BRAINERD, MINN. – Astronaut, naval aviator, airline pilot, aviation accident investigator, and air race pilot, Robert “Hoot” Gibson, will speak at the Minnesota Airports Conference, April 20-22, 2016 at Maddens On Gull Lake in Brainerd, Minn.
Gibson entered active duty with the U.S. Navy in 1969. He saw duty aboard the USS Coral Sea and the USS Enterprise, flying combat missions in Southeast Asia in the F-4 Phantom with VF-111. He also made the initial operational carrier deployment of the F-14 Tomcat with VF-1, and is a graduate of the Navy Fighter Weapons School “TOPGUN.”
Selected by NASA in 1978, Gibson became an astronaut in August 1979 and flew five shuttle missions from 1984 to 1995. Gibson participated in the investigation of the Space Shuttle Challenger accident, and also participated in the redesign and recertification of the solid rocket boosters.
Gibson left NASA in 1996 and became a pilot for Southwest Airlines until he retired in 2006, then worked for Benson Space Company as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Test Pilot. Gibson is currently an aviation expert witness and air racer, having won the Unlimited Gold at the National Air Races in Reno, Nevada, in 2015, flying the P-51 Mustang “Strega.”
The Minnesota Airports Conference is sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Airports and the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and facilitated by the Airport Technical Assistance Program (AirTAP).
The conference features experts in aviation and aerospace, technical and safety presentations, an industry trade show, and an awards and recognition program.
Topics will include air service development challenges and emerging trends impacting non-hub airports, airport liability and risk management, the airline pilot shortage, minimum standards, retail fuel versus self fuel, emerging technology to administer and maintain small airports, airport zoning, and what airport owners need to know about unmanned aircraft systems.