Top Gun at NBAA-BACE

Miguel Lagoa /

It’s a line-up that Maverick would be proud of, and it’s all happening at the 2022 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE).

Top Gun: Maverick is this year’s most successful movie and now three people central to the making of the blockbuster will be part of day two’s opening session at NBAA-BACE in Orlando, Florida. 

The National Business Aviation Association has announced that actress Monica Barbaro (‘Phoenix’ in the film), aerial coordinator and motion picture pilot Kevin LaRosa II, and Blue Angels pilot Frank Weisser will speak at the world’s largest civil aviation show, which takes place October 18-20, 2022 at the Orange County Convention Center.

NBAA-BACE welcomes aviation professionals and enthusiasts from all over the globe and is expected to attract more than 20,000 people. As well as displaying cutting-edge aircraft, best-in-class industry services and advanced avionics, it provides extensive networking opportunities and unveils significant advancements and new products for the business, private and owner-operated aircraft industry.

NBAA President and CEO, Ed Bolen, says: “Top Gun: Maverick was an instant classic and one of the greatest aviation films ever made. It showcased for the world the thrill and exhilaration of aviation. 

“We are honored to have Monica Barbaro, Kevin LaRosa and Frank Weisser with us at NBAA-BACE to give attendees an inside look into the making of the fifth-highest grossing movie ever in the United States.”

Barbaro, who plays the only female fighter among the new recruits in Top Gun: Maverick, underwent intense flight training prior to filming and became a certified pilot during the making of the movie. She will soon be seen on screens in Netflix’s global spy adventure series opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger where the pair will play daughter and father. 

LaRosa is a third-generation pilot and second-generation aerial coordinator and stunt pilot. His impressive C.V., which includes work on more than 100 films and commercial productions, boasts blockbusters such as Iron Man, The Avengers, and Transformers: The Last Knight. 

As well as LaRosa’s movie credentials, he holds type ratings in several Learjet models and a variety of other aircraft.

Meanwhile, U.S. Navy Commander Weisser was deployed in combat on three occasions, including to Afghanistan and Iraq. During Top Gun: Maverick, he flew in the front seat as pilot for the some of the movie’s most memorable and impressive scenes. 

Weisser joined the Blue Angels in 2007 and has amassed more than 5,000 flight hours. His decorations are numerous, among them multiple Meritorious Service Medals and Strike Flight Air Medals. 

In addition to the Top Gun guests, other keynote speakers include third generation NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. During his racing career, he collected 26 career victories, including the 2004 and 2014 Daytona 500s. 

Delegates will also hear from acclaimed astrophysicist, author and scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson who will present his unique perspective on America’s reach for distant horizons. Widely published and a recipient of the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the agency’s highest award for a non-government citizen, Tyson’s next book is Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization.

Also appearing is Tammie Jo Shults, the heroic pilot who safely landed the Southwest flight in April 2018 after an uncontained engine failure damaged the fuselage and caused rapid decompression of the cabin. Her actions that day saved the lives of 148 passengers and crew. 

Other speakers are Billy Nolan, acting FAA Administrator, former commercial airline captain and a U.S. Army veteran fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter pilot, and Patrick Ky, Executive Director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) since 2013 who has 30 years of experience in civil aviation. 

Further highlights at NBAA-BACE include exhibitions by 86 member-companies of the International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA). Executive Director of the IADA, Wayne Starling, says: “Clearly, NBAA-BACE is a special and effective business aviation venue for IADA’s members. Our membership is excited about renewing relationships with their clients and, of course, buying and selling airplanes.”

NBAA has also announced a collaboration with some of the aviation industry’s leading social media influencers who will share highlights of the convention. Among the influencers are Tory Crosby, Mindy Lindheim, Mark Brown, and Sam Chui.

Chui, who has millions of followers across multiple platforms, including 3.1 million YouTube subscribers, will lead NBAA’s influencer program. He says: “I am thrilled to be back at NBAA-BACE this year to bring the latest and greatest business aviation has to offer to my social media followers. From advanced air mobility aircraft and drones to business jets and rotorcraft, NBAA-BACE has it all.”

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the NBAA is the leading organization for companies which rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. 

The association represents more than 10,000 company and professional members and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community.

To register to attend 2022 NBAA-BACE, follow this link.

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