Published in Midwest Flyer – August/September 2018 issue
More than 300 miles south of the hustle and bustle of Chicago, lies Carbondale, Illinois. Known for its rolling hills and surrounded by tens of thousands of acres of natural beauty, this outdoorsman’s paradise will be home for AOPA’s third fly-in of the year, October 5 and 6, 2018.
If you plan on embracing the rural Midwest, Carbondale is the perfect place to touch-down in early fall. Home to renowned aviation school, Southern Illinois University, Southern Illinois Airport (KMDH) is a hotspot for aviators, dating back to 1946. Pilots arriving at AOPA’s Carbondale Fly-In can expect a multitude of activities and local attractions.
AOPA will kick-off Friday’s festivities with early-bird workshops and the famous Barnstormers Party presented by Jeppesen. Guests can spend an evening under the stars enjoying live music and great food. Spend the afternoon visiting the on-site exhibit hall, AOPA Village and admiring the beautiful airplanes on the market at the sellers’ corral.
Attendees should make sure to get a good night’s rest, whether at a nearby hotel or camping beneath the wing of their beloved aircraft. Saturday will start off with an early pancake breakfast, ongoing educational safety seminars and plenty of informational workshops. Pilots will also have the chance to hear from myself and other senior leadership at the Pilot Town Hall to discuss the latest pressing issues facing our industry today.
The fun can continue by getting lost in one of Carbondale’s many outdoorsy activities surrounded by a stunning backdrop of the Shawnee Hills. As one of Outdoor Magazines Top 200 towns for sportsmen, visitors can enjoy rock climbing, hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, boating, and geocaching. Carbondale also offers a vibrant music scene, gourmet cuisine, educational museums, and spectacular wineries and breweries. Make sure to visit the award-winning 17th street BBQ in nearby Murphysboro.
The event is open to pilots and non-pilots alike. We hope to see you there, and remember, BYOC (Bring Your Own Chocks)! Mark Baker, AOPA President & CEO.