The NBAA has concluded a momentous 2023 NBAA-BACE, underscoring the industry's mission to achieve net-zero flight, and celebrating the trailblazers and technology building toward that future.
Sustainability permeated the agenda all week, with a dozen leaders from across the industry leveraging business aviation's largest event to launch a new initiative, Climbing. Fast., affirming the entire sector's commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050. “At NBAA-BACE we made clear: business aviation is on a mission to net zero, and we are Climbing. Fast.,” says NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.
The advances delivering a sustainable future of airborne mobility were on display, on both the show floor and in the air. For the first time, electric air taxis flew over the aircraft display at Henderson Executive airport in daily demonstration flights by AAM pioneer Volocopter's 2X multi-rotor personal air vehicle.
Henderson and the Las Vegas Convention Center set the stage for the unveiling of many amazing new aircraft such as Textron's Cessna Citation CJ3 Gen2, the Honda Echelon and the Embraer Phenom 100EX, as well as the convention debuts of the Airbus ACJ220, the Beechcraft Denali and Bombardier's certified pre-owned Challenger 300.
“NBAA-BACE brought together the thrilling innovations and industry visionaries shaping the future of aviation,” Bolen continues. “We had a huge number of exciting product launches and showcased the breakthroughs in propulsion, increasingly efficient aircraft and sustainable aviation fuel that are cutting emissions while transforming mobility.”
The show also made clear that business aviation's drive to decarbonise is built on a foundation of safety. In a keynote discussion with Bolen, National Transportation Safety Board chair Jennifer Homendy and FAA deputy administrator Katie Thomson detailed their work with business aviation stakeholders to continually enhance aviation safety and efficiency.
Held throughout NBAA-BACE, the annual Single-Pilot Safety Standdown, the Small Operators Symposium and the National Safety Forum addressed risk management, preventing runway excursions and cultivating leadership in small flight departments.
More than 800 exhibitors showcased stunning concepts, including the unmanned aircraft systems and AAM vehicles in the Emerging Tech Pavilion from VoltAero, Wisk and others. Just outside the convention centre, Blade Urban Air Mobility returned with its popular flights to the airport, offering a look at evolving on demand aviation models.
In moving keynotes, barrier-breaking aviators captivated crowds. Retired Col Nicole Malachowski shared how she overcame hurdles and self-doubt to become the US Air Force's first female Thunderbird pilot. Wildly successful aviator and entrepreneur Jared Isaacman talked with his fellow civilian astronaut Dr Sian Proctor about their historic journey into space.
Exhilarating journeys were commemorated throughout the show, with three aircraft used to film the blockbuster film 'Top Gun: Maverick' parked on the show floor: an Aero L-39 Cinejet, Embraer Phenom 300 Camera Jet and an Airbus H125 Camera Helicopter.
Tennis superstars and powerhouse philanthropists Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf also inspired keynote audiences, as did Shark Tank investor and FUBU CEO Daymond John, with stories of triumphing over adversity and making meaningful change in peoples' lives.
Further illustrating the sector's commitment to decarbonisation, SAF was available at all three Las Vegas-area airports. All turbine aircraft departed with the renewable fuel, which can reduce net-carbon emissions by up to 80 per cent. Also as part of the show, 78 leading companies took the NBAA-BACE Exhibitor Sustainability Pledge, entailing a variety of actions to shrink their carbon footprint and reduce waste.
A number of convention sessions provided insights from government leaders who outlined the FAA's partnership with industry to decarbonise and enable new modes of flight, including FAA associate administrator for airports Shannetta Griffin; FAA associate administrator for aviation safety David Boulter; FAA assistant administrator for NextGen Paul Fontaine; COO of the FAA's Air Traffic Organisation Tim Arel; and FAA executive director of the UAS Integration Office Jeffrey Vincent.
NBAA-BACE was also where the next generation of business aviation leaders found nearly endless pathways for turning a passion into a profession. Students and career-seekers had the chance to discuss job and internship possibilities with recruiters at the Collegiate Connect gathering and the first-ever, two day NBAA Career Fair. At the inaugural NBAA-BACE maintenance competition, run by Flying Classroom's Bombardier Academy, students from across the country tested their skills for fun and prizes.
“This year's NBAA-BACE was unforgettable on every level,” says Bolen. “We saw history in the making, with new types of carbon-free aircraft taking flight, a new advocacy initiative launched to champion the industry's mission to net-zero flying and a new generation of leaders making this industry all their own. This incredible week, the future started to become reality.”