Aircraft Electronics Association 54th Annual Convention and TradeShow

Reno Nevada is known as the “Biggest Little City” in the world and AEA might just be the “Biggest Little Trade Show” in the world. The show officially opened on March 23rd and ran through March 25th. Although not as large as NBAA or HAI, AEA was packed with exhibitors and attendees alike. Everyone the HeliMx team spoke with was very upbeat, positive and telling us that business was not only good, but getting better.

As its name implies, this show is the preeminent venue dedicated solely to the general aviation avionics industry. The show is not open to the general public, and its primary focus is to provide avionics professionals with educational and marketing opportunities between equipment manufacturers, distributors and government certified repair stations. Since my background is in avionics, I was in my element and really enjoying meeting and talking with everyone, seeing the new product presentations and attending the various media briefings. No engines, transmissions or rotor blades, just pure unadulterated avionics. I loved it!

This year’s event featured the introduction of more than 30 new products and systems by various manufacturers, along with more than 75 hours of technical and business management training sessions. Additionally, the AEA Educational Foundation, in partnership with the National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies (NCATT), offered registered attendees free Aircraft Electronics Technician (AET) certification and endorsement exams. Ron Hall, a former Duncan Aviation employee was honored as the 2011 recipient of the AEA Lifetime Achievement Award.

AEA also hosts regional meetings throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and the South Pacific. Besides exhibitors at the meetings, there are also two or three days of regulatory and technical seminars and business management sessions and exhibits. The AEA regional meetings offer a forum to see, hear and learn all about the new technology on the market, network with industry peers and discover best practices for the aviation repair station industry. For more information, you can visit In closing, I just want to say that if you are heavily involved in avionics, you might well consider becoming an AEA member. Then you too can have your own show.

In other news....

On Saturday March 5th, HeliMx magazine editor R. Fred Polak was selected to join HAI’s Technical Committee for his avionics expertise. Fred has been involved in the commercial aviation industry for more than 35 years and has taught hundreds of IA approved courses ranging from individual products to full blown integrated systems.

“We are proud that Fred was chosen to participate in HAI’s technical committee,” says HeliMx editorial director Joe Escobar. “Fred’s passion for the helicopter industry and his avionics technical and training background have made him a valuable part of the HeliMx team, and we anticipate the same value added to the HAI technical committee through his participation.”