A couple of dozen bizav company heads offer an overall optimistic prediction of the industry in a Business Jet Traveler online 10-year outlook picked up for NBAA Convention News. They all bring axes to grind, predicting growing demand in their respective categories, but that’s natural. Why not share the optimism, but prognosticate realistically, for AD&D marketers in this 10-year landscape?
It’s amazing to look at the changing face of the aviation, aerospace and defense industry when the forces of supply and demand run directly into a tightened economic atmosphere that includes higher fuel prices and new markets such as India and China. While, logically, a hunker-down strategy should dominate in a down market, economic forces are actually pushing industry the other way in a frantic battle for long-term prosperity.
I was recently elected to the board of directors of Doc’s Friends, a relatively new not-for-profit. You may know Doc as one of the Seven Dwarves. In this case, that famous Doc is, indeed, the namesake of a vintage B-29 Superfortress manufactured right here in Wichita during WWII. After service, Doc was sent to lie in repose amid the Mojave Desert for 40 years. In 1987 the once-magnificent plane was finally rescued by Tony Mazzolini and a group of historians with a crazy-ambitious dream: Get Doc back in the air.
Doc’s Friends was formed to make that dream a reality. If successful, Doc will be one of only two flying B-29s in the world. It boggles my mind when I contemplate the endless obstacles Doc’s Friends have worked to overcome: the economy, the scarcity of craftsmen who know a nearly lost art, the difficulty of finding or recreating 70-year-old parts. Getting this old B-29 back in the air is a labor of love for a band of passionate, tenacious, inventive volunteers.
But why is it important to spend all this time and effort restoring a former bombing target back to flying condition? Does anyone really care? Should they?
Well, I’m not much for name-dropping, but in this case, I’d like to make an exception. We all remember this George Santayana quote (if not the author):
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
That seems to focus too much on the negative. I contend that remembering our past is also a way to ensure that future generations can repeat the good stuff. You know, like patriotism, sacrifice and service. And there’s certainly a lot worth emulating as we look back at what mid-20th-century Americans accomplished.
So here’s another Santayana quote, and I think this one more aptly fits the rationale for Doc’s restoration:
“We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, remembering that once it was all that was humanly possible.”
I’m sure there were days when winning the war on so many fronts must not have seemed humanly possible. Yet “the greatest generation” did win it – through selfless determination and unfathomable sacrifice.
In that context, getting Doc to once again slip the surly bonds seems entirely worthwhile and attainable. Engines are being acquired and hung. Fuel cells tested and installed. And dedicated volunteers are buckling down to make it all happen.
But we’ll need more help, and lots of it. I hope you’ll consider pitching in on this modern-day war effort in whatever manner, and at whatever level, you can muster. That’s what they did in the 1940s, and that’s what we should do now.
Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to honor those who sacrificed, educate current and future generations, and connect more Americans with their heritage so that we can better understand where we’ve been – and where we’re heading.
For more information visit www.b-29doc.com.
3-D printing is the latest, most fascinating crossover from the industrial research lab to consumer use, because, well, it’s cool. It’s doing everything from creating better prosthetic limbs to customizing your cellphone to, controversially, making metal-detector-impervious automatic weapons in basements. But the technology has been seriously employed in the aviation, aerospace and defense industries for some time now, and we’re going to see it marketed as an important new part of the products we fly.
The 20-plus years of lobbying, rewriting congressional amendments, visiting, meeting, marketing ICT to Southwest Airlines, all with a good deal of cajoling, were essential growth experiences for both Wichita and SWA. This running dialog involved three governors, numerous senators and congressmen, many mayors, a large group of influential CEOs and prominent Wichita entrepreneurs. It was a group of passionate Wichitans and Kansans who demonstrated the very same spirit and drive that defines SWA. Southwest Airlines’ colorful and much-loved 737s, now landing and taking off from Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport, are a symbol of a greater effort, a more determined community, and a brighter future.
With Trace Hughes, SHS copywriting intern
One person’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is another person’s drone. More attention hardly needed to be drawn to the pilotless craft, much in the news for its use as a counter-terrorism strike weapon. But with President Obama’s recent address on drone policy at the National Defense University, the image problem looms overhead like the shadow of, well, a drone. And as we’ve listened to the spin and researched the future of UAVs, we realize someone is going to be faced with the challenge of repositioning the UAV. Given the task, here’s one place we’d start.
If there’s a lack of clarity with the NASA brand today it’s largely because NASA needs to polish the lens and refocus. Right now it’s more a marketing mission than an extraterrestrial one. And it can and should be undertaken. Here’s a good start.
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At the April Ad Age Digital Conference, Delta VP of marketing and digital commerce Bob Kupbens shared how his team is making Delta a “love” brand for consumers, and the challenges this poses for an airline.
“I used to work at Target and when you went to a cocktail party and you told people that you worked at Target, you know what they’d say?” Kupbens asked. “‘I love Target! I’ll give you a big hug!’ You know what people say when you tell them at a cocktail party that you work at Delta? ‘I hate you! You lost my bag! You had me on the tarmac for seven hours. I’m going to kill you!’ It’s different when you work for a love brand.”
Imagine working at the world-renowned NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) every day. Well, the SHS aviation, aerospace and defense team was fortunate enough to do that. Okay, it was only for four days, but we were still working at NASA alongside client Aerion Corporation and NASA DFRC on natural laminar flow (NLF) testing.
Aerion is developing the world’s first supersonic business jet, the SBJ. Their pioneering jet design will take advantage of NLF to use much less power and fuel to achieve and sustain supersonic flight. The applications for subsonic flight are also revolutionary. Read all about it at the Aerion website.
For many people, March Madness means brackets, buckets and Benjamins. For my household it means four-plus weeks of intense travel as a family. Airplanes, busses, hotels, light rails and crowded arenas over and over again. In the midst of this 30-day endurance test comes one saving grace: the comfort and convenience of chartered flight.
My husband works in college athletics and, luckily enough, the team he works for charters a staff plane to transport our group cross-country for the length of our tournament run. Chartered flight has ruined me. I’ve seen the other side of flight, and the grass is indeed greener. Privacy is at premium when you travel, and chartered flight ensured our coaches, team, spirit squad and staff the luxury and convenience of being able to strategize, celebrate and collaborate in a safe, secure environment.