ModAero Is Back With NextGen Aviation Fest


The founders of the ModAero NextGen Aviation Festival launched their first event early this year with a great idea — to target millennials, the 18 to 35 age group. But the project got off to a rocky start, when its social media reach of more than 1.2 million translated to just over 500 attendees on the ground. The team now is taking that in stride and working on bigger and better plans for next year, with a festival set for May 19 to 21, 2017, at the Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport in Conroe, Texas. “First-year events are always tough,” event founder Brian Columbus told AVweb this week in an email interview. “We did attract attendees from 26 states, but without the history of an established event, it was difficult to convince the aviation public to travel long distances to a first-year event.”

Columbus said next year’s event will include a one-day airshow, on Saturday, May 20. “We had always wanted to hold an airshow, [but] waited until Year 2 for this because we didn’t have the large volunteer base needed,” Columbus said. “We are now prepared to do this, and have brought in a professional airshow company to manage and assist this aspect.” Also, the show has partnered with three tenants on the airport to provide access to ramp space so aircraft exhibitors can offer demo flights. Other changes include moving the date from spring break to early summer, when Columbus hopes to avoid this year’s heavy rains. He also plans to focus more on drawing attendees from the local region, while retaining the focus on millennials. Seventy-five percent of ModAero’s social-media followers fit into the millennial demographic, Columbus said. “We have proven that we are reaching a new audience in aviation,” he said, “and that shows a lot of promise for future years.”