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Sat, Feb 17, 2007

Weather The Only Damper For Annual WAI Membership Meeting

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 present.

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 you."

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 Thursday.

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 Saturday.

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 timer"

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 Ted Mallory.

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.

FMI: www.wai.org

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