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Grassroots Effort Takes ‘No Plane No Gain’ Message to Local Leaders

A shared passion “to evangelize for our industry” compelled two individuals to organize a grassroots effort, modeled on the “No Plane No Gain” advocacy program, so that business aviation champions would be armed with the most important advocacy tools of all: simple facts.

Brenda Libby, vice president for sales and marketing at Montreal-based Starlink Aviation, teamed last year with Austin, TX-based Charlie Bravo Aviation CEO Rene Banglesdorf to create a multimedia presentation demonstrating the benefits of business aviation.

“As an industry, we need to be more proactive,” Libby explained. “Everybody is strapped for time, and none of us have a lot of it to give. Once you are armed with the facts, however, it takes just 20 minutes to give the presentation – including [fielding] questions.”

The presentation counters some common misconceptions. “Each section takes aim at a different myth about business aviation,” said Banglesdorf. “For example, many people equate business jets with ‘luxury junkets.’ The truth is most people aren’t going on vacation in those aircraft. The passengers are engineers, managers, and employees using that aircraft to conduct business for their company.”

That’s a message local decision-makers and other professionals need to hear, Libby noted. “I see so many business people who have no idea how much business aviation can help them to propel their business to the next level. Using an aircraft to support your business is a strong and competitive differentiator.”

Throughout 2011, Libby and Banglesdorf gathered names of volunteers in their respective regions. Following two webinars presenting the program to those volunteers, their next step is to hold additional presentations. Those interested in signing up to give a presentation may go to www.grassroots.aero to learn more.

“We really used a lot of material from the No Plane No Gain program, and we were fortunate to have NBAA’s support,” Banglesdorf said. “Additionally, we’ve formed a partnership with Selena Shilad of the Alliance for Aviation Across America. She provided information about the economic impact of general aviation by state, and helped us get the word about the webinars.”

Volunteers are the key means to reaching those local communities, noted NBAA Northeast Regional Representative Dean Saucier. “The most critical aspect of grassroots advocacy rests with individuals providing anecdotal information to local and state legislative decision-makers on the jobs created, increased direct and indirect tax revenue, and economic benefit to the municipality, state and region through general aviation and the airports,” he said.

“While national organizations are able to provide collateral information, it’s the finished product as presented by constituents that makes the difference. They are better able to articulate their own experiences in true dollars and cents, as well as put constituent faces to grassroots efforts.”

“The most important things we can provide are facts people can use in everyday conversation,” Libby concluded. “The more information we can provide to those in the industry to use in everyday life, the more consistent a message we can send.”

For More Information

For business aviation advocacy news, resources and more, visit the No Plane No Gain web site at www.noplanenogain.org.

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