An enthusiastic crowd welcomed the Parade of Planes to Palm Springs, California, this afternoon. Some 78 aircraft taxied from Palm Springs International Airport to the convention center. Thousands of people lined the one-mile parade route, waving and cheering as the aircraft passed by. The Parade of Planes kicks off AOPA Expo 2002.
Palm Springs Mayor Will Kleindienst and AOPA President Phil Boyer welcomed Expo attendees with a ribbon cutting at the parade start. The first aircraft out of the gate was a classic red Waco biplane, similar to the AOPA Sweepstakes Waco UPF-7.
Mayor Kleindienst noted that AOPA Expo is the largest convention to hit Palm Springs, and he promised to enlarge the convention center to ensure that AOPA returns to the desert resort area in the future.
AOPA Expo officially gets under way tomorrow morning as new FAA Administrator Marion Blakey makes her first major address to a general aviation audience.