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NBAA's Air Mail Continues to Evolve, Adds New List Topics

May 13, 2013

NBAA’s Air Mail – the Association's Members-only social network for collaboration and discussion on topics of interest to business aircraft operators – is one of the most popular and frequently used online resources offered by NBAA. Through Air Mail, NBAA Members can ask questions and get real-world answers from their fellow Members on business aviation issues.

Launched in 1997 – seven years before the creation of Facebook and nine years before Twitter – Air Mail continues to evolve and serve the business aviation community in the changing social media landscape.

“What started as a listserv – just a small group of email discussion lists with a few dozen participants – blossomed into a robust community of thousands,” said NBAA’s Director, Internet Communications Jason Wolf. “The big challenge now is keeping Air Mail a fresh, relevant and useful resource.”

Air Mail Forums

In August 2012, NBAA launched Air Mail Forums to allow NBAA Members to participate in Air Mail through a web-based forum.

“In surveys, some Members pleaded with us to transition Air Mail to a ‘modern web-based forum’ while other Members loudly said ‘Whatever you do, don’t change Air Mail to a web based forum!’ That had us scratching our heads for a while to come up with a solution,” Wolf said.

With Air Mail Forums, Members may read Air Mail messages and post messages of their own. They also have access to traditional web forum features, such as “liking” posts, private messaging, personal profile images and lists of top posters.

Air Mail subscribers still may participate via email, which some Members prefer – particularly using mobile devices.

“For ‘old school’ Air Mail subscribers, nothing’s changed,” said Wolf. “Posts sent to either the Air Mail Forum or Air Mail Listerv are shared in both places. We hope that this hybrid approach for Air Mail will give us the best of both worlds.”

New Air Mail Lists

Air Mail is organized into five broad categories: General Discussion Lists, Announcement Lists, Fixed-Wing Aircraft Discussion Lists, Helicopter Discussion Lists and Engine Discussion Lists. Each category may have many focused topic areas.

“We found early in Air Mail’s history that maintaining the noise-to-signal ratio is a challenge,” said Wolf. “By creating topic areas – particularly using mobile devices.

schedulers and dispatchers issues, for example – particularly using mobile devices.

we can allow those with a passion for that topic to have in-depth discussions on the issue.”

The following Air Mail lists were added in April 2013:

  • AgustaWestland – covers AgustaWestland helicopters
  • Embraer – covers Embraer Legacy 600, Legacy 650 and Lineage 1000 aircraft
  • Eclipse – covers Eclipse aircraft
  • Mustang – covers Cessna Citation Mustang aircraft
  • Phenom – covers Embraer Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 aircraft
  • TBM 850 – covers Socata TBM 850-series aircraft

Enforcing Air Mail Rules

"In Member surveys, Air Mail is cited as an important Member benefit, but it's also a source of frustration for some," Wolf noted. Survey feedback frequently includes concern over the actions of some Air Mail participants: off-topic rants unrelated to business aviation, less-than professional behavior and combative comments that can create a hostile environment.

"This year, we're making an effort to deal with Air Mail rules violations in a more direct way," said Wolf.

  • Those who violate the Air Mail rules will receive warning messages, reminding them of the Air Mail rules.
  • Those who violate the rules after such warnings will be suspended for 30 days.
  • Those who violate the rules after returning from a suspension will be suspended from Air Mail permanently.

"Of course for egregious rules violations, NBAA reserves the right to suspend people at any time." said Wolf.

To report violations of the Air Mail rules, participants may do the following:

"We want all Members to be able to learn from the business aviation community's collective expertise on Air Mail, but it's likely that a handful of people won't be able to participate within the rules of this professional forum." said Wolf. "Air Mail – like all forms of social media – is not for everyone."

Future Development

Additional work will begin on enhancing Air Mail for use on mobile devices. Air Mail offers a “digest” feature, where subscribers can receive one compellation of Air Mail posts, rather than being emailed each message individually, but the current deliver format isn’t compatible with iPhones and iPads.

“As Air Mail subscribers know, iPads are always a big topic of discussion on Air Mail, so it’s important that Air Mail itself adapts to the changing environment,” Wolf said.

For more information about Air Mail, including the Air Mail rules, visit http://www.nbaa.org/airmail.