NBAA2008 Opening General Session Recognizes Trends, Issues and Contributions to Industry

ORLANDO, FL, October 6, 2008 – NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen welcomed Attendees of the NBAA 61st Annual Meeting & Convention at this morning’s Opening General Session, which featured distinguished speaker Roberto Kobeh González, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) president, along with Ron Kaplan, executive director of the National Aviation Association Hall of Fame, who announced this year’s recipient of the Combs-Gates Award.

To underscore the increasing international presence of business aviation, NBAA invited Kobeh to give this year’s keynote address. The engineer, professor and former deputy general has served as ICAO’s president since 2006. "It is a great pleasure for me to address this Opening Session, and to take part in the largest and most important civil aviation event," said Kobeh.

His address focused on several key issues facing the business aviation community including safety, security, airspace management and environmental concerns. Kobeh commended the excellent safety record of business aviation and advocated for "workable security measures that will not compromise operations, and will help achieve secure air transportation in an intelligent and practical way."

He also championed the use of "NextGen" toward maximizing efficient use of the airspace system, and noted that global aviation accounts for two percent of total emissions, with aircraft now 70 percent more fuel efficient than thirty years ago. Kobeh emphasized the aggressive work that the aviation community continues to pursue in maintaining minimal environmental impact, describing a plan of environmental action to be submitted to the 2009 meeting of the United Nations to revise the Post-Kyoto Agreement.

Also at the session, Executive Director of the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) Ron Kaplan announced the recipient of the 6th annual Combs-Gates Award, which is intended to spur the research and preservation of the nation’s aviation heritage, supporting projects that document the value of the aviation industry to the world. The NAHF was established in Dayton, OH, in 1962, to honor individuals who have made important contributions to the industry and its heritage.

Presented by NAHF enshrinee Colonel Joe Kittinger, this year’s recipient of the $20,000 award is the First Flight Foundation of Kitty Hawk, NC. First Flight Foundation was selected in recognition of its work to resurrect and restore the Wright Brothers National Memorial Monument, a costly six-month project. President John Harris and Executive Director Lola Hilton accepted the award on behalf of the foundation. "May the memorial be a beacon of light to all who dream of flight," Harris said in his acceptance speech.

In a special advance announcement, Ron Kaplan revealed that, during the NAHF’s next annual enshrinement ceremony in June, Cessna’s Russell W. Meyer, Jr. will be officially enshrined into the NAHF, in recognition of Meyer’s historic contributions to the industry.

The session concluded with a ribbon cutting to open the Convention by Federal Aviation Administration Acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell, who thanked NBAA for inviting him to participate in the show, and said he was pleased to be a part of the event.

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