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 Director of Publications and Managing Editor for AOPA Pilot and Flight Training, Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.
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