If you’d like a full-immersion overview of what’s available in business aviation in just three days, there is no better place to do so than at the National Business Aviation Association Convention & Exhibition in Las Vegas.
This year’s event, from October 22-24, will draw nearly 25,000 attendees and more than 1,000 exhibitors, and will feature more than 100 aircraft you can access and experience for yourself. Every imaginable service and the latest technology will be available for side-by-side comparison. Hundreds of company representatives will be on hand to answer your questions about products, capabilities, availability, and prices.
No other aviation gathering provides such a critical mass of key people, the latest products, and a wide range of programs focusing on every facet of business aviation.
If you’ve never attended an NBAA convention, this is the year to take the plunge. The show will fill up the entire Las Vegas Convention Center. High-end motor coaches will provide free shuttle service between the indoor exhibits and the outdoor static aircraft display at the Henderson, NV Executive Airport.
This year’s lineup will include a number of newly certificated models including the Bombardier Global 7500, Cessna Longitude, Embraer Praetor 600, and Gulfstream 500 and 600. Scores of offerings from other manufacturers run the gamut of price points and capabilities. And if you eventually need a break from eyeballing airplanes… it’s Vegas! There is always something fun to enjoy in this desert destination.
Veteran NBAA convention attendees look forward to this annual event because it offers so many networking opportunities. NBAA was founded in 1947 by a small group of companies that had their own flight departments. One of the fledgling association’s primary objectives was setting up an information-pooling network to help its members find solutions for common problems. That knowledge-sharing mindset remains one of NBAA’s core values.
In addition to a bustling trade show, NBAA provides more than 50 scheduled education opportunities, so many that some begin October 20, two days before the convention’s “official” grand opening. These include a Small Operators Symposium, a “Get Smart About Artificial Intelligence” presentation, and dozens of maintenance and operations (M&O) sessions. In the latter, representatives of engine and aircraft manufacturers provide the latest technical updates, and frequently engage in lively face-to-face discussions with owners and operators.
If your involvement with business aviation is relatively recent or is entirely as a passenger in a charter or fractional-share aircraft, the NBAA show is a wonderful opportunity to ask questions of people not affiliated with the organizations from which you currently are buying services.
How can you tell if the operators you deal with have systems and programs in place to ensure a robust safety culture? If you are flying more than 100 hours per year on business trips in a chartered aircraft, is it time to consider an ownership stake? What would it cost to move up to flying in a larger, faster, longer-range airplane? Can you defray some costs of ownership by putting your airplane on a Part 135 operator’s charter certificate?
The show makes it easy to meet NBAA staffers and industry veterans who can help you find answers to all those questions while providing new perspectives on ways to satisfy your travel needs.
So much goes on at this convention that it’s wise to prioritize your daily schedule to ensure the best use of your valuable time. The first thing to address is hotel reservations. Las Vegas has thousands of hotel rooms, but many of those rooms are blocked out months in advance by companies bringing large contingents of employees to the show. NBAA uses a third-party housing coordinator to facilitate the reservations process, which can be accessed at www.nbaa.org/2019/housing. Enjoy the show! BAA
David Collogan has covered aviation in Washington, DC for more than four decades. This award-wining journalist is known as one of the most knowledgeable, balanced, wary, and trusted journalists in the aviation community.