January 1, 2011
By Julie Summers Walker
There was dancing in the streets of Long Beach, California, on the second day of AOPA’s annual three-day gathering of all things aviation—Aviation Summit 2010—and if area residents didn’t know we’d arrived, they did now. From the roar of Fifi’s radial engine as the famed B–29 landed for Airportfest at Long Beach Daugherty Field to the sound of the rock-and-roll tribute band on Pine Avenue in downtown Long Beach, aviators were in the mood to celebrate.
While the industry, like so much of the country, has been going through tough times, the mood at Summit wasn’t discouraging—in fact, it was upbeat and, well, determined. Like the powerful message AOPA President Craig Fuller gave on Veteran’s Day—the first day of the show—aviation isn’t down, and isn’t ready to give up. The theme of this year’s event may have been engagement, but the message was—and is—celebrating our freedom to fly.
That message’s most tangible victory was the unheralded support members from all over the country, not just those at the event, gave to the first-ever auction to benefit the AOPA Foundation. More than $250,000 was raised to help protect, preserve, and defend GA. On these pages you’ll see the fun and excitement of Summit; if you couldn’t join the more than 10,000 pilots and aviation enthusiasts in Long Beach, plan now for next year—AOPA Aviation Summit 2011 takes place in Hartford, Connecticut, September 22 through 24. And that’s just nine months away!
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.
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