During this electoral season, it’s easy to turn pale to all the political campaign rhetoric; yet just over a week ago, the aerospace industry was given a jolt of inspiration in the form of an energy drink.
The Red Bull Stratos Mission and Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner created an event to set several world records for man’s pursuit of aerospace, and one for YouTube viewership. Where once local air shows fueled interest in aviation, new technologies have made all this more, available online. The mission captivated an online audience of over 8 million viewers. The mission not only surpassed YouTube viewership records for the London Olympics, it drew the nation and world together to witness a unique event of aerospace exploration. A similar piece of history occurred when an estimated 3.2 million people watched the Mars Curiosity mission land on the once elusive red planet.
Like many others, I remember the early days of NASA, the moon walk and many missions since. For younger generations however, Baumgartner’s jump and the Mars Curiosity landing may have become their Neil Armstrong, Chuck Yeager (whose speed of sound flight anniversary coincided with the same day as Baumgartner’s attempt) or Voyager moment. Building off that momentum, is an award-winning weekly TV series on aviation that just signed with PBS for another season.
The NBAA, whose holding it’s annual conference next week, also just announced that it is sponsoring, The Aviators. This series features “interesting people, the latest aircraft, the coolest technology and the best fly-in destinations. It’s action, intensity, and adrenalin mixed with education, entertainment, and beauty. The Aviators is for everyone who has ever gazed skyward,” according to the show’s website. The show is nearly 300 PBS member stations across the U.S. each week and attracts more than 10 million viewers. The NBAA created a “15-second advertisement that promotes the message of the No Plane No Gain program, which NBAA jointly sponsors with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. “
With millions of interested eyeballs watching advancements of aerospace, successful missions and seeing stories of passionate pilots, these moments can reignite the aerospace and private aviation industries. Look no further than visionary Richard Branson’s plans to charter flights to space for another example. The Red Bull Stratos mission and Virgin Galactic plans seemingly go hand-in-hand.
As a former skydiver, my adrenaline rose when Baumgartner stepped out of the capsule and onto the final platform. As a business aircraft professional, I saw the strength of the private sector in space. Together, I was inspired to be an active participant of an industry that is as dynamic and exciting as flying through the air!
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