If one used an old-style phonograph record as a metaphor by which to measure how successful an annual National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annual meeting and convention might be, there are pieces of smashed vinyl all over the Orange County (Fla.) Convention Center. And none of it should come as a surprise: AVweb noted before the show started that it was shaping up to be the biggest in history, with all of the exhibit floor and static display space sold out in advance for the first time ever. Now, the official numbers are in and confirm for the many who attended what was pretty obvious. Late on the show's last day, NBAA confirmed last week's extravaganza "was the biggest and best in the association's history, breaking attendance records and selling out exhibit space earlier than ever before. At the close of the three-day event, the attendance total was 33,088, which was a 14-percent increase over the final total for 2005, also in Orlando, and higher than the previous record of 31,665 set in Las Vegas in 1998."
Not only was attendance at an all-time high, but exhibitor records were also broken. A total of 1,140 exhibitors registered and 5,235 10-by-10-foot booth spaces were sold, which represents an increase in booth spaces of nearly 9 percent over 2005, with both shows held at the North/South Building of the Orange County Convention Center. This year's show also included more aircraft on the exhibit floor than previous years -- 11 fixed-wing airplanes and four helicopters. The static display at Orlando Executive Airport included 117 aircraft of almost all types. "This year's Annual Meeting & Convention has surpassed our expectations on all fronts," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "We are pleased at the continued growth in support from the business aviation community for this event and for the opportunity to enhance the public's understanding of business aviation." Mark your calendars: Next year's event is scheduled for Sept. 25 through 27, 2007, in Atlanta, Ga.