Over 1,000 pilots from around the world flocked to the AOPA tent on AOPA Day.
AOPA President Phil Boyer and other
key AOPA staffers answered members' questions in hour-long hangar sessions.
AOPA Director of Medical Certification Gary Crump discussed how
AOPA helps save some 6,000
medical certifications each year.
Pilots got up close and personal with the 2005 Sweepstakes Commander 112A.
A love of flying and interest in general aviation united more than 1,000 pilots from around the world at the AOPA tent Friday, AOPA Day. Pilots flocked to Sun 'n Fun and AOPA's big yellow tent from all across the United States and from countries like Italy, Greece, Chile, Canada, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, and Holland.
During the day, AOPA focused on showing pilots how they can keep flying safe, fun, and affordable. Pilots got up close and personal with the 2005 Sweepstakes Commander 112A, received renewed hope that they could own aircraft, learned they could overcome barriers to fly again, and became acquainted with many AOPA services that can enhance safety and ease pilot workload.
AOPA President Phil Boyer spoke with nearly 75 pilots during an hour-long informal hangar-flying session beside the tent, answering questions about the FAA's budget crisis, the outsourcing of flight service station services, the Washington Metropolitan ADIZ, and temporary flight restrictions around the country.
Pilots learned from the AOPA Insurance Agency that they could afford aircraft ownership and insurance. One student pilot discovered after talking to the agency that he could buy an aircraft and be insured in it. He was under the misconception that he had to become a private pilot before owning an aircraft.
Another pilot had been turned away from various FBOs because he did not have renter's insurance - and he thought he was too old to get coverage. AOPA Insurance Agency renewed his hope by explaining that he could obtain insurance through them to get back in the air.
Chelton's FlightLogic display attracted many spectators and prompted discussions on safety. The Chelton system is one of the many exciting features in AOPA's Commander Countdown aircraft. The Commander is an aircraft that seems to have universal appeal at Sun 'n Fun, with many members commenting that they can see themselves flying it if they win. "I've always loved the Commander," said AOPA member Bernie Berger. "I think it's a fabulous airplane." ( See the latest updates on the Commander restoration.).
Visitors also chatted one-on-one with AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg about new courses from the AOPA Online Safety Center and runway incursions. AOPA Director of Medical Certification Gary Crump discussed how AOPA helps save some 6,000 medical certifications each year and answered visitors' medical questions. Many members thanked Crump personally after his hangar session for helping them get back in the air. AOPA Pilot Editor-in-Chief Tom Haines gave members the inside scoop on how the association publishes the world's favorite aviation magazine, and famed aviation photographer Mike Fizer talked about techniques to take better airshow and aviation photographs. AOPA Pilot editors Steve Ells and Tom Horne detailed the restoration of the Commander Countdown Sweepstakes airplane.
Safety was another key focus during the day. AOPA staff walked visitors through the AOPA Online Safety Center, giving them a glimpse of the free interactive courses, quizzes, and safety information available. They also learned how to use AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner to save valuable time during flight planning. The program is free to AOPA members.
Even though the second annual AOPA Day is finished, the fun doesn't have to stop. AOPA staff will be parked at the big yellow tent for the remainder of the Sun 'n Fun.
April 15, 2005