Hidden away at the tip of Illinois, Carbondale is home to lakes, state parks, a national forest, and Southern Illinois University. Carbondale was named one of the Top 101 Best Outdoor Towns and made the list of Outdoor Magazine’s Top 200 towns for sportsmen. Visitors can enjoy rock climbing, hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, boating, and geocaching, all among the rolling landscape of the Shawnee Hills.
AOPA Fly-In at Carbondale Presented by:
Be a more informed pilot
You’ll find lots of hands-on workshops and seminars for every level of pilot. Don’t miss the Pilot Town Hall where you can share your ideas with AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker.
Fly-In activities & exhibits
Enjoy the Friday night Barnstormers Party. Check out the amazing Exhibit Hall and Aircraft Display. Learn about your AOPA member benefits at the AOPA Village, and much more.
Take in the sights and sounds of local culture through one of our planned excursions. Experience a new flying destination and meet other pilots by participating in an organized fly-out.
We’ll help you plan your stay with information on hotels, camping with your aircraft, rental cars and transportation alternatives, onsite meals, and much more!
What you can eat
& overnight stay
Elevate your pilot experience! AOPA is committed to helping you become a better, safer, more informed pilot. You'll find plenty of focused workshops and short, dynamic seminars - led by some of the greatest experts and voices in aviation.
Haven't been in the left seat for a while? Check out Rusty Pilots.
Don't miss the Pilot Town Hall where you can share your ideas with AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker and find out what's new in GA and at AOPA.
One day is not enough time to get the in-depth learning you asked for, so we’ve included a full day of intensive workshops on Friday. Tuition fees apply.
Buy one ticket (per attendee) to attend the all-day Friday Workshops, then pick any two of the workshops which are most interesting to you. Offered in two three-hour sessions, these workshops will provide in-depth opportunities to roll up your sleeves and deepen your skills in your choice of two of the eight subject areas being offered by world-class presenters:
Complimentary lunch for workshop ticket-holders
Cost: $99 in advance; includes lunch
Registration is required. Check back later for more detailed content information.
Note: Workshop titles and content subject to change.
Led by world-renowned presenters, our Saturday seminars are at the core of the AOPA Fly-In experience, and as always, are free to anyone attending.
Add new experiences to your logbook with confidence and competency. Take the time to increase your proficiency, improve your decision-making, and enhance your situational awareness as you learn from leading aviation experts. Leave the fly-in a safer, better pilot while you connect and develop friendships with other aviators.CLICK FOR LIST OF TOPICS COVERED
If life got in the way of your flying, now’s the perfect time to get back in the left seat. And it’s not as difficult as you may think. The three-hour Rusty Pilots seminar gives you all the information you need to get current again, including credit toward the ground training required for your Flight Review. Plus, attendees will be eligible for a chance to win a Lightspeed Zulu 3 headset. Click here for rules.
Free to AOPA members.
Not a member? Join AOPA to waive the non-member registration fee of $69 and get all the benefits of an AOPA membership for one year.
No fly-in would be complete without a Pilot Town Hall to meet with AOPA President and CEO, Mark Baker. This is your opportunity to talk with him, share your thoughts, ideas, and ask questions. Learn about the very latest happenings in general aviation and at AOPA. Join us afterwards for an ice cream social!
You could be a lucky winner! We’ll award a one-year U.S. standard subscription to Garmin PilotTM and a Lightspeed Zulu 3 Headset to the pilot present at the AOPA Pilot Town Hall who has flown the farthest to the event, as calculated by straight-line from the departure airport on Garmin Pilot. Combined retail value: $924.99. Click here for rules.
There’s so much to experience at an AOPA Fly-In!
Enjoy a fun-filled Barnstormers Party on Friday night, sponsored by Jeppesen. Check out the Exhibit Hall for all things aviation-related, then stroll through the Aircraft Display to see some of the most amazing aircraft on display, from the latest GA has to offer to rare vintage aircraft.
Don't forget to stop by the AOPA Village, meet AOPA staff, and learn how to make the most of your AOPA membership. Our Trade-A-Plane Aircraft Sellers Corral is a great place to buy or sell a legacy aircraft. We even have a designated fun area for kids!
And, if you really want a front-row seat at the fly-in, consider volunteering for one of our many airside or showside positions.
Join us under the stars on Friday night at the Barnstormers Party, presented by Jeppesen, and spend a fun evening with family and friends enjoying live music and great food. Secure your tickets early to this popular event.
Purchase your tickets in advance and save!
Cost: $20 in advance / $25 at the door
Children 12 and under: $10 in advance / $12 at the door
(Aircraft Display will be open until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday)
Get up close and personal with all the latest technologies that make your flying safer and more fun. There’s no better way to see, test, and buy than at an AOPA Fly-In where you’ll find many of aviation’s leading manufacturers and product suppliers under one roof.
Get the scoop on competitive brands, and find out what tomorrow's flying will bring. Stop by the Aircraft Display, featuring dozens of aircraft from manufacturers, type clubs, and local collectors. From the newest models to the rarest vintage aircraft and warbirds, there’s something for everyone.
Looking to purchase? Learn straight from the manufacturer about the latest innovations in airframes and avionics. Interested in restoration? Talk to owners to discover what they’ve done to keep their vintage aircraft in top shape.
If you’re still not convinced you’ll attend, the Exhibitor Show Specials should entice you. These specials will ONLY be good for in-person purchases from the select exhibitors listed on the download below. If you’ve been considering making a purchase from one of these fine exhibitors, there will be no better time than at the AOPA Fly-In at Carbondale. VIEW/DOWNLOAD Exhibitor Show Specials
Stop by the AOPA Village and meet the friendly AOPA staff. We look forward to showing you all the valuable resources available to members. Looking to save money? Talk to our insurance and financing experts. Want to keep flying? Learn about our members-only Pilot Protection Services with critical legal and medical coverage. Find out what’s new at AOPA and learn how we can help you become a better, safer pilot through our courses, quizzes, and videos, assist you with an aircraft purchase, or show you how to best use our flight planning tools. Check out the AOPA Pilot Gear Store for the latest AOPA gear and pick up a cap, T-shirt, or commemorative souvenir.
At the Trade-A-Plane Aircraft Sellers Corral, the airplane comes to you, where you can talk to the owner, ask lots of questions, and kick some tires. A package from AOPA Owners Services allows you, as a buyer, to see what the aircraft is worth based on Vref, the industry-respected valuation service. With estimates from AOPA Finance and Insurance, you’ll have a clear sense of the cost to own. Buying an airplane can be a daunting task – but not at the Trade-A-Plane Sellers Corral. Be sure to stop by!
If you have an aircraft to sell, why park it on “the back 40” when you can park it where the action is – at the AOPA Fly-In!
For only $99, the Trade-A-Plane Aircraft Sellers Corral gives private owners of piston aircraft the opportunity to show their aircraft and connect with interested buyers.
Located near show center, just a short walk from Main Stage, you’ll get plenty of traffic. AOPA Ownership Services will provide a seller’s package for your airplane which will include Vref, and a financing and insurance model.
Show your aircraft and connect with prospective buyers – space is limited to 25 aircraft!
Special Olympics Illinois and the Law Enforcement Torch Run will host the 3rd Annual Southern Illinois Plane Pull as part of the AOPA Carbondale Fly-In presented by Southern Illinois University Aviation. The event will benefit the more than 22,000 athletes and more than 20,000 Young Athletes (ages 2-7) currently participating with Special Olympics Illinois.
What is the Plane Pull?
The Plane Pull features the ultimate tug-of-war competition, as teams of up to 10 battle a United Airlines 737, weighing more than 60,000 lbs. That is right, the plane weighs 30 tons!
Teams compete in one of three divisions:
As part of this exciting event, the Law Enforcement Torch Run will be offering walk-up opportunities for AOPA attendees to participate. Individuals will be able to sign up on-site by visiting the Special Olympics display near the 737 in the aircraft static display. You can also pre-register online by clicking here.
Plane Pull photo by Ben Castic
AOPA plans the fly-ins, but volunteers bring them to life. Whether it’s setting up the Main Stage area, guiding cars and aircraft into their parking spaces, or taking down displays and exhibits at the end of the event, there are many ways volunteers help make the magic happen. But volunteering isn’t all about hard work – it’s also about meeting other volunteers, seeing the fly-in from the “insider’s” perspective, and making friends and valuable contacts that you will keep for years. You’ll be proud to have participated, knowing that you did your part to support GA. If you want something better than a front-row seat, join our community of AOPA Fly-In volunteers! Plus, we'll feed you and give you a free AOPA Volunteer T-shirt and cap for your efforts!
Carbondale, the cultural center of Southern Illinois, has something for every visitor. This eclectic college town is surrounded by forest, large lakes, and scenic byways.
You’ll find a vibrant music scene, gourmet cuisine, museums, shopping, wineries, breweries, golf, farms, magnificent cliffs, spectacular hiking trails, and picturesque lakes.
Here, it’s possible to rappel down a rock face in the morning, sip local wine in the afternoon, dine in one of an astounding variety of restaurants in the evening, and dance to live music at night.
The 375th AES is one of four active duty AE squadrons in the Air Force--two are located stateside and two overseas. They train, mobilize, and deploy aboard C-130, C-17, C-21, and KC-135 aircraft. In the past, the Air Force used dedicated aircraft for medevac (C-141s and C-9s) but now these teams can configure any transport aircraft--even the host wing’s C-21 can support a patient transport.
AOPA fly-out to the Red Bull Air Races
October 6-7, 2018
Fly-out to First Wing Jet Center at Indianapolis Executive Airport (KTYQ) from Carbondale, IL to continue the fun! Join AOPA and Red Bull for the Red Bull Air Races on Sunday, October 7.
Join us for a pancake breakfast and AOPA Pilot Town Hall with AOPA President and CEO, Mark Baker! Pancake breakfast begins at 8:00 a.m. ($10/person), and the town hall begins at 8:30 a.m.
To register for the fly-out, click here to sign up. All fees for camping and meals will be collected when you arrive at First Wing Jet Center. Onsite camping is $20 per aircraft. To book camping, rental cars, or hotel reservations, please call First Wing Jet Center at 317-769-4487. Shuttling to and from First Wing Jet Center to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday for the Air Races (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) is $30 per person for all-day transfers.
Located in the heart of Southern Illinois, Carbondale has a little something for everyone! Come explore the scenic lakes, award winning wine trails and international cuisine. Don’t just take our word for it—see for yourself as you discover why Carbondale is known as “Little Egypt”.
Frasca Field & Air Museum Tours
Frasca Field (C16) is home to the Frasca Air Museum which houses 30 aircraft, including antiques from the 1930’s up through Warbirds from WWII. The airport and museum will be open for tours on October 5th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Feel free to fly in or drive in, as plenty of parking is available; lunch and refreshments will be served around noon.
Frasca International is located on the land adjacent to the airport. FRASCA provides flight simulators to flight schools, airlines, and military organizations worldwide and is one of the most recognizable names in flight simulation. Celebrating their 60th anniversary, the company was founded by Rudy Frasca in 1958 and has delivered over 2700 simulators worldwide. A factory tour may be offered on a limited basis during the event.
Flight and a Bite in Southern Illinois
This excursion has been canceled. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Southern Illinois Transportation Education Center Tour
Tour the Southern Illinois University Transportation Education Center. This state of the art, Silver certified, facility houses the SIU Automotive and Aviation programs. The TEC facility consists of a main building serving the Automotive Technology, Aviation Flight, Aviation Management, and Aviation Technologies programs and annexes. The total square footage of the TEC is estimated to be 187,083 gross square feet for the main facility, a fleet storage area with 31,965 gross square feet, and an aviation test cell facility with 11,855 gross square feet. Tours are available on October 5th and 6th at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. This tour is within walking distance of the "show center" area of the AOPA Fly-In at Carbondale, IL.
Foundations of a Campus: Walking Tour of SIU Carbondale
The Foundations of a Campus tour is designed to showcase the unique and innovative architecture on campus. Established in 1869, SIU Carbondale was the second state-supported normal school in Illinois. Highlights include historic buildings dating back to the 19th century, to modern facilities constructed or renovated within the last five years, many of which include innovative design and sustainability elements. The tour is designed as a walking tour, primarily outdoors, through the scenic 1,100+ acre campus which includes Thompson Woods and Campus Lake. Weather-appropriate attire and comfortable walking shoes strongly encouraged.
You'll get to tour with Dr. Jon Davey, visit historic Fuller Dome (home of SIU professor and creator of the geodesic dome, Buckminster Fuller. The Fuller Dome is on the National Registry of Historic Places), and you'll get transportation to/from campus for the tour. Tours are available Friday, October 5 at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Each tour lasts approximately 2.5 hours.
Learn about Carbondale’s history in its museums and many historic sites. Sample the local produce at nearby farms and orchards, explore and hike wildlife refuge areas and historic parks. Take a brewery, distillery or vineyard tour and tasting. Play a round of golf. Shop in boutiques, antique stores, and unique gift shops in Downtown Carbondale.
Carbondale grew up out of the railroad boom of the 1800s, so be sure to take the family to the Old Illinois Passenger Depot Railroad Museum. The kids will also enjoy The Science Center of Southern Illinois, Kidz Play Zone, or Little Grassy Fish Hatchery. There are lots of options for families looking to do something nearby.
|9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.||Early-bird Workshops (registration & tuition fees apply)|
|12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m||Exhibit Hall, AOPA Village, and Aircraft Display Open|
|4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.||Happy Hour in the Exhibit Hall|
|6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.||Barnstormers Party Presented by Jeppesen|
Tuition required for Friday workshops. Saturday seminars are free, with the exception of Rusty Pilots, which is free to AOPA members and $69 for non-members.
|8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.||Pancake Breakfast|
|9:00 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.||Free Seminars*|
|9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.||Exhibit Hall and AOPA Village Open|
|9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.||Aircraft Display Open|
|11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.||Lunch Service Open|
|12:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.||Rusty Pilots Seminar|
|3:00 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.||Pilot Town Hall with AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker|
|3:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.||Ice Cream Social|
|4:00 p.m.||AOPA Fly-In Ends|
Tuition required for Friday workshops. Saturday seminars are free, with the exception of Rusty Pilots, which is free to AOPA members and $69 for non-members.
Presented by Jeppesen
Join us for an evening under the stars for great music and food. Featuring sweet tea, beef pot roast, grilled chicken breast, roasted red potatoes, southern style green beans, garden salad, and fresh rolls, Texas sheet cake for dessert, and a cash bar.
Cost: $20 in advance/$25 at the door (Children 12 and under - $10 in advance/$12 at the door)
Who can pass up a traditional pancake breakfast at the airport? Join us for hot coffee, orange juice, water, sausage, fruit, and syrup atop a stack of buttermilk pancakes – all served up with a smile by AOPA staff and volunteers.
Cost: $7 in advance/$10 at the door (Children 12 and under - $5 in advance/$7 at the door)
AOPA is thrilled to have the famous 17th Street BBQ serve lunch on both Friday and Saturday during the Fly-In.
17th Street BBQ, rated in numerous publications as one of the top 10 BBQ establishments in America, and voted Best Ribs in the US by Bon Appétit, is offering traditional BBQ sandwiches, racks of ribs and coleslaw plus fun options including BBQ nachos. Enjoy with sweet (or not!) tea.
In addition to BBQ, food options include gyros, hamburgers, hotdogs, Philly steak, chicken wings, chicken tenders, lemon shake ups and more.
Kona Ice is bringing their flavored ice truck; kids (and many adults!) cannot resist their fun tropical and traditional options.
Flying to an AOPA Fly-In is the most enjoyable way to attend, but you don’t have to bring an airplane to participate. We will provide special flight procedures for pilots, and great directions and parking accommodations for drivers.
Safety is a priority for any pilot, and flying into the AOPA Fly-In is no exception. Detailed special arrival and departure procedures will be developed and released approximately six weeks prior to the show, along with an FAA NOTAM to help guide you safely and efficiently in to the event.
Many pilots who fly-in enjoy camping with their aircraft, and we’re making arrangements to enhance the experience.
Join dozens of other pilots and sleep under the stars at Southern Illinois Airport. Primitive restrooms, showers, and special hospitality accommodations will be available.
Camping will be open to pilots from noon on Thursday, October 4 through noon on Sunday, October 7. Pre-registration required and $10 fee applies. Car and RV camping (no hook-ups) are also available.
Per airport management, pets are not permitted on airport grounds or in the camping areas.
AOPA has contacted local hotels to let them know about our event. Some may offer discounts or other incentives to AOPA members. Please make your own reservations directly; AOPA does not assume responsibility for any hotel accommodations, and provides these links only as a convenience to you.
Need to book a hotel room? Thanks to our partnership with Priceline, we are able to offer AOPA members discounts on hotels. Please visit www.aopa.org/hotels to check availability.
Stay tuned for a list of hotels in the area. Plan to book early to get the best rate!
Need to rent a car? Thanks to our partnership with multiple rental car companies, we are able to offer AOPA members discounts on vehicle rentals. Reservations are required, and rental cars will not be available at the airfield without prior reservations.
Click here to book with Hertz
Click here to book with Enterprise
Click here to book with Avis
Check back for information on taxi and shuttle services.