Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 Midwest Aviation Conference and Trade Show Day 2 - More Safety Reminders and Learn to Fly Sessions for Families

Day 2 of the 2011 Midwest Aviation Conference and Trade Show provided a variety of activities for veteran and a future pilots.  The trade show, silent auction benefiting the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, safety briefings and the CFI Revalidation Clinic continued through the afternoon.  Guest speakers Ralph Hood and FAA's Al Gorthy emphasized the need for maintaining consistent standards of aircraft operation and continuous aircrew awareness.  A special feature of today's session was the "Learn to Fly" family activity that featured three flight simulator stations and an autograph session with Erik Lindbergh.  

Ralph Hood emphasizes the need for applying consistent standards

Al Gorthy illustrates how lack of awareness can ruin your day...

Flight simulators were available for kids of all ages to fly

Erik Lindbergh meets the next generation of aviators 

Midwest Aviation Conference and Trade Show Features Rod Hightower, Erik Lindbergh, and Gregg Maryniak

Day 1 of the 2011 Midwest Aviation Conference and Trade Show featured local aviation safety experts as well as internationally known presenters.  The two-day event, sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Flight Instructors Association, has become an annual local institution - a combination of trade show, fund raiser, safety panel, national advocacy update, inspirational testimony and recruiting drive.  Today's agenda was well-organized and smartly executed, a tribute to the legendary St. Louis aviation community.  Here are the highlights of today's session:

The Trade Show and Fundraiser Ran Throughout the Day...

Jeremy Cox, President of the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, prepares auction items at today's fundraiser for the museum.

The Missouri Wing of the Commemorative Air Force was one of the local organizations represented at the trade show, along with Wings of Hope, West County Aero, Ninety-Nines, EAA, Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, St. Louis University, St. Louis Aircraft Sales, Women with Wings, Air Associates and St. Charles Flying Service.

Several hundred aviation professionals gathered for the annual conference...

The Serious Safety Portion...

Jeff Edwards, founder of Avsafe, is an accomplished pilot, flight instructor and FAA designated pilot examiner.  He used his experience with accident investigation to illustrate how lapses in judgement, inexperience and ignorance can lead to disastrous results.

He then joined the panel of local safety experts that fielded questions from the audience. 

EAA President Rod Hightower Gives the Industry Update...

Rod Hightower gave an overview of the current and probable future of general aviation in America, and enhancements to the Young Eagles program that will answer the critics of its effectiveness.  (Future posts will feature the new program when it is announced).  

Erik Lindbergh and Gregg Maryniak Inspire Future Achievement... 

Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles Lindbergh, reflects on his family legacy and his personal struggles with Rheumatoid Arthritis early in his adult life.

Erik Lindbergh tells how he employs the principles of competition for technological goals, or "prizes" as they were once called, to spur measurable advances in various scientific fields.  In the same way the Orteig Prize spurred competition for Charles Lindbergh's historic solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, current incentives for electric aircraft, fuel efficient cars and youth scientific investigation teams have been implemented.   For more information, go to

Gregg Maryniak, President of the McDonnell Planetarium of the St. Louis Science Center and  Chairman of the X-Prize Board of Directors (among other offices he holds), addressed the issues of risk as they applied to Erik Lindbergh's own solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, and to aviation in general.  He described his role as Flight Director for Eric Lindbergh's 2002 flight, and how planning for risk in the areas of Pilot, Aircraft, Environment and External Pressures can reduce the risks involved in aviation.

Erik Lindbergh and Gregg Maryniak take questions from the inspired audience.

Gregg Maryniak (left) and Erik Lindbergh (right) pose with St. Louis' legendary McDonnell Douglas test pilot and certified flight instructor, Joe Dobronski.

Check back tomorrow for coverage of Day 2 of the conference, including youth activities.