Aviation Summit: A new look and feel for AOPA Expo

September 2, 2009

summit

Wondering what’s happened to AOPA Expo? To build on Expo’s ever-expanding popularity, AOPA took a close look at its annual fall event and gave it a major overhaul to take it to the next level. This year, we’re reaching for the summit—AOPA Aviation Summit.

In many ways, AOPA Aviation Summit will be similar to the Expo you’ve been familiar with for more than a decade: an exhibit hall filled with hundreds of pilot products, dozens of educational seminars, and a state-of-the art aircraft display.

But that’s just a fraction of AOPA Aviation Summit.

Open to all

At a time when general aviation is under fire more than any other point in its history, AOPA is seeking to create a united front by bringing together—in one place—all aviation-related organizations and their members as well as business leaders, legislators, airport officials, media, and the public to raise the awareness of GA.

Because of that, AOPA Aviation Summit is open to everyone—members and nonmembers, pilots and nonpilots. With that diversity, Summit will create a richer experience for all and help those with little knowledge of GA walk away with a better picture.

Industry update

Special Summit Sessions, similar to AOPA’s General Sessions at Expo, will kick off each day of the three-day event. The sessions will be broken into two shorter discussions.

This year, Summit Sessions will feature AOPA President Craig Fuller discussing GA issues with the leaders of other associations, including EAA President Tom Poberezny, Women in Aviation President Peggy Chabrian, and NBAA President Ed Bolen. AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Tom Haines will give you a status check on the industry, as well as a look ahead to next year, in his session with CEOs from many of GA’s leading aircraft manufacturers.

In addition to the popular educational seminars and speakers like aviation humorist Rod Machado, AOPA will host forums and panels with FAA and TSA officials and other industry leaders so that you can get answers to your questions about GA security, sport pilot rules, aircraft maintenance, international flying regulations, and more.

A special GA Serves America rally also will take place at AOPA Aviation Summit to get you excited about and involved in the association’s educational and advocacy campaign to show policymakers, opinion leaders, and the public how important the industry is to the nation.

Plane fun

airportfestThis year’s aircraft display at Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa is the most expansive in the association’s history. Dubbed Airportfest, the event will attract pilots, aviation enthusiasts, and the public alike.

With everything from vintage aircraft to light sport aircraft to business jets to hot air balloons, Airportfest offers something for the entire family. Food, music, and entertainment will be featured, along with a hot air balloon lift-off and night glow. Attendees can even try their hand at flying remote control aircraft—with an instructor.

AOPA’s 2009 Let’s Go Flying Sweepstakes Cirrus SR22 will be front and center for you to inspect, and the Lockheed Electra used in the upcoming film Amelia, similar to the one used for Amelia Earhart's legendary flight, will also be on display.

Social time

aquarium Photo Credit: Florida Aquarium

AOPA has pulled out all of the stops to help you relax with your fellow pilots, friends, and family members at the end of each day. Thursday night, Nov. 5, features a Meet & Mingle in the exhibit hall, complete with entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, and cash bars. On Friday, Nov. 6, take in a unique evening at the Florida Aquarium—it’ll be full of fun and surprises. AOPA booked the aquarium exclusively for AOPA Aviation Summit attendees. After a reception in the aquarium, dine on the riverside at the Convention Center Rotunda.

Music will be provided by the winners of AOPA’s Airportfest “Aviation’s Got Talent” competition. The highlight will be a VIP concert by recording artist John Oates. After the concert, continue to mingle at the Rotunda lounge waterside.

For pilots who want to bring their non-flying spouse or entire family, the association is pulling together AOPA Excursion packages that will include activities like a dolphin-watching cruise, Busch Garden discounts, and shopping.

Aviation Summit, Nov. 5 through 7, in Tampa, is the can’t-miss AOPA event. It promises to be bigger and better than past Expos, so register today to take advantage of special discounts that end Oct. 14.