by Mark R. Baker, President & CEO
Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association
Last year AOPA tried something really different. Instead of a big annual convention, we decided to host a series of small one-day fly-ins at locations around the country—and they were more successful than we could have dreamed. We met more than 16,000 people, parked more than 2,800 airplanes, and had a great time doing it.
Our members told us how much they loved these relaxed, fun celebrations of general aviation and how much they appreciated our presence at their airports. So it was an easy decision to do it again. The hard part was deciding where to go. More than 40 airports invited us to host a fly-in, and I wish we could visit all of them. But in the end we had to make choices, so here’s what we came up with:
May 16 — Salinas Municipal Airport (SNS), California
June 6 — Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK), Maryland
August 22 — Anoka County-Blaine Airport (ANE), Minnesota
September 26 — Colorado Springs Municipal Airport (COS), Colorado
October 10 — Tullahoma Regional Airport (THA), Tennessee
This year, we’re hoping people will make a weekend of it. So, for the first time each AOPA Fly-In will kick off with a Friday night social event. And most locations will offer on-field camping for those of you who’d like to sleep under the wing.
At the fly-ins themselves you can get up close to all sorts of aircraft, from the newest models rolling off the assembly line to the rarest antiques and most venerable warbirds. You’ll have the chance to see, test, and buy the latest aviation products. And you can take part in a variety of seminars and educational opportunities with an expanded slate of speakers on aviation safety, maintenance, local flying tips, and aircraft ownership.
We’ll have a “Learn to Fly” area for future pilots and a Rusty Pilots seminar to help lapsed pilots get back into the air. I’ll host a Pilot Town Hall and answer your questions. And of course, you’ll be able to meet and talk to AOPA staff throughout the day.
Good food is an important part of any fly-in, so we’ll offer a traditional pancake breakfast for $5 and gourmet food trucks or local restaurants will be on hand to provide lunch.
Admission to the fly-ins is free for everyone, and those who pre-register can get special pricing for lunch.
We’re excited to be visiting new places and meeting more members from all around the country. I hope to see you, too. You can find out more about the fly-ins, pre-register to attend, or start planning your visit at www.aopa.org/fly-in.