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Flying Shriners visit AOPAFlying Shriners visit AOPA

Flying Shriners visit AOPA

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A dozen members of the International Shriners Aviation Association (ISAA) visited AOPA Friday. They stopped by en route to the 135th Convention of the Shrine of North America in Baltimore, Md. Part of a network of 41 aviation chapters across the nation, these pilots and AOPA members carry our "compassion flights" delivering children to and from critical care at Shriners Hospitals, all at no cost to the children or their families.

AOPA President Phil Boyer welcomed the group, saying, "The great work Shriner aviators have been doing for decades is a prime example of the positive contributions GA pilots provide to those in need."

Shriners attending the morning session, including AOPA member and ISAA Commander Jack Copenhaver of Omaha, Neb., peppered Boyer with questions for over 30 minutes on the ways AOPA is working with the FAA, TSA, Congress, as well as state and local governments to keep flying safe and free of onerous restrictions.

Many of the visiting Shriners count their flying time in decades and were especially interested in hearing from Larry Barnhart, AOPA senior technical specialist, on the rising cost of insurance and how it impacts aging pilots. Barnhart gave the Shriners tips on how to keep their premiums down as they approach age 70, and he discussed AOPA's research into the aging pilot population.

Questions included the option of obtaining a sport pilot certificate, as long as an older pilot had never been denied a medical certificate by the FAA.

Although they came from all across the United States, members of Flying Fez Shrines, like Don Tyndall, a retired naval aviator from Muskogee, Okla., were anxious to hear from Boyer and Melissa Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs, on the Washington, D.C., ADIZ and TFRs that can pop up anywhere around the country.

There are 22 Shriner Hospitals across the country that provide free medical care to over 190,000 children each year.

July 1, 2005

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