More than 5,000 AOPA members and aviation enthusiasts descended on Frederick, Maryland, on June 2 to experience general aviation in all its glory. Some 300 airplanes from all over the country and as far as Canada came for the AOPA Fly-In and Open House at the association's headquarters.
The event attracted a unique group of people like the Oxman's, a father and son team, who flew in ready to have some fun.
"We heard you were having a party," said pilot Steve Oxman from Annapolis, Pennsylvania. Oxman jokingly asked about where to find the free fuel as he parked his Beechcraft Bonanza. He said he came for the vendors, the safety seminars, and to talk with AOPA President Phil Boyer.
In good spirits, he was eager to greet his 15-year-old son Warren, who recently completed his first solo in Canada. Warren arrived separately with his flight instructor Jeff Barnett. Accustomed to being in aircraft since he was 4, Warren Oxman was excited about showing off his piloting skills in the high-wing Cessna 140.
AOPA member Guy Reynolds had a little showing off of his own to do. As the oldest active pilot in Martinsburg, West Virginia, with almost 900 hours logged, this 94-year-old was happy to have his Evektor-Aerotechnik SportStar Plus, a light sport aircraft, on display.
"It was the first one [model] to be approved by the FAA and sold in the United States," said Reynolds.
Others traveled in from Somerset, New Jersey, for the seminars in particular. "We came for the Single-Pilot IFR seminar," said Paul Murray. He was with Jeff Morris, a new instrument pilot. Together, they own a Piper Cherokee.
Fly-In is also a great way for student pilots to bond. AOPA Project Pilot Student Wendy Cooper flew in from Manassas, Virginia, along with her Mentor and instructor Mike Sullivan in a Cessna Cardinal RG.
"I came with my renewal in hand," laughed Cooper. "She's making sure her six-month membership doesn't expire and today was the perfect day to do it."
Pilots Sergei Gluhushkin and Dave Fisher began their journey in Brampton, Ontario, and flew in just to escape their typical weekend activities. "It's nice to get away from the housework and yard work," said Gluhushkin.
June 2, 2007