On October 25, Ralph Hood was officially inducted into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame, joining an elite group of some 60 persons so honored. Ralph was cited for his unofficial role as "Alabama’s Flying Missionary." Besides being a noted speaker and humorist, Ralph has sold airplanes, aviation insurance, and worked for two Alabama FBOs. Reach him at [email protected]
Exhibitors came from France, Canada, Germany, South America, England, and elsewhere. The pressroom likewise included aviation writers from around the world, and attendees came from too many countries to count. The entire convention was a smorgasbord, offering the very latest in the universal world of aviation. Big bucks no doubt changed hands in the plush inner sanctums within those palatial exhibits, and all indications were that aircraft specs - payload, range, speed and price - had more to do with moving those bucks than did the location of the factory. Boeing competed with Airbus, Aerospatiale vied with Bell, and Walter Extra flew his new single-engine turboprop across the pond from Germany to compete with Piper's Meridian, the Swiss Pilatus, and the French TBM. If that ain't market globalization I'm a Rhodes scholar in charge of the U.N. Less than a week after NBAA The Wall Street Journal did a big story explaining that Boeing is strongly contemplating putting out a brand new airplane without first acquiring a backlog of orders from airlines in this country. The Bush Administration is not the only one traveling to Asia to seek cooperation and offer concessions. Alan Mulally, president and chief executive of Boeing's commercial airplanes unit, recently flew to Japan to pitch the new airplane. Airlines in this country, after all, are in a bit of a spot at the moment, so Boeing is going where the airline industry is growing. Part of the sales pitch is the agreement that much of the new airplane - up to 35 percent, including the wings, according to WSJ - will be built in Japan. We do try to get along when we are doing business with one another. I sincerely believe world peace becomes more likely when our livelihoods depend upon it. Economic globalization means simply that we are all going to be buying and selling from each other, and as rock star James Brown said, "That's a real good thing." It really is easier to get along with a person or country that is buying from you, or supplying to you important goods and services. (Still, I do not believe the rumor that a close-up photograph of the Chinese spaceship showed a small sign saying "Made In Taiwan.") Truth is, it really doesn't matter what you and I think about globalization. It's happening, and it's too big to stop. Never again can a seller get a higher price in one country than in another, depending on a national border to protect the higher price. If you doubt that, just look at the millions of our citizens buying drugs from Canada.