June 27, 2003
AOPA Expo 2003, the nation's foremost general aviation convention, will kick off October 30 in Philadelphia's Convention Center with a chance for GA pilots to meet the FAA administrator, Marion Blakey. She has accepted an invitation from Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President Phil Boyer to once again address the opening general assembly.
"I will be honored to speak," Blakey wrote in her acceptance letter. "I look forward to another exciting meeting."
"Administrator Blakey's quick decision to return to AOPA Expo and talk directly with pilots is a certain indication of the importance she places on general aviation in America," said Boyer. "She clearly understands that a vital GA community and industry is good for the country."
At last year's AOPA Expo, Blakey, just weeks on the job, spoke frankly about the challenges arising out of security concerns that faced both the federal government and the GA community. But she pledged to fix one problem: supplement hard-to-understand textual notices to airmen (notams) outlining temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) with graphical depictions. "You need a good picture," Blakey told the pilots assembled in Palm Springs, Calif., "and you're going to get it."
It took several months longer than anticipated, but the FAA lived up to her promise in mid-June 2003.
More than 500 exhibits will fill the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia with just about everything imaginable for general aviation. From the latest in aircraft modifications to the newest of headsets, it will all be on display under one roof.
A short shuttle-bus ride away at the nation's largest general aviation ramp, at Philadelphia International Airport, visitors will find dozens of aircraft on display with representatives eager to explain the advantages of each.
Visitors to AOPA Expo will have the opportunity to take part in more than 80 hours of seminars. They may either pick-and-choose individual seminars over the course of the three-day event, or they may choose to follow seminar "tracks" on topics such as Proficient Pilots, Medical Issues, Safety Issues, or Owners.
In addition, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation will offer several sessions of its immensely popular Pinch Hitter® Ground School, which teaches frequent right-seat passengers basics of flight and how to be an asset in the air.
Social events include the Opening Luncheon and Welcome Reception on Thursday, the Grand Finale Banquet on Saturday, and because Halloween falls right in the middle of this year's Expo, an AOPA Halloween Party on Friday Night.
Registration is quick and easy online. Simply visit AOPA Online, and click on "Register Now!" Telephone registration is also available by calling 888/GO2-EXPO (888/462-3976) between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET and speaking with a membership assistance representative. Using either method, pilots and guests may select package deals or may choose to purchase tickets and passes "a la carte."
Hotel and travel information is also available from the AOPA Expo 2003 Web page.
AOPA is the world's largest civil aviation organization in the world, dedicated to protecting the interests of general aviation pilots and aircraft owners. General aviation, all flight activity except military and scheduled airline flights, is the largest segment of U.S. aviation, accounting for 95 percent of all U.S. aircraft and 77 percent of all U.S. flights.
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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