AOPA President Phil Boyer takes center stage with Incredible Productions at the closing banquet of his final Expo as president. Photos: Mike Fizer
Song and dance group Incredible Productions worked their magic on diners at AOPA Expo’s closing banquet and helped pay tribute to AOPA President Phil Boyer for his 18 years as captain of the world’s largest general aviation association.
During the banquet, the Aero Club of Northern California awarded Boyer with the 2008 Crystal Eagle Award. The award recognizes an individual whose accomplishments have significantly contributed to the advancement of aviation or space technology.
“Phil’s leadership has been the change agent,” said Director of County Airports for Santa Clara County Carl Honaker, who presented the crystal eagle, handcrafted in Italy and perched on wood from a California Redwood.
“This is a very special award,” Boyer told Honaker. “As you said, it was 41 years ago I learned to fly in Northern California.”
The witty Incredible Production troupe performed a special tribute to general aviation and Boyer, presenting “Flight School Musical,” with songs including their rendition of Grease’s “Beauty School Dropout,” called “Flight School Dropout.” Set to ‘NSYNC’s popular “Bye Bye Bye,” the group sang, “Time to kiss those TFRs goodbye; bye, bye, bye.”
The troupe claimed that it had the inside scoop on why Boyer came to AOPA from ABC 18 years ago. According to their zany school of thought, Boyer was told to leave ABC because he was “ahead of his time” for suggesting TV series such as “Dancing with the Pilots,” “Dirty, Sexy, User Fees,” and “Extreme Makeover: Airport Edition.”
On a more serious note, Incredible Productions described Boyer as a leader with integrity, energy, and passion, but most of all class.
A video tribute featured endearing comments from senators and representatives on Capitol Hill, general aviation airframe and avionics manufacturers, former FAA administrators, and members of the AOPA Board of Trustees who hired him nearly two decades ago.
His legacy includes battling user fees three times during his 18 years and creating the AOPA Airport Watch Program, the Airport Support Network, AOPA Online, AOPA ePilot, and multiple programs to boost the pilot population such as Project Pilot, Be A Pilot, and Let’s Go Flying.
Boyer accepts the US flag flown over the Capitol on his first day as AOPA president
At the end of the night, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) made a special video presentation of the United States flag that was flown over the Capitol on Oct. 8 to commemorate Boyer’s first day on AOPA’s payroll—Oct. 8, 1990.
Accepting the flag, Boyer stressed that his success was driven by the support of AOPA members and dedicated staff.
In the words of Incredible Productions, “Here’s to you A-O-P-A Expo 2008!”