Another successful AOPA Expo, the first to be held in Tampa, Florida, wrapped up Saturday evening with a banquet that boogied to the swing and big band sounds of the Terry Myer Orchestra. But before the musical festivities commenced, AOPA took a few moments to recognize some milestones among members of the audience.
AOPA President Phil Boyer introduced Edwin Hoffmire of Clifton, New Jersey, who at age 96 is the oldest pilot to attend Expo. Boyer asked Hoffmire if "they had GPS in your day?" "I don't think they had ADF in my day," Hoffmire quipped.
The newest private pilot at Expo was Sherry Gettinger of Fairview, North Carolina, who earned her certificate on October 27. She said she and her husband are shopping for an airplane, and she's leaning toward a Cessna 182, as she trained in a 172.
The pilot who traveled the farthest was Howard Wolvington, who flew his 1959 Piper Comanche 250 from Seattle, Washington, to Florida - a trip of more than 2,000 nm. It was planned to be a five-leg, 2.5-day trip that wound up taking five days, he said. After Expo he'll fly to Tennessee to give his two and a half-year-old grandson his first airplane ride.
The youngest pilot is Laura Thompson, 18, of Tampa. She received a round of applause in absentia because, Boyer explained, she was on duty at Peter O. Knight Airport, one of the three host airports for this year's Expo, where she works to pay for her flying lessons.
November 5, 2005