Gathering for NBAA's 69th annual convention (NBAA-BACE) next week, hundreds of participants already walk the halls of Orlando's Orange County Convention Center. Dave Higdon reflects...
Some arrived in Orlando this week to attend weekend clinics, PDP and Maintenance courses, and of course to set up and organize displays and exhibits. Thousands exhibit at the convention; thousands more visit. It’s a far cry from the Corporation Aircraft Owners Association’s (CAOA's) first formal organizational meeting in November, 1946 that established the foundational elements of what we today know as NBAA – the National Business Aviation Association.
Thirteen people met informally at that May meeting, and by November of the same year 16 companies sent representatives to the meeting called to begin the process of incorporating the CAOA. “The first annual meeting of the organization was held in room 101 of the Biltmore Hotel on September 24, 1947, with 18 voting and one associate company comprising its Membership,” details NBAA’s website. “Approved was all the preparatory work of establishing the association...”
While much changed over the next seven decades – including the name, one thing remained unchanged…
While decidedly more complex, more involved, and covering far more member operators – exceeding 11,000 members as of early August – what NBAA does for members continues to support the interests and activities of companies that own or operate an aircraft in the furtherance of their business interests.
Huge, Diverse, Enlightening
A resident of Wichita recently asked this aviation writer why the NBAA convention never schedules itself for Wichita. “So much of Business Aviation originates from here.”
Fact is, few cities in the US can accommodate a convention as large and diverse. A city needs in excess of 30,000 hotel rooms; a convention center or exhibition hall boasting at least one million square feet of floor space; AND a convenient airport to host an aircraft static display for up to 150 aircraft.
Businesses come to showcase their aviation (and aviation-related) products. Buyers come because of the ability to shop virtually every need to support their business aircraft use. The size of the audience helps people connect – or reconnect. Exhibitors and delegates map out their business plans for the coming year. And leaders from around the world attend.
That's why delegates to this year's NBAA convention will see, hear and touch some of aviation's newest products, learn new skills, make new connections and return home recharged for the coming year.
We'll be there because there are few parallels in aviation with the depth and diversity of an NBAA-BACE convention. This is the time for Business Aviation to gather, look ahead, go forward and set the stage for 2017. We hope to see you there - stop by and see us at booth #4817.