ModAero, an Ill-Fated Attempt at a New Aviation Event

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by AggieMike88, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    An article from Flying Magazine about the ModAero event.

    Link: http://www.flyingmag.com/modaero-an-ill-fated-attempt-at-new-aviation-event

    Flying is a tough enough way to make a living sometimes — but for real economic desperation, try starting and running an aviation business. It’s a costly, unstable industry in which margins tend to be razor thin in even the best of times. The difficulty of consistently squeezing a profit out of things that fly is evidenced by the long list of airlines, charter operators, aircraft and equipment manufacturers, FBOs, and flight schools that have gone out of business over the years. The vexing thing is many of the failed ventures had good ideas and quality products but failed due to poor timing, ruthless competitors, inadequate funding, poor management or just plain hubris. A few good ideas never really made it much past the drawing-board stage but were hyped as though they had, and in these cases, the collapses were particularly spectacular. Names like Jim Bede are still hotly controversial throughout aviation, even many years later.

    I recently had the dubious honor of watching, up close, the downfall of a potentially good but ultimately doomed idea. ModAero NextGen Aviation Festival was the brainchild of Brian Columbus, youthful publisher of the Atlantic Flyer News. His idea was to put together a new aviation event that would bring together younger pilots and nonpilots alike by marrying fly-in staples, like underwing camping, aircraft displays, vendor booths, forums and speakers, with a career fair, drone racing and a three-day music festival. It was held at the Lone Star Convention Center in Conroe, Texas, March 16 to 19 of this year.

    [... click the link above to read remainder of article ...]

    (original post edited at MC's request.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  2. Shawn

    Shawn Pattern Altitude

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    Sounds like bad execution of a good idea. That needed to start small and build this up over a few years rather than over selling and over promising.
     
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  3. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Pattern Altitude

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    I'll crank the popper, this thread has potential :D
     
  4. mscard88

    mscard88 Final Approach

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    Yeah y'all gonna make Princess mad! :yesnod: :nono:
     
  5. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 En-Route

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    Also from the article:
    Sounds like someone took a bunch of money from people and did not deliver the goods. Poor planning, bad luck or just one big scam?
     
  6. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    First two, in my opinion.
     
  7. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    Somewhat early own I had considered doing some advertising with them but their rates were way too high considering the lack of any type of track record. Now, I'm certainly glad I didn't. The founders might have tried to squeeze their potential cash cow too early and too hard.
     
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  8. LT4247

    LT4247 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The event sounded fun, different so we considered flying out from Georgia. We found the fees were Osh Kosh level so we passed on the trip. Didnt understand the drone racing attraction either. ;)
    I emailed the contact there and explained they might want to build up to the fees after a few successful fly ins. just a suggestion. Glad we didnt go!
     
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  9. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I really like the general idea, underwing camping, FPV racing, career stuff, and music! overall great idea, too bad he didn't pull it off, wish others would try, I'd happily fly a few hundred nautical for something like that.


    As far as th FPV drone racing, YouTube it, I have done it, but man it looks like something easy to get hooked on, first person view like this

     
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  10. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That video does make it look like loads of fun.
     
  11. 172andyou

    172andyou Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Definitely not a scam. But here's the thing, I've done a lot of events over the years. You know from advance ticket sales and vendor uptake whether or not the thing will be a success. It is inexcusable that they didn't cancel it and refund vendors money *or* open the gates for free and get anyone with a pulse through the gate. No vendor in their right mind would ever trust these guys again and if you don't have vendors, you don't have an event.
     
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  12. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Cleared for Takeoff

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    For some reason, I keep thinking of Ewoks when I watch that.
     
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  13. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Dude!! Me too! Still cool stuff
     
  14. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou En-Route

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    I remember a long and unpleasant thread here on PoA when Princess announced the event. Most of us were laughing because we could see the train wreck from miles away and some got pretty upset. Oh well. PoA. :)

    But frankly, establishing a new event is not easy. Especially when silly mistakes are made (such as scheduling it on a busy weekend etc).
    Us grumpy old-timers were not the target audience, mind you, this was aimed at hipsters and youngsters. And many of them showed up.
    If the organizers persist and schedule the event every year, it has the potential to grow. Only time will tell, no matter how hard we might be laughing now.

    Btw, I would swear they held it at Hooks, not Conroe. Am I getting so old I can't remember the venue correctly? :)
     
  15. FWTxPilot

    FWTxPilot Pre-Flight

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    Kind of hard to believe, but it looks like they are attempting a round 2 for this event... MODAERO 2017
     
  16. gdesign4847

    gdesign4847 Filing Flight Plan

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    Oddly enough, I was hired by Modaero to do some graphic work and was stiffed total payment last year. I spoke with their social media team and web team, whom were also stiffed on payment it seems.

    I reached out many, many times in regards to payment but Brian (the owner) went silent and when I did some googling, came across this thread. I would recommend staying away from Modaero and telling everyone you know to do-so as well.
     
  17. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Pattern Altitude

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    This may be something to bring up to the BBB. shadyness in aviation is not limited to part 135 and part 61 shenanigans. Scammers abound.
     
  18. gdesign4847

    gdesign4847 Filing Flight Plan

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    I don't believe the BBB really has much of an effect, unless you're a paid member of their community. Could be wrong though! Regardless, thought I'd pass along the warning. :)
     
  19. Cajun_Flyer

    Cajun_Flyer Cleared for Takeoff

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    Looks like this.
     
  20. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And there are no 121 or 91 BS??
     
  21. 172andyou

    172andyou Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Take him to court. That's the only way you're going to see a nickel from him.

    Amazing the balls it takes to try and put on a second year. Will be interesting to see if they somehow manage to get less than the 50 people that showed up last year!
     
  22. gdesign4847

    gdesign4847 Filing Flight Plan

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    Unfortunately taking someone to small claims court and not being in the same state as the offending party is very difficult.
     
  23. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've done it with an Alberta resident. It's possible. They just have to have some business interests in your state.

    It's not terribly easy, but it can be done.
     
  24. gdesign4847

    gdesign4847 Filing Flight Plan

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    I honestly have given up on collecting the money. I came across that they're going to try and do it again in May, Googled "Modaero Scam" to see if I was the only one, then came across this forum to warn everyone.

    Kind of telling when there's not a single sponsor on your website...
     
  25. 172andyou

    172andyou Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sure, and it might not be worth the hassle depending on the amount contracted. But this dude is slippery. You're only going to get money from him by forcing it. And, if you signed with modaero (rather than with Brian as a person), then there might not be any money there to get anyway. It would be understandable not to bother in that case.
     
  26. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 En-Route

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    Well if you live near Conroe, TX then you should go to the event this year and find a way to get either payment or some satisfaction.
     
  27. 172andyou

    172andyou Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There are tons of sponsors on the landing page at https://modaero.net/

    Wonder if they know their brand is still being posted on his scam?
     
  28. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 En-Route

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    Brian Columbus bought the Atlantic Flyer News and became its publisher. I have heard that publication has since shutdown. Does anyone know for sure?

    He was also previously the president of the Fox Flying Club at KDPA. He almost ruined that club.

    Not too good of a track record if my information is correct.

    Not sure what else he is working on these days. I personally would not involve myself with anything he is running however everyone needs to make their own mind up.
     
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  29. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    Well one good thing is, you won't have to worry about getting stuck in traffic at the event. It's like going to an air show and you're the only one who shows up...unfortunately in this case, there's no air show.:(
     
  30. 172andyou

    172andyou Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No! He said they are having an air show this year too!

    If you are one of the three people that shows up I bet you get to fly one of the show planes.
     
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  31. 172andyou

    172andyou Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yeah, I'd give money to Colton before I gave it to Brian. At least Colton was raised by wolves. Brian is a grown-ass man who should know better.
     
  32. 172andyou

    172andyou Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Domain names are still registered, but don't lead to anything. Would have been 30 years old this year.
     
  33. mscard88

    mscard88 Final Approach

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  34. Katamarino

    Katamarino Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I wonder when the promised "Dedicated museum and discovery center" will open? :p
     
  35. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Pattern Altitude

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    Maybe complimentary AOA indexers and Hawaiian Punch would help draw the crowd in...
     
  36. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach

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    I seriously considered going last year. I'm very glad I didn't after perusing this thread.
     
  37. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Considering the line of people apparently waiting to get paid from the first attempt, I'm rather surprised this dude has the balls to try another one.
     
  38. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah does he really think that word doesn't get out when he stiffs people?
     
  39. Ravioli

    Ravioli Pattern Altitude

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    Soon there'll be a new user with a female sounding name and an attractive avatar extolling the innovative new convention/show/farce.
     
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  40. mscard88

    mscard88 Final Approach

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    PP?