Going to NBAA 2021? Here’s What You Should Do

The aircraft display at NBAA-BACE takes over a significant part of the Henderson Executive Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the week of the show. Julie Boatman

First—we can all be glad we’re headed back to Vegas.

In 2019, when the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) last held its Business Aviation Convention and Expo (BACE), the optimistic mood and clear, warm weather belied the storms that lay ahead in 2020 for the aviation industry—and the world.

Between keynotes, education sessions, owner-pilot forums, new products, and networking opportunities, it can be hard to focus on the best path to take at a comprehensive—and extensive—event such as NBAA-BACE.

But we can help you avoid FOMO with these tips.

Before You Go

1. Take a look at the NBAA app and browse the sessions and forums for the days you plan to attend. Sometimes it helps to search by speaker to find those thought leaders you follow or want to learn more from.

2. Pack clothes that help you put your best foot forward—and make sure that outfit includes comfortable shoes. And though the Las Vegas Convention Center is air-con’ed to the hilt, the desert lies just outside and at the aircraft display at the Henderson Executive Airport. Think warm days and cool nights.

3. Budget time in your schedule to meet up with people you encounter at the show. Breaks for food and refreshments will also keep you energized.

Day One Highlights (Tuesday)

Rob Riggle Courtesy: NBAA

1. The association always attracts interesting influencers and personalities to its events—and 2021 offers several treats. The first of those is opening keynote speaker Rob Riggle at 8:30 am Tuesday,. He’s joined by Steve Dickson, FAA administrator, Martine Rothblatt, chairperson & CEO of United Technologies, and Teddy Tzanetos, project lead on NASA’s Mars Ingenuity Helicopter. That’s a starry lineup!

2. The 2021 Business Aviation Sustainability Summit kicks off at noon on Tuesday, providing a critical platform for this segment of the aviation industry to address policymakers, leaders, and key stakeholders toward reducing aviation emissions and stimulating other initiatives.

3. The YoPro Networking Reception at 5:30 pm brings together young professionals in a promising session to share ideas, make connections, and help us move the needle into the future.

Day Two Highlights (Wednesday)

Lindsey Vonn Courtesy: NBAA

1. Lindsay Vonn, Olympic alpine skier joins Dr. Sian Proctor, astronaut and geoscientist in Wednesday’s keynote session, starting at 9:30 am. Proctor was the mission pilot for Inspiration4—and Vonn has continued to inspire with a bestselling book and 2019 documentary on her storied career and amazing comebacks.

2. A focus on advanced air mobility courses though Wednesday afternoon, with sessions on the future of UAS, the regulatory environment needed to enable AAM, and maintaining secure operations in the decades to come.

3. Aviation loves to give back—and that’s the focus of the Corporate Angel Network Fund reception at 5:30 pm on day two. The event raises critical monies for CAN, which transports cancer patients to treatment centers around the U.S. through its network of corporate flight departments and donors.

Day Three Highlights (Thursday)

1. If you haven’t made it out to KHND, Thursday morning is your chance, and you’ll be able to browse a wide range of the latest models—and pick the next one for your fleet or your company’s flight department. Check out the Owner/Single-Pilot Pavilion to network with peers if your operations lie within this segment.

2. NBAA hosts Collegiate Connect Day on Thursday morning from 9 to 11:30, with students and faculty invited to attend the conference and sessions focused on workforce development and community engagement. Guest speakers U.S. House Representative Dina Titus (D-1-NV) and U.S. House Representative Sam Graves (R-6-MO) will kick off the event.

3. NBAA hosts its National Safety Forum on Thursday morning as well, bringing together air safety inspectors from the National Transportation Safety Board, and sessions on professionalism, safety leadership, and a panel discussion on hot topics.

How to Go

You can still register for NBAA-BACE, which runs from October 12 to 14 in Las Vegas, Nevada, at this link.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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