FREDERICK, Md. – Building on the popularity and success of its inaugural events, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) will host five fly-ins at new locations nationwide during 2015.
The events, which will include an AOPA Homecoming at the association’s Frederick, Maryland, headquarters, will be free to all attendees and will include aviation product and service exhibitors, aircraft displays, seminars, activities, food and more, association officials said.
“The AOPA Fly-Ins were a huge hit with our members in their first year, and we’re thrilled to be able to continue them in 2015,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “With new locations we’ll be able to meet folks we’ve never met before, support more general aviation airports and continue our mission to build the GA community all across the country.”
AOPA’s 2015 Fly-Ins are scheduled for California’s Salinas Municipal Airport (SNS) on May 16, Minnesota’s Anoka County-Blaine Airport (ANE) on Aug. 22, Colorado’s Colorado Springs Municipal Airport (COS) on Sept. 26, and Tennessee’s Tullahoma Regional Airport (THA) on Oct. 10. In addition, the AOPA Homecoming Fly-In will be held at Maryland’s Frederick Municipal Airport on June 6.
During 2014 more than 16,000 people attended AOPA Fly-Ins, which also drew more than 2,800 aircraft. AOPA received requests from more than 40 airports to host a 2015 Fly-In. Final selections were made based on a combination of location, runway and ramp capacity, facilities, prevailing weather and several other important factors, officials noted.
“A large number of very nice airports volunteered to host a fly-in,” Baker said. “We appreciate all the wonderful proposals we received and are sorry we couldn’t host an event at every airport that offered. While the selection process was not easy, we know our final choices will make it possible for thousands of AOPA members to attend a fly-in near them, while enjoying a day of general aviation at a terrific airport.”
The AOPA Fly-Ins are designed to give anyone the chance to experience the fun, wonder and excitement of general aviation. And for the first time, each AOPA Fly-In will kick off with a Friday night social event. Most locations will also offer on-field camping.
“We hope people will make a weekend of it,” Baker said. “Join us for a great social gathering on Friday, camp under your wing, and spend Saturday soaking in all the camaraderie and fun of a day at the airport with fellow pilots and aviation enthusiasts. I can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend.”
Participants will be able to see, test, and buy the latest aviation products and services from exhibitors. Aircraft displays will feature everything from the newest models rolling off the assembly line to the rarest antiques and most venerable warbirds. And a variety of seminars and educational opportunities will be offered throughout the day with an expanded slate of speakers on aviation safety, maintenance, flying tips and aircraft ownership.
Attendees will also have the chance to hear directly from Baker during a Pilot Town Hall event, and to ask questions and mingle with AOPA staff throughout the day.
Food is an important part of any fly-in, and AOPA will honor tradition by offering a pancake breakfast for $5. Lunch will be served by gourmet food trucks or local restaurants, and special pricing will be available for attendees who register in advance.
For those just venturing into aviation, each AOPA Fly-In will include a “Learn to Fly” area with information and activities for future pilots. For pilots who may not have been actively flying, free “Rusty Pilots” seminars will be offered at each fly-in. Those who complete a Rusty Pilots seminar can receive a logbook endorsement for the ground portion of the flight review, making it a great way to return to the skies, AOPA officials noted.