AOPA Aviation Special Events

Special Events

  • Wednesday, October 10
  • Parade of Planes
    10 a.m.-12 p.m.
    From Palm Springs International Airport to the Palm Springs Convention Center

    Pilots and their families are never more energized and excited than by a Parade of Planes that can only happen at the AOPA Summit and in Palm Springs. Watch the airplanes taxi on city streets and be a part of the excitement that kicks off three days of fun.

  • After-Hours Networking (no pre-registration required)
    8 p.m.-Close
    Spa Resort & Casino

    AOPA is offering you the opportunity to mingle with other pilots after hours at the Spa Resort & Casino. Join us at the AOPA Lounge, LIFT, starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

    Cost: Cash bar

  • THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11
  • Companion Lunch (for non-pilots)
    12 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
    Spa Resort Casino, Cascade Lounge

    Are you a non-pilot attending the Summit and want to meet others like you? Then you are invited to the Summit Companion Lunch. After enjoying a delicious lunch, meet new friends and stick around to learn tips and tricks to beat some of Palm Springs’ infamous casino games. Learn from the best! Spa Resort and Casino dealers will be at the luncheon to teach you several popular casino games. You may even win free casino dollars to use at the Spa Casino.

    Cost: $40 per person

  • Lunch on the East Lawn (no pre-registration required)
    11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
    Convention Center

    AOPA will offer lunch on the East Lawn of the Convention Center on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, in place of a formal luncheon. There will be special speakers each day. First come, first served.

    Cost: Complimentary admission with badge; lunch is available for purchase on-site

  • CHOOSE YOUR ACTIVITY FOR THURSDAY EVENING:

  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (no pre-registration required)
    4 p.m.-8 p.m.
    Valley Station, downtown Palm Springs

    The World’s Largest Rotating Tramcar! You will experience a breathtaking journey up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon. Begin the 10-minute ride at the Valley Station (elevation 2,643 feet) and end at the Mountain Station (elevation 8,516 feet). You will enjoy spectacular views or hiking in a pristine wilderness, a one-of-a-kind experience can be had by all. Fine dining (reservations recommended; last seating at 7:30 p.m.), cafeteria-style dining, and cocktail lounge dining are available for an additional cost.

    Cars depart at least every half hour and can carry up to 80 passengers. The last tram up is at 8 p.m. and last tram down is at 9:45 p.m.

    Don’t miss your opportunity to experience Palm Springs from a higher altitude.

    Cost: $20.95 per person after 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at www.pstramway.com or at the Valley Station ticket booth.

  • Palm Springs Air Museum (no pre-registration required)
    5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. (special hours for AOPA guests)
    Palm Springs International Airport

    Browse the collection of World War II aircraft. Shuttle transportation provided from the convention center.

    Transportation will be provided from the Palm Springs Convention Center at 5 p.m. and return to the convention center, downtown loop (near Hotel Zoso), the Riviera, and The Saguaro at 7:45 p.m. Download the transportation schedule.

    Cost: Adult $12 (special AOPA rate), children 18 and under $8

  • VillageFest (no pre-registration required)
    6 p.m.-10 p.m.
    Downtown Palm Springs

    VillageFest features local artists, food, and live music.

    Cost: No admission fee

  • ‘A Night for Flight’ Benefit and Auction
    6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
    Riviera Palm Springs Resort

    The AOPA Foundation cordially invites you to an elegant evening of food, fun, and amazing entertainment. The benefit will be set at the vintage Riviera Palm Springs Report, which will transport you back to a time when Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack ruled the entertainment scene, and Hollywood was in its golden age.

    Start the evening off as the AOPA Foundation rolls out the red carpet for you to a courtyard reception. You never know who you will find roaming the grounds of the Riviera Hotel, trying to drop in on the party. Following hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, enter the Grand Ballroom for a uniquely prepared three-course dinner. Throughout dinner, you will enjoy era-inspired entertainment. Franky, Dean, Sammy—they’ll all be there. Keep your eyes peeled for a few guest appearances throughout the evening. You may be surprised by who you see!

    Your participation is vital, and when you take part in A Night for Flight, you are creating a legacy with a gift that helps fund the critical, tax-exempt work of the AOPA Foundation to preserve our freedom to fly. This is about the real future of general aviation. It’s about safety for all pilots and their passengers; it’s about growing the pilot population and improving flight training. Without pilots, the airports and aircraft would disappear; it’s about educating communities and the media on the value of GA. The United States is the last country to have any significant GA flight operations, and we need to preserve its future. Ensure future generations are able to experience the practicality and fulfillment of GA flight. If you do just one thing to keep GA strong, take part in this exclusive A Night for Flight gala. Cocktail attire suggested.

    Transportation will be provided to and from all AOPA Official Hotels to the Riviera Resort & Spa beginning at 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. Download the transportation schedule.

    Cost: $250 per person (half of the ticket price is a tax-deductible contribution to the AOPA Foundation to help safeguard the future of general aviation)

    Questions about the dinner? Please contact Julia Jones at 301-695-2268.

    Summit registration is not required to attend A Night for Flight.

    Register Now!

    Auction bidding will open at 9 a.m. EDT on August 27 and end at 7 p.m. EDT on October 13.

    Donate an auction item:
    1. Visit www.biddingforgood.com/aopafoundation. New contributors will need to register before entering an item.
    2. Click on “Donate Items.”
    3. Complete the details about your item and add multimedia content.

    Questions about the auction? Please contact Linda Poole at lindapoole@aopa.org.

  • After-Hours Networking (no pre-registration required)
    8 p.m.-Close
    Spa Resort & Casino

    AOPA is offering you the opportunity to mingle with other pilots after hours at the Spa Resort & Casino. Join us at the AOPA Lounge, LIFT, starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

    Cost: Cash bar

  • FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12
  • Lunch on the East Lawn (no pre-registration required)
    11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
    Convention Center

    AOPA will offer lunch on the East Lawn of the Convention Center on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, in place of a formal luncheon. There will be special speakers each day. First come, first served.

    Cost: Complimentary admission with badge; lunch is available for purchase on-site

  • California Dreamin’ Resort Party
    5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
    Renaissance Pool (attached to convention center)

    Come experience Palm Springs as the resort destination it truly is. Shake off the dust from your resort attire and be prepared to have an evening full of relaxation and fun. Kick back, unwind, and mingle with friends while enjoying poolside and mountain views, unique entertainment, music, and delicious cuisine. Rich in history and blessed with gorgeous weather, Palm Springs is a preferred destination of travelers from all over the world, and you have the chance to experience it all. Nestled at the base of the Mount San Jacinto Mountains, Palm Springs is known for its crystal blue skies, year-round sunshine, stunning landscape, palm tree-lined streets, and starry nights. With an experience like this, you may never want to leave. Resort attire suggested.

    Transportation will be provided to/from three bus routes to the Renaissance Hotel beginning at 5:15 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Download the transportation schedule.

    Cost: $85 per person

  • After-Hours Networking (no pre-registration required)
    8 p.m.-Close
    Spa Resort & Casino

    AOPA is offering you the opportunity to mingle with other pilots after hours at the Spa Resort & Casino. Join us at the AOPA Lounge, LIFT, starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

    Cost: Cash bar

  • Exclusive AOPA Tour with The Best of the Best Tours
    Guest Program
    9 a.m.–12 p.m.
    Cost: $45 per person
    Reservations: Call 760-320-1365 (ask for AOPA Tour)
    Pick-up/Drop-off: Renaissance Palm Springs front drive (suggested time of arrival 8:45 a.m.)

    Palm Springs offers two tours, which will be combined for AOPA guests into one to show you the houses of the rich and famous as well as provide an inside look at the wind/solar/energy features in Palm Springs.

    Rich and Famous Tour Venture Through the Playground of the Stars!

    Travel through the beautiful city of Palm Springs, California, and learn history and facts about the playground of the stars. Your entertaining guide will drive through the famous neighborhood of Las Palmas, regale you with stories and play a fun and often hilarious game of “Guess The Stars Homes.” This area is comprised of all custom homes and boasts an amazing collection of fascinating architecture, including the popular mid-century modern homes in such great demand today.

    Incorporated in 1938, Palm Springs has a rich and colorful history. Once a tent city serving as a sanatorium, learn how Palm Springs became the playground of the rich and famous. Did you know Palm Springs had at least two other names before it was finally dubbed Palm Springs?

    Your professional guide will treat you to dozens of celebrity homes all right in the City of Palm Springs. Your guide will add fun and spice with stories and vignettes—and maybe a secret or two along the way. Why did Hedy Lamarr, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, George Reeves, and Dorothy Lamour all live on the same street?

    Elvis Presley not only honeymooned here but also owned a lovely estate where he and his “posse” could enjoy the warm and dry desert weather. Frank Sinatra built “Twin Palms” and is buried locally. Dean Martin, Liz Taylor, Dinah Shore, Liberace, Ronald Reagan, Frederick Lowe, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Alan Ladd, Debbie Reynolds, Marilyn Monroe and dozens more came to bask in the warm sun and soak in the free and easy desert lifestyle.

    Windmill Tour—The Most Comprehensive Wind/Solar/Energy Tour Available Anywhere!

    Beautiful backdrops from our Windmill Tour! When driving into the beautiful Coachella valley, one of the most striking sights you will see is the vast array of wind turbines that sprout from the desert floor. The words “wind turbine” have evolved into what the locals call windmills. Undoubtedly, that view will pique your curiosity.

    Palm Springs Windmill Tours is the longest continuously operating windmill tour business in the world. Our expert guide will answer your questions and provide interesting background on the subject. You will get an introduction to the weather and geology of the area, learn why windmills were built in California, and why the wind blows the way it does in this mountain pass. Your guide will even tell you how some of the native plants were used by the local Cahuilla Indians.

    You’ll be stopping at some of the projects where you will get information about the windmills themselves—how big they are, how they work, and the unique features of the different designs and models of windmills. Your last stop will be a power plant in the desert, where you will learn about the economics and politics of wind energy in California, the United States, and around the world. We offer the most comprehensive tour of the windmills in America today. Windmill technology is worldwide and a very ancient source of natural power. Your history classes at school covered them from grinding mills to water power and how to harness the wind for electricity.

    The San Gorgonio Wind Park is a mature project boasting four generations of technology and over two dozen types of turbines in operation. Learn how President Obama and the Department of Energy plan to derive 20% of U.S. electricity by 2030 from America’s vast wind resources. Is the T. Boone Pickens plan practical? What are other countries doing about wind power?

    Your expert guide will discuss a host of environmental issues such as bird strikes, bat kills, noise, shadow flicker, land use, and more. The economics of wind is explored along with the Production Tax Credit and Renewable Portfolio Standards. Federal energy policies can be a moving target, so what does the future promise ahead? Jobs, both direct and indirect, are a critical aspect of a green economy. How does the supply chain affect jobs? What happens to older turbines no longer used and useful? What about offshore technology? Come be a part of America’s green energy future.

  • SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13
  • Aviator’s Breakfast
    8:30 a.m.-10 a.m.
    Convention Center

    Have breakfast with aviators you’ve always wanted to meet. Attendees can choose to have breakfast with Women in Aviation, Adventure Fliers, Military Fliers, Safety Experts, the AOPA Pilot Editors, Film and TV Pilots, and health experts (Live Well, Fly Well). Includes breakfast.

    Cost: $50 per person

  • Lunch on the East Lawn (no pre-registration required)
    11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
    Convention Center

    AOPA will offer lunch on the East Lawn of the Convention Center on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, in place of a formal luncheon. There will be special speakers each day. First come, first served.

    Cost: Complimentary admission with badge; lunch is available for purchase on-site

  • Return of the Parade of Planes
    3 p.m.-5 p.m.
    From the Palm Springs Convention Center to Palm Springs International Airport

    Watch the airplanes taxi on city streets to return to the airport.

  • Wild West Desert Adventure
    5 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
    Metate Canyon

    Looking for adventure? Then you have come to the right place. At the Metate Canyon, you will embark on an unforgettable excursion to the surrealistic landscape of the San Andreas Fault! Leaving the convention world behind, guests will take a 45-minute drive by the lush desert communities as you make your way to a hidden desert paradise. In the beautiful Metate Canyon, you will be greeted by exquisite views, aromas of dinner cooking on the BBQ, and the sound of live music, as you step back in time at the Old Mining Camp. An evening complete with Jeep tours of the fault line, music, dancing, lighted dart boards and horseshoes, campfires, an old-time shooting gallery, gold panning, replica mine, plus a corral where you can try your hand at straw-cow roping, there is something for everyone. Enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner and an open bar as you take in the sights and sounds of the desert after dark. Trust us, this is worth the trip.

    Transportation will be provided from the convention center to Metate Canyon. Pick-up will be at 4:30 p.m. Return transportation will be provided from the Metate Canyon to AOPA Official Hotels at 8:30 p.m. Download the transportation schedule. Travel time to the canyon is approximately 45 minutes. Note: Attendees cannot drive themselves to this event; they must use the shuttle.

    Cost: $110 per person; $40 child rate 14 and under (no pre-registration available for child rate)

Summit Sponsors

Night For Flight Sponsors

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