AOPA’s general aviation summit commits to Palm Springs

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has committed to hold its general aviation trade show and convention, the AOPA Aviation Summit, at the Palm Springs Convention Center Oct. 11-13, 2012, as well as Oct. 9-11, 2014.

The AOPA Aviation Summit features dozens of aircraft on display at the Palm Springs Convention Center, more than 400 booths in the exhibit hall, and an enhanced education series offered over the course of three days, according to officials.

The organization has not been to Palm Springs since 2006. Since then, almost $200 million has been spent to build new hotels and upgrade existing facilities, officials noted. The return to Palm Springs also means the return of the Parade of Planes, traveling the mile from Palm Springs International Airport to the convention center, officials said, adding Palm Springs is the only city that allows for this option.

“Our goal is to create a convention with a national draw, which is why we’re returning to Palm Springs in 2012 and 2014,” said AOPA President and CEO Craig L. Fuller. “It’s a very popular destination for attendees and exhibitors alike, and we’re happy to be returning.”

If you cannot attend in person, pilots and members will still be able to participate by watching AOPA Live coverage online, he added.

Palm Springs is “very aviation friendly and home to the Palm Springs Air Museum, which houses one of the country’s largest collection of World War II aircraft,” said Director of Outreach and Events Andrea Berry. The summit is expected to generate $12 million in economic impact.

“AOPA Aviation Summit has something to offer all members, whether you’re an aircraft owner, a pilot who rents, or an aviation enthusiast who doesn’t yet hold a pilot certificate,” Fuller continued. “We want to provide more opportunities for pilots to participate in Summit via sharing their stories, attending seminars, attending keynotes with aviation leaders and participating in social events. Pilots will walk away with knowledge on how to get the most out of their flying.”

In addition to all the interactive displays, educational opportunities and hundreds of exhibits, there will also be time for more social events. The goal in Palm Springs is to offer a range of social activities that will allow pilots to connect in a meaningful way while taking advantage of the best the city has to offer, AOPA officials said.

AOPA will also use the Summit to reveal the winner of this year’s Tougher than a Tornado sweepstakes aircraft, the 2011 Aviat Husky.

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