NBAA Faithful About To Flock

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It's that time of year again. If you're in or near Las Vegas in mid-October -- the 12th through the 14th, to be exact -- it will be hard to ignore the coming invasion of business aviation's faithful for the National Business Aviation Association's (NBAA) 57th Annual Meeting and Convention. Just about everywhere you look -- except maybe the roulette tables -- you'll see ads, banners and the odd airframe manufacturer's logo adorning a bus or limo, all extolling the virtues of BA. You'll also be rubbing elbows with as many as 30,000 attendees visiting over 1,000 exhibitors and more than 100 aircraft on static display. When all that becomes too much, you can sidle into a seminar session covering just about every topic, from security to substance abuse. Attendees will also get the skinny on new airframes from Cessna -- a new Citation model, probably -- and Aerion -- a start-up aiming to launch a supersonic bizjet -- among others. Additional topics for detailed discussion will be the Transportation Security Administration's latest shot across GA's bow, a new rule expanding previous reporting and background-check requirements for foreign nationals wishing to obtain flight training in the U.S. Look for detailed coverage of what's news at this year's NBAA convention in the next edition of AVweb's BizAvFlash.

Perhaps of greatest interest to NBAA's members and others will be what, if any, new direction for the association may be announced. As AVweb has covered on numerous occasions, 2004 has been tumultuous for the association, with on-again, off-again staff resignations followed by the sudden departure of its then-new president Shelley Longmuir and her number two. Finally, after a lengthy search, NBAA hired Ed Bolen, then president of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Bolen, who assumed the position only Sept. 1 and who has already been making the rounds to bizav hotspots, steps into the maelstrom for real in a couple of weeks at Vegas. In addition to those staff changes, NBAA lost its longtime operations head, Bob Blouin, on Aug. 31 -- he'll be replaced by soon-to-be-former FAA air traffic control planner Steve Brown. With all these changes over the past year, NBAA members may be asking some tough questions of the association's management in a couple of weeks. It's likely, however, that NBAA will have plenty of answers.