The place to be

Join us in Long Beach this November

September 1, 2010

It’s hard to imagine the balmy sea breezes of Southern California sitting here in my Frederick, Maryland, office on a day so hot and humid that eggs could fry on sidewalks and even the most fanatic flier can’t fathom stepping into his or her trusty Cessna 172. All the opening of the windows and/or doors and starting up the engine will do is move the oppressive air around, but provide no relief.

I’m California-dreaming, and you should be too.

In just two short months, it will be time for the aviation event of the year—AOPA Aviation Summit 2010. Taking place in Long Beach, California, November 11 through 13, the second annual Aviation Summit (formerly AOPA Expo) takes the amazing event to even greater heights this year and, as our tagline says, you’ll want to engage with us at full throttle.

Luminaries and legends

Wouldn’t you love to sit down and share some hangar talk with some of the famous and legendary pilots you’ve read about in the pages of AOPA Pilot? New for this year is the opportunity to talk with aviation hall of famers, pioneers, air racers, and other aviation personalities in a special evening event kicking off Summit on Thursday night, November 11.

“Dine Around” is our newest event, featuring dinner with aerobatic legends Patty Wagstaff and Sean D. Tucker; Reno air racer Skip Holm; classic aircraft restorers Greg Herrick and Ed Maloney; Terrafugia designer Anna Mracek Dietrich; Ehren Jordan, the flying vintner; aviation pioneers Mike Melvill, Burt Rutan, and Dick Rutan; and aviation writers Tom Haines, Barry Schiff, Rod Machado, and John and George Kounis; and other special guests.

In classic networking style, you can join these aviation stars in exclusive intimate dinners at some of the many fine restaurants in downtown Long Beach. Yes, you can dine and socialize with your favorite aviation legends, mingle with fellow pilots and aviation notables who share your passion for flying—and who will talk about the amazing things they have accomplished.

Morning, noon, and night

Our important Keynote Sessions will be presented each morning of Summit. From topics such as “Preserving Our Future” to “The Future of Flight,” these keynote events feature experts who will share with President Craig Fuller and attendees their vision of GA today and tomorrow. Thursday’s keynote address will honor the nation’s military veterans in observance of Veteran’s Day. And on Saturday pilot John Petersen of the Arlington Institute will present “GA in 2020,” an economist’s prediction of general aviation’s future.

And our forums and seminars are back with great learning opportunities and engaging content. In addition to aviation humorist Rod Machado’s packed sessions, he has added a new one—“Thinking Small to Avoid Big Mistakes,” which should be as entertaining as his other forums, “Aviation Humor” and “Yoke and Pedal: Secrets to Better Piloting Proficiency.” Plus AOPA Pilot columnist Barry Schiff will present a new forum on engine failures right after takeoff, and aerobatic legend Sean D. Tucker will present “Luck Comes to the One Most Prepared.”

The 2010 Summit will offer 66 hours of aviation forums including a track on light business aircraft hosted with the National Business Aviation Association, which includes topics such as using your aircraft for business, tax benefits, and safety.

Each day includes special events at our new venues—the Women’s Wing, Controller’s Corner, the Health Pavilion, and the AOPA Store, plus, of course, AOPA Live—our live TV show webcast from the exhibit hall. The Women’s Wing is a joint venture between AOPA and Women in Aviation International and will feature speakers and forums specifically designed to draw more women into aviation and support those women who already fly. At the Controller’s Corner, pilots and ATC can share stories from both sides of the radio, and in the Health Pavilion, pilots can find information on staying healthy and fit to stay flying for as long as possible.

The AOPA Store and AOPA Live are both initiatives designed to enhance members experience with the association. At the AOPA Store, members and visitors can find merchandise designed to help them proclaim to the world their joy of flying and their pride in being a pilot. AOPA Live will stream Internet coverage of Summit beginning each morning, at 9 a.m. Pacific time (noon Eastern time) and includes not only live coverage of the events but special interviews and segments with Fuller and AOPA expert staff, including Editor in Chief Tom Haines, Senior Editor Dave Hirschman, and Director of Medical Certification Gary Crump, among others.

“AOPA Live lets us share the Aviation Summit experience with thousands of AOPA members and aviation enthusiasts around the world who might otherwise not be able to make it to Long Beach,” said Chris O’Callaghan, vice president of AOPA ePublishing.

Special stuff

In addition to the forums, seminars, and other highlights—as well as more than 500 exhibitors!—Summit will host Airportfest, the Awards Luncheon, the AOPA Block Party, and the AOPA Foundation’s “A Night for Flight” event.

Airportfest will feature more than 100 aircraft, from light sport to bizjets, on display at Long Beach/Dougherty Field. In honor of Veteran’s Day, military aircraft will also be on display. Come out to the airport Saturday morning and join the Long Beach-area community for an old-fashioned pancake breakfast starting at 9 a.m.

GA and AOPA were built on the support and efforts of many, and each year we honor those who have done the most to protect general aviation. On Friday, AOPA hosts a luncheon at which we present our two highest awards—the Joseph B. “Doc” Hartranft Award and the Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award.

Pine Avenue is the dining destination in Long Beach and what better place to throw a party? For a $20 donation to our GA Serves America campaign, partygoers receive an “I Support GA” wristband that entitles them to an evening of dining discounts, live music, street performers, and more at the Friday Night Block Party.

The grand finale of events takes place on board the RMS Queen Mary, permanently docked in Long Beach harbor. This elegant dream ship from a bygone era will host an impressive event featuring celebrity guests and aviation notables. With fine food, dancing, and entertainment, this charitable event (half of the ticket price is a donation to the AOPA Foundation, which supports our freedom to fly and is building a legacy for the future of GA) is a not-to-be-missed exclusive opportunity to experience an evening you’ll never forget.

And one more thing…

One of the highlights of the 2010 Aviation Summit—and something we have never done before—will be the awarding of our sweepstakes aircraft. The 2010 Fun to Fly sweepstakes aircraft, a Remos GX light sport aircraft, will be given away to one lucky winner while we are in Long Beach. Come watch it happen. Maybe you will fly it home!

Ready to stop dreaming and start planning? Registration for 2010 Aviation Summit is open and for a limited time we are offering up to 25 percent off for you early birds. Go online or call 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672) to learn more or make reservations. See you in California!

E-mail the author at julie.walker@aopa.org.