October 3, 2012
By Alyssa J. Miller
With Palm Springs, Calif., sporting a $200 million facelift for this year’s AOPA Aviation Summit, the association is upping the ante of its annual convention, bringing in celebrity pilots, transforming educational seminars into interactive workshops, and bringing back the popular Parade of Planes. This event is one no pilot—new or experienced—will want to miss. Check out these reasons you will want to attend.
Mingle with celebrities. Actor and pilot Harrison Ford; the Discovery Channel’s Flying Wild Alaska pilots John Ponts, Luke Hickerson, and Doug Stewart; and comedian and pilot Dave Coulier will all be on hand at Summit. Ford will participate in the Oct. 12 morning keynote address and the AOPA Foundation’s A Night for Flight charity benefit the evening of Oct. 11. The Flying Wild Alaska pilots will be on hand throughout the weekend, including the foundation’s Oct. 11 gala and seminars on Oct. 11 and 13. Coulier also will participate in the Oct. 11 dinner and host a seminar on Oct. 13. (Tip for rubbing elbows with the celebrities: Bid for tickets to dine with them at the Night for Flight event.)
Watch the Parade of Planes. Dozens of aircraft will taxi under their own power through the streets from Palm Springs International Airport to the convention center on Oct. 10. This year’s lineup includes the famous Cessna 310 Sky King, AOPA’s 2012 Sweepstakes Tougher Than a Tornado Husky, and the next sweepstakes project. The parade will be your first glimpse of it. Will you be able to pick it out of the conga line?
Learn how to use an iPad in the cockpit. Whether you are a novice or expert when it comes to using the iPad for flight planning or shooting approaches, you’ll learn tricks for taking full advantage of the device’s capabilities. Half a dozen seminars are dedicated to helping you flight plan, pull up weather, better utilize your favorite apps, and utilize advanced techniques. Be sure to bring your iPad—you’ll be putting it to work during the interactive workshops. This is just one track of the educational seminars offered at Summit; see the full list to plan your experience.
Stock up on aviation supplies and gadgets. Pilot gear, aircraft supplies, training materials, avionics, aviation apps, and more will be showcased in the Palm Springs Convention Center during the three-day event. Think of the exhibit hall as Toys R Us for pilots. So start making your list now!
Hone your flying skills. Special flight packages are being offered at Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport during Summit. Pilots can earn a tailwheel endorsement, transition to a glass cockpit aircraft, go up in a hot air balloon, or just get back into flying. At Palm Springs International, pilots can opt to fly a warbird.
With so many educational seminars, flight training opportunities, pilot gadgets, and social opportunities offered during a long weekend, Summit is the can’t-miss event for new and active pilots. Register today.
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
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