First Annual Aviation Blogger Summit

By Robert Mark on September 8th, 2007

I’ve just returned from the first international aviation blogger conference held in a luxurious downtown Chicago hotel overlooking Lake Michigan, not far from where Mayor Daley destroyed Meigs Field (CGX) just a few years ago.

Conference attendance was light – there were only two official bloggers and two completely attentive audience members. One left before the end to catch an early flight back to the U.K. too. The numbers were small because the other blogger and I just cooked up the whole idea a few days ago.

The U.S. aviation blogging world was represented by me from Jetwhine, while the entire European theatre blogging perspective about flying was held together by Norman Rhodes a Triple 7 captain for a major airline and the man in charge of The Digital Aviator. 

I must confess, I’d still like to steal that URL for myself, but I doubt Norman is going to part with it. I’m also envious of the photography this man uses. If you haven’t been to the Digital Aviator yet, stop now and click here … then come back of course. 

The issues discussed in Chicago were blogging and aviation … can one successfully support the other and if so, how. Also, what is the future of blogging and what makes a good blog interesting and another, well, boring. And where do the regulatory agencies like FAA, CAA and EASA fit into all of this among other things.

But the focus was on the mechanics of successful aviation blogging and how to define it. We both agreed that a good blog – from any industry – requires one common ingredient … passion. Without it, there is little chance people will yawn past the first paragraph. In blogging, repeat business is important.

By the end of the conference – Norman paid the bill by the way – we also decided that there were a number of common issues that we could both work on together from either side of the Atlantic to leave the industry just a bit better than we found it, “Batting that ball across the Atlantic,” Norman called it. More on that later.

Will we hold another conference next year? I’d say so. Our breakfast this morning seriously made me realize that we all have much to gain by talking with each other face to face every so often. Here in the states, we’d call someone else picking up the check as value-added.

Next year’s event is sure to draw another massive crowd somewhere in the U.S. or Europe unless we can convince some company to sponsor us at some other exotic location.

Let us know if you want in.

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14 Responses to “First Annual Aviation Blogger Summit”

  1. Bill Maly Says:


    One flaw with your comentary on blogging has to do with your own personal participation. I have writen you a number of times to receive some expert input on how to develop a better blog with never a return comment. As a technician in the aviation field I read your post’s and receive a very elitist perception from the communication. Aviation has a number of talented individuals that enjoy the field and would enjoy communicating with each other, but the industry is filled with many persons that classify their status through their wallets and education. Maybe if we all try to view each other as professional sources our communication would imporove. Just a thought!


  2. Robert Mark Says:

    Well am I ever standing here with egg on my face Bill.

    You sent me an e-mail months ago that I never responded to. Obviously your point is well taken.

    One other flaw with all of this e-mail business is that we are not always as well organized as we think.

    I’ve added a “Yet To be Answered,” folder on my desktop where I’m going to put notes like yours so they don’t fall through the cracks again.


    Egg-Faced in Evanston

  3. Matthew J Says:

    Sounds like an interesting idea. I would be interested in being part of this. Maybe we could do a break-out group at South-By-Southwest (SXSW) here in Austin (March 7th to 11th) where I live. I am an aviation blogger as well and think that we could all learn something from each other. Please let me know next year when you are going to have another meeting.


  4. Robert Mark Says:

    Thanks for this thought Matthew.

    I was just wondering if we might gather up enough people for the next get together. Some private e-mails and yours make me think we do.

    Nice city, Austin. Stationed at Bergstrom when it was still just an Air Force base. Boy did the B-52s smoke on takeoff.

    What is South by Southwest?

  5. Matthew J Says:

    South-By-Southwest is a conference that consists of music, film and interactive media.

    The interactive section is focused on web, blogging, communities, and the future of digital media. You can see their website by doing a Google search for “SXSW”.

  6. Norman Rhodes Says:

    Hey Rob, we seem to have started something here. It’s a great idea and perhaps we should trot with it if not run?
    Your post prompted a small flurry of emails from some of my guests as well, one intimating that I may have picked up a fat cheque for being there! LOL – as if!

    No, we had a great time at our impromptu breakfast. As for the next venue, how about Oshkosh? Captive crowd giving a huge potential audience and a panoply of things to talk about.

    Beating the keys on a few of the ideas at the moment Rob, I am on holiday and need to look interested in stuff like Yoga and gardening before I can escape to my powered parachuting. More to come and thanks for a great couple of hours.

  7. Robert Mark Says:

    Well Norman. It is probably time we tell the truth. You did pick up a fat check at the breakfast.

    In fact, I think you paid the check for all the food because I was broke.

  8. B N Sullivan Says:

    I think it’s a great idea to have such a get-together, too. I’ve been blogging aviation news (in several blogs) since early 2005. I’d love to meet with other aviation bloggers from time to time to shoot the breeze and share ideas.

    I have to admit that when I saw the title of Rob’s post here, my heart sank. How was it that I didn’t know about an event called “Aviation Blogger Summit” (!!) ahead of time?? Then I read the post and felt a little better, heh heh.

    If you decide to do another — please let me know.

  9. Rob Mark Says:

    Norman from The Digital Aviator had a great idea the other day. Why not plan an Aviation Bloggers COnference at next year’s AirVenture event in Oshkosh.

    Sounds like we already have a half dozen folks who will join us.

  10. Norman Rhodes Says:

    Sorry took so long to get back, been distracted (about to move house) and busy up there (roster and family holidays/leave).

    Yes, a capital idea isn’t it. I will need to be sure that I can bid the time off but hey – Oshkosh! Never been there and what a show. Concorde made it one year and the guys had a ball.

    It might involve quite an admin load…. hmmm.

  11. Paul Says:

    I would be very interested in meeting with you guys either in Chicago or Oshkosh this year. Let me know. I think it is a great idea.

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