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NBAA-BACE 2019 achieves aim of invigorating industry
NBAA-BACE in Las Vegas at the end of the October has been hailed as a success. The G700, sustainable fuel, urban air mobility and unmanned aircraft were in the spotlight.

The National Business Aviation Association says that this year's NBAA-BACE show went to plan, adding that it felt inspired for the future of the industry.

The show opened with NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen declaring that this year's NBAA-BACE would be “the most exciting convention NBAA has ever hosted.” Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson jumped off the opening keynote stage to tell the crowd he could never accomplish all that he has off the court without a business airplane, to the closing day, when every refuelling turbine aircraft departed Henderson Executive airport powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

This year's NBAA-BACE put new modes of transport, such as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and urban air mobility (UAM) vehicles, front and centre. Full-scale prototypes and concepts for the vehicles were thronged by attendees in the all-new UAS/UAM Innovation Display Area.

On the keynote stage, Bolen presented NBAA's Meritorious Service to Aviation Award to record-breaking pilot, military veteran and business leader Ross Perot, Jr., who is partnering with Uber on UAM infrastructure. Head of Uber Elevate, Eric Allison, shared the latest steps toward realising that vision, and tech entrepreneur Sky Dayton, an investor in electric aircraft startup Joby Aviation, predicted UAM could become a reality in just a few years.

A brand-new composite-bodied aerobatic aircraft, the GameBird GB1, was brought to the stage by Steuart Walton, Game Composites founder and chairman. The stage also featured the iconic jet-propelled wing that ‘Jetman’ Yves Rossy uses to fly like bird, with Rossy sharing the story of how his team developed this experimental technology.

On the show floor, an inaugural New Product Showcase introduced 11 new, distinctive products from a host of innovative companies. Inside the convention centre and at Henderson Executive Airport, nearly 100 of the latest business aircraft were on display.

Also at the airport, Gulfstream unveiled its new G700, Bombardier displayed its Learjet 75 Liberty mockup for the first time and Textron Aviation's newly certified Citation Longitude was on hand. Pilatus introduced the NGX, and other aircraft, including Tecnam's P2012 Traveller, made their first appearances at NBAA-BACE.

Sustainability in business aviation was a dominant theme throughout the show, with around two dozen aircraft fuelling enroute with SAF, a non-fossil power source that can reduce aviation's carbon lifecycle emissions by up to 80 per cent. Local civic and business leaders issued a proclamation recognising the business aviation community's long-standing commitment to sustainability, with an estimated 150,000 gallons of SAF pumped into aircraft at Henderson Executive airport.

Barrington Irving, who in 2007 became the youngest pilot to fly solo around the world, received NBAA's 2019 American Spirit Award for his work to engage young people in the pursuit of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers in aviation.

On the show's final day, Careers in Business Aviation Day hosted hundreds of students who attended NBAA-BACE for free, where they heard from FAA administrator Steve Dickson and Jim Payne, chief pilot on The Perlan Project, who has flown a pressurised glider as high as 76,000 feet, toward a goal of reaching the edge of space.

NBAA also unveiled its 2019 class of Business Aviation Top 40 Under 40 young professionals (YoPros), who are already reshaping the industry.

“This week proved that in business aviation, we want the future, and we want it now,” Bolen said. “That future was on proud display in Las Vegas, with a show that fired the imagination, and inspired us to keep pushing the boundaries of what's possible, and that's what defines aviation.”

In 2020, NBAA-BACE heads to Orlando, Florida from 6-8 October.

During an annual meeting held at the show, the voting members of NBAA re-elected two individuals to the association's board of directors. Elizabeth Dornak of DuPont Aviation has succeeded Gen. Lloyd ‘Fig’ Newton of L3 Harris Technologies as chair, while Monte Koch of Falconshare will serve as NBAA's new vice chair/treasurer.

Leadership on NBAA's Advisory Council, formerly known as AMAC, also changed, with Sheryl Barden, of Aviation Personnel International, replacing Todd Duncan of Duncan Aviation as chair, and David Davenport of FlightSafety International becoming vice chair. As leaders of the Advisory Council, Barden and Davenport will serve as the business member advisors on the board of directors.

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