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King Air Gathering 2024 Recap


King Air Gathering 2024 Recap

The 2024 King Air Gathering was a success, bringing together King Air owners, operators, pilots, mechanics, and enthusiasts from around the globe to the iconic Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Hosted by King Air Nation and co-host BLR Aerospace, the event was held from May 15th through May 18th and was nothing short of spectacular!

Arrivals began on Tuesday, May 14th, at KLWB, where attendees were greeted and shuttled to the Greenbrier. Early arrivals had the unique opportunity to participate in exclusive Bunker Tours at the Greenbrier, which offered a rare glimpse into Cold War history, as attendees explored the once-secret fallout shelter and relocation facility built for Congress in 1962. The tours were a hit, selling out quickly and leaving attendees fascinated by the historical significance of the site.

The first evening kicked off with a lively Companions’ Casino Slot Tournament sponsored by Textron Aviation. This icebreaker event quickly saw companions getting to know each other amidst the clinking of slot machines and the thrill of friendly competition.

The night culminated in a delightful Welcome Reception hosted by Raisbeck Engineering. Attendees, both old friends and new, mingled and shared laughter, setting a positive and enthusiastic tone for the days ahead.

Thursday marked the official start of the event activities, beginning with a breakfast sponsored by BLR Aerospace. Shortly after, David Johnson, marketing director for King Air Nation, welcomed attendees followed by an informative update given by Textron Aviation. One of the most exciting aspects of the day was the live demonstration of a hot section. Ballard Aviation graciously provided the engine and equipment, while Mint Turbines led the presentation.

Mint Turbines leading the hot section presentation.

Companions attended a ground school led by Zach Cleaver of King Air Academy, focusing on emergency procedures during flight.

Lunches were sponsored by Pratt and Whitney throughout the event.

This year, we reintroduced FBO Time, a segment dedicated to attendees to exchange insights and share experiences about their King Air aircraft. This session facilitated meaningful conversations and fostered a sense of community among King Air enthusiasts.

Dean Benedict giving updates on King Air.

Thursday evening was a highlight of the event, as attendees gathered at Kate's Mountain Lodge for a memorable night filled with cocktails and a gourmet dinner presented by Blackhawk Aerospace. The evening also featured the first-ever King Air Awards, where attendees voted for their favorite aircraft seen at the FBO earlier that day in several categories, including:

  • Best Overall 90
  • Best Overall 200
  • Best Overall 300
  • Best Exterior
  • Furthest Flown
  • Dirty Bird (the dirtiest aircraft)

The winners of the inaugural King Air Awards.

These awards added an element of excitement and friendly competition, celebrating the dedication and pride that King Air owners, operators, and pilots have for their aircraft. The anticipation for next year's awards is already building, with competition heating up among attendees.

After a breakfast sponsored by Aircraft Lighting International, Hasard Lee, a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and author of "The Art of Clear Thinking," which is a number two on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list, captivated the audience with his life stories and powerful decision-making principles, leaving attendees inspired and better equipped to handle high-stress situations in aviation and life. 

"Every year the KAG team knocks it out of the park with their keynote speakers," said Travis Lamance, owner and CEO of Haven Aviation Services Group. "This year we were fortunate to hear Hasard Lee's inspirational message. If you didn't leave with the feeling ready to conquer the world, you must have been asleep. I am very much looking forward to reading his book now."

Hasard Lee giving his presentation.

As the day continued, attendees interacted with exhibitors and learned from aviation experts including Textron Aviation, Garmin, Pratt and Whitney, and more!

"The King Air Gathering is always a great event for the Blackhawk team," said Edwin Black, president of Blackhawk Aerospace. "This unique and legendary air frame offers its operators a wide range of mission capability, and therefore, the King Air will continue to be a staple in the aviation industry for decades to come with the help of aftermarket improvements from STC developers. There's no other event quite like King Air Gathering where owners and operators of the King Air fleet can come together to learn about new programs, review best practices, build community, and have some fun along the way."

KAG Accident and Safety Review by Peter Basile of Textron Aviation.

Dr. David Strahle, founder of Regional Medical Imaging (RMI), led a "Think Pink" session for event attendees on Friday. He shared his knowledge of aviation and radiology to create awareness for a method that detects breast cancer up to six years sooner than mammograms. As said by Strahle, "Trying to find cancer using mammography in women with dense breast tissue is just as difficult as finding a thunderstorm hidden by dense clouds."

"As a group, we were dumbfounded, mesmerized, brought to tears, stoked to rage, and ultimately are all wanting to book a trip to RMI in Flint, Michigan for our next screening," said Cindy Craigen, an event companion.

Sporting her new scarf from Dr. Strahle's "Think Pink" presentation.

The excitement continued with the Live Auction presented by Textron Aviation on Friday evening. The legendary Bill Alberts of Bill Alberts Consulting kept the audience entertained as they bid on auction items graciously donated by KAG sponsors. Items included Winglets with LEDs from BLR, Crown Wing Lockers by Raisbeck, Whisper Props from BLR, LED Caution/Warn/Advisory panels and Gear Status Lights from Luma Technologies, and more. A portion of the proceeds went towards scholarships for King Air mechanics and pilots to ensure growth and a strong future in our beloved King Air segment, as the organization as a whole moves towards a safety foundation and association. More details to come in the coming months on the safety foundation and association with member benefits.

Thanks to Textron Aviation's Diamond Sponsorship, companions enjoyed a variety of engaging activities throughout the event, such as a walking tour of the Greenbrier grounds, wine tasting and charcuterie building, and container gardening. These events provided a wonderful opportunity for attendee companions to relax, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and delight in great conversations.

For those who stayed until Saturday, vendor-sponsored Greenbrier experiences awaited. These included Bourbon and Birdies by BLR Aerospace, Bourbon and Shotguns with Winner Aviation, Fly Fishing with BLR Aerospace, and Croquet and Cocktails for companions (sponsored by Textron Aviation). These activities offered a perfect blend of leisure and camaraderie, wrapping up the event on a high note.

Bourbon and Birdies presented by BLR Aerospace.

Bourbons and Shotguns presented by Winner Aviation.

Fly Fishing presented by BLR Aerospace.

Croquet and Cocktails for companions presented by Textron Aviation.

The 2024 King Air Gathering was a testament to the vibrant and passionate community that surrounds King Air. From historical tours and hands-on workshops to networking opportunities and lively celebrations, the event truly offered something for everyone. The Greenbrier's stunning backdrop enhanced the overall experience with its rich history and luxurious amenities.

“We are very proud to have co-hosted the King Air Gathering 2024 at the Greenbrier in West Virginia, marking our first time co-hosting a major event for the King Air platform," said Chip Keihn, Senior Director of Sales for BLR Aerospace. "Year in and year out, this event brings together a diverse and passionate community of King Air enthusiasts, pilots, and industry leaders for an immersive and educational experience. 2024 was no exception. From insightful keynote speeches to interacting with vendors, the Gathering offers unparalleled opportunities for learning, networking, and celebrating our shared love for King Air."

As we look back on this incredible Gathering, we extend our heartfelt thanks to every sponsor, speaker, and attendee who made it possible. Your enthusiasm and support are what make events like these special.

To stay updated on future events and news, follow us on social media, and don't forget to join our email list. If you’re interested in attending next year’s Gathering or becoming a sponsor, please reach out to us directly. Let's continue to celebrate our shared passion for aviation and the remarkable King Air.

And don't forget to mark your calendars today for the 2025 Gathering, which will take place from March 19th through 22nd in downtown Phoenix, Arizona!

Special thanks to our 2024 King Air Gathering Sponsors: