Conference Recap/Convention Preview
by Marc Dulude
About a month ago, I attended the Textron Aviation Customer Conference in Wichita, Kansas – an event I consider a near requirement as a Citation owner. If you missed it, I strongly recommend attending in the future. There is simply no better opportunity to get close to knowledgeable experts for anything related to Textron’s offerings.
In addition to various Textron Aviation representatives, companies like Garmin and Collins show up with fantastic material and to answer questions. Collins arrived in full force this year with timelines laid out for their various commitments. Garmin’s sessions are almost always a “standing room only” affair. You can also find general managers from numerous Textron service centers, making it easy to inquire about site capabilities, specialties and even specific incidents.
The conference’s receptions are always top notch and allow attendees the opportunity to check out the latest aircraft. I had not yet spent any time looking at the Longitude and happened upon the pilot who is primarily flying that airplane – he was ready to tell me just about anything about its operation and I likely spent almost 30 minutes just around that plane. The same could be done for the Latitude, CJ4, CJ3+ and so on.
And if that wasn’t enough, the keynote speakers this year were simply outstanding. This was the first time that Ron Draper addressed the group as CEO and he nailed it. But, I have a feeling that the keynote provided by Sean Tucker would take first place in any kind of survey. If you heard him speak at our last convention, you’re aware that Sean’s energy knows no bounds.
Speaking of the convention, be sure to save the date (September 4-7). We will be returning to one of CJP’s top rated locations – the legendary Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.
This has truly become a “cannot miss” event that is unparalleled in the world of owner-pilot associations. Whether it is your first, third or eleventh time, you will always walk away having learned something new. And each year, the event gets better and better with additional sessions, more information and fantastic social gatherings. Below are just some of the highlights in store for this year:
- The Broadmoor – high-quality resort and amenities, rated as one of the favorite CJP locations.
- CJP RADAR Course – first ever half-day (plus lunch) radar course with Eric Eliel, founder and president of Radar Training International.
- Safety Programming – best in class safety and operational programming, led by Charlie Precourt, David Miller and Neil Singer.
- Keynote Speakers – including biology professor and 35-year pilot Dr. Kenneth Dial presenting on “Common Patterns Behind Bird and Aircraft Design.” Members that have heard Dr. Dial speak before couldn’t give him high enough praise so we decided to bring him in for a keynote spot.
- Concert – Textron Aviation and CJP present country singer Brett Young as the entertainment during the Friday night auction.
- Exhibitors – record number of partners with exhibits.
- Companion Activities – to be announced as the year goes on, but this part of the convention program has grown the most dramatically in the last few years and people have been loving it.
It is hard to imagine how CJP could be doing better than it is right now. We now have over 1,000 members and almost 700 Citation aircraft in the organization, along with a full agenda of events that you’d be hard pressed to be able to attend them all. With a keen focus on our vision, I know we will continue to improve and find ways to provide even more value to our members. By the way, I hope to see you all in Mackinac Island in a few weeks!