November 1, 2011
By Julie Summers Walker
A little rain couldn't dampen the spirits of the more than 7,000 pilots and their families who descended on the historic city of Hartford, Connecticut, for the 2011 AOPA Aviation Summit. From the exhibit hall in the beautiful Connecticut Convention Center, the aircraft on display at Airportfest at Hartford-Brainard Airport, and the grand party at the New England Air Museum, the opportunities to share the passion for aviation were many. And because this is the association's biggest party of the year, many monumental events took place - we gave away our 2011 sweepstakes aircraft, the Crossover Classic; we announced a joint initiative with EAA to petition the FAA for an exemption from the third class medical requirement; we hosted many exciting aviation luminaries on AOPA Live, which had 17,000 viewers from 74 countries; we raised more than $200,000 for the AOPA Foundation through our annual A Night for Flight auction; and we hosted a delegation of officials from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. As AOPA President Craig Fuller said, “It was a wonderful three days for any fan of GA.”
AOPA President Craig Fuller hosted many aviation luminaries during the three-day convention, including his guest for Saturday’s pancake breakfast, EAA President Rod Hightower.
The Cirrus SR22 was one of the many aircraft on the exhibit floor.
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr.—on hand to promote the upcoming George Lucas film Red Tails—enjoyed a great conversation with Fuller on AOPA Live.
Restaurants in Hartford were the setting for AOPA DineArounds, one of Summit’s signature events, which invites members to mingle and share dinner with aviation notables.
AOPA’s Jennifer Storm led the second annual Flight Training Iniative Summit, which presented findings from the year-long initiative and gathered new information from invitees.
Friday night's Rock 'n Rally at Hartford-Brainard Airport was an enjoyable success despite heavy New England-area rainstorms.
The Terrafugia flying car—or roadable aircraft—was a sign of the future on the exhibit floor.
Product demonstrations and more than 100 exhibitors educated and informed members with new products, exciting displays, and educational forums.
A delegation from China visited Summit.
Members tried out new products.
At the A Night for Flight fundraising dinner, guests were entertained by the aerial acrobatics performed by AiRealistic.
Wildfires were burning homes and triggering evacuations in eastern and central Washington state as officials responded with firefighting efforts staged from three state-run airports.
AOPA members can get a prime view of the action during the afternoon airshows at EAA AirVenture from the association’s new location on the flight line.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told AOPA President Mark Baker that rulemaking prompted by a request to expand the driver’s license medical standard should be released for public comment soon during a visit to AOPA headquarters July 17.
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