April 2, 2014
By Julie Summers Walker
“I’ve got a hot griddle and pancake mix; come on over!” were the encouraging words on a bright, sunny morning April 2 in Lakeland, Fla., at the fortieth annual Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo where AOPA held its first free pancake breakfast. With hot pancakes and steaming sausages in hand, more than 200 AOPA members enjoyed breakfast and a Q-and-A session with AOPA President Mark Baker.
“How does everyone like their free pancakes?” asked Baker. To a resounding applause, Baker spoke about several of AOPA's key initiatives—flying clubs, its Rusty Pilots Program, the third-class medical exemption, Customs and Border Protection stops and searches, and the AOPA Fly-Ins.
Both AOPA’s Flying Club Initiative and its Rusty Pilots Program were introduced last month. To the announcement of AOPA’s closest-to-Florida fly-in—St. Simons, Ga., Nov. 8—a member leapt up and said to Baker: “You know where the best GA airport in the country is? St. Simons!”
Baker laughingly said, “I think this is a hijacking,” but approved of the free publicity for the Georgia fly-in.
The pancake breakfast—held from 8 until 9:30 a.m.—was greatly appreciated by members. Many expressed their appreciation and applauded Baker's remarks.
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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