Balloon festival introduces community to GA

September 29, 2010

A mass of bright, multicolored hot air balloons ascending at just after dawn is sure to garner lots of attention. That’s just what the Adirondack Balloon Festival in Queensbury, N.Y., did last weekend, attracting pilots and local residents to the Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport.

Daily “big balloon breakfasts,” music, classic cars, a military aircraft display, and a rock climbing wall provided entertainment for spectators of all ages, and, more importantly, got them all out to the airport.

AOPA President Craig Fuller attended the festival Sept. 25 and used the opportunity to explain to the 75 community members and pilots in attendance the value of general aviation and the airports scattered throughout New York. GA airports in the state employ almost 350,000 people, he said. Fuller attended the festival as part of the Fly Out at Your Airport drawing that AOPA hosted during the 2009 EAA AirVenture. Bernie Baker was the final drawing winner and had the option of inviting AOPA to his home airport for an event.

In addition to describing the value of GA, Fuller also discussed benefits of AOPA membership and encouraged current members to check out their latest AOPA Pilot magazine, which features the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

“AOPA is the association for people who use general aviation,” Fuller explained. “I am sure many of you here are AOPA members, but I often find the even longtime members are not aware of all that AOPA has to offer.”

AOPA offers two magazines, AOPA Pilot and Flight Training , two ePilot e-newsletters, a daily Aviation eBrief e-newsletter, and numerous websites, including Let’s Go Flying, GA Serves America, Flight Training, AOPA Online, the Air Safety Foundation, and the AOPA Foundation. Additionally, members gain free access to AOPA’s Internet Flight Planner, weather, and AOPA Airports to make their flight planning quick and easy.

Members also gain valuable access to products including the AOPA credit card, which offers double points for many GA-related purchases, the Legal Services Program, Medical Services Program, rental car discounts, travel, and more. Additionally, aviation experts are standing by every weekday (800/USA-AOPA) to answer members’ questions ranging from aircraft ownership to technique to the federal aviation regulations.