Each year since the turn of the century Geneva welcomes the business aviation fraternity to EBACE, The European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition. Although in the shadow of its US counterpart, the NBAA, it has grown each year in size and stature. This year the static display contained over sixty aircraft on a ramp beside the busy international apron. Hence there is no flying display as such, but the hundreds of visiting business aircraft make this a mecca for the business aviation enthusiasts who come and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere on the surrounding roads as they monitor and photograph the movements free from the security paranoia we have come to expect elsewhere. This Swiss hospitality and understanding leads to a booming trade in hotels and restaurants at all price levels without compromising the lifestyle of the business jet executives. This year, in fine weather, both the new generations of light jets and the top level corporate palaces with wings were well represented. What a pleasant way to start the European season.
This year's NATO Tiger Meet was hosted at BA103 Cambrai and enjoyed bright weather on nearly all days except the Spotter's Day on which I visited. The event was also lessened by the withdrawal of squadrons from Belgium, Norway, Hungary and The Netherlands due to ongoing activities in Libya and the impact of the financial crisis. However, it was great for those who came, particularly welcome were the Turkish, Greek, Polish and Portuguese contingents, all fielding F-16s of various versions.