Aviators' Thoughts

My job search and business aviation as seen on AviationWeek

NBAA Day 2

with 4 comments

Had a most interesting day at NBAA. After an night attending the various NBAA parties, I still awoke early with energy. Had breakfast at the concierge lounge at the new Hilton (they really need more selection) and headed out…

Only spent about an hour at the exhibit hall in the morning since I had been there all day yesterday. The crowds were noticeably thinner. Still steady, but not as busy as day 1. I immediately set out trying to find one of my Twitter friends without success,so I walked through the hall and over the press area to finally meet up with Benet Wilson a very good Twitter friend and blogger who works for Aviation Week and Space Technology in the press room. It was truly great to meet her today. She has been a BIG help in getting me and this blog noticed and I told her how thankful I was. Her assistance is beginning to create exciting opportunities.

Once I left the press room, I decided to go see the static displays at Orlando Executive. The busses running back and forth from the convention hall were nearly constant so getting on and off quickly was a snap. Got out to the ramp and noticed that NBAA had been REALLY proactive making sure everyone had bottled water since it was getting quite warm again. This was a nice touch and I never felt thirsty or dehydrated even on an 80+ degree day.

My first stop was the Cessna display. Got a chance to see their new lineup. Ive seen the Mustang  before at Sun and Fun and still feel its one of the best of the new generation of light jets out there. Certainly its the most complete as it and the Phenom are already certified and flying. The CJ4 was also there and I noted some big improvements like the heated windshield. Theres some quality new product out there, just hard to see purchasing new when used airplanes are so much less expensive in this market.

Next, I decided to look at some of the new VLJs. I did see the Piper Jet (engineering mockup only) and the Diamond jet which was also in mockup form, but a complete avionics layout. The Diamond Jet had one of the simplest avionics and switch layouts Ive seen so far on most of the VLJs. I hope the configuration makes it through the certification process. Next up was the Phenom 100. It looks physically bigger than the Mustang and also has a really nice Garmin avionics as well. By far the Phenom 100 and the Phenom 300 were generating the most interest. It was very difficult to even get on the aircraft because the lines were so long. The mockup of the Cirrus jet was in the exhibition hall, but I didnt have a chance to check it out until the end of the day.

 On thing I noticed in all the VLJs is that there is definitely a move in these airplanes to the “single-pilot” concept. It will be interesting to see how the VLJ market evolves. Some are true high(er) altitude jets, while others like the “D-Jet” are more geared for the private pilot who wants to fly in the lower altitudes between FL180 and FL250. It will be curious to see which airplane pilots gravitate to. It promises to be a VERY crowded field. The main sticking point right now is the start up and certification costs, especially in this environment.

All was not lost in the static display area despite the economy. Gulfstream had a very professional and well laid out demonstration area in addition to their exhibit hall presence. I checked out the cabin mock-up for the G650 and hopped aboard the G550. To say I was green with envy when I stepped off would have been an understatement.  I also had a chance to check out the Hawker-Beechcraft area and after that visi,talk to a few of the charter operators. Of note, I want to personally thank the owners and staff at Guardian Jet in CT. I have been speaking with them through Twitter and each person I met was very friendly and helpful. They have really nice equipment and certainly worth considering  if you ever need to charter an aircraft.

After about 2 hours in the sun in a black suit (it gets hot!)  I figured it was time to head back to the convention center and hotel, then back to the exhibition hall for more networking.

I had the pleasure, in the afternoon to have my wife join at the exhibition floor. She brings with her some very astute observations for a person who is not actively involved in aviation…

One of our first stops was the Embraer display. They had a mock-up of the Phenom 100 which I invited my wife to sit in. Generally she liked it except for one IMPORTANT detail. She asked me where the lavatory was and I pointed to the area in the back shielded by a cloth curtain. She remarked that as a passenger she would prefer a solid door for not only her privacy but those of the passengers as well. For a person not in the business it can be funny the things that get noticed. I personally like the idea of bringing in “non-aviation” individuals during the development process since their perspective can be invaluable with those small details that the engineers overlook.

Later,we FINALLY had the chance to check out the HondaJet exhibit (one of my favorite new airplanes). Their working prototype was on a car-show like rotating platform with a mock-up on one end and even a nicely laid out refreshment area on the other. We both spent considerable time there.  I took my wife to the HondaJet mockup and she immediately notice the solid lavatory door. Just that detail alone got a big “thumbs up’.

On my “thumbs up” list was the G3000 avionics, to be installed in the new Hondajet. The dual touch screen display was EXTREMELY easy to use. The G3000 eliminates many of the buttons that clutter up the cockpit into a much more useable interface. Of course, as a pilot, I immediately thought about what would happen with all this “Gee Wiz” technology if you have an electrical failure. Luckily the chief pilot was demonstrating the panel to some clients and was happy to tell me that with two batteries the touch screens would still be functional with a loss of dual generator power for “over 30 minutes”. Nice touch and well thought out. The HondaJet is going to be quite a contender in the market when first deliveries begin in late 2011.

After the HondaJet display I continued to make some contacts and networking (I am looking for employment after all). We also had a brief opportunity to visit the MedAire area and have my blood tested. I am happy to report I am VERY healthy. Nothing like a quick physical at an aviation trade show.

The last two days have been very informative and I certainly hope that the contacts I made at the show lead to employment. I would like to thank everyone who helped me attend this years’ NBAA  Convention and more than ever I believe I am closer to the Today IS the Day moment.


Written by tdwnds1

October 22, 2009 at 4:19 am

4 Responses

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  1. I didn’t make it to NBAA this year. So it’s great to experience it through this blog. Keep writing!


    October 22, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    • Thanks for the comment. Dont worry, I plan to keep updating periodically about NBAA and my job hunt. Im hoping for the day that I can say I got hired! Thats a blog I would have the pleasure to write.


      October 23, 2009 at 12:19 am

  2. Great article.thax

    Craigslist Power Poster Pro

    October 23, 2009 at 1:45 am

  3. As a line guy the biggest improvement I noticed on the CJ4 was the singlepoint!!! Good Luck in your journeys to get hired. I have heard Avantair may be hiring soon.


    October 28, 2009 at 7:50 pm

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