The Webbies 2009, now in its second year, celebrate the best and brightest in aviation websites and their social media activities.
The Eurofighter website won the Best Aerospace website for its interactivity and games element. Amsterdam's airport triumphed in the Best Airport category for knocking down language barriers, and the judges were impressed with the blog, Things in the Sky for its "compelling visual content".
The Webbies 2009 had two new categories: Best Enthusiast/Community Website to honour the website that delivers social interaction between its users and the Best Use of Social Media, championing the effective use of Web 2.0 tools to increase awareness of a brand or product.
The Webbies 09 includes established industry leaders and striving newcomers and everyone in between. We asked flightglobal.com users to enter or nominate their favourites in the eight categories.
Our judging panel had to make some tough choices from hundreds of quality entries to find the top three in each category.
Here are the winners.
The award is for the blogger able to demonstrate success in generating and getting involved in serious or light-hearted discussions. The judges wanted to see a strong track record using multimedia tools with clear evidence of interaction with the blog's readership and community.
The judges felt that Things in the Sky was "well written, full of interesting and compelling visual content, a real sense of the community of other bloggers in the same space: what's not to like?"
The posts are "easy to follow and understand, always provide a reasoned perspective and critique backed up by fact and logic. By far the most compelling blog here - and it's by a student."
The judges said that SimpliFlying had lots of good content. "It has a good, clear focus and the author writes with authority and verve."
Ranked third, AirPigz was "a lively blog with a good range of content focusing on general aviation, air racing, historical photos, incidents and humour. The judges "loved" the caption competitions and "lost quite a while", absorbed by the videos. "The author is clearly passionate about aviation."
The judges were looking for a website demonstrating a richness and depth of information for travellers and visitors, incorporating diversity of user needs through site navigation to airport information and keeping users entertained while in transit.
Schiphol's "commitment to presenting large amounts of information in foreign languages - including Chinese" earned victory.
DFW came a close second for a clean and comprehensible portal to a mountain of information. The judges liked the interactive maps "which load quickly and work crisply - a very nice job".
They agreed that Manchester's site "does everything required" and "particularly liked the My Airport Guides".
This category recognises the most original and ground-breaking online innovation to appear during 2009. Judges were on the lookout for examples of websites that demonstrate originality of ideas.
The judges liked AirlineSim best. The site provides an airline and aviation enthusiast the opportunity to step inside the industry to understand its dynamics up close and simulates real-world fuel costs and its own stockmarket to inject genuine financial dynamics into the complex world of simulated airline operations. The judges said: "If it's not already used as a tool in business classes for those studying airline dynamics and operations, it should be."
Emptylegmarket.com was placed a close second. Judges acknowledged the economic downturn and conceded that flying business jets might be the most time-efficient, but not necessarily the most cost-efficient way to travel. The site enables operators and those looking for aircraft ensuring that chartered aircraft are not flying empty and are earning their keep. The site provides an innovative (and green) tool for increasing the efficiency and affordability of charter aircraft by maximising their use.
SeatExpert came third. "Not only does it provide detailed airline seat maps, it interfaces with airline schedules to find the exact type of aircraft you'll fly on." Judges said: "SeatExpert is a truly useful service."
Best Aerospace Manufacturer, judged by Flight International deputy editor Max Kingsley-Jones and Alan Peaford, Aerocomm chief executive and president of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
The judges were looking for a website that demonstrated clear site navigation and design, inventive use of interactive graphics to present product information and technical specifications.
Eurofighter came out top because of its good general usability, according to the judges. "It also has some entertaining interactive modules including a 'shoot'em up' Typhoon game," they said.
The Boeing new aircraft site is easy to use and incorporates a depth of information, as well as good images and video that merits its second position.
In third place, Sikorsky's site was "dynamic with a good amount of data".
The category was relevant for sites launched from January 2008 and which achieved clear success within their field of activity. Judges were looking for a site that has established a strong brand identity in its market with intuitive site navigation and design and quality of content.
2. F135 engine
The judges awarded the top prize to BoardingArea. They said of the website: "It stood out as a mature, well designed site, positively contributing to the online experience of the business traveller. Featuring a pedigree set of bloggers and deep, broad-based information, the site has quickly established itself among the bookmarks of the aviation's active surfers. Top stuff."
Next in line, the judges were impressed by the amount of effort in creating the F135 engine website considering its niche target audience. "It's up to date, full of content and engaging. They've even built a mobile version of the site."
Shortlisted last year, Spacevidcast goes one better this year, taking third place. The judges loved the Web 2.0 frenzy with social and multimedia goodies galore. The US-based husband and wife team have fully exploited all new media technologies available to them, including their own Adobe Air desktop app.
The judges were looking for a website that demonstrates social interaction between its users through serious and light-hearted discussion, sharing of information including user-uploaded videos, photographs, blogs, use of social networking.
The judges felt that NYCAviation was worthy of pole position for being "visually engaging". It mixes practical guides and information with fun features and a busy forum. Judges liked the way it made use of web tools like Google Maps, Flickr and Twitter for the benefit of the site and community and concluded: "This is a site that really helps enthusiasts do what they love."
Global Aviation Resource "looks great" with photography mixed with easily accessible articles that strike the right balance between spotting and technical. The judges noted that "the site doesn't display too much interaction with the community yet, but we expect that may change as the site matures. This is a site to watch."
The judges described FlyerTalk as "a grandfather in the aviation community. It is a big site that demonstrates significant social interaction between its users.
"It is deserving of this award for its impressively active community that has succeeded in furthering discussion."
The judges were looking for a website that demonstrates a superior user experience with an intuitive and clear user interface through design.
Meridiana's map, price and calendar search, its mobile flight purchase element and links to activity within the social media sphere were lauded by the judges."Meridiana very clearly displays them on a dedicated page, linked from the bottom of the homepage," the judges said. The United Airlines site is easy to use and has good price transparency features, mobile flight availability.
Hawaiian's site earned bronze for its fast and user-friendly fare search. The judges liked its ancillaries integration, as well as its minimal page load time.Best Use of Social Media, judged by online strategist and publishing industry executive Jim Muttram and senior consultant at Aerospace eBusiness, Ludo van Vooren.
This category recognises the most effective use of audience engagement to promote information or services through extensive use of Web 2.0 tools.
Northrop Grumman's Facebook fan page came top, with the judges saying the company "took the lead in the implementation of social media among their industry peers".
The company uses Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube and LinkedIn and featured these prominently on its home page.
The judges said: "They have successfully spurred meaningful conversations on many platforms." They applauded the use of these platforms for communication with employees, suppliers, customers, and the general public, for information gathering, education and recruiting.
Manchester airport's use of Twitter earned it second place. The judges said: "Manchester airport has fully appreciated just how flexible and powerful the Twitter platform is, and is to be applauded for its use of it."
The judges liked NYCAviation, a forum which is "growing into a large community of aviation enthusiasts". They found "feverish interaction" on its traditional website forum as well as the Facebook and Twitter platforms.
"This has translated to community growth and recognition. NYCAviation has a real opportunity to build on this base compelling crowd-sourced applications," they said.