Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
Revealed: Why ‘Conquerors of the Skies’ are homing on Wyoming
There must be something about Wyoming at this time of year.
Several participants at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit held in Washington this week said they were heading out West — but declined to say what was taking them so far from hard-nosed airline investors and Pentagon accountants.
But the aviation head honchos tend to shy away from talking about it.
“I like Wyoming very much in the beginning of fall — a beautiful area,” was all we could get from one multinational corporation chief.
“It’s a meeting,” growled the head of a top engine maker.
To explain the rush, industry officials familiar with the matter suggested the curious should look no further than a venerable club known as the “Conquistadores del Cielo.”
Each year, according to people who have attended the event in the past, the ‘conquerors of the skies’ temporarily set aside their differences in one of the world’s most cut-throat industries and head to the Cowboy State for informal bonding.
The secretive club was strictly for men only until one non-U.S. airline appointed a female board chief and a compromise had to be found allowing her to attend.
Still, attendance is open strictly to the top executives of airlines and planemakers plus one or two industry die-hards.
After a bruising recession, participants are all too used to the wild bucking ride in financial markets.
But not all of them are cut out for cowboy-themed entertainments on offer in the adopted state of Buffalo Bill.
At one past event, we are told, the head of a well-known aerospace firm was injured when he was thrown to the ground while trying the Wyoming rodeo.
Photo credit: Reuters/Ricardo Moraes (cowboy riding a bull in Brazil)