So you want to Plan a BACFest?


Staff member
I've been watching the comments regarding BACFest on another thread and decided to give this topic it's own home. 

The location for BACFest is not decided unilaterally and is certainly open for suggestion.  We have 11 Regional Directors in this Club, all of whom sit on the Board of Directors and represent the 1018 members who reside and fly in all of those regions throughout the world.  Every one of those members has a voice and each one of those voices will, at the very least, be listened to. 

If you have an idea, a suggestion, or want to assist the Club in any manner by volunteering, then speak up.  Post it in the forum.  If you are not comfortable with posting your intentions in the forum, then get hold of your Regional Director and let them know how you feel, what your suggestion is, or how you would like to assist your Club by volunteering for one of the many positions that could assist us all.  If you don't know what region you are in, look in your profile, it is generated there based on the State that you live in.  Or, better yet click on Member Resources/BAC Regions and you can find out that way.  Don't know who your Regional Director is, click on Member Resources/Club Officers, Director & Board Members. They are all listed there and can be contacted by Direct Messaging feature of the website.  I know the Regional Directors are currently working on updating Constant Contact lists so that they can communicate more directly with members in their regions, but that takes horsepower.  Perhaps start there and help your Region to complete that task.

I want to address the comment about BACFest being "fixed" the last couple years.  In short, yes it was, and for good reason.  At BACFest 2019, it was announced that BACFest 2020 would be held at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tullahoma, TN.  The spin off from hosting BACFest 2020 in that location was that there was a parallel project happening that would allow us to re-dedicate N2303Z to the museum, sporting her original livery as she rolled out for the "Fabulous Flight of the Three Musketeers".  Also the Club was working at becoming a Divisional member of the museum, a dream of many Charter members right from the inception of the Club in 2004.  Unfortunately, COVID-19 struck in 2020 and BACFest 2020 was cancelled.  The location for BACFest2021 was already chosen and and so your Board of Directors had a choice to make.  Either we missed the opportunity at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum or we roll everything back by one year.  We, as a Board, chose the latter.  So, BACFest 2020 became BACFest 2021 and the location for BACFest 2021 became the location for BACFest 2022.  This made sense from the perspective that all the planning had essentially already been completed for Tullahoma and all that remained was to continually circle back to confirm bookings and keep our eyes on the COVID situation.  Simple, right?  It also allowed an extra year to plan BACFest 2022 in Palm Springs, CA.  All of these decisions were made with the full support of the Board of Directors, your voice in the Club.

So, BACFest 2022 was announced at the Annual General Meeting in Tullahoma and the planning is underway with Mike Dunlevie, the North Central Regional Director heading up the Planning Committee.  Why the North Central Director?  Because Mike has very close ties with the host airport and it just seemed logical to the Board.  Besides, Micheal was the one who stepped forward and not only suggested the Bermuda Dunes airport (KUDD), but he also volunteered in 2020 to be the organizer and host of this event.  I'm sure that Mike would love to have some Southwest Regional members assist him in any way they can to help make the job of organizing and running BACFest 2022 easier.

Speaking of the Annual General Meeting, it is always conducted at BACFest and for the last three years we have also been broadcasting it "Virtually" via our GoToMeeting platform so that those who can't attend BACFest can at least tune in to the Annual General Meeting.  In 2019 in Denver we had no one tune in.  In 2020 during COVID the AGM was conducted Virtually with 30 members tuning in, and this year in Tullahoma we only had one member tune in to the meeting.  The resource is there, the notices are posted to the forum, you just need to tune in to participate.

Our Annual Awards Banquet is also conducted during BACFest and is always a lot of fun. 

Back to Planning a BACFest.  Much like Fly-ins, any member can suggest, plan or run a BACFest.  If you have a suggestion or would like to see BACFest run in your area or region, then reach out to your Regional Director or any member of the Board and let us know what your thoughts or interests are.  If you want to help with the planning or operation of the current BACFest then the same applies, or contact the organizer Mike Dunlevie directly.  I'm sure he would appreciate the help.  Some of the tings to keep in mind when thinking of undertaking the Planning of a BACFest are:

BACFest criteria - this is a rudimentary list of things that must be considered as part of BACFest anywhere planning

  • Hotel Room Rates in the $100 range
  • Close to the host airport
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Restaurant options nearby
  • Bar options nearby
  • Must have meeting room facilities – Annual General Meeting
  • Must have catering ability or a caterer nearby that the hotel works with
  • Transportation to/from airport & hotel would be ideal
  • Are meals provided or are meals user pay?
  • Is there a local facility that can host the Annual Awards Banquet or is the hotel/caterer capable
Activities at the hotel

  • Secure a room block between 20-35 rooms; are additional rooms available
  • Know what penalties are involved if room block not met
  • Hospitality suite available for gathering on Thursday, Friday & Saturday
  • Negotiate a minimal food & beverage requirement (hopefully no minimum)
  • Negotiate no charge for rooms where food & beverage are served
  • Receptions possibly on Thursday and Friday nights (plan for 50-75 people)
  • Luncheon on Friday and Saturday (plan room sets)
  • Banquet Saturday night (plan for 50-75 people)
This list is not all encompassing, nor is it intended to be, but it comprises the minimum considerations before a BACFest event can even be considered at a particular location.

Finally, BACFest is not the only event that the Beech Aero Club hosts or participates in.  Your Board of Directors and other volunteers have been working hard, every year to bring you the following events.

BACLite - a new event that Nelson Amen has been working on for the past two years to bring to fruition. He recently completed the RECCE for that event at KMPJ Arkansas, planned for the April 1st 2022 weekend.

Sun n Fun - each year the Beech Aero Club goes to Lakeland, Florida for this event and even mans a table at the "Type Club Tent"  This is the premier event for the Southeast Region and I know that every year they are looking for participants and volunteers alike.  There is always a Sun n Fun Dinner hosted by the Regional Director that is open to all members of the Club who are attending Sun n Fun.

AirVenture - each year the Beech Aero Club goes to OshKosh, Wisconsin and participates in Airventure.  Bob Shmidt and John Redmon, The North Central Regional Director always host a Club BBQ at Bob's campsite for all those members who are attending KOSH.  There has also been an Ice Creme Social Meet & Greet for members of the Club to find each other at AirVenture and spend some time together.  It's a great time. 

BACFest - This is the Club premier event each year.  Lots has already been said about that.

Beech Party - each year the Beechcraft Heritage Museum hosts the largest Fly-in of Beechcraft aircraft at the home of all things Beechcraft in Tullahoma, TN.  As the newest Divisional Member of the museum, the Beech Aero Club will continue to host our members during Beech Party and present educational seminars to anyone who owns a Baby Beech aircraft as part of the Beech Party celebrations the 2nd week of October annually.

Fly-Ins - then there are the fly-ins and social get togethers that any member of the Club can plan, host or participate in.  These can be anything from Regional fly-in events, to two guys getting together at each others airports to have lunch and ogle over each others airplanes.  A great way to meet others in your area.

So, if you've read this far, it has become abundantly clear that there is lots to do when is comes to the Beech Aero Club.  It should also become clear that none of this is possible without volunteers to organize and run the events and members to participate in them.  So, as I said from the beginning, nothing is done in isolation.  The Executive of the Club and the Board of Directors are doing the best that they can do given the information that they have at the time the decisions are made.  All decisions are made with the benefit of the Club and it's members foremost in our deliberations.  If you have ideas, or want to see something in particular, or if you want to help with an activity or aspect of the operation of the organization then bring those ideas or offers of help forward to the Board.  I suggest using your Regional Director as your first point of contact, as he is your direct line of communication to the Board.  The Board of Directors meets monthly to to plan and determine the way ahead for the Club, so get your thoughts on the table.  Thank-you.  Have a Great Day and Fly Safe.       

I'm going to add a little to this.

In years past, and I suspect still so, a large part of the decision as to BACFest location is having someone with the ability and time to plan the event in the desired location.  Planning a BACFest is not beyond the capabilities of most people but it requires a significant time investment and attention to detail.  If the process is new to you, there are members in the organization who have the experience and, in the past, have been generous with the knowledge to help you avoid mistakes.  I suspect those resources still exist.  Handshake deals are not reliable.  Agreements with the hotel, caterers, etc. need to be in writing.  And as early as possible in the planning.

Some of the work can be done remotely, but at a minimum, there will probably be several visits necessary to set up the hotel, transportation, events, etc.  Years ago, when we did Santa Maria, CA, several of us did one or more trips there to make the arrangements and it also helps to confirm what the participating members will experience.

I am also pleased that we kept BACFest at the Beech Heritage Museum and made the commitment to do the 3Z project.  Our membership is at a historic high.  I recall a time, not long ago, when we thought 1,000 members was unlikely.  In fact, we went through a period of declining membership.  Much of this has to do with a great leadership team over the last number of years.  But it also has to do with prestige.  Our affiliation with the BHM and the 3Z project upped our standing in the aviation world as the definitive Baby Beech organization.

Reputation Matters!