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Legends of Flight

Question. Does aviation have more than its share of legends and heroes? Or does aviation just dole out more honors and awards? I’m biased, but I believe it’s the former. Aviation draws people who climb higher and go farther than most. I was reminded of this recently when I attended the International Air & Space Hall of Fame induction at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

Legends of Flight
NBAA President Ed Bolen accepted the Hall of Fame award on behalf of his organization. NBAA was acknowledged for its 65 years of advocacy.

Celebrating 50 Years

Since its inception in 1963, the International Air & Space Hall of Fame has honored nearly 200 of the world’s most significant members of the aviation community. Their contributions and innovative spirits have left a mark on our world. The class of 2013 includes my father, internationally renowned air-to-air photographer Paul Bowen. Our family was there en masse. Beaming. As were the families of the other honorees. The complete list:

  • WWII Flying Ace and quintessential fighter pilot Dean “Diz” Laird
  • WWII 357th Fighter Group “Yoxford Boys” Triple Ace Bud Anderson
  • Red Bull Stratos Project/High Altitude Jumpers: Felix Baumgartner, retired Air Force Colonel Joe Kittinger and Art Thompson
  • NASA’s Mission Control, with Glynn Lunney, Gene Kranz
  • Apollo 16’s lunar-visiting team: John Young, Ken Mattingly and Charlie Duke
  • Air-travel pioneer and former American Airlines Chairman/CEO Bob Crandall
  • National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) with President Ed Bolen accepting
  • US Airways Flight 1549 Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and the “Miracle on the Hudson” crew
  • And my stunning-image-capturing dad, Paul Bowen
Legends of Flight
2013 International Air & Space Hall of Fame Honorees gather for a pre-event press conference. Photo courtesy James Maciariello, Masterwork Image.

Pushing Us Forward

This diverse group of moonwalking, skydiving, lifesaving, freedom-protecting, icon-building individuals share common traits. Courage. Passion. Skill. Patriotism. The actions they’ve taken and the example they’ve set inspire the rest of us.

The Future of Aviation

Perhaps what I took away most from this evening with family and friends old and new was how the actions of others affect us. The humble men and women inducted into the Hall of Fame were quick to credit and acknowledge others as equally deserving of recognition – and to rally the crowd to reach out to the next generation. Over and again, I heard them talk about the need to inspire young people. To spark their curiosity. To ratchet up the cool factor for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. The human spirit, once ignited, can accomplish most anything. For proof, just look at the 2013 Hall of Fame inductees.

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is one of the leading providers of K-12 STEM education in Balboa Park. Proceeds from the induction ceremony benefit SDASM youth educational programs, which help educate and prepare more than 11,000 children for careers in STEM fields.

Legends of Flight
The Legends of Flight gala felt extra special as it also celebrated the museum’s 50th anniversary.

Published in the November 28 edition of BlueSky Business Aviation News.

Why Test Your Website? Ask the Government.

The launch of the America’s had a few glitches. And by “a few glitches,” I mean an enormous number of horrendous, insurmountable failures at all levels of the site. Why did this happen? Because the site wasn’t properly tested before it went live. And when problems became apparent during the testing that was done – such as the fact that the site crashed when only a few hundred people had logged on – those problems were ignored. The whole thing was rushed, and the result was headlines proclaiming the end of the world. And no one wants that.

Web Design for AirRowe
A full-flood image such as the one on could cause the site to load slowly. If testing shows a problem, graphics can be optimized – as this one has – to greatly reduce load times.

While your website probably isn’t as large or complicated as the healthcare site, it’s still crucial to your business. The impression visitors have of your site will affect your bottom line, good or bad, and it’s largely under your control. By taking the following steps before you launch, you can eliminate obstacles that cause visitors to moan and mutter – and leave with an, um, uncharitable opinion.

Responsive Mobile Website
Sites that automatically scale to accommodate everything form desktop to tablet to smartphone can cause graphics to display improperly. When testing shows issues, they can usually be addressed. Here, the moves independently to optimize the layout for mobile-size screens. By the way, these days virtually every site should be responsive, which means it’s able to seamlessly scale to match the user device – whether that’s a smartphone, tablet or desktop.

Usability Testing

Testing should start before the site is even built. That’s often overlooked in web design processes, but it’s the most crucial step. You’re looking to see whether visitors can find what they’re looking for, and that the website’s features are easy to use. Because a site that’s confusing translates into unhappy visitors who can, and will, say horrible, terrible things about you on Facebook. And no one wants that.

Usability testing is simple and painless. You put real live human beings in front of a prototype of the site and give them tasks to complete that represent typical things a visitor might want to do. A moderator watches the user interact with the prototype and marks the time it takes to complete the task. If a task takes too long or can’t be completed, the information on the site needs to be reorganized and retested until the task can be completed quickly.

Code Testing

Begin the second stage of testing after the site is built, but before it goes live. At this point you’re making sure the site does what it’s supposed to. Check each link to make sure it goes where it should. Fill out and send contact and other forms to see if anything breaks along the way. Click every single thing that does something when clicked. Crosscheck the site with various browsers and operating systems to ensure that the design holds up. At the end of this stage you should be confident that your visitors won’t end up viewing “Page Not Found” screens or getting error messages, both of which plagued the healthcare website at launch.

Homepage Responsive Design
When your business model is all about “Right from the start” like Dallas Airmotive’s, the launch of the new needed to go off without a hitch.



Performance Testing

You might not have millions of visitors to your site to gum up the works, but other hidden factors can cause it to load slower than it should. And a site that loads one second slower than visitors think it should will cause them to abandon it and go somewhere else. This is especially true when dealing with the mobile version, since there’s extra loading time involved while the smartphone contacts a cell tower.

You can take steps to make your site as speedy as possible, like making sure that all the graphics on the site are optimized. Or reducing the number of Javascript files that need to load. Every little bit helps, so leave no stone unturned in whittling down the time it takes for your site to load.

Redesigned homepage
Sites such as that tie in to large user databases can present a whole set of performance issues. Proper testing can identify the problems so they can be addressed before the site goes live.

Test or Risk the Wrath of the Internet

Don’t let the government’s “test, schmest” policy influence your own decisions about testing your website thoroughly. The moral of this cautionary tale is that even though you might have a tight launch deadline or limited testing resources, failing to take the time to properly test can be a larger issue than pushing your deadline back a day or two. And by “larger issue,” I mean an angry mob with pitchforks and torches.

*This article originally appeared in the November 21 issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.

Bombardier Learjet Salutes 50 High-Flying Years

Bill Lear brought his impossible dream to Wichita and willed it to life 50 years ago. Creating the first business jet put our world into a faster spin. Bringing movers and shakers face to face. Anytime. Anywhere. Bombardier celebrated the half-century anniversary of this iconic jet just as you’d expect. All out.

Telling an Epic Story

Bombardier entrusted us to chronicle the game-changing Learjet story – in a book and an environmental display. We felt gratitude and tremendous responsibility to get it right. The birth of the Learjet is part of our heritage as citizens of the Air Capital.

Learjet History Wall Display
Prescient words from Bill Lear, “If it looks good, it will fly good.”

Bombardier Learjet Book Cover
The Business Jet That Changed the World was created specifically and exclusively for the people of Bombardier Learjet.
Learjet Timeline Book Spread
The legendary Learjet 23 delivered speeds up to 552 miles per hour and sold for $595,000.

Genius-inventor Bill Lear originally planned to build and certify his plane in Geneva, but yanked everything to Wichita when things weren’t moving fast enough. Here on the Kansas prairie the pace quickened. He moved his fledgling team into a new facility in January 1963 and sat an audacious goal: to build the plane and get it in the air. In less than a year. The company motto: “Charge!”

Audacity Backed by Brilliance

The industry guffawed saying it would take 10 years and multiples of the capital Lear had to spend. But not only did the team achieve the impossible – following the first flight on Oct. 7, 1963, the Learjet 23 earned FAA type certification in a record-breaking 10 months. Even better, within a year the aircraft had generated more than 100 orders. It seemed everyone wanted a Learjet. Lear perhaps said it best: “The Learjet is more than a masterpiece. It is living proof of what free men can still do in a free world.”

Within the book’s spreads, the story unfolds from the Learjet 20 series up to the Learjet 85. The people of Bombardier Learjet possessed the imagination, talent and vision to start a revolution. And half a century later, the people of Bombardier keep dreaming and pushing boundaries. The legend flies on. The revolution never ends.

1963 Learjet at NBAA 2013
The Bombardier static display at Henderson Executive Airport served as a NBAA show highpoint. A major draw: Clay Lacy’s original Learjet 23, flown by test pilots Hank Beaird and Bob Hagan on that historic day in October 1963. Retro touches – from vintage luggage to ’60s-inspired flight-attendant uniforms – added to the vibe. Bill Lear would have approved.


A Winning NBAA 2013

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Except if you’re NBAA. What takes place at its turbocharged tradeshow ripples throughout the world. GiGi loves it all. From the grand-opening session right down to the last walkabout at the static.  And, yes, GiGi accompanied us this year. Did you catch sight of her? She cropped up in the most unusual places.

While GiGi was scoping things out, our team provided on-the-ground, media-relations support for USAIG and Colt International’s product launches, attended industry briefings to stay in-the-know, evaluated our clients’ competitors, and talked, talked, talked. We listened, too.

To Wheels Up CEO Kenny Dichter, whose bold venture is generating big buzz. To Honda Aircraft CEO Michimasa Fujino, who grinned like the engineer he is when saying his light jet starts with a sports-car-like touch of a button. To NORDAM CEO Meredith Siegfried, who does her father’s memory proud as she expands the company’s global footprint.

Honors for Harrison Do the Industry Proud

NBAA hit the jackpot by presenting Harrison Ford with its 2013 Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership. Ford played many heroes – Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Jack Ryan – but his real-life efforts propel him above anything on the big screen. And, his acceptance speech pledges even more to come.


“I have done what I’ve been able to do,” Ford said, “and upon receipt of this high honor I promise to redouble my efforts to be of more use, to try and make myself available for more of the good missions that can provide service to people in need.”

Ford and Bolen
NBAA President Ed Bolen said Ford “channels his passion for flight into demonstrating the vital humanitarian role that general aviation provides every day, in places all around the world.”

Harrison Ford at NBAA
The Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leader was created in 2006 in recognition of its namesake’s lifelong dedication to philanthropic causes. Ford accepted the award during the NBAA opening ceremony.

Not only does Ford deserve this honor, but his fame will help spread the word about the many contributions aviation makes to better our world. This award especially resonates with Greteman Group and our client FlightSafety International. Its founder, the late Al Ueltschi, devoted equal drive to humanitarian pursuits. Celebrating the industry’s efforts for good, said Ford, “can only help to bring credit and proper understanding to the role that general aviation plays.”

Visitors enjoy the Bombardier Challenger 350 mockup on display.

In celebration of Learjet’s 50th anniversary, iconic aircraft were displayed from over the years.

The Learjet static display gleams in the Las Vegas sunshine at NBAA.

Playing the Cards

Aviation was dealt a bad hand in 2008, from which it’s still recovering. But we saw many encouraging signs at NBAA2013. Things that will influence future aviation purchasing decisions. Positively. The industry holds some sure aces.

FlightSafety Lives Up to Its Name

FlightSafety International. It’s a straightforward title. And it captures the essence of the company. For this year’s National Business Aviation Association’s convention, FlightSafety honed its message, simply stating: “Safety. It’s in our name.”

The FlightSafety name is well-known – perhaps universally known – in the business aviation world, as the long-time professional training leader. The company is justly proud of that legacy and the depth of expertise it implies. But it’s equally proud of its endlessly innovative approach to training and its leading-edge training technology.

This year’s booth seamlessly conveyed multiple themes. Within the company’s established, familiar brand, clean, bright graphics drew attention, while understated secondary messaging spelled out highlights of the company’s focus on safety.

Safety All the Way FlightSafety at NBAA

And that extends to the company’s very core. Everything FlightSafety does connects directly to professional aviation safety. Pilot training for the majority of aircraft. Maintenance training that emphasizes troubleshooting and prevention. Cabin attendant and scheduler/dispatcher training that focuses on safe operations. All of that makes “Safety. It’s in our name” powerful and memorable.

Videos took the message more in-depth. One video animated FlightSafety’s compelling message with motion graphics and upbeat music. Another gave a quick but informative overview of the FlightSafety Training Materials App, which is transforming training by replacing voluminous stacks of printed material. An interactive kiosk let visitors explore the app on their own.

The booth turned heads and presented FlightSafety as the modern training leader, resolutely focused on enhancing aviation safety.

New video showcases how training materials iPad app builds proficiency.

Signature’s Focus on Service Extends to the Web

Signature Flight Support services begin long before you land at one of the company’s 100-plus worldwide locations. As soon as a flight is contemplated, planners begin checking a wide range of information – from airport locations to fuel prices to car rentals and much more.

Increasingly, they’re finding what they need right on the Signature website.

The dynamic new site delivers. No matter what type of device you’re using – desktop, tablet, smartphone – responsive design scales accordingly to present readable, easy-to-find and easy-to-navigate information and services.

A One-Stop Service Center A review of website analytics helped guide design for the site’s intuitive navigation and ensure an optimum user experience. It’s easier than ever to keep abreast of Signature’s constantly changing bonuses and promotions.

The site serves as the gateway to a range of valuable services.

  • Search locations – sort by airport code, city, state, country.
  • Handle reservations and pre-arrival notifications.
  • Take advantage of a built-in fuel price calculator.
  • Easily access links to flight planning websites.
  • Use a proprietary hotel booking tool – get preferred rates.
  • Check out local weather conditions and forecasts.

In sum, Signature’s new online presence is far more than just a website – it’s a comprehensive customer service portal. Proving that beauty can be much more than skin deep.

Dallas Airmotive Struts New Plumage

Renewal, rebirth and a beautiful shining bird, rising from its predecessor’s ashes. That’s the symbolism behind Dallas Airmotive’s new brand. It supports the daily mission: repair and overhaul turbine engines so they fly again. And it confirms the company’s ongoing transformation into a global leader in turbine engine repair technology and rapid AOG response.

Getting it Right

The newly designed logo shows a turbine transforming into the head of a phoenix, signifying an engine’s renewal and embodying Dallas Airmotive’s expert services. A new tagline, “Right from the start. There when you need us.” emphasizes that from day one in 1932 right up to the present they’ve been getting it right. Engines change but Dallas Airmotive still delivers them on time and done right.

The company spread the wings of its new brand at NBAA 2013. A new website, photography, messaging and collateral materials all incorporated the new brand. That helped Dallas Airmotive attract news coverage during the highly competitive show.

Responsive Design Dallas Airmotive The company supports corporate, commercial, government, military and helicopter operators – ensuring that their aircraft are ready to take flight anytime, anywhere. Whether through scheduled maintenance or AOG, Dallas Airmotive takes care of customers all around the world. But now they’re reaching out to them with a bold new brand and message.

Al Ueltschi of FlightSafety International, A Legend Among Pilots

One of the National Business Aviation Association’s most important roles is to make the case for private aviation to the larger community. The organization hit one out of the park by presenting Harrison Ford with its 2013 Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership.

Ford has played many heroes – Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Jack Ryan – but his real-life efforts propel him above anything he’s done on the big screen. Just look at this partial list of humanitarian efforts.

  • Chairman and volunteer pilot transporting athletes for the Cessna Special Olympics Airlift.
  • Volunteer pilot for the Corporate Angel Network, flying cancer patients to treatment centers.
  • Chairman and volunteer pilot for the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program, giving hundreds of young people their first taste of flight.
  • Regular volunteer for search-and-rescue missions, including finding and transporting lost hikers.
  • Participant in relief missions flying doctors and supplies into Haiti after its catastrophic earthquake.
  • Frequent and effective spokesman for the critical humanitarian and economic roles of general aviation.
Harrison Ford Giving NBAA Speech
Past recipients of this award include Fred Smith (2012), Bill Frist (2011), Haiti business aviation response (2010), Civil Air Patrol (2009), Corporate Angel Network (2008), Veterans Airlift Command (2007), and Cessna Citation Special Olympics Airlift (2006).

Doubly Dedicated

“I am humbled and not just a little embarrassed by this award and this attention,” Ford said, visibly moved. “I have done what I’ve been able to do and upon receipt of this high honor I promise to redouble my efforts to be of more use, to try and make myself available for more of the good missions that can provide service to people in need.”

Ford’s celebrity makes him an ideal choice for this award. Not only does he deserve the honor, but his fame increases the likelihood that the story will play outside the close-knit aviation community, helping to spreading the word about the many contributions aviation makes to a better our world.

Advancing a Legacy

On a side note, this award carries special resonance for our agency and for our client, FlightSafety International. The late Al Ueltschi started FlightSafety in a small rented space at LaGuardia and built it into an internationally recognized training leader. He devoted that same drive to various humanitarian pursuits – most notably Orbis, which works in developing countries to save eyesight. It began as little more than an idea and, with Ueltschi’s help, has become a global organization that has trained hundreds of thousands of eye-care professionals and treated millions of blind and visually impaired people.

Good things happen when we celebrate the industry’s humanitarian efforts. Ford said that “can only help to bring credit and proper understanding to the role that general aviation plays.”

Congratulations to Harrison Ford and to NBAA for its solid choice.

Ford and Bolen
NBAA President Ed Bolen said Ford “channels his passion for flight into demonstrating the vital humanitarian role that general aviation provides every day, in places all around the world.”