What We Learned At AEA 2007

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The Aircraft Electronics Association can put on an impressive show. It held its 50th annual convention in Reno late last week, and the trend in new products at this year's show revolved around satellite phone service, increased data and voice transfer capabilities, onboard broadband, WAAS supportive/compatible products and retrofits of new black boxes and/or glass panels sized to swap out old black boxes and instruments. That and FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has "drawn a line" in the fight over user fees and believes it's high time we (read general aviation users) all stopped griping about the price of a cup of coffee and stepped up to pay our fair share. AVweb's Glenn Pew was there, click through for your own private ticket to the show -- a video compilation of some of the flash and dazzle, including show-stopping excerpts from Marion Blakey's speech.

The golden anniversary of AEA's confab was a fascinating mix of products, personalities and politics. It could have been the grand theater setting that seemed more befitting a rock concert, though with a substitute five-piece brass band that waxed nostalgic under a slide show spanning 50 years, the moving sentiments of AEA past president and lifetime achievement winner Monte Mitchell and a nearly life-size four-engine jet mock-up that in a blinding spectacle of lights, smoke and sound arrived to unload the association's board members (as well as a couple of chorus girls) onto the stage.