Convention Is 'Where Business Gets Done' In The Avionics
More than 1,650
avionics shop owners, managers and technicians, as well as
manufacturers of avionics, instruments, airframe and test
equipment, converged on Palm Springs, Calif., for the 49th annual
AEA International Convention & Trade Show from April 19-22.
In addition to the three-day AEA Trade Show, which featured more
than 140 exhibitors and 225 booth spaces, the Aircraft Electronics
Association offered more than 75 hours of training opportunities
during the four-day convention, and hundreds of AEA Training
Certification forms were completed throughout the week.
The AEA Convention began April 19 with all-day Fast Trak
sessions, ranging from in-depth technical sessions, such as
"Communicating Human Factors Information in a Clear and Usable
Manner" with Dr. Bill Johnson of the FAA and "Repair Station
Training Program: Management" with Ric Peri (pictured below) of the
AEA, to the new Business Management Series, which included
"Aviation Customer Service and Communication" with David Benoff of
Global Jet Services and "Marketing Fundamentals" with Dr. Beth
Hagan of Associates in Entrepreneurship Education.
On April 21, the annual Rise & Shine Regulatory Roundtable,
presented by Ric Peri, AEA vice president of government and
industry affairs, provided a review and update of the latest
regulatory issues affecting technicians and repair stations.
A highlight every year at the annual convention is the "New
Products" session, and this year was no exception with 32 new
products introduced by 32 different companies. The June issue of
Avionics News will feature information on each of the new products
introduced during the AEA International Convention.
AEA Chairman Michael O'Leary (below) welcomed the hundreds of
convention attendees to the show during the AEA International
Convention Opening Ceremonies on April 20, at the Wyndham Hotel in
Palm Springs. In addition, AEA President Paula Derks spoke on the
state of the industry and encouraged individuals to contact their
government representatives to express concerns regarding user fees
for the general aviation industry.
Derks also honored Rachel Ronan, Avionics News Editor and AEA
creative director, with a special recognition during the ceremonies
(pictured below). Ronan was lauded for her many months of work in
creating the AN510 Gallery, a special exhibit that was part of the
AEA Trade Show in the Palm Springs Convention Center. The AN510
Gallery featured full-size replicas of each of the Avionics News
magazine's 510 issues in which visitors would walk through the
display showcasing the history of the association and the
Scholarship Awards and Avionics Training Excellence winners also
were announced during the Opening Ceremonies, which featured Barry
Schiff (below), retired Lockheed 1011 captain for TWA and AOPA
Pilot columnist, as the keynote speaker.
One of the ceremony's highlights was the presentation of the
2006 Lifetime Achievement Award, which was given to John Winter
(below, between AEA's Michael O'Leary and Paula Derks) of
Mid-Continent Instruments for his many contributions to the
avionics industry throughout the years.
Tom Greer of Southern Avionics, the 2005 AEA Member of the Year,
and representatives from EDMO Distributors, 2005 Associate Member
of the Year, cut the ribbon to officially open the AEA Trade Show
exhibit hall on April 21 - and the crowds followed. In conjunction
with the trade show, the AEA Educational Foundation hosted its
annual Silent Auction, which raised nearly $25,000 for the
foundation's scholarship awards program, according to Mike Adamson,
AEA director of training and education.
Forums, Training & Awards
The slate for April 21 offered more than four hours of
Regulatory Forums, moderated by Ric Peri. The first forum
investigated the FAA's new "Electronic Form 337" initiative. Later
this year, the FAA will roll out nationwide the electronic
processing and recordkeeping of its Form 377, documenting major
repairs and major alterations. This forum, one of the FAA's first
with industry on this initiative, educated AEA member companies on
the management and handling of this new form.
The second forum panel, "Leadership Through Innovation: The
FAA's Role in Promoting Safety Through Technology," featured Peter
Skaves of the FAA's avionics systems branch; Susan Gardner, manager
of the Alaskan CAPSTONE project; Wes Ryan of the FAA Small Airplane
Directorate; and Tom Salat of SATNAV OIT, speaking on WAAS
implementation. Advanced technology is offering more equipment that
puts real-time information into the cockpit of general aviation
aircraft, and the panel discussed the FAA initiatives to promote
the installation of this equipment in today's aircraft.
Paul Fiduccia, president of the Small Aircraft Manufacturers
Association, facilitated another panel forum, "Technically Advanced
Aircraft." This panel featured Ian Bentley of Cirrus Aircraft;
David McRae of Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing; and Bill
Mermelstein of Adam Aircraft. Today's Technically Advanced Aircraft
(TAA) takes the integrated avionics suit to the next level by
integrating the avionics into the entire aircraft operations. This
panel discussed the challenges associated with the maintenance,
repair and alteration of TAA.
Nick Sabatini, FAA's associate administrator for aviation
safety, wrapped up the forums. Sabatini discussed the advances in
avionics and navigation in U.S. airspace. He also shared his vision
of responsibility and accountability for the FAA and its progress
toward quality and standardization through the ISO 9001
certification of FAA divisions and offices.
Sabatini (above) also received the AEA Industry Partnership
Award during the AEA Annual Awards Luncheon on April 21.
In addition to honoring Sabatini, the Aircraft Electronics
Association also announced the winners of two of the convention's
most coveted awards during the AEA Annual Awards Luncheon. Ray
McDonald of Pacific Southwest Instruments (below, with Michael
O'Leary and Paula Derks) was named the 2006 AEA Member of the Year,
and Sandel Avionics was named the 2006 AEA Associate Member of the
On the last day of the convention, April 22, AEA presented 28
Technical Training Workshops on new equipment installations,
troubleshooting, sales techniques, service and repair. Not only did
the workshops provide valuable information to technicians, they
also qualify as FAA-recognized training hours toward the Aviation
Maintenance Training Awards Program.
This year's Technical Training Workshops were presented by
Aero-Flex, AirCell, Airtechnics, Aspen Avionics, Avidyne, Chelton
Flight Systems, Chelton Inc., Comant Industries, Crossbow
Technology, Global Jet Services, Honeywell, Honeywell-Cabin
Systems, International Communications Group, Mobile Electronics,
Nav-Aids Ltd., Paperless Cockpit, Revue Thommen AG Switzerland,
Rosen Aviation, Sandel Avionics, Shadin Avionics, S-TEC, Trans-Cal
Industries, and Universal Avionics Corp.
Electronics Association staff already has begun to prepare for next
year's show, which will mark the 50th annual AEA convention. The
50th anniversary AEA International Convention & Trade Show will
take place from March 28-31, at the Reno Hilton in Reno, Nev.
Debra McFarland, AEA vice president, said a number of special
events and activities are planned for the 50th anniversary
celebration. Recognition also will be given to all past AEA award
winners, including those who have been honored as Members of the
Year since 1964, the year the award was first given out.
The AEA also has announced the dates and locations of the annual
convention through 2011, including:
- 2008: Washington, D.C., from April 23-26, at the Gaylord
- 2009: Dallas, Texas, from April 1-4, at the Gaylord Texan.
- 2010: Orlando, Fla., from April 7-10, at the Gaylord Palm.
- 2011: Reno, Nev., from March 30-April 2, at the Reno