Printed headline: Make Every Day an Air Show
I couldn’t be prouder to work in aviation. I don’t fix, build or fly anything as part of my job, but as the spokesperson for the maintenance industry on Capitol Hill, I showcase all the ways aviation serves society and how repair stations fit into the bigger picture.
My goal is to help the industry soar by nudging the legislative process in the right direction. Sometimes that means helping good things happen (like new aviation workforce grant programs). Other times, it means preventing bad things from happening (like poorly thought-out congressional mandates).
Showcasing on a grand scale is something our industry does well. The Paris Air Show in June and EAA AirVenture in July feature what’s hot and new in aviation technology as well as celebrate magnificent advancements in flight over the last century.
But we need to do more every day to showcase what we do, not just at a few big annual events attended largely by folks who’ve already been bitten by the aviation bug.
“Showcasing” is public relations and PR and is all about behavior; it’s communicating with the goal of moving others to action. Think about everything we need people to do for our industry to be successful. We need to inspire the next generation of technicians, pilots, cabin crewmembers and engineers to join our industry. We need our current workforce to stay and grow. We need passengers to be and stay confident. We need government policymakers to provide the resources our industry needs to operate efficiently and only to impose new rules when it is absolutely necessary. The list of audiences and behaviors that affects our success goes on and on.
Every company and individual in aviation should be part of the industry’s year-round showcasing effort. Host community open houses at your facilities. Invite elected officials to visit. Work with other companies in your area to coordinate air shows and other events. Speak at schools. Develop an aviation-centric activity for local scouting troops (boys and girls). Get creative!
Folks see aircraft fly overhead every day and have come to take flight for granted. Let’s work together on the ground to remind them about all the ways aviation makes their lives better and showcase our amazing industry!
Work with ARSA—or any other aviation interest group representing you—to show off the value of your work. Contact the association to share great things you’re already doing or to find ways to get started.
Together, we can make every day an air show.
Christian A. Klein is the managing member of Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, overseeing the firm’s policy advocacy practice. He represents trade associations as a registered federal lobbyist and provides strategic communications and legal services. He is executive vice president of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association.