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Fri, Oct 07, 2005

Be A Pilot Board Elects New Officers For 2006

The BE A PILOT Board has elected new officers for 2006 at its September 30 fall meeting.

Cessna Vice President, Marketing, Phil Michel will be 2006 chairman. A 30-year company veteran, Michel has been involved in the BE A PILOT program from its inception in the mid-1990s and served most recently as its communications chairman.

AOPA president Phil Boyer will serve as 2006 communications committee chairman, a role he held in the early 2000s. Boyer was an originator of the program and served as BE A PILOT president in the 1990s.

General Aviation Manufacturers Association president Pete Bunce was installed as Board secretary/treasurer. Ken Gazzola will serve another term as finance chairman.

The BE A PILOT Board thanked 2003-2005 chairman Jack Olcott (pictured below) for his service during his two-year tenure. As the former NBAA chief executive, Olcott's commitment served to reinforce the benefits of BE A PILOT to the business and corporate aviation communities.

The Board also thanked Drew Steketee for his effective leadership. Brought in as president/CEO in late 2000 to move BE A PILOT to a new level, Steketee will conclude his official duties as his contract expires but will be available to BE A PILOT to assist the transition to the 2006 program.

Cessna's Michel noted that the entire General Aviation industry has benefited greatly from BE A PILOT. It has now motivated more than 255,000 consumers to register for a $49 introductory flight lesson at U.S. and Canadian flight schools. Of these, some 50,000 have already become student pilots or licensed pilots.

"Clearly, the precipitous decline in student starts during the 1980s and '90s has been arrested. We can document an impressive number of new pilots whose introduction to aviation was through BE A PILOT. Tens of thousands are continuing their training and many others have purchased aircraft or are otherwise active new customers for the industry."

The program's advertising on national cable television has generated nearly 19,000 of this year's 22,000+ pilot prospects to date. TV advertising continues through December on The Outdoor Channel's "Wings to Adventure."

BE A PILOT's unprecedented outreach to the media has yielded 1,227 published or broadcast stories since 2001 on learning to fly and using General Aviation for travel, recreation or personal/career development. The ad-equivalent cost of this news and feature exposure would have been $21.6 million if purchased as print or broadcast advertising.

Since 2001, BE A PILOT has flown 560 reporters for a first flying lesson. The program's Web site has been visited by millions, including nearly 650,000 consumers so far this year.

BE A PILOT will be announcing plans for 2006 shortly after the first of the year, when final results of this year's promotional programs and fundraising are in. Also planned is new research that will help define the 2006 program.

"With BE A PILOT celebrating 10 years of success, I'm looking forward to a great year in 2006," said Michel.



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