Published in Midwest Flyer – Dec 2016/Jan 2017
BATTLE CREEK, MICH. – The AOPA Great Lakes Regional Fly-In held Sept. 16-17, 2016 at W. K. Kellogg Airport, Battle Creek, Mich., began Friday evening with a barnstormers party sponsored by Jeppesen. Saturday morning featured a pancake breakfast and seminars, safety briefings, aircraft displays, commercial exhibitors, and a Pilot Town Hall Meeting with AOPA President & CEO Mark Baker. Baker told members that AOPA is committed to increasing the pilot population by decreasing costs with remanufactured aircraft; STC’d instruments for certified aircraft, previously approved only for experimental aircraft; and by promoting flying clubs.
The Waco Classic Aircraft Co., based at Kellogg Field, had a fleet of new Waco YMF-5 biplanes on display, and its Great Lakes by Waco biplane. Textron Aviation brought a new G58 Baron, Cessna 182, and Cessna Caravan; Cirrus its SR-22T; Pilatus its new PC-12NG; Eclipse its Eclipse SE demonstrator; Mooney its new Ovation; and an Aero Vodochody L-29 Delphin was on display, as was the Yankee Air Force B-25. The Recreational Aviation Foundation brought a Piper Cherokee, tent and makeshift campsite to simulate that organization’s efforts to preserve recreational airstrips. Paradise Bound Ministries had its Peterson-modified Cessna 182, complete with cowl-mounted canard and 300-horsepower engine.
The pilot seminars were very well attended, including a Rusty Pilots seminar; “Mind Over Matter” seminar presented by the AOPA Air Safety Institute; and a seminar on night flying, among many other topics.
AOPA President Mark Baker wrapped up the fly-in by briefing members on the passage of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights II. The legislation includes Third Class Medical Reform. Baker shared the stage with EAA Chairman & CEO Jack Pelton, and AOPA Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs Jim Coon.
Baker announced that more than 37,000 people have attended AOPA Regional Fly-Ins since the first event was held in 2014.
General Aviation is responsible for contributing 1.1 million jobs and $219 billion to the U.S. economy, and 23,300 jobs and $1.99 billion to the Michigan economy.
W. K. Kellogg Airport contributes 2,578 jobs in Michigan, and $229 million to the Michigan economy.
AOPA fly-ins contribute $680,000 to the local economy.
An estimated 172 aircraft flew in for the event. Several hundred cars were parked near Centennial Aircraft Services, the site of the fly-in. Duncan Aviation provided fuel, car rental and aircraft parking.
Performing at the Saturday evening banquet was Tommy Vale & The Torpedo’s.
The 2017 AOPA Regional Fly-In schedule will be announced in a future issue of Midwest Flyer Magazine (www.aopa.org).