By Fred “Crash” Blechman
Saab, the folks with the great slogan, “Born from Jets,” are the title sponsor for the 11 Business Aircraft and Jet Previews conducted around the country by Airport Journals.
For weeks before the preview’s scheduled appearance at Van Nuys Airport, the weather had been terrible for flying—rain, low stratus clouds and poor visibility. But Saab must have a pact with Mother Nature. On May 25, 24 business aircraft and jets and more than 20 vendors appeared at local host Petersen Aviation’s hangar, and the weather couldn’t have been better!
More than 1,300 people attended this by-invitation event to get up close to some of the aircraft that large corporations can buy—fully or fractionally—or lease, and to become familiar with national facilities and services for those who already fly their own aircraft around the country. Not only was the weather excellent, but Isaac’s Catering provided a wonderful breakfast, delicious lunch and special chocolate-covered strawberries with whipped cream to top off the afternoon.
Attending to registration at a large table in the very lavish entrance area to Petersen Aviation were Laurie Lips, Patty Kovacevich, Nicolette Tinsley and Chad Eatherton. Attendees included Barron Hilton and Bob Hoover, as well as local native Gloria Pall, former pin-up, cover girl and movie starlet (who dated Howard Hughes in the 1950s). Barbara Cesar, owner of Syncro Aviation, attended with 19-year old Ayla Brown, the recipient of this year’s Ed Cesar Foundation Scholarship for pilot training.
Some of the jet aircraft on display included a Beechcraft Premier One, Hawker 400XP and Hawker 850XP; a Piaggio Avanti P-180; a Gulfstream G-100, shown by TWC Aviation; an Adam Aircraft A700; and an Eclipse 500LX, presented by OurPLANE. Single and twin piston-powered aircraft included a Cessna 206 and 182 from Van Nuys Flight Service; Cirrus SR22 GTS and SR22G2; Extra 300L; Diamond Twin Star; Mooney’s Ovation 2GX; Beechcraft King Air B-200; Pilatus PC-12 presented by Omni Shares; Cessna Grand Caravan, Skylane TC and Skyhawk SP, shown by Tom’s Aircraft; and Clay Lacy’s DC-3, Mainliner O’Connor.
Business vendors with booths included Saab (offering free test drives in various Saab cars, including a 9-3 convertible); Syncro Aircraft Interiors (custom interiors); Scheyden (precision sun eyewear); Jet Alliance (fractional ownership); Key Air (executive charter and aircraft management); Keystone Aviation Services (Connecticut’s Waterbury-Oxford Airport); Aero & Marine Tax Professionals; (aircraft/boat tax sales matters); Eclipse Aviation; Total Aircraft Services (enhanced vision systems and cabin management); JetBrella (inlet and exhaust covers); Corporate Air Parts (survival training); Pacific Coast Forecasting (weather, flight planning); JATO Aviation (advanced pilot training); Haggan Aviation (major and minor aircraft maintenance); ENCORE Jet Center (full service FBO); and Aero-Nasch Aviation (aircraft interior upgrades).Everyone had a great time, and many aircraft were sold.