April 22, 2021

Making sure all attendees feel comfortable and safe is key to restarting in-person regional group events, according to speakers at a virtual Town Hall held by NBAA’s Local and Regional Group Committee.

“Our members are used to in-person events, so after a number of virtual meetings and hearing from members who wanted to be in-person, the board decided to move forward with that,” said Douglas Young, president of the Arizona Business Aviation Association, which has successfully held socially distanced events in a spacious hangar, with sanitization stations, masks and even a color-coded dot system making clear attendees’ comfortable level with varying degrees of contact.

The Town Hall was moderated by Marj Rose, chair of the Local and Regional Group Committee, and featured a legislative update, a presentation about the importance of regional groups in connecting with small flight departments, tips on introducing students to careers in business aviation and the topic on everyone’s mind: getting “back to normal.”

A barbecue held at Orlando Executive Airport (ORL) in January was also a success, according to Central Florida Business Aviation Association board member and Local and Regional Group Committee member Jenny Showalter. She encouraged other groups that might be considering in-person events to make sure that all necessary permits are obtained and ensure the event is in compliance with all state and local restrictions, and to consider having attendees sign a waiver.

“We didn’t have any hand-shaking or hugging, but it went really well,” said Showalter.

NBAA Small Flight Department Committee Chair David Keys reminded attendees of the importance in reaching out to small flight departments and also getting information back from them.

“Local and regional groups are the frontline for connecting with small operators,” said Keys. “We want to know what they need, what their struggles are.” Keys noted that there are many resources available for them, including subject matter speakers, white papers, podcasts and a small operator symposium at NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE).

Town Hall attendees also were encouraged to use video and other technologies to maximize their efforts to reach out to students. The ease of use of GoPro cameras, and even smartphone cameras, makes it possible for almost anyone to make a short video about aviation careers, noted Jessica Belcher of the Local and Regional Group Committee.