October 1, 2009
It’s an aviation first. Representatives from the aviation alphabet groups—AOPA, EAA, NBAA, WAI, AEA, GAMA, NATA—will meet on a center stage at AOPA Aviation Summit November 5 through 7 in Tampa, Florida. This unprecedented event brings together the leaders in general aviation in a unified front to help GA at a time when general aviation is under fire more than at any other point in its history. The meeting of all aviation-related organizations and their members, as well as the business leaders, legislators, airport officials, media, and the public, will raise awareness of the importance of general aviation to this country.
Honored guests and AOPA President Craig Fuller will lead the GA Serves America Rally on Thursday at noon. Members and guests will rally to the cry of aviation freedom in a rousing, hand-clapping, foot-stomping good time, featuring patriotic music, refreshments, stirring speeches and a video appearance by national GA Serves America spokesman Harrison Ford.
The new FAA adminsistrator Randy Babbit is an invited speaker and the TSA’s John Sammon will also be in attendance.
Peter O. Knight Airport will host Airportfest, which will feature “Aviation’s Got Talent,” a musical competition of bands, groups, and singers from all over the United States. Competition winners will perform each day at the airport, and the winning entrant will open for singer John Oates at the grand finale Saturday night.
Health and fitness are of paramount importance to active pilots. At Summit, a comprehensive health pavillion will feature new plans and programs now being offered by AOPA. Health and fitness expert Michael Torchia, personal trainer to Hollywood celebrities, will share his advice on exercise and body image at the pavillion.
Recording artist John Oates, a private pilot, will present several live concerts during AOPA Summit. Oates started flying in 1985. “I was always intrigued with flying,” the singer says. Touring as the band Hall and Oates, Oates often sat in the jumpseat of the charter aircraft the band flew and “stuck my nose in the cockpit, always asking questions.” His first training flight was in a friend’s Cessna 172. “I flew left seat and at the end of the flight I said, ‘Sign me up.’” He soloed in 10 hours and acquired a Piper Dakota. Eventually he purchased a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, which he used to fly to concerts along with an instructor. Currently Oates lives in Colorado and although he and partner Daryl Hall still tour (Hall has a King Air 200) Oates is no longer flying. “I married a farmer’s daughter and we have a rescue farm. I miss the flying but not the responsibility—I was always a conscientious pilot.”
At presstime AOPA was in negotiations with Fox Searchlight Films for an exclusive partnership with the producers of the movie Amelia, which will be released two weeks before AOPA Aviation Summit. The Lockheed Electra used in the movie and its pilot will be at Airportfest. See aopa.org/summit for updates.
Each day, AOPA adds new and exciting events to the Summit line-up. This is an aviation first and a show you won’t want to miss. Visit the Web site frequently for updates and to register.
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