How do we grow General Aviation, making more people “Hog Wild for Flying“? A local billboard advertisement got me thinking about how we promote Flying versus other activities.
Here’s a perfect opportunity to share the excitement of General Aviation. But will that happen?
The Red Bull Air Race World Series is coming back to San Diego in May. Last year the air races attracted about 50,000 people in San Diego. Likely more will come this year. Lots of media covering the event. Lots of attractive young people promoting the title sponsor beverage.
So where will General Aviation be at this event? Of course these are GA aerobatic planes, but I mean our kind of GA. Plane manufacturers, equipment and suppliers, FBOs, Schools, Clubs, Organizations. Are any of you planning to be there…to get exposure to 50,000+ people who want to see fast planes? I don’t recall seeing any GA presence at the air races in 2007.
Nor is there a GA promotion presence at the MCAS Miramar Air Show every October, where the 3-day attendance is on the order of half a million people. Ok, maybe one local flying club C-172 on static display, with a couple of sunburned volunteers braving the roasting windswept distant transient ramp. But no real effort to promote GA.
Now, contrast this with NASCAR.
Say what you will about the “good ol’ boy” atmosphere of the participants, fans, and most everything else about NASCAR. They DO bring in the people, media and the automotive industry. Plus a whole lot of other industries that love the exposure, starting with the colorful logos plastered all over the cars and drivers.
Every major vehicle manufacturer is there. Every major supplier. Racing schools. Most anything that has wheels finds a way to get there. Oh yeah, how about home improvement, candy, and cereal to name a few other prominent products. And this excitement breeds excitement by the fans. They love their cars, drivers, and all the logo apparel and paraphenalia that goes with the NASCAR culture. It’s a COMMUNITY, carefully nurtured to the benefit of the sponsors as well as the fans. And the media and entertainment industry eat this up, with all kinds of shows built around racing. All this excitement brings many new fans and sponsors every year. It’s not perfect and there are other issues that limit NASCAR’s growth, but there is a core strength in the COMMUNITY.
There are lessons to be learned here, GA. It’s all about the excitement of a vibrant community. Rewarding for the participants, and enticing for newcomers.
What should our community look like?
More to come…