Flight Across America pilots visit AOPA headquarters.
Some 80 people aboard more than 40 aircraft arrived at AOPA's headquarters at Frederick Municipal Airport on Friday, on their way to a ceremony honoring the victims of the September 11 attack on the Pentagon.
Frederick Mayor Jennifer Dougherty joined AOPA President Phil Boyer in welcoming the group to Frederick. In addition, Frederick County Commissioner Jan Gardner presented the group with a proclamation from Maryland Governor Parris Glendening, declaring September 6, 2002, as Flight Across America Day in the State of Maryland.
In his comments to the Flight Across America crew, Boyer thanked them for the positive message they're conveying. "There is a feeding frenzy in the media leading up to the 9/11 anniversary," said Boyer, "and most of the reporters we talk to come out with a preconceived negative idea about aviation. But they can't do that with your story. It is unfailingly positive. You are doing a tremendous favor for the rest of the pilots in this country."
Boyer also gave the members a powerful new tool to teach nonpilots about general aviation and all the benefits it provides for the entire nation, not just pilots. It's a Web site called GA Serving America and discusses all of the obvious and the hidden benefits that come from GA.
After tours of the AOPA facility and a lunch hosted by the association, Flight Across America representatives were headed for the Pentagon for a wreath-laying ceremony to honor the victims of the attack there. They were to be joined by airline pilot representatives, honoring the crew of the aircraft used in the attack.
The pilots will head next to New York City, where they will be joined by the remaining state flag bearers for an honor flight of planes past the Statue of Liberty and a ceremony aboard the USS Intrepid, turning the flags over to the city of New York.