EBACE Notes, Gripes and Accolades

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When you're used to being the center of a particular universe and that universe shifts orbits (or whatever it is they do), what do you do? Well, you pay $26 for a nice, but by no means monumental, plate of carbonara, $207 a night for a franchise hotel room and buy power converters so all your stuff will work as you get in line with the new arrangement of the planets.

As you may have noticed, AVweb has taken a trip across the pond to EBACE 2008 in Geneva this week, and you better believe I'm glad we did. NBAA's annual extravaganza (there are only a few places the convention can be held because it's grown so big) in Orlando this coming fall will have a hard act to follow after this year's version of EBACE. Quite frankly, the money represented at this show is almost beyond belief, and its proximity (and generally cosmopolitan convenience) to the new big players in business aviation means this the place to be for making deals and putting out your shingle. From the heavy hitters like Boeing, Airbus, Cessna, Gulfstream and Dassault to the guy on the shuttle bus from Spokane who's selling electronic flight bags, this is an important potentially the most important show on the biz calendar. Every U.S.-based company that has traditionally exhibited here has increased their presence dramatically with expansive booths that are definitely European in style and refinement.

Credit crunch? What are you talking about? Boeing and Airbus now include all their products in a line of airliner-based business aircraft. If there aren't Americans to buy them, then Europeans, Asians and those from the Middle East will do just fine. North America is still the source of much of the ingenuity and quality that defines this industry but EBACE is demonstrating that there isn't a company in business aviation that cannot be global in its reach and philosophy.

After three tries, I have the power converter that works with my computer, I've figured out the shower and the lights in the hotel room (let me know your experiences with that) and have been utterly smitten with the beauty of the surroundings and the puzzled and bemused helpfulness of the people. And in one day I've seen graphically the imperative of following the global shift in this industry. Now, if I could only get my cell phone to work ... .

Comments (3)

Yes, the United States is part of the world, not the whole world.

Given the global nature of the aviation customer, I have a story idea for you. Ask people from outside the US who are attending US aviation events to what extent they are acknowledged and welcomed. To what extent does the event encourage them to return, to spend their money there, to buy the US products there, to sell their foreign products there. In a truly global aviation industry, I think this will make a difference in how influential the US aviation industry remains globally.

I live in Canada. I've not been to AOPA or to Sun 'n' Fun, but in the couple of times I've been to Airventure the results were mixed. It's great that EAA makes a large and welcoming International tent, and I've met some neat people there. It's great to see that some Luftwaffe aviators are being included in the panels of WWII aviators. It's great to have Transport Canada in the government pavilion.

It's not so great that the airshow commentators refer to "our country" (whose?), or that the airshow plotlines seem to involve only US or UK planes in the heroic roles. The respect could stand to be a little more evenly distributed.

My 2 cents worth (USD 0.0201325 at current exchange rates),
DeLaHunt, Vancouver, Canada

Posted by: James DeLaHunt | May 20, 2008 1:05 PM    Report this comment

As a Brit living in the US, I am surprised by DeLaHunt's surprise at the patriotism of some US-based events. What is wrong with them referring to "our country" when it is ... their country! Canada is a great place, in many aspects superior to its cousin to the south, but sometimes it seems like its people have a bit of a chip on their shoulders.

Posted by: TIMOTHY BURLING | May 21, 2008 6:25 AM    Report this comment

Burlings got a point, but there's some truth DeLaHunts observations.

More than a few Americans seems to think 'America' as being cut above the reset of the world, the cradle of democracy, etc. An honest read of history, and today's newspaper should disabuse anyone of that.

As for me, I can do without the warbirds and jingoism. There's nothing glorious in war and there's not a military institution in the world that isn't steeped in atrocities - why be reminded of that?

Posted by: Gene Gajewski | May 30, 2008 9:09 PM    Report this comment

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