as manufacturers of avionics, instruments, airframe and test equipment, converged on Palm Springs, Calif., for the 49th annual AEA International Convention & Trade Show from April...


The slate for April 21 offered more than four hours of Regulatory Forums, moderated by Ric Peri. The first forum investigated the FAA’s new "Electronic Form 337" initiative. Later this year, the FAA will roll out nationwide the electronic processing and recordkeeping of its Form 377, documenting major repairs and major alterations. This forum, one of the FAA's first with industry on this initiative, educated AEA member companies on the management and handling of this new form.

The second forum panel, "Leadership Through Innovation: The FAA's Role in Promoting Safety Through Technology," featured Peter Skaves of the FAA’s avionics systems branch; Susan Gardner, manager of the Alaskan CAPSTONE project; Wes Ryan of the FAA Small Airplane Directorate; and Tom Salat of SATNAV OIT, speaking on WAAS implementation. Advanced technology is offering more equipment that puts real-time information into the cockpit of general aviation aircraft, and the panel discussed the FAA initiatives to promote the installation of this equipment in today's aircraft.

Paul Fiduccia, president of the Small Aircraft Manufacturers Association, facilitated another panel forum, "Technically Advanced Aircraft." This panel featured Ian Bentley of Cirrus Aircraft; David McRae of Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing; and Bill Mermelstein of Adam Aircraft. Today's Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA) takes the integrated avionics suit to the next level by integrating the avionics into the entire aircraft operations. This panel discussed the challenges associated with the maintenance, repair and alteration of TAA.

Nick Sabatini, FAA's associate administrator for aviation safety, wrapped up the forums. Sabatini discussed the advances in avionics and navigation in U.S. airspace. He also shared his vision of responsibility and accountability for the FAA and its progress toward quality and standardization through the ISO 9001 certification of FAA divisions and offices.

Sabatini also received the AEA Industry Partnership Award during the AEA Annual Awards Luncheon on April 21.

In addition to honoring Sabatini, the Aircraft Electronics Association also announced the winners of two of the convention's most coveted awards during the AEA Annual Awards Luncheon. Ray McDonald of Pacific Southwest Instruments was named the 2006 AEA Member of the Year, and Sandel Avionics was named the 2006 AEA Associate Member of the Year.

On the last day of the convention, April 22, AEA presented 28 Technical Training Workshops on new equipment installations, troubleshooting, sales techniques, service and repair. Not only did the workshops provide valuable information to technicians, they also qualify as FAA-recognized training hours toward the Aviation Maintenance Training Awards Program.

This year's Technical Training Workshops were presented by Aero-Flex, AirCell, Airtechnics, Aspen Avionics, Avidyne, Chelton Flight Systems, Chelton Inc., Comant Industries, Crossbow Technology, Global Jet Services, Honeywell, Honeywell–Cabin Systems, International Com-munications Group, Mobile Electronics, Nav-Aids Ltd., Paperless Cockpit, Revue Thommen AG Switzerland, Rosen Aviation, Sandel Avionics, Shadin Avionics, S-TEC, Trans-Cal Industries, and Universal Avionics Corp.


The Aircraft Electronics Association staff already has begun to prepare for next year's show, which will mark the 50th annual AEA convention. The 50th anniversary AEA International Convention & Trade Show will take place from March 28-31, at the Reno Hilton in Reno, Nev.

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