Meridian Exhibits at NBAA-BACE2019 in Las Vegas

The Meridian team is ready on opening day to receive visitors at its exhibit for the 2019 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Nearly 25,000 industry leaders and professionals from across all 50 U.S. states and 89 countries gathered in Las Vegas for the most inspiring, interactive and innovative convention NBAA has ever hosted. About 100 business aircraft were on display inside the Las Vegas Convention Center and nearby Henderson Executive Airport, where the event took place October 22-24. On the show floor, nearly 1,000 exhibitors, including more than 100 first-time exhibitors, featured incredible displays of their latest offerings, along with an inaugural New Product Showcase.

Meridian had a strong presence as an exhibitor at the event, commonly known as the 2019 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE). The company sent 12 associates to represent its many private aviation services at its 400 sq. ft. booth, including charter sales, flight operations, aircraft management, marketing, and FBO customer service from both Teterboro and Hayward locations. Three key themes prevailed at this year’s convention: innovation, sustainability, and outreach to the next generation.

Innovation in Focus

This year’s NBAA-BACE put new modes of transport, such as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and urban air mobility (UAM) vehicles, front and center. Full-scale prototypes and concepts for the vehicles were thronged by attendees in the all-new UAS/UAM Innovation Display Area.

On the keynote stage, Bolen presented NBAA’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award to record-breaking pilot, military veteran and business leader Ross Perot, Jr., who is partnering with Uber on UAM infrastructure. Head of Uber Elevate, Eric Allison, shared the latest steps toward realizing that vision, and tech entrepreneur Sky Dayton, an investor in electric aircraft startup Joby Aviation, predicted UAM could become a reality in just a few years.

A brand-new composite-bodied aerobatic aircraft, the GameBird GB1, was brought to the stage by Steuart Walton, Game Composites founder and chairman. The stage also featured the iconic jet-propelled wing that “Jetman” Yves Rossy uses to fly like bird, with Rossy sharing the story of how his team developed this experimental technology.

On the show floor, an inaugural New Product Showcase introduced 11 new, distinctive products from a host of innovative companies. Inside the convention center and at Henderson Executive Airport, nearly 100 of the latest business aircraft were on display.

Also at the airport, Gulfstream unveiled its new G700, Bombardier displayed its Learjet 75 Liberty mockup for the first time and Textron Aviation’s newly certified Citation Longitude was on hand. Pilatus introduced the NGX, and other aircraft, including Tecnam’s P2012 Traveller, made their first appearances at NBAA-BACE.

Sustainability a Priority

Sustainability in business aviation was a dominant theme throughout the show, with around two dozen aircraft fueling enroute with SAF, a non-fossil power source that can reduce aviation’s carbon lifecycle emissions by up to 80 percent. Local civic and business leaders issued a proclamation recognizing the business aviation community’s long-standing commitment to sustainability, with an estimated 150,000 gallons of SAF pumped into aircraft at Henderson Executive Airport.

To further sustainability, NBAA joined with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and other industry stakeholders to announce a new Business Aviation Global Sustainability Summit in Washington, DC, in March 2020. A panel of industry leaders, in an “I Want My SAF” forum, offered perspectives about increasing SAF availability and usage before a standing-room only audience.

Over 23,000 people attended NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition held at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Henderson Executive Airport from October 22-24, 2019.

Outreach to the Next-Generation Workforce

Throughout the show, trailblazing aviators were honored, and shared their work to attract the next generation of visionaries to join the business aviation workforce.

Barrington Irving, who in 2007 became the youngest pilot to fly solo around the world, received NBAA’s 2019 American Spirit Award for his work to engage young people in the pursuit of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, and careers in aviation.

Also on the keynote stage, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt, America’s first female fighter pilot, shared her work promoting diversity in aviation, along with retired Air Force general and former NBAA Board Chair Lloyd “Fig” Newton.

On the show’s final day, Careers in Business Aviation Day hosted hundreds of students who attended NBAA-BACE for free, where they heard from FAA Administrator Steve Dickson and Jim Payne, chief pilot on The Perlan Project, who has flown a pressurized glider as high as 76,000 feet, toward a goal of reaching the edge of space.

NBAA also unveiled its 2019 class of Business Aviation Top 40 Under 40 young professionals (YoPros), who are already reshaping the industry.

“This week proved that in business aviation, we want the future, and we want it now,” Bolen said. “That future was on proud display in Las Vegas, with a show that fired the imagination, and inspired us to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible – and that’s what defines aviation.”

The Meridian exhibit is ready for business on its 400 sq. ft. booth location
in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Please join us next year, October 6-8, 2020, when NBAA-BACE heads to Orlando, FL. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

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Meridian Honors New Jersey Aviators into Hall of Fame

On Monday, October 1, 2019, the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey held its 46th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner at the Fiesta Ballroom in Wood-Ridge, NJ. This tribute dinner honors local aviation pioneers and subsidizes the Hall of Fame and Museum, on Fred Wehran Drive in Teterboro, NJ. It is one of the museum’s biggest fund-raising events of the year.

Founded in 1972, the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey preserves the Garden State’s distinguished, two-century aviation and space heritage. Men and women, whose outstanding aeronautical achievements have brought worldwide recognition to the state, are inducted into the Hall of Fame every year.

Meridian is a proud supporter of the museum and attends the Hall of Fame induction dinner every year. Ken Forester, Sr., who founded Meridian with Bob Hewitt back in 1946, was inducted in 2008. This year, the company filled a table of 10 with representatives from different departments, including the FBO, Charter, and Maintenance. The colleagues were there to support the inductees on their big night, and to enjoy an evening with their Teterboro Airport neighbors.

This event recognized four individuals, connected to New Jersey, who have each contributed to advancing human flight. You can read their bios below.

Congratulations to all of the 2019 Aviation Hall of Fame Inductees!

Charles “Chuck” Howard – Decorated Vietnam Army Helicopter combat, dual rated instructor and test pilot, 25 years of service to the Port Authority of NY/NJ, having retired as Chief Pilot of the helicopter unit with more than 19,000 flight hours. Enlisted PA, NY & NJ in the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Developed Regional Hospital Helipad Directory which was used as a national standard. Regional advisor for new hospital helipad planning. Developed helicopter paths for FAA charts. Developed in-flight training program for FAA Air Traffic Controllers. Coordinated multi-state 9/11 helicopter response. Served as Marine One Presidential Helicopter Unit Advisor. Interacted with CIA, FBI, DEA, FAA, NASA, Secret Service and others impacting multiple areas of operations. Transported many heads of state, high level political, military and cabinet staff members. NJAHOF Trustee and Wings & Wheels Co-Chair for several years.

Stephen Pope – A New Jersey resident his entire life, Steve began as an “airport kid,” attaining his pilot ratings at the minimum age and working as a refueler/line boy at airports, including Teterboro, while he was still a teenager. After a successful career at Aviation International News, a Midland Park, New Jersey based aviation publication, Steve joined the staff of Flying Magazine. His hard work and talent resulted in Steve being promoted to Editor-in-chief where he directly supervised the magazine’s staff of full time employees plus numerous freelance writers and photographers. Steve is also very dedicated to the aviation community as a whole: he is a trustee at the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, a Selection Committee Member for the Harrison Ford Legacy in Aviation Award, as well as a past Chairman of Aviation Expo. Steve has one seven Aerospace Journalist of the Year category awards and was named overall Aerospace Journalist of the Year in 2007 when the award was presented at the Paris Air Show. Steve has won the NBAA Gold Wing Journalism Award three times. He is also a Trustee for the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey.

Webster Todd – Lives in Oldwick, he learned to fly at Somerset in 1959. Constructed Princeton Airport 1965. Former President of Princeton Airways, was Special Assistant to Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and then Deputy Special Assistant to President Richard Nixon, Chairman of the National Transportation Board (NTSB) 1977-78, Vice-President Public Affairs for ITR Airlines (d/b/a Frontier Commuter), Senior Vice President – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Has been a pilot for 60 years. Ratings include Certificated Flight Instructor CFII/MEI/SES. Sister is Christine Todd Whitman, former NJ Governor. In addition to spending his entire career in the advancement of aviation and aviation safety, Webster has also been a visiting professor of Aviation at New Jersey universities as well as Ohio State University.

Peter Zaccagnino – Born in New Brunswick, NJ, earned his Undergraduate Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. One of his projects was restoring eight airplanes and building three others. He has flown over 23,000 hours in 260+ aircraft types, including one of his pigets, and tested over 670 aircraft, including 32 prototypes. Pete’s company manages corporate jets. 18 years of racing a Reno have included the finish line win, 2015 Jet Gold Champion, the 2013 Jet Gold Champion at 509 mph, and the fastest qualifying lap at 529 mph. In 2007, he became the Gold Champion in the Sport Class. He is also the owner of High-Performance Aircraft Group, performing flight test services for several manufacturers. Latest endeavors include aviation filming/production. He has produced and been involved with multiple Discovery Channel and Smithsonian Channel pieces and documentaries. Pete is also a retired professor of aerodynamics, meteorology and aviation history. Peter has also been for many years leading humanitarian efforts for our wounded warriors and spearheading flying doctors to provide medical care to Guatemalan orphanages, the Amazon, as well as remote portions of Peru.

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Lou Ramm Honored as “Master Mechanic”

Lou Ramm of Meridian is presented the Charles Taylor Award by Robert Thorson of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Lou Ramm, Meridian Air Charter’s Director of Quality Assurance, was awarded the prestigious Charles Taylor Award in a formal presentation on September 25 at Meridian’s HQ in Teterboro. Robert Thorson, FAA Safety Team Program Manager, presented Lou with the award while members of the Quality Assurance, Charter, and Maintenance teams were on hand along with Executive Management and Lou’s wife, JoAnne, to celebrate this amazing accomplishment.

The Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award is named in honor of Mr. Charles Taylor, the first aviation mechanic in powered flight. Mr. Taylor served as the Wright brothers’ mechanic and is credited with designing and building the engine for their first successful aircraft. The award recognizes the lifetime accomplishments of senior mechanics. In order to be eligible, the recipient must hold a U.S. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) or Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mechanic or repairman certificate, and have 50 or more years of civil and military maintenance experience. 

Lou received his Aircraft and Powerplant (A&P) license in 1969. He then served in Army Aviation as a Crew Chief / DS Maintenance Platoon Supervisor. His experience has included both fixed and rotary wing aircraft in general aviation, both corporate and charter. He also holds an FAA Inspection Authorization. He joined Meridian full-time in 1997, after working the previous four years with Ken Forester, Sr. providing contract maintenance services. 

“I am very honored to receive this award,” Ramm said during the presentation. “It is very rewarding to be acknowledged for your career and the work you have done. It is also humbling to be in the company of other respected Meridian recipients, including Ken Forester, Sr., Vincent Mendola, and John Bahrenburg.”

“We are very proud of Lou,” said Ken Forester, Meridian CEO. “Lou has been a real asset to Meridian and he is deserving of this award. It’s great to see Lou honored for his years of service to both us and the aviation industry.”

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