Members gathered at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Welcome Center for the CFBAA Annual Meeting were honored with the presence of NBAA President Ed Bolen, ERAU President Dr. P. Barry Butler and Volusia County Director of the Department of Aviation and Economic Resources Cyrus Callum who oversees Daytona Beach International Airport.
Sponsored by Bombardier, Aviation Manuals, ERAU, Textron, Viasat and Sodexo, the event had 80 reservations. The very excellent meal was catered by Sodexo.
ERAU Educating Workforce & Growing Research Capability
CFBAA members not only learned about ERAU, its 7600 on-campus and 23,000 ERAU WorldWide students, it learned how this critical aviation resource is meeting the workforce crisis with 97% of grads either employed or pursuing advanced degrees. In addition, ERAU has robust K-12 programs including a online curriculum done in partnership with Women in Aviation International and its other K-12 work where it reaches 6,000 students in 40 different classrooms.
Butler discussed the university’s Research Park hard by DAB. “Normally such aviation research facilities take 30 years to fill,” Butler said. “Ours filled in two years and we expect it to double in size in the next few years.”
A nexus between the university’s intellectual and technological recourses, and the partner enterprises, it creates a technology-focused ecosystem bringing together university researchers and students with businesses, entrepreneurs, and start-ups, providing a foundation to start or grow their enterprise. The goals of the Research Park include increasing the university’s research capabilities and collaborations with industry, aiding tenants and start-ups in bringing new innovations to market, and stimulating economic development.
Bolen Praises CFBAA
A great booster for CFBAA, Ed Bolen discussed the importance of business aviation providing not only high-value, high-paying jobs but critical humanitarian work above and beyond its role of enabling businesses to be more successful for employees and other stakeholders. Business aviation, he said, allows them to plant their headquarters beyond the large population areas providing both jobs and economic development to their home towns.
“They are located where they want to be but are still able to compete on the world stage,” he told attendees. “They also help build our NBAA community. Another great example of building community is CFBAA which creates connections. We have a range of issues and challenges but working together improves our ability to go farther, faster which is fundamental to who we are.”
Bolen briefed attendees on how the industry is playing a leading role in sustainability including encouraging development of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and promoting next generation propulsion including hybrid, electric and hydrogen solutions. It also encourages the next step in transport – supersonic flight which has been proven by the military.
Reporting on the odd conjunction of travel trends of business travel declining while business aviation growing, Bolen noted pre-owned market is booming with an historically low inventory. He indicated as jobs and home merged with the advent of the pandemic, people wanted easier, more secure and safer transport than the amount of advanced planning needed for the airlines and turned to private aviation.
“There is still a critical need and emotional value in people getting together and that is what we are seeing with the rise of business aviation,” he concluded. “We are seeing people who have never been in the industry before. The numbers are off the charts. Companies have opportunities they haven’t had until now. These new customers are bringing new excitement to the industry and that can only be good for business aviation.”
Callum briefed attendees on DAB improvements including a new taxiway connected ERAU’s Research Center to the rest of the airport. The airport’s pivotal role for educators, the military, private, business and commercial aviation makes the $14 million in improvements critical to its continued success in Central Florida. In addition to improving the commercial terminal giving it the beach vibe, the airport was declared Florida's Commercial Service Airport of the Year for 2021 by the Florida Department of Transportation although Callum credited the team at the airport for the honor.
He reported that despite the dip in commercial traffic, general aviation traffic made DAB the busiest airport in Central Florida for a time last year. Airport projects included ARFF facilities which were rehabilitated going from worst to first, said Callum, who added two new fire trucks would be joining the fleet shortly. In addition, several taxiways have been refurbished at a cost of $15 million with minimal disruption to airport operations. He also reminded members NBAA BACE was scheduled for Orlando in 2022 where his old stomping ground ORL would host the static display.
Jenny Showalter confers the first CFBAA member of the year award on Kathryn Creedy, Newsletter Editor