2003 Press Releases

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NBAA 56th Annual Meeting & Convention Celebrates 100 Years of Flight, Attracts Record Number of Exhibitors

Contact: Cassandra Bosco

Washington, DC, October 15, 2003 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) 56th Annual Meeting & Convention, held from October 7 to 9 at the Orlando/Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, closed with a total of 28,574 Attendees viewing the products and services of a record 1,068 Exhibiting Companies occupying nearly a million square feet of exhibit space. In addition, 111 aircraft were on Static Display at Orlando Executive Airport and 75 Informational Sessions were offered throughout the week.

New NBAA President Shelley A. Longmuir, presiding over her first Convention, hosted the Opening General Session on October 7, which commemorated the 100th anniversary of powered flight and featured several luminaries from the aviation community, including FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey, House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL 7th), astronauts Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan, and Wright Brothers National Memorial park ranger Darrell Collins.

"If the NBAA Convention is a bellwether for the industry, business aviation is rebounding nicely," said NBAA Vice President, Conventions & Seminars Kathleen Blouin. "Aside from the encouraging numbers, we've been told the Opening General Session was the best ever, which is a wonderful testament to Shelley's first appearance at the Convention."

Also in celebration of 100 years of flight, the NBAA Convention featured "EAA's Countdown to Kitty Hawk" exhibit through special arrangements made possible by Eclipse Aviation. Presented by Ford Motor Company, the exhibit showcased an authentic replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) commissioned the replica, which adheres to the original design specifications of the Wright brothers. Sponsors for this exhibit included Eclipse Aviation, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Northrop Grumman and NBAA. For more information about this exhibit, visit www.countdowntokittyhawk.com.

"This was an extremely popular exhibit and we can't thank EAA and Eclipse Aviation enough for helping NBAA celebrate 100 years of flight," said Blouin. "It was the perfect centerpiece for the Convention."

Also on display at the Convention were vintage aircraft simulators and the Wright Again program. NBAA is a co-sponsor of the Wright Again program; for more information, visit www.wrightagain.com.

The Convention closed on October 9 with the traditional NBAA Safety Awards Banquet, where in addition to recognizing the recipients of the 2003 NBAA Flying Safety Awards, the Association honored Sam B. Williams with the Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, Byron M. "Skip" Reed II with the Doswell Award, Fred McIntosh with the Staff Lifetime Achievement Award, and six recipients with a special First Century of Flight Award: Serge Dassault, David Ewald, Edward King Jr., Jerome F. Lederer, Ray H. Siegfried II and John Tucker.

To review NBAA 56th Annual Meeting & Convention highlights, visit the official NBAA2003 web site at www.nbaa.org/conventions/2003.

The Association will travel to Las Vegas, NV next year for the 57th Annual Meeting & Convention on October 12 to 14, 2004.

NBAA represents the aviation interests of 7,500 companies that own or operate general aviation aircraft as an aid to the conduct of their business, or are involved with business aviation. NBAA Member Companies earn annual revenues approaching $5 trillion — a number that is about half the gross domestic product — and employ more than 19 million people worldwide. The NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention is the world's largest display of civil aviation products and services.

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