The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is inviting all pilots to the Pilot Facility Grand Opening and Fly-in Saturday, May 10, at the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Ceremonies begin at 12:30 p.m. (Because parking is very limited at First Flight Airfield (FFA), pilots are requested to land at nearby Dare County Airport (MQI) at Manteo. Free bus service will be provided to the Wright Brothers Memorial starting at 7 a.m.)
The all-new Pilot Facility is sponsored by AOPA on behalf of its members. It was built in coordination with the National Park Service and First Flight Centennial Foundation and will be the only permanent structure built at the historic site to remain following the Wright Brothers' 100th Anniversary of Powered Flight celebrations this year. The day's celebrations will be hosted by AOPA President Phil Boyer and will include speeches, tours, hot dogs, and other refreshments.
Also featured will be the first public appearance in the Mid-Atlantic region of AOPA's Centennial of Flight Sweepstakes vintage Waco biplane.
"The new Pilot Facility provides state-of-the-art flight planning and weather information to pilots visiting First Flight Airfield during this important year," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We want to share the excitement of the 100th Anniversary of Powered Flight, and a chance to see the AOPA sweepstakes Waco biplane, with pilots across America. I hope pilots will fly in to join us."
Guests will have the opportunity to tour the new Pilot Facility, which includes a computerized Meteorlogix MxVision AviationSentry weather briefing system and a second computer equipped with Jeppesen FliteStar route planning software and access to AOPA Online. The 900-square-foot facility is located adjacent to the 3,000-foot First Flight Airfield (FFA).
Pilots and aviation enthusiasts also will be able to enjoy AOPA's newly restored 1940 UPF-7 three-seat biplane at the event. The AOPA Centennial of Flight Sweepstakes aircraft will be awarded early next year to a lucky AOPA member who has joined or renewed their membership.
AOPA's recognition of the Wright brothers' 100th anniversary includes sponsorship of the Pilot Facility, exclusive centennial editorial coverage in AOPA Pilot magazine, and the ongoing sweepstakes, which also provides monthly winning members the chance to experience flights in a Waco biplane.
Pilots flying to the event will need to call and place a reservation beginning May 6 at 8:30 a.m. With parking space extremely limited at First Flight Airfield, aircraft parking slots will be awarded only to the first 25 pilots making reservations. All other pilots wishing to fly in for the event will be accommodated at Dare County Regional Airport.
The May 10 event will begin at 12:30 p.m. Pilots landing at Dare County Regional Airport will enjoy free bus service to the Pilot Facility event beginning at 7 a.m. (Travel time between the airport and the monument is about 20 minutes.) Bus service will run continuously until 5 p.m., allowing pilots plenty of time to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial. The day's schedule will include:
7 a.m.-5 p.m.—Free shuttle bus service between Dare County Regional Airport in Manteo and Wright Brothers National Memorial. Buses will depart every 20 minutes.
12:30 p.m.—Opening ceremony begins outside the Pilot Facility at First Flight Airfield, Wright Brothers National Memorial. Speeches by Phil Boyer, politicians, Park Service, FAA representative, and a ribbon cutting at the front steps are planned.
1 p.m.—Informal tours of the Pilot Facility commence and lunch service begins.
1:30 p.m.—National Memorial tour of monument and Wright Flyer first flight site. Ranger talks offered at flight site and monument.
With nearly 400,000 members, AOPA is the world's largest civil aviation organization. The association is dedicated to preserving the rights and privileges of all general aviation pilots. General aviation is defined as all aviation except scheduled air carrier service and military flights. GA accounts for the vast majority of hours flown each year in the United States.