NBAA Joins with Local Groups to Promote Aviation in Michigan

March 5, 2015 - The Michigan aviation community will converge on the state capitol building in Lansing on March 17, when the Michigan Business Aviation Association (MBAA) and the Michigan Association of Airport Executives hold their annual Legislative Day. Christa Fornarotto, NBAA's vice president of government affairs, will be the featured speaker at this year’s event, which draws aviation stakeholders from around the state, and also serves as the annual meeting for MBAA.

Tara Paksi, administrative director of MBAA, said that Legislative Day has been held annually since 1999 and is an opportunity for aviation advocates to meet with Michigan legislators and educate them about the importance of aviation in the state. “The critical need for funding for the aviation infrastructure in our state is always on the agenda,” said Paksi, noting that educational materials about aviation in Michigan are also distributed to state lawmakers during the event.

Fornarotto said she plans on presenting the latest information on national aviation issues, such as the upcoming FAA reauthorization process, preserving airport and airspace access, privacy issues relating to the implementation of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and updates on the regulation of unmanned aircraft systems. “I also look forward to meeting with individual members of the Michigan state legislature,” she said.

Bob Quinn, NBAA's Midwest regional representative, said that Legislative Day has long been an effective and well-organized way for the Michigan aviation community to reach out to elected officials.

“Protection of funding for general aviation in the state of Michigan is always an important issue, and Legislative Day provides a wonderful opportunity to educate the legislators and continue that dialogue,” said Quinn. “MBAA is to be commended for its dedication and hard work in holding this important annual event.”

Last month, NBAA’s Vice President of Government Affairs Dick Doubrava, also visited Michigan, participating on a panel about FAA reauthorization at the annual Michigan Airport Conference in East Lansing. The Feb. 19 conference was co-sponsored by the Michigan Association of Airport Executives and the Michigan Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics.


Gulfstream/MBAA/WMBAA Education Initiative


Thank you to Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Michigan Business Aviation Association, and West Michigan Business Aviation Association for a fantastic evening of networking and professional development. In addition, we had a wonderful presentation from RAVI the Raviator, and a breathtaking display of the new ‪G650‬.

Grand Ledge Man Earns Rare Honor

Lansing State Journal
Sunday, February 15, 2015
By Rachel Greco

Grand Ledge resident Bill Gehman is just the fourth aviation inductee into the Michigan Transportation Hall of Honor.(Photo: Courtesy photo state of Michigan/Tim Burke)

GRAND LEDGE – Bill Gehman took to the sky in an airplane before ever sitting behind the wheel of a car.

That was 57 years ago, a moment that kicked off a life devoted to aeronautics, and a career that was capped recently when he became just the fourth aviation inductee into Michigan's Transportation Hall of Honor.

For Gehman, now 73, his connection to flying started simply, as a 16-year-old on his father's farm in Vermontville.

Earl Gehman didn't just work the land. He owned his own plane and served as president of the Michigan Flying Farmer's Association for four years. Before he died in 1984 he taught his son that flight was an escape worth investing in.

"Many of the people in Vermontville got their first airplane ride from my dad," said Gehman.

"We flew quite a bit. It was kind of a relaxing thing for me to do, a way for me to get away from everything that was happening on the ground."

Although Gehman eventually got a driver's license, he was hooked on flying. By 19 he had earned his airplane mechanic license and at 21 he had a license to fly commercially.

He would go on to serve as the director of Michigan's Bureau of Aeronautics, director of the Michigan Aeronautics Commission and was a founder of the Michigan Business Aviation Association.

For Gehman, a life-long fascination with the skies and love of flight became more than a career.

Preserving general aviation

Gehman spent his career working to enhance and preserve airports, improve flight safety, and give aviation a voice in state and national government - but he's a pilot at heart.
Before he stopped flying in 2006 he co-piloted government flights and flew places himself. Flying kept him connected to the industry in a tangible way.

"I always loved to fly and have always felt that flying is an important part of our transportation industry," said Gehman. "A lot of the companies that do business in this state use airplanes and need places to land."

He joined the Michigan Department of Transportation in 1974 as assistant chief of airport project programming. In the years since he's been an advocate for the industry.
In the late 1980s Gehman helped develop an aggressive program to save struggling airports throughout the state.

Through MDOT's "Airport Preservation Program" the state purchased about a dozen airports in communities including South Haven, Macomb and Canton townships. Staff worked with the individual community's to find ways to fund and revive them. Most were sold back to local operators after the facility was deemed healthy.

"It was not the intention of the state to be in the airport ownership business," said Gehman.

"Our constituents were airport people and pilots and they wanted something to help preserve these airports. This was an answer."

His efforts also extended to smaller communities were there was limited or no air service. Gehman advocated for funding to enhance those facilities or establish new ones. They were an economic boost to places like Traverse City and Marquette.

Above and beyond

"He definitely had aviation in his blood and spent his entire career working for the advancement of aviation in Michigan," said Mark Noel. "He was also a great guy to work for, very level headed."

Noel, manager of the planning and development section for MDOT's Office of Aeronautics worked with Gehman for over a decade. He describes his dedication as "above and beyond."

That was what set Gehman apart, he said. "More so than any one accomplishment was everything he did outside his normal job duties."

Gehman joined national and state groups devoted to his field and took an active role in many of them.

He and wife Cynthia also raised three children at their Grand Ledge home, two of whom pursued careers in the field as an air traffic controller and in airline construction.

Gehman said his involvement in the founding of the Michigan Business Aviation Association is one of his career highlights. The group is active in legislative activities that improve and benefit business aviation in the state.

The association advocated to make aviation a mainstream and viable player in the state's overall transportation system. It's something pilots and others in the field resisted for years, said Gehman.

"Aviation was kind of separate, by itself," he said. "It was very controversial in that there were a lot of us, including myself, who felt they would lose some of their identity if they became part of mainstream transportation."

The association became a voice for aviation, something that was sorely needed.
"We just couldn't do it all ourselves," said Gehman.

Now retired, the Transportation Hall of Honor induction last November was meaningful.
"I was very honored to be picked," he said. "There were not that many aviation people in the hall of fame and to be one of them means something."

At a glance - Bill Gehman

•Born and raised on a farm in Vermontville
•Graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in aviation engineering in 1965.
•Joined the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1972 as the engineer.
•Joined the State of Michigan Bureau of Aeronautics as an airport engineer in 1974.
•Appointed director of the bureau and director of the Michigan Aeronautics Commission in 1985 and served through 2002.
•Continued his involvement with aviation through his consulting work with Mead & Hunt, retiring in 2013.




Michigan Transportation Hall of Honor Recognizes William E. Gehman as as 2014 Inductee

The Hall of Honor was established in 1971 to publicly recognize those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the development of Michigan's highways, roads and public transportation systems. The Hall of Honor is a permanent display in the Van Wagoner Transportation Building in Lansing.

William E. Gehman is a charter board member of the Michigan Business Aviation Association. With a love of aviation passed on from his father, Bill Gehman received his solo license on his 16th birthday, followed by his private pilot's license on his 17th birthday, and has been flying ever since. Gehman joined the Michigan Department of Transportation in 1974 as assistant chief of airport project programming. During his career, he was director of the Bureau of Aeronautics, director of the Michigan Aeronautics Commission, and chairman of the board of the National Association of State Aviation Officials, He developed a nationally recognized Air Service program and implemented one of the most aggressive general airport preservation programs in the country. He also established an All-Weather Access program for general aviation airports and created a mobile aircraft firefighter training unit. Receiving numerous awards at the state and federal levels, he was appointed by three Michigan governors to statewide aviation task forces. Retired from state service in 2002, Gehman was enshrined in the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame in 2004.

Roger Salo Awarded MAAE's President's Award


September 10, 2014 - Kevin Klein, President of MAAE, presented the MAAE President's Award to Roger Salo for his work on behalf of aviation. Each year the President selects an individual they feel stands out as a supporter of MAAE.


Aeronautics Commission honors northern Michigan aviator, Michigan Business Aviation Association

  • L-R, Chad Piper, Roger Salo, Cliff Maine, Rick Fiddler, John Hatfield, J. David VanderVeen, Cheryl Bush, Jay Orwin and Tara Paksi - photo credit: MDOT Photo Unit
  • Pete Kamarainen, Chair of the Michigan Office of Aeronautics, presenting John Hatfield of Dow Corning with the Michigan Aeronautics Commission's Award of Excellence - photo credit: MDOT Photo Unit
  • Pete Kamarainen, Chair of the Michigan Office of Aeronautics, presenting John Hatfield of Dow Corning with the Michigan Aeronautics Commission's Award of Excellence - photo credit: MDOT Photo Unit
  • John Hatfield of Dow Corning - photo credit: MDOT Photo Unit
  • John Hatfield of Dow Corning - photo credit: MDOT Photo Unit

Contact: Michael Frezell, MDOT Office of Communications
Agency: Transportation

September 10, 2014 -- At its meeting today on Mackinac Island, the Michigan Aeronautics Commission (MAC) presented its Award of Excellence to a longtime northern Michigan aviator and to the Michigan Business Aviation Association.

Paul Fullerton is currently the manager of the Mackinac County Airport in St. Ignace. Fullerton has worked in aviation for more than 35 years serving the citizens of Mackinac County, Mackinac Island, and Bois Blanc Island. The MAC salutes Fullerton for "providing safe, efficient and valued air service" and demonstrating how "aviation provides essential services to communities across the state." 

The Michigan Business Aviation Association is being recognized for advocating for better airport infrastructure, air transport system capacity, security, and other issues affecting aviation. The association also sponsors a variety of aviation scholarships for aspiring pilots, aviation managers, and maintenance technicians enrolled in aviation-related college and technical school programs. The MAC recognizes the association for "working collaboratively to ensure the development and training of future aviation professionals," along with its continued engagement and advocacy to ensure the health of business aviation in the state. 

Every year since 1990, the MAC has recognized individuals and organizations whose innovative contributions have significantly improved facilities, operations or public relations for aviation in Michigan. The MAC provides general supervision of all aeronautics within Michigan. 

MDOT: Working with our partners at airports, bus systems, marine and rail to find innovative solutions for Michigan's transportation systems.


Congratulations 2014 MBAA Scholarship Recipients!

  • L-R, Tim Tomei (NMC), Shane Fisher (EMU), Kimberly Clark (MIAT), Thomas VanHowe (WMU), David Byler (WMU), David Kemp (WMU), and Craig Scalpone (NMC) L-R, Tim Tomei (NMC), Shane Fisher (EMU), Kimberly Clark (MIAT), Thomas VanHowe (WMU), David Byler (WMU), David Kemp (WMU), and Craig Scalpone (NMC)
  • L-R, Aaron Cook (NMC Director of Aviation), and Tim Tomei (NMC) L-R, Aaron Cook (NMC Director of Aviation), and Tim Tomei (NMC)
  • Mike Gortowski (WMU) Mike Gortowski (WMU)
  • L-R, Kimberly Clark (MIAT), and Tim Kissel (VP of Education, MIAT College of Technology) L-R, Kimberly Clark (MIAT), and Tim Kissel (VP of Education, MIAT College of Technology)
  • Josh Galdes (NMC) Josh Galdes (NMC)
  • L-R, Shane Fisher (EMU), and Craig Scalpone (NMU) L-R, Shane Fisher (EMU), and Craig Scalpone (NMU)

FACTS Training Course Awards

Shane Fisher, Eastern Michigan University
Craig Scalpone, Northern Michigan College

MBAA Cash Awards

Tim Tomei, Northern Michigan College
Thomas VanHowe, Western Michigan University
David Byler, Western Michigan University

FlightSafety Co-Pilot International Training Award

Joshua Galdes, Northern Michigan College

CAE SimuFlite King Air BE-200 Initial Maintenance Training Award

David Kemp, Western Michigan University

Rockwell Collins Avionics Training Award

Michael Gortowski, Western Michigan University

Williams International Engine Course Award

Kimberly Clark, Michigan Institute of Aviation & Technology


MBAA 2014 Legislative Day at the Capitol


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

We want to thank members of the Michigan Business Aviation Association, the Michigan Association of Airport Executives, Michigan Aeronautics Commission and legislators from around the state for attending this year's annual legislative day at the Capitol. Over 60 legislators and key staff attended our legislative luncheon. Your continued engagement and advocacy ensures the health of business aviation in our state.

This year, we were pleased to present State Representative Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) with our Aviation Achievement Award. He is a friend to aviation and has been a strong advocate in trying to help us secure permanent funding for airports. We were also fortunate to have Christa Fornarotto, Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Business Aviation Association and Laura Mester, Chief Administrative Officer of the Michigan Department of Transportation as our guest speakers.

Aviation is vital to Michigan's economy, and MBAA's goal of advancing funding for our state's airport infrastructure is key in strengthening our shared future. We look forward to a promising and prosperous 2014, and remain committed to securing sustainable airport funding in Michigan.


MBAA Announces Expanded Education Initiative

January 2014 - The Frank P. Macartney Foundation (FPMF) and the Michigan Business Aviation Association (MBAA) have combined efforts to ensure the aviation foundation remains solid throughout Michigan long into the future.  Both entities have long track records promoting the development and training of future aviation professionals through sponsorship of a variety of aviation scholarships.  Since the FPMF’s inception in 1996, and MBAA’s start in 1998, the scholarship programs have awarded a long list of aviation training and cash awards, with a combined value nearing $1 million.   Benefactors include aspiring pilots, aviation managers and maintenance technicians enrolled in aviation related college & technical school programs throughout Michigan. Read more about the scholarships

Thank you Dassault Falcon for Sponsoring MBAA's Event at WMU's College of Aviation


Board of Directors Award presented
to Bill Gehman


July 23, 2013 - MBAA Presented their Board of Directors Awards to Bill Gehman, who retired earlier this year from Mead and Hunt and also resigned from the MBAA Board of Directors. Bill is one of MBAA’s original board members, along with J. David VanderVeen and Roger Salo. He originally served as technical advisor to the board and worked tirelessly to identify a permanent funding source for Michigan’s airports. With over thirty five years of experience in airports and aviation, Bill has a wealth of knowledge that only years of service and dedication to aviation can bring. Bill has been an outstanding advocate for aviation, and has been instrumental in our efforts at MBAA. His lifelong commitment to aviation has been felt across the state and he leaves a legacy of which he should be extremely proud. Thank you to Bill for your fifteen years of service to MBAA. We wish you the best and you will be missed!


MBAA supports House Bills 4571 (H-2) and 4572 (H-2)

MBAA commends Representative Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) for taking the lead on aviation funding.  MBAA supports House bills 4571 (H-2) and 4572 (H-2) which will, if enacted, provide a stable funding source for aviation infrastructure projects in Michigan.

HB 4571 (H-2) | HB 4572 (H-2)


New Senate Initiative on Contract Towers

Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) – leaders in the recent bipartisan effort to keep contract towers open during debate on the continuing resolution – intend to introduce a free-standing bill early next week when Congress returns from its two week Easter recess to prohibit FAA from closing all 149 contract towers on FAA’s closure list.  AAAE, USCTA, and other groups that have been actively engaged in ongoing efforts to keep contract towers open are supportive of the Moran/Blumenthal bill.

As such, we urge EVERYONE (including the 102 airports whose contract towers were saved, at least for now) to contact the offices of your two U.S. Senators right away and urge them to cosponsor the Moran/Blumenthal legislation.  If your contacts in Senate offices indicate they would like to be a co-sponsor, or if they need additional background or information, please have them contact Tom Bush in Senator Moran’s office (202/224-6521).  If you need phone numbers for your Senators, please click on the web link below.  Please keep us posted on what you hear from your Senate offices.

We also expect that similar legislation will be introduced in the House of Representatives.  Stay tuned for additional details and “marching orders” aimed at building support for these important legislative initiatives.

Given continued opposition from the Administration, gaining enactment of legislation in the near-term to keep towers open will be extremely difficult.  It is critical, however, that we continue to build support behind these initiatives to highlight the importance of contract towers and to lay the groundwork necessary to gain funding for the contract tower program in fiscal year 2014 and beyond.

Keep ringing those phones on Capitol Hill!

Spencer Dickerson
President - Meetings and International
601 Madison St., 4th Floor
Alexandria, VA  22314
phone 703/824-0500, ext. 130


NBAA: Mobilize Online to Support Congressional ATC Tower-Protection Amendment

User-Friendly Online Resources Promote Proposal for Protecting 'Sequestered' Towers

Washington, DC, March 18, 2013 – As the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) considers a plan for closing nearly 170 air traffic control towers, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is calling on the business aviation community to mobilize online in support for a congressional measure that seeks to keep those facilities open.

The FAA has announced its intent to close the towers in response to budget sequestration, which requires the agency to curtail its operational budget for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) recently offered an amendment that would offset the closures using savings from unobligated FAA research and capital funds provided in prior congressional appropriations bills, so that the facilities can remain open. Keep reading



The Michigan Business Aviation Association (MBAA) is committed to advocating for airport infrastructure, air transport system capacity, security and other issues affecting aviation in the State of Michigan.  MBAA is dedicated to general aviation issues at the local, regional and state level.

We provide Voice, Resources, and Networking opportunities for aviation professionals. MBAA was founded in 1998 to represent businesses and individuals with a common interest in preserving and developing air transportation systems. 

If business aviation is your passion, we invite you to experience membership in MBAA.  Our members include corporations, individuals or sole proprietors that own, lease and/or operate aircraft.  Vendors, suppliers, manufacturers, individuals, educators, students or anyone with an interest in the aviation industry are also invited to join MBAA.


Recent News and Events:

SAVE THE DATE: MBAA Annual Day at the Capitol - Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Michigan Airport Conference, February 18 & 19, 2015 - Click Here For Registration

Gov. Snyder Proclaims September 2014 to be Aviation Month in Michigan

Thank you to MBAA's 2014 Golf Sponsors!

Major Sponsors: Amway Aviation, Avflight Corporation, Bombardier Business Aircraft, Dallas Airmotive, Dassault Falcon, Embraer Executive Jets, GCSI, Satcom Direct

Golf Outing Hole Sponsors: Aerospace Services & Products, Inc., AIRDOCS, Arrow Energy, Constant Aviation, Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc., ISBAO Audits, Pentastar, Quality Resources, Rockwell Collins, Westfield Aviation, West Star Aviation, Winner Aviation

MBAA Chair's 2013 Letter to Colleagues

Appointments made to Aeronautics Commission

















































































































































































































































































Michigan Business Aviation Association
120 N. Washington Sq., Suite 110A
Lansing, MI 48933

Telephone 517.371.2223
Fax 517.484.0140

Tara Paksi