December 27, 2010

Eager to strengthen their professional network and speak with a more powerful voice on local issues, the business aviation community in Northern California is coming together to form a new regional group. Northern California professionals met for their first organizational meeting on December 14 and established the Northern California Business Aviation Association.

“Until now, Northern California didn’t have a group to support business aviation,” said John Swaney, chief pilot for Hewlett-Packard. “In this industry, issues are going to come up from time to time, like airport noise and airspace access. If there’s no one to respond, then business aviation can really suffer. A regional group can speak with one voice and carry a lot of weight.”

Swaney led the effort to establish the new group, scheduling the first organizational meeting with the support of NBAA’s western regional representative and director of regional programs Dan Burkhart.

Nearly 50 professionals from the business aviation industry attended the December meeting, including managers of some of the largest flight departments in Northern California, charter operators, aviation attorneys and FBO professionals. The attendees agreed that the new group should focus on advocacy, safety and mentoring.

“At NBAA we do everything we can to support local groups, and having people get together to start a new group is very exciting,” said Dan Burkhart, NBAA’s Director for Regional Programs. “In Northern California there’s a lot of demand for networking, mentoring and sharing information on operational issues.”

The group’s next organizational meeting is January 11, 2011, where attendees will finalize a mission statement and elect a board of directors. The members planned to hold regular meetings featuring prominent speakers from the industry and government agencies like the FAA and the Transportation Security Administration.

“That’s something that I know works very well for other regional groups,” said Swaney. “This group will focus on issues specific to Northern California, but we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Dan has been very helpful in putting us in touch with other groups in NBAA’s network, for guidance on planning safety days and other activities.”

The most immediate benefit of the group, Swaney said, would be the strong professional network it fosters. “I run into things in my work daily where a local group would be a great resource and could be far more effective,” he said.

For more information on the Northern California Business Aviation Association and to get involved, contact Swaney at or Burkhart at