NW Aviation Conference recap

By Ben Sclair

The Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show is a “home game” for us at General Aviation News. It is always great to see so many great friends in one place.


Tracy and Larry Cruz from Wings West Governors were at the show. The fact that Larry was at the show at all, let alone standing and walking, is a miracle. Larry was at the 2011 Reno Air Races and in the box seat that was hit by Galloping Ghost. His prosthetic right arm is still taking some adjustment, but he’s getting better. “You know, they don’t give you an owner’s manual with a prosthetic arm,” said Larry. “As if you’d use it,” was my immediate retort. He grinned and said, “you’re probably right.” Great to see you Larry. Keep on healing friend.


AOPA President Craig Fuller spoke to a nearly fully hall Saturday afternoon. In the realm of advocacy, I had nice conversations with the California Pilots Association‘s Ed Rosiak (President); the Oregon Pilots Association‘s Dennis Smith (President) and Mary Rosenblum (President-Elect); the  Washington Pilots Association‘s David Lucke (President) and Marian Heale (Communications); and AOPA Northwest Mountain Region Manager David Ulane. Suffice it to say, all acknowledge a lot of work still remains.

From the exhibit floor, raised-relief sectional charts from Summit Terragraphics looked great. Car guy, turned airplane guy Kolbi Tabakci (along with dad John) are a little over two years into aircraft detailing with Clean Craft Detailing. The recently passed FAA reauthorization included language beneficial to airports with residential through-the-fence configurations. That made SilverWing at Sandpoint (Idaho) developer Michael Mileski quite pleased. I sat in on a demo of Seattle Avionics FreeFlight app. Wow, is all I can say.


On Saturday evening, the Washington Aviation Association in partnership with Angel Flight West hosted the 2012 Awards Banquet. Angel Flight West honored Robert Schaper as Pilot of the Year and Paul Danis as Wingman. Schaper flew 165 missions and Danis flew 111 missions in 2011. The Washington Aviation Association presented the NW Spirit of Aviation Awards for those who “have gone the extra mile” on behalf of general aviation. Honored this year was Dave Sclair (see plaque below), Dr. Johnny Summers, Tom George and Mark Reynolds (above on left). In addition, show organizer Rachel Hanson honored her 12-year-old son Zachary Hanson (above on right) for his years of service to the show. In fact, Zachary was born on the Sunday of the Northwest Aviation Conference twelve years ago. He’s attended each one since and has taken on more and more responsibilities. Zachary, I can tell you my Dad loved seeing your involvement in the show. Thank you.


2013 will be the 30th annual Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show. If show dates continue as they have in the past, the 2013 installment will be held February 23-24. Make sure to mark your calendar and plan to attend.

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