SAN MARCOS, TEXAS – More than 2,500 people participated in the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) regional fly-in, April 26, in San Marcos, Texas. This was the first of seven fly-ins AOPA will host in 2014, including its homecoming fly-in on October 4 at its headquarters in Frederick, Md.
In addition to a free fly-in breakfast and barbecue for AOPA members, there were 35 aircraft on display, an exhibitors’ tent, and seminars ranging in topics from owner-performed maintenance, flying with iPads, stick-and-rudder flying, and how to improve radio communications.
AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker also hosted a Pilot Town Hall Meeting, taking members’ questions and addressing issues that included third-class medical reform, unwarranted stops and searches of general aviation aircraft, and lowering the cost of flying.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better turnout, even with some weather in the morning hours,” said Baker. “It really shows just how enthusiastic people are about general aviation and it was great to engage with so many members who traveled here to take part in this community event. Our goal this year is to meet our members in their own backyards and hear firsthand what is on their minds. Their concerns – protecting the freedom to fly – are our concerns.”
Nearly 2,000 people signed AOPA’s traveling petition during the fly-in to encourage continued movement on third-class medical reform. The Federal Aviation Administration announced earlier this month that it will undertake a “rulemaking” process to consider changes that would allow more pilots to fly without the need for a third-class medical certificate. Bills in the U.S. House and Senate have also proposed such changes and AOPA continues to work with Congress on moving the legislation forward.
In all, 185 AOPA members volunteered to help produce the fly-in, including everything from setting up aircraft parking areas and displays to directing arriving aircraft, serving meals and helping with the post-fly-in clean-up.
“This fly-in would not have been possible without our volunteers,” said Katie Pribyl, AOPA’s vice president of communications. “Their work was invaluable and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
Upcoming AOPA fly-ins will be held in Indianapolis, Ind., (May 31), Plymouth, Mass, (July 12), Spokane, Wash., (Aug. 16), Chino, Calif., (Sept. 20), and St. Simon’s, Ga., (Nov. 8). AOPA will celebrate its 75th anniversary during an October 4 fly-in at its Frederick, Md. headquarters. Learn more at http://www.aopa.org/Community-and-Events/AOPA-Fly-Ins.aspx