Not Your Father’s GA - MODAERO NextGen Aviation Festival takes off March 16-19, 2016

  • Dec 14, 2015 1:28pm GMT

Some may liken it to “Spring Break for aviation Millennials,” but the buzz around a new, upcoming fly-in/convention/festival may miss the underlying fact that its mission is to serve as far more than a party for pilots. The founders of the Inaugural MODAERO NextGen Aviation Festival - held March 16-19, 2016 at the Conroe - North Houston Regional Airport (KCXO) in Conroe, Texas - see the new industry gathering as essential to the growth of General Aviation.

“MODAERO was created to meet the untapped demand for an aviation event featuring the topics, interests and culture unique to Millennials,” said Brian Columbus, Founder of NextGen Aero, Inc., producer of the event. Columbus, himself in that demographic, is a private pilot and also the publisher of Atlantic Flyer. He said the mission of MODAERO is "To engage, educate and empower the growth segment of the aviation population."

“This demographic, despite being the most thriving in the industry, is lacking a real-world venue to celebrate their own version of aviation culture and community,” said Columbus. “We have seen an explosion in GA’s online and social media spheres, but there has been no purpose-built events targeting this growth demographic. We believe this level of community participation is the key to growing the aviation population again.”

With participation a key word, MODAERO is purposefully designed to be experiential and to provide tangible benefits to its attendees, presenters and sponsors. MODAERO kicks off on March 16th with a career expo followed by three days of forums, indoor and outdoor exhibitions, demos and competitions, film screenings and live entertainment. KCXO, a towered airport with multiple 7,000-foot runways, was selected as the ideal site also due to its Central Southwest location, existing facilities to handle up to 500 aircraft, ample parking for cars and campers, and adjacent conference facilities and hotels. The festival covers 32-acres in all, not including the airport grounds.

MODAERO’s initial speaker roster already boasts a diverse group of industry thought leaders. Among them are Aleks Udris and Colin Cutler of BoldMethod, the leading aviation training website with over 500,000 monthly viewers; Ravi Hutheesing, a pilot working in both the music and aviation industries as a singer-songwriter, aviation author, and motivational speaker; and Emily Carpenter, a private pilot and social media personality known as “Miss Maverick.” Not surprisingly, MODAERO organizers plan to live-stream forums, events and social media feeds during the festival, an aspect as important to savvy sponsors as it is to the participants they seek to reach, and stay connected to after the festival concludes.

Among those sponsors is the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), which on December 14th was announced by NextGen Aero, Inc. as the inaugural Anchor Sponsor of MODAERO.

AOPA Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Jiri Marousek was an early-adopter of MODAERO’s engagement strategy. “The AOPA team is looking forward to supporting MODAERO on launching this new event concept that brings a new perspective and focus,” said Marousek. “"We are looking forward to seeing this Millennial-centered, high-energy event concept come to life for this critical part of the aviation community."