October 9, 2013
By Alyssa J. Miller
An experimental aircraft, the Discovery 201, prepares for parking at Airportfest.
The AOPA Sweepstakes Debonair arrives safely in Fort Worth after leaving the interior shop in Ohio.
Fresh from its interior makeover, the Debonair is sporting some fancy needlework.
Be one of the first to see the AOPA Sweepstakes Debonair's new interior.
Continental Motors sets up in the Fort Worth Convention Center exhibit hall.
Dusty comes to real life, so to speak, as an Air Tractor.
An Arion Aircraft Lightning LS-1 taxis to Airportfest.
The Embraer Phenom 100 will be sure to garner looks at Airportfest at Fort Worth Meacham International Airport.
One of AOPA's previous sweepstakes airplanes, the "Better than new 172" makes a special arrival at Airportfest.
Looks like the makings of a giant airplane mobile for pilots!
Garmin sets up for AOPA Aviation Summit.
Lockheed Martin plans to attract pilots to its display with a Cessna.
A Texas Jet worker parks an incoming jet. Texas Jet and American Aero FTW are the host FBOs for Summit.
A helicopter arrives in style at the convention center. Fred Thomas photo.
Redbird sets up its full-motion simulator that attendees will be able to try out during the show.
HondaJet has a mockup of the aircraft in the exhibit hall.
The old saying, “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” is holding true for AOPA Aviation Summit 2013. About 400 exhibitors are filling the Fort Worth Convention Center in Texas, and nearly 100 aircraft are flying in to Fort Worth Meacham International Airport for the static display at Airportfest.
AOPA anticipates more than 1,000 aircraft will fly in to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for the three-day event, Oct. 10 through 12. (Download the fly-in procedures.)
Attendees will be treated to a range of aircraft at Airportfest, including the B-29 Superfortress Fifi. The Commemorative Air Force, Greatest Generation Aircraft, and Cavanaugh Flight Museum will be giving rides throughout the event in warbirds ranging from Fifi to a C-47 or a H-13B "Sioux” helicopter made famous by M*A*S*H. (Some rides can be purchased online in advance, while others are available in person at Airportfest.)
Airportfest will have aircraft from Cessna, Cirrus, Piper, Embraer, American Champion, Diamond, Eclipse, Epic Aircraft, Piaggio, Pilatus, Quest, Waco Classic, and a host of light sport aircraft dealers. Attendees will want to make sure they don’t miss what is sure to be a crowd favorite, Sarah Wilson’s pristine Jimmie Allen Speedmail biplane dubbed Buddy. Dusty, the star of Disney’s Planes, also will be featured at Airportfest. The cartoon character comes to real life, so to speak, as an Air Tractor painted to look like the lovable animated version.
Airportfest is free for the public to attend and will offer special events throughout the show, including Saturday, which is dedicated to inspiring youth to fly.
The exhibit hall features full-scale mockups, simulators, aircraft, engines, and products and gadgets galore. Honda Aircraft Co. is showing off its HondaJet with a mockup that attendees can go through to learn about the jet’s over-the-wing engine mount, all-composite fuselage, natural laminar flow, and more. Redbird Simulations has its full-motion simulator on hand, and a mockup of the Cirrus Vision Jet also will be in the exhibit hall. While most aircraft and simulators in the exhibit hall are trucked in and reassembled inside, one special arrival landed beside the convention center Oct. 9—a Bell Helicopter 407. The helicopter will be on display outside the convention center.
One of the biggest draws at Summit each year is the educational seminars. This year, AOPA is offering more than 100 hours of seminars on five topic areas: leading luminaries, maintenance, medical and legal, pilot skills, and technology.
With so many activities, attendees may have a hard time packing in everything they want to do in a three-day period. Download the AOPA Aviation Summit 2013 app to help plan your visit.
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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