Tundra tires, turboprops: AOPA, Hartford ramp up for pilots

September 20, 2011

AOPA 2012 Sweepstakes Tougher than a Tornado Husky arrives at Airportfest.

Shutting down between the AOPA 2011 Crossover Classic Cessna 182 and the Kestrel single-engine turboprop, the AOPA 2012 Tougher than a Tornado Aviat Husky, perched atop its tundra tires, looked a bit out of place on the ramp at Hartford-Brainard Airport on Sept. 19. The trio, spanning the general aviation spectrum, gave a taste of the variety of aircraft that will be on display at Airportfest during AOPA Aviation Summit.

Even though the Husky is parked at a towered airport in Connecticut’s third largest city (doesn’t exactly scream backcountry adventure), the taildragger did find some grass to play in: Hartford-Brainard has a turf strip paralleling Runway 02. The Husky proudly bore the telltale signs of its landing—freshly mowed grass stuck around its tailwheel—during its temporary home on the ramp.

So that's how they get aircraft inside a convention center. A temporarily wingless Cirrus SR22T awaits further positioning clearances.

Grasp the future and touch a piece of history. Sikorsky's record-setting X2 is on display in the Connecticut Convention Center.

Is it really rolling out the red carpet if the carpet is already red? AOPA and Hartford are giving members and guests the royal treatment.

P-51 Mustang parks in perfect alignment with Hartford's city skyline

Not even a gray overcast can make Kestrel's single-engine turboprop or the Red Tail P-51 Mustang look dull.

Staff worked to erect tents and position aircraft Sept. 19 through 21 in anticipation of thousands of aviation enthusiasts visiting the airport to see dozens of the finest aircraft, from hot air balloons to very light jets, the general aviation industry has to offer on display. Corporate pilots inside the Atlantic Aviation Services fixed-base operation were struck by the unusual flurry of activity.

But the bustle wasn’t just at the airport. The Connecticut Convention Center buzzed with activity, and a building banner welcomed pilots to Hartford, home to AOPA Live and Summit host sponsor United Technologies Corp. Early on Sept. 20, the record-setting Sikorsky X2, Cirrus SR22T, and Terrafugia roadable airplane, moved into their prominent spots in the convention center exhibit hall while the AOPA Live stage, member registration, and other exhibitors began setting up.

AOPA and Hartford will be giving members the royal treatment during the three-day event. During the Rock ‘n Rally at Airportfest on Sept. 23, AOPA will treat attendees to an intimate balloon glow while a half-dozen Hartford restaurants serve up their best cuisine for sampling. Other social events include a movie night Sept. 22, “dine around” dinners at some of Hartford’s finest restaurants Sept. 23, and a closing party at the New England Air Museum Sept. 24.

Attendees can register online or on site for Summit, which takes place Sept. 22 through 24.