The Rest Is All Good
by ANN Correspondent Aleta Vinas
Weather took its toll on attendance at the WAI Membership
Meeting in Orlando, FL Thursday. Many attendees were still sitting
around airports in the snowbound north, leaving seats at the
business meeting unoccupied. WAI President and founder Dr. Peggy
Chabrian called the meeting to order. Once the 2006 meeting minutes
were approved, the vote for the 2007 Board members was held. A
brief interlude was held to allow for the voting by those members
Dick Koenig, WAI Treasurer was the bearer of good news. Koenig
stated that WAI's financial picture was "mirroring the market" of
GA and Biz aviation, whose numbers were up this year. Income was
above $1.2M with funds coming from exhibitor spaces, memberships,
sponsors and donations. The endowment fund was at $465K with an
expectation to break the half a million mark before the end of the
weekend. Koenig concluded by saying WAI was "in the strongest
financial position in the history of the organization, thanks to
The President's report was next with Dr. Chabrian introducing
the current and past Board members and the WAI staff to take a bow.
Chabrian also acknowledged the show's promotional sponsors;
Pinnacle Airlines, Color Eyes, DTC DUAT, San Juan College,
University of Tennessee and Wings Financial FCU.
Dr. Chabrian was happy to report a record attendance. With the
actual numbers still to be announced, the preliminaries show
over 3,200. Exhibitor space also broke records with 214 spaces
sold... topping last year's "mere" 180.
Several new programs were announced. The AOPA Learn to Fly
program was presented Thursday. The program was open to attendees
as well as the general public. The premiere of the movie Speed and
Angels was shown Thursday, to a standing room only crowd. The movie
is available on DVD and well worth the cost. A "Meet the Masters"
roundtable with several Certified Flight Instructors was also held
The WAI five-year strategic plan implemented in 2002 was deemed
a success with the plan's original goals met. Next month, the
groundwork willstart on the next five year plan. WAI will be
soliciting the membership for ideas, so watch your inboxes.
A new member benefit was announced in the form of a partnership with Virtual
Flight Surgeons, Inc. A discount on phone
consultations for aeromedical questions and free consultations at
venues like the WAI conference are now available to members. Dr.
Phillip Parker of VFS will head a panel on Friday at 1610.
Betty Huck reported nine new provisional chapters and 39
official chapters with Connecticut being the newest addition. A
panel on starting your own WAI chapter will be presented
Debra McFarland reminded attendees
to "bid often" on the donated items for the silent auction, since
the money collected goes to the endowment fund -- part of which is
used for scholarships.
On the scholarship note, Rosemary Emhoff had the pleasure of
announcing over $375K in 45 scholarships would be given at the
conference. Emhoff reminded the audience scholarships are for any
age, whether you are just starting aviation or you are an "old
A little bit of fun was next as the first WAI fashion and toy
show was presented. The short show featured some new and some old
favorite fashions and stuffed animals that could be purchased at
the WAI booth.
Prior to Dr. Chabrian's adjournment, the results of the election
were announced. The 2007 Board members are Trish Beckman, Dorothy
Cochrane, Amy Corbett, Katie Creveling, Nelda Lee, Ruth Maestre and
Dr. Chabrian also reminded the group to start thinking about
next year's WAI Conference in San Diego, CA March 15-17. Never too
early to plan and hope the weather is a bit more cooperative.