Illinois Aviation Conference Soars To New Heights

Springfield, Ill. – The Illinois Aviation Conference will be held May 15-16, 2013 at the iWireless Center/Radisson Hotel in Moline, Illinois. The Illinois Aviation Trades Association, Illinois Public Airports Association and the Illinois Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division (IDOT) sponsor the event.

Guest speakers will include Dr. Jose Ruiz / Mike Robertson of Southern Illinois University (Safety Management Systems), and FAA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Barry Cooper.

Featured speakers will include former astronaut Story Musgrave; Robert Duncan, retired chief operating officer of the largest family-owned aircraft support organization in the world, Duncan Aviation; and newly elected National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President and CEO Tom Hendricks.

NATA’s Tom Hendricks

Tom Hendricks was named president of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) in July 2012. He began his flying career in general aviation. While home from college, Hendricks received his private pilot certificate in Hamilton, Ohio, in the mid-1970s. He comes from a family of aviation enthusiasts.

Prior to joining NATA, he was senior vice president of safety, security and operations for Airlines for America (A4A), formerly the Air Transport Association, beginning in June 2010. He co-chaired both the ADS-B In Aviation Rulemaking Committee and the Working Subcommittee of the NextGen Advisory Committee. Additionally, Hendricks served on the Commercial Aviation Safety Team Executive Committee and the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing System Executive Board.

Prior to joining A4A, Hendricks oversaw day-to-day flight operations at Delta Air Lines as director of line operations. As a captain and air-transport-rated pilot, he also served as a chief pilot in Atlanta and represented Delta on several key industry groups. He has extensive domestic and international flying experience on the Boeing 767-300ER, DC-9, Boeing 727, Lockheed L-1011 Tri Star and MD-88 aircraft.

A retired Air Force Reserve colonel and career fighter pilot, Hendricks also served on active duty as a U.S. Navy officer on the USS Midway (CV-41) and as an instructor pilot at the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School. A native of Fairfield, Ohio, Hendricks graduated from The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics with secondary emphasis in business administration. While attending The Citadel, he was very active in the college flying club. Hendricks is married and has two adult children.

Conference Highlights

Conference highlights include the ever-popular “hangar party,” this year sponsored by Elliott Aviation, and the IDOT Awards Luncheon featuring Dr. Susan Shea, IDOT Aeronautics Director. Completing the event will be the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame banquet installing Tom Cleveland, Max Firebaugh, Walt Kessler, John Reining, and John Sheridan. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Aviation Flotilla 39-08 will receive the “Spirit of Flight Award.”

For additional conference information, go to or call the Illinois Aviation Trades Association at (217) 528-5230.

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