The Aerlex Law Group team was out in full force at the National Business Aviation Association’s Business Aviation Convention & Exposition (NBAA-BACE) October 20-24 in Las Vegas.

The Aerlex Law Group team – attorneys Doug Stuart, Sarah Northcraft Spann, Amanda Applegate and Stephen Hofer, paralegal Radovan Diklich and firm administrator John Youngman – poses together at a reception presented by the National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) and the International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) and held in conjunction with the National Business Aviation Association’s annual Business Aviation Convention & Exposition (NBAA-BACE). Aerlex was one of the sponsors of the IADA/NAFA reception and illuminated globes on the high tables featured the Aerlex logo.

Aerlex President Stephen Hofer and partner Amanda Applegate were joined by Aerlex attorneys Doug Stuart and Sarah Northcraft-Spann, transactional paralegal Rad Diklich and firm administrator John Youngman at BACE and spent time during the days at both the Las Vegas Convention Center, where more than 1,000 exhibitors had booths displaying aviation-related goods and services, and the Henderson Executive Airport, 15 miles south of the Convention Center, where more than 100 business jet aircraft were on static display.  In the evenings, the Aerlex team also attended a whirlwind of receptions and cocktail parties connected with BACE.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson shakes hands with his aviation attorney, Stephen Hofer, in the Green Room at the Las Vegas Convention Center before the legendary basketball player and businessman gave the keynote speech on the first day of 2019 NBAA-BACE.

The convention’s first morning, Tuesday, October 23rd, began with a presentation from keynote speaker Earvin “Magic” Johnson that was equal parts informative, amusing and entertaining.  The basketball superstar, successful entrepreneur and humanitarian fired up more than 1,000 attendees at the opening ceremony by mingling with the crowd and joking about his 6’9″ stature as he described the importance of business aviation in his career.

Aerlex Law Group partner Amanda Applegate with Jeffrey Towers, Vice President and General Counsel of Time Value Property Exchange (TVPX) at a reception sponsored by Stonebriar Commercial Financial at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Talking about his Gulfstream GIII, Johnson said, “This plane has put years on my life for almost 20 years now.  The things I can accomplish now, I never could do without it.  I’m on the road up to 200 days a year, so I need an airplane to take me to multiple cities for my appearances and meetings.  When you think about efficiency, the things that it’s meant to me as a businessman and for getting me back faster to my family – it’s been a blessing owning that aircraft.”

Stephen Hofer chats with Bruce McCaw at the Clay Lacy Aviation booth on the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center. McCaw is one of the founders of McCaw Cable Television, which became McCaw Cellular Communications and later AT&T Wireless. Bruce McCaw is also a member of the Living Legends of Aviation, a pilot recognized for having founded Horizon Air, later sold to Alaska Airlines.

Before giving his keynote address, Johnson spent time talking with Hofer and his wife, Tammy Barr, in the Green Room backstage and then, when Magic took the stage, he gave a “shout out” to “Steve, my aviation lawyer” – reconfirming for the people attending the keynote session Hofer’s long-time recognition in the industry as the “Aviation Attorney to the Stars.”

Stephen Hofer and his wife, Tammy Barr, pose with Michael Amalfitano, President and Chief Executive Officer of Embraer Executive Jets, at a reception sponsored by Stonebriar Commercial Financial. Amalfitano announced at BACE that fractional jet provider Flexjet had placed a $1.4 billion order for 64 Embraer business jets.

Another highlight of the first morning of the convention was the presentation of NBAA’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, the association’s highest honor, to pilot, businessman and aviation champion Ross Perot, Jr.  Perot spent eight years as a pilot in the United States Air Force, and led the effort to establish the U.S. Air Force Memorial in Washington, DC.  In 1982, he co-piloted a Bell 206L-1 LongRanger II, named the “Spirit of Texas,” on the first round-the-world flight by helicopter.  Perot is also a real estate developer who was one of the principal drivers in the effort to establish Alliance Airport (AFW) near Fort Worth, Texas, and he is now pushing urban air mobility (UAM), transportation systems designed to move city residents by air, through a partnership with Uber Elevate.

Bell Textron Inc. unveiled a mockup of its Nexus concept urban air mobility vehicle (UAM) at NBAA-BACE, a vehicle that featured a hybrid/electric propulsion system feeding six tilting ducted fans, each powered by individual electric motors, above a cockpit and four-passenger cabin.

The rapidly evolving nature of the aviation industry was one of the highlights of BACE 2019 and futuristic modes of air transport, such as UAM and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), were on prominent display at the convention, including full-scale prototypes and concept aircraft, a popular attraction in the all-new UAS/UAM Innovation Display Area.  UAM is expected to become an increasingly important part of the urban transportation system in the next several years with the introduction of electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing vehicles (eVTOL) aircraft. These new battery-powered rotorcraft, which will utilize an array of emerging technologies, are expected to be quieter and safer than current helicopters.

Stephen Hofer, President of the Aerlex Law Group and Aerlex Tax Services, LLC, chats with two old friends, Brian Moss, former President and Vice Chairman of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation and former President of the Business Aircraft Division of Bombardier Aerospace Group, and Mark Bloomer, co founder of Bloomer deVere Dahlfors, Inc., at a reception sponsored by Stonebriar Commercial Financial.

Another focal point of the show was Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), non-fossil fuel power sources that can reduce aviation’s carbon emissions by up to 80 percent.  Some 150,000 gallons of SAF were delivered to Henderson Airport and every one of the turbine-powered aircraft that departed the static display at the end of the convention were fueled with SAF.  An “I Want My SAF” forum that featured a panel of experts talking about increasing SAF availability and usage attracted a standing-room only audience.

One of the ceremonies at BACE 2019 was the official entry into service of the Bombardier Global 6500 jet aircraft, powered by new Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engines. Dr. Dirk Geisinger, Director of Business Aviation for Rolls-Royce, addresses the audience at the NBAA static display at Henderson Executive Airport, while Bombardier Aviation President David Coleal looks on and applauds.

A traditional highlight of the NBAA convention is the unveiling of new aircraft and the announcement of big deals and BACE 2019 was no exception.  Bombardier conducted a ceremony at the static for the official entry into service of the Global 6500 jet aircraft powered by new Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engines and displayed its Learjet 75 Liberty mockup for the first time.  Textron Aviation’s newly certified Citation Longitude was on hand and Gulfstream displayed a mockup of the ultra-long-range G700.  Fractional operator Flexjet announced that it had placed an order with Embraer Executive Jets worth $1.4 billion for 64 Phenom 300Es, Praetor 500 and Praetor 600 jets.

Aircraft broker Richard Hodkinson, president of AeroAdvisers Inc., chats with Stephen Hofer during the Rolls-Royce customer reception held on the 55th floor rooftop of the Palms Casino Resort with a panoramic sunset view of the famed Las Vegas Strip as the scenic backdrop.

In summing up this year’s convention in Las Vegas, Aerlex’s Hofer said, “I was really energized and excited by my attendance at NBAA-BACE this year.  I think the 2019 convention demonstrated that the business aviation industry is actively and aggressively looking to the future and recognizes that it must make big strides, both to be more environmentally sensitive and also, at the same time, to meet the ever-increasing needs for the transportation of people in densely packed urban areas.

Stephen Hofer with Stephan Asper, Senior Vice President of Marketing at AIC Title Service in Oklahoma City, and Logan Hansen and Tobias Kleff of Jetcraft Corporation at the reception co-sponsored by the National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA) and the International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA).

“The business aviation community understands it has a part to play in making this a better, more livable world,” Hofer continued, “and the Aerlex Law Group is very enthused by the opportunity to be a part of that transformation.”

Tammy Barr and Stephen Hofer flank 6’9″ Earvin “Magic” Johnson in the Green Room.