Blakey to appear at AOPA Expo

January 8, 2006

Blakey to appear at AOPA Expo
Parade of Planes returns to Palm Springs

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey will be a headline speaker at AOPA Expo. Shortly after her Oshkosh appearance [see AOPA's complete news coverage], Blakey confirmed that she'll be part of the Expo General Session Friday morning, November 10.

AOPA Expo 2006 will run from November 9 through 11, at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Southern California.

"We're happy to return to Palm Springs after a successful show there in 2002," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "One of the highlights of the Palm Springs venue is the unique Parade of Planes from the airport to the convention center."

Many Expo attendees plan to arrive on November 8, just to see the morning parade.

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Palm Springs is one of the few convention sites in the United States capable of hosting a parade of planes. And that means everything will be in one place. At Palm Springs, the aircraft display is right on the convention site, not at a nearby airport.

To do that, the aircraft must taxi along Palm Springs' streets to get from the airport to the convention center. It's an event that brings out thousands of pilots and local residents.

Exhibits and aircraft display

The theme for this year's Expo is "AOPA Looks to the Future." Each day of the show will kick off with a general session at 9 a.m., featuring Boyer and top industry leaders. The sessions will focus on the future of general aviation, from technological advances to regulatory issues that are important to AOPA members.

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The sold-out exhibit hall will open immediately following each general session. With more than 500 exhibitors, the hall includes aircraft manufacturers, avionics, flight gear, navigation tools, flight training services, and much more.

In addition, Expo Platinum Sponsor DTC DUAT will sponsor an Internet Café that will be located inside the hall. Visitors are invited to stop by to check the weather before their flights or check their e-mail.

Outside the exhibit hall, more than 80 airplanes will be on display for pilots and aviation enthusiasts to see up close. This includes special displays and activities from Expo Gold Sponsor Cessna; Silver Sponsor Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co.; and other key Expo sponsors, Cirrus, Columbia, Diamond, and Eclipse.

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Headlining the display will be the AOPA Win a Six in '06 Sweepstakes airplane, a 1967 Piper Cherokee Six. This will be the first public appearance for the Six following its new paint job and interior refurbishment.

It also has new avionics and a newly overhauled engine. The state-of-the-art panel has a Sandel electronic horizontal situation indicator, a Garmin GNS 530 GPS, and an Avidyne EX500 multifunction display with satellite weather and traffic systems displayed on it, among many other panel upgrades.

A PS Engineering audio panel and entertainment system allows passengers to watch in-flight movies on three different screens. Attendees will want to stop by to see the highly modified airplane, which will be awarded to one lucky pilot in early 2007. Anyone who joins or renews AOPA membership in 2006 is automatically entered to win the sweepstakes airplane. (See complete rules, eligibility requirements, and alternate methods of entry.)

AOPA Project Pilot

AOPA members who attend Expo are encouraged to join the newly expanded AOPA Project Pilot program by signing up to mentor prospective flight students. Project Pilot is a national call to action for all members to help increase the pilot population by identifying someone they know who is interested in beginning flight training, and being their Mentor by encouraging and guiding them along the way.

AOPA Project Pilot will be a part of one of the morning general sessions. Project Pilot spokesman Erik Lindbergh will speak to attendees about his personal experiences with flight training and the importance of AOPA Project Pilot to the general aviation industry.

Educational seminars

More than 60 hours of seminars will run throughout the three-day show. Favorite speakers, including aviation humorist Rod Machado, and a host of new presenters will conduct seminars.

Attendees will have a variety of seminar topics to choose from, such as decision making, aircraft ownership, medical certification, interior renovations, and instrument flying.

Expo seminars are conveniently organized into two tracks - Proficiency and Safety, and Ownership and Flying. After registering through AOPA Online, attendees can select the seminars they wish to attend and then print their customized schedule to take with them to the show.

The AOPA Air Safety Foundation will host several safety seminars, including its latest release, "Radio Communications," which will debut at Expo. The seminar will present practical guidance on effective two-way communication, standard phraseology, and common communication pitfalls for both VFR and IFR pilots.

Other Air Safety Foundation seminars that will be presented at Expo include:

  • "Emergency Procedures," which focuses on how to keep abnormal situations from becoming full-blown emergencies, offers advice on keeping critical problems under control and tells attendees what they need to know about off-airport landings;
  • "GPS: Beyond Direct-To," which offers tips on using GPS to its full potential, such as how to use a VFR GPS legally while flying on instruments and how to escape the Going Perfectly Straight (GPS) crash syndrome;
  • "Single-Pilot IFR," which takes a look at some common IFR-related accidents and discusses some of the important issues such as planning, equipment, organization, situational awareness, and weather associated with flying IFR alone.

Evening events

Each evening of Expo features entertainment, beginning with a welcome reception on Thursday night. Always a popular event, this is an opportunity for attendees to talk with fellow pilots and reconnect with old friends.

Friday night, AOPA returns to the Palm Springs Air Museum to host the evening party. Dinner and dancing will be located among the spectacular World War II exhibits, so attendees can admire the historic planes throughout the event.

The Closing Banquet on Saturday evening features dinner, dancing, and live entertainment.

In addition, Boyer will present two of aviation's most prestigious awards. The J.B. "Doc" Hartranft Award will recognize the government official who did the most to defend and preserve general aviation during the year. The Laurance P. Sharples Perpetual Award will honor the individual who displayed the greatest selfless commitment to general aviation by a private citizen.

Register now

Those who register in advance pay only $25 per day to attend the general sessions, exhibit hall, and aircraft display. For $45 per day, attendees can also attend any of the seminars.

New this year, Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. is sponsoring a special canvas registration bag that will be handed out to all attendees at registration.

To register now, and to reserve hotel rooms, visit our Expo page.

Design your AOPA Expo schedule

There's so much to see and do at Expo, you really need a "flight plan." It's not too early to begin your planning, and we've made that easy to do. Just visit our Expo page and click on "Plan my Expo."

August 1, 2006