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WAI, NBAA continue virtual events into 2021WAI, NBAA continue virtual events into 2021

Coronavirus continues to disrupt in-person plans

Women in Aviation International (WAI) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) announced several premier events in 2021 that would be all-virtual rather than in-person, continuing a trend that coincided with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.

United Airlines Boeing 737 first officer Katrina Mittelstadt talks with two potential United pilot applicants during the 2018 International Women in Aviation Conference in Reno, Nevada. The 2021 WAI annual conference will be a virtual event, organizers announced. Photo by Mike Collins.

The thirty-second annual International Women in Aviation Conference will be held online March 11 and 12 because of “COVID-19 pandemic trends,” the group announced in a November 20 news release. The group cited the “safety and wellbeing of [its] members, partners, exhibitors, attendees, and staff” in making the decision.

An in-person conference was previously planned for March 11 to 13 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada. Instead, the group plans to deliver keynotes, educational sessions, workshops, professional development seminars, 2021 scholarship awards, the Pioneer Hall of Fame induction celebration, networking opportunities, and a virtual exhibit hall online.

“We had hoped to gather in-person next year, but as we continued to monitor and follow the local and state recommendations and guidelines for Reno, Nevada, not to mention the growing impact of COVID-19 worldwide, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our in-person event,” said WAI CEO Allison McKay. She said the group was “confident” the virtual event would reach more people “around the world than we might have with an in-person event.”

The NBAA announced two virtual events for the first quarter of 2021 that will incorporate 3D technology to enhance the participant’s experience.

A Flight Operations Conference scheduled February 23 to 25 will be aimed at schedulers, dispatchers, pilots, and others “focused on mission planning, including for international operations.” A Leadership Summit March 24 and 25 will target “current and emerging business aviation innovators.”

Both events are part of the virtual NBAA GO initiative and will be hosted on the “most advanced and immersive technology platform our industry has seen,” promised NBAA Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation Mike Nichols in a November 20 news release.

Plans are in place for attendees, presenters, sponsors, and exhibitors to “network strategically through direct person-to-person meeting rooms, virtual 3D exhibit booths, and dedicated subject matter lounges.”

David Tulis

David Tulis

Associate Editor Web/ePilot
AOPA Associate Editor Web/ePilot David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a private pilot with single-engine land and sea ratings and a tailwheel endorsement. He is also a certificated remote pilot and co-host of the award-winning AOPA Hangar Talk podcast. David enjoys vintage aircraft and photography.
Topics: Aviation Industry, Women in Aviation International, National Business Aviation Association

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