...Where Optimism Rules

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"The aviation industry is pulling out of its slide," WAI President Peggy Chabrian said at the conference. "Manufacturing is up, people are being hired again, and [this] conference is one place where that hiring happens." Attendance was just over 2,800, with visitors from as far away as Hungary, Tanzania and Nigeria. Featured speakers included NTSB chair Ellen Engleman Connors, Southwest President Colleen Barrett, Mooney CEO Gretchen Jahn, and U.S. Rep. John Mica, chair of the House aviation subcommittee. "I saw a lot of smiles," Laboda said. The 2006 conference will be held in Nashville, March 23-25.