David Franson
December 5, 2013

Congressional Priorities Force Changes In ON-AIR SUMMIT; Supplier Exec Panel Will Replace Elected Officials

And then there were none. As the legislative calendar on Capitol Hill began to move to the right last month, the two Senators who had been invited to serve on the Wichita Aero Club’s ON AIR SUMMIT on December 16 contacted the WAC office to offer their regrets and say they wouldn’t be able to participate. Then Congressman Mike Pompeo’s Chief of Staff voiced a strong concern that the Kansas Fourth District Representative wouldn’t be able to attend, either. When that was confirmed the next day, that left only the head of the House General Aviation Caucus, Representative Sam Graves from Missouri. He held on until it became obvious that both houses of the United States Congress would be extending their schedules to be in session on Monday, December 16, 2013. And then there were none.

Regrettably, the extension of the Congressional sessions has forced the Wichita Aero Club to revise its plan to how the elected officials at it’s annual On-Air Summit at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel at Wichita Airport. Instead, thanks to some eleventh hour flexibility on their part, three representatives from aviation suppliers agreed to make up the panel. Daniel McCoy, Aviation Reporter for the Wichita Business Journal will continue as the moderator of the discussion.

First sequestration and the government shutdown threatened to extend the legislative calendars in the US House and Senate…and then the problems with Obamacare created a host of unanticipated hearings and a flurry of legislation that dashed virtually any hope of seeing the Congress end its current session before December 16–the date of our ON-AIR SUMMIT. The panel, which had taken months to put together, fell victim to unpredictable circumstances. It became obvious that we were not going to be able to proceed with our plans to discuss key issues with members of the Senate and House General Aviation caucuses. While it’s very disappointing to all of us, including members who had already reserved seats for the ON-AIR SUMMIT, there is some good news, too.

We have put together a revised program that will be both interesting and informative. It will be an opportunity to hear from leaders of the companies that supply many of the components and systems used by the industry’s OEMs. We’ve heard from the senior execs of those OEMs in past ON-AIR SUMMITS so now we’ll have the chance to hear about the unique set of challenges and regulations their suppliers face and how they deal with them. Their performance definitely influences the efficiency and success of the airframe manufacturers they serve.

Making up the panel for the Supplier panel will be:
Woody Cottner, founder and vice president of engineering for Global Aviation Technologies, a Wichita-based engineering, consulting and manufacturing operation that provides aircraft owners and operators with component and avionics upgrades;

Jason Cox, Chief Technical Officer for Cox Machine, Inc., a long-time, family-owned provider of machined and fabricated parts and assemblies for the aerospace industry;

Rod Wilson, President of Air Capital Interiors which offers services ranging from complete aircraft interior refurbishments with custom designs and materials to simpler furniture and upholstery repairs.

All of these panelists are industry veterans who deal with diverse customers and concerns. They cover a broad spectrum of the general aviation industry and can offer perspectives from the other side of the supply and demand equation when compared to those of the OEM CEOs from whom we heard last year.

The Wichita Aero Club will honor existing reservations for the December 16 luncheon that were made in anticipation of the ON-AIR SUMMIT. Those wishing to change their plans or get more information on the new program can connect on-line to the Aero Club’s website at www.wichitaaeroclub.org or call 681-4471. Reservations and information can also be obtained by emailing info@wichitaaeroclub.org. The cost to attend the luncheon is $30 for members and $40 for non-members.