Toppicks

September 30, 2010

Aviation personalities pick “must-see” Summit events

Where will you find AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg, AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines, aviation humorist Rod Machado, and Flight Training Deputy Editor Ian J. Twombly this November?

From tracking the links in an accident chain to exploring the lighter side of flight training, some of the more recognizable names at AOPA this week shared the events they’re most looking forward to at AOPA Aviation Summit in Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 11 through 13.

“Attend a must-see Air Safety seminar on ‘ What Went Wrong’ that deconstructs several accidents and the lessons learned—presented by yours truly at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 12, at the Convention Center,” Landsberg said. The safety expert  said he’s also looking forward to the AOPA Foundation Fundraiser “ A Night for Flight” aboard the RMS Queen Mary Nov. 13. He recommended pilots visit the Airportfest aircraft display at Long Beach Airport “to see great classic aircraft and the newest light sport equipment from both the U.S. and Europe. The aircraft just keep getting better.”

Haines’ top picks for Summit ranged from a discussion of the future of avgas to learning about exciting trips the nonpilot in your family can enjoy. He recommended a forum discussion of how to get the lead out of avgas on Friday, Nov. 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Haines also welcomed aircraft owners-to-be to his session Thursday, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m. called “Buying Your First Airplane.” For those less interested in the nitty-gritty of ownership, there’s plenty of fun in other forums.

“Stretch your legs a bit by flying to some exciting new places that your non-flying spouse will really enjoy,” he said. “The forum schedule includes numerous helpful subjects, including ‘Flying to Mexico,’ ‘Fun Fly-In Destinations in the West,’ ‘Flying to Alaska,’ and ‘Mountain/Canyon Flying.’”

Machado, a flight instructor and AOPA Pilot contributor, applied his singular sense of humor to the task of choosing his top three things to do at Summit: He invited attendees to join him in exploring Long Beach in what he called his “bait and switch” walk-around at the aquarium—during which he joked he’ll stroll the aquarium grounds holding his fishing pole, tackle box, and bottle of tartar sauce—as well as his “land survey project,” which involves measuring the length of the shore at Long Beach with a protractor, yardstick, and perhaps some string. If you want to hear this type of humor in person, Machado said he’ll be ready with his jokes—both of them—for an “Aviation Humor” program Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Long Beach Convention Center.

There will also be plenty at Summit to keep the student pilot on his or her toes. Twombly recommended the “How to Pass Any Checkride” forum by pilot examiner Jason Blair to students as well as certificated pilots, Saturday, Nov. 13, at 11:30 a.m. Students can network with their compatriots and talk about flight training in the Student Pilot Roundtable at the Hyatt the same day at 1 p.m. But Twombly said one event stood out as a highlight for this year’s Summit.

“I would come to Summit solely for the Dine Arounds,” he said. “The opportunity to have dinner with an aviation legend is so unique and exciting that I can’t imagine not going. I’m hosting the Reno Air Racers dinner, which means I’m the luckiest guy in Long Beach that night.” —AOPA ePublishing staff