Some 10,000 pilots, their family members, and friends are expected for AOPA's largest-ever convention and show, AOPA Expo 2000, in Long Beach, California, October 20-22.
"AOPA's debut convention in Long Beach is symbolic of general aviation's continuing turn-around in technical, economic, and political terms," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "The spirited renewal of this Southern California city has been matched by its complete reversal of policy toward its airport and the role of general aviation there."
In "The Beachside City Transformed," AOPA will host some 150,000 square feet of exhibitors and 70 product demonstrations at the Long Beach Convention Center. Activities—most within walking distance—are centered in the city's sparkling new Pine Avenue and Shoreline Village areas featuring attractions such as the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Some 80 different aviation seminars throughout the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday event make AOPA Expo a learning experience. Each day kicks off with a one-hour morning general session on issues of major importance to pilots.
General aviation safety will be first up on Friday morning, October 20, in a 9 a.m. general session sponsored by Air BP. As the AOPA Air Safety Foundation looks back at its fiftieth anniversary, the ASF team will review where we've been since 1950 and where we're going to continue general aviation's much-improved accident record.
Later on October 20, the Expo Opening Luncheon features winners of the Max Karant Journalism Awards competition for "fair, accurate, and insightful" coverage of general aviation. Awardees range from coverage of the John Kennedy, Jr. tragedy to a TV feature on the short-lived but well-loved Funk airplane and the Funk brothers who built it. Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill will welcome AOPA to her rejuvenated city.
The noontime Expo Luncheon will conclude with a special moment: an unprecedented AOPA tribute to legendary military aviator and airshow pilot Bob Hoover and his battle against questionable medical certificate action.
FAA Administrator Jane Garvey will address AOPA Expo 2000 on Saturday morning, October 21, interacting with AOPA President Boyer and taking questions from pilots on many issues affecting our flying.
The Sunday, October 22, morning session will be a Team AOPA report to the membership on AOPA operations, including important announcements on enhanced AOPA programs and benefits.
Sunday night "breaks the mold" this election year as The Capitol Steps, the riotous Washington comedy troupe of ex-Capitol Hill staffers, entertains the Expo Grand Finale Banquet with send-ups of all political persuasions—just days before the presidential election.
Of The Capitol Steps, CNN's Larry King has said, "They're the best." But former President George Bush once remarked, "They make it easier to leave public life!" Seating is limited for this expected sell-out. On-site registrants should obtain tickets as soon as possible.
More than 80 aircraft will be on static display at Long Beach Airport, just a few minutes by free shuttle bus from the convention center. Included are AASI Jetcruzer, Cirrus, Derringer, Express, Lancair, LoPresti West, Maule, Micco, Pilatus, Rans, Robinson, Soloy Conversions, Stemme, Twin Commander, and Velocity, among others. Manufacturers such as American Champion, Cessna, Mooney, Raytheon, and New Piper will display multiple aircraft.
AOPA's 2000 sweepstakes aircraft, the Millenium Mooney, will also be on display. Some lucky pilot will own AOPA's fastest, sharpest prize plane ever, just months from now.
The Expo static display is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Unlike airshows crowded with non-aviators, AOPA Expo allows serious shoppers to examine and discuss the merits of various products and services in an unhurried environment. With the extensive static display, five Expo product demonstration areas, and the massive exhibit hall, AOPA Expo—inside and out—is a great place to see what's new in aviation. Included will be the fantastic display on the upcoming $800,000 Eclipse Jet.
But there's something new at the airport for Sunday, October 22: After "kicking tires" on the latest new airplanes, attendees can test drive sporty new Audi automobiles. Audi of America is also sponsoring Sunday's Expo Grand Finale Banquet appearance by The Capitol Steps.
The plethora of Expo seminars are organized according to interest tracks ranging from aircraft ownership and places to fly to medical issues and an array of safety subjects. There are sessions on aircraft financing, insurance, and taxes. Of interest to more and more pilots are programs on "Keeping Your Flying Skills After 50," "FAA Enforcement," and "How to Survive a Ramp Check."
Aircraft owners will want to attend sessions like "The Real Cost of Ownership" and "Which Aircraft Is for You," plus "Kit Aircraft—Are They for You?" and "What Else Can I Do to My Panel?" There's also the important session on "How to Talk Avionics with Your Shop" plus "Painting Your Aircraft" and "Aviation Oil Myths."
Handy tips for more productive flying include "How to Sweet-Talk the System" plus special GPS seminars for IFR pilots and for VFR pilots. Seminars of particular interest to western pilots include "Southern California Weather," "Flying to Mexico/Central America," "Flying the Alaska Highway," plus "Recreational Flying in the Western States." There's also a session on how and why to get a seaplane rating.
John and Martha King will offer their hilarious talk on "How to Avoid Unwanted Adventure." AIR's Kit Darby will cover "How to Become a Professional Pilot," and Captain Karen Kahn will ask, "Turning Pro—Do You Have What It Takes?" Flight instructors will enjoy a session on "More Money, More Fun."
Aviation humorists Rod Machado and Ralph Hood will keep seminar attendees chuckling with their special brand of humor that allows us pilots to laugh at ourselves and our world. Rod Machado will also offer a serious session on "Defensive Flying."
Continuing on more serious subjects, Air Safety Foundation seminars will include "Collision Avoidance" plus "Weather Strategies," "Weather Tactics," and the ever-popular "More Never Again."
There's also "Spatial Disorientation" and "Night VFR: An Oxymoron," plus "High Altitude Flying," "Surviving an Aircraft Accident," and "Avoiding Runway Incursions."
AOPA Expo is a rare opportunity for spouses and frequent passengers to participate in the Air Safety Foundation's Pinch- Hitter® program. Originally intended to equip passengers to land an aircraft in an emergency, ASF's Pinch-Hitter® also helps nonpilots understand, appreciate, and enjoy flying more. Advance registration (first-come, first-served) is required for these four-hour ground schools that begin Friday and Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m.
Medical subjects will get special attention. Among these seminars are "Your Aging Eyes—What Can You Do?" and "Refractive Eye Surgery," plus "Vision in Night Flying" and "Tricks Your Eyes Can Play." There are also the important subjects of "OTC and Prescription Drugs: Which Ones Will Fly?" and "A Mended Heart Can Still Get a Medical."
To emphasize AOPA's concern for pilot medical certification, an aviation medical examiner and a pharmacist will be on hand at Expo on Sunday, October 22, to discuss personal aviation medical issues and acceptable medications. This Sunday-only opportunity is offered by members of CAMA, the Civil Aviation Medical Association.
AOPA Expo isn't only airplanes and seminars? It's lots of fun. Friday night's welcome reception at the Hyatt Hotel (right next to the convention center) is just the warm-up. Saturday night, it's the big AOPA bash—the "AOPA Goes Hollywood" theme party where AOPA members are the stars! All are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite movie star or in their favorite movie role. You won't be able to tell you're not at the Oscars! Be ready for the red carpet entrance, TV cameras, and "celebrity" interviews at the door, even a gaggle of hired papparazzis snapping your picture as you enter.
AOPA's spouse and guest program includes other fun opportunities, including a wine tasting.
A score of aviation groups will be holding annual or statewide meetings concurrent with AOPA Expo 2000. Included are the USPA, Flying Rotarians, Christian Pilots Association, the "Living With Your Plane" Association, Mercy Airlift, numerous type clubs, and the United Flying Octogenarians.
Pre-registration for AOPA Expo 2000 is record-setting, but on-site registration will be available throughout the event for as little as $30 ($45 for admission and seminar attendance.) Admission to the daily 9 a.m. general session is free of charge.
Driving to AOPA Expo 2000 is easy, and parking will be easier. The convention center is right at the end of the I-710 (Long Beach) Freeway, with parking for 4,000 cars at the center's garage, plus thousands more spaces on adjacent surface lots.
Some 1,500 aircraft can be accommodated at Long Beach Airport (Daugherty Field) at one time. Upon landing, follow flaggers to special west-side parking areas. The city of Long Beach has waived landing fees; parking will be $15 regardless of length of stay. The first 2,000 aircraft will receive souvenir chocks, a gift of the city and host FBO AirFlite. Shuttle bus service operates to the convention center (only).
Special air traffic procedures will be in effect. Six VFR arrival routes have been established, five not requiring communications with SoCal approach. VFR arrival routes begin at these points: Santa Susanna Pass (VPLSS), Magic Mountain (VPLMM), Cajon Pass (VPLCP), Banning Pass (VPLBP), and Dana Point (VPLDP).
Some VFR arrival routes have special transponder codes to squawk. This is all the more reason to obtain and study arrival procedures. See AOPA Online or the FAA notam for all fly-in procedures. Don't try to "wing it."
VFR arrivals from the northwest using the Hollywood Park Route through Los Angeles Class B airspace must obtain a clearance from SoCal approach on 134.9 MHz prior to proceeding southeast on the VNY 140 radial to enter Class B airspace.
IFR arrivals will encounter delays and will require an arrival slot. An IFR slot may be obtained up to 48 hours in advance through FSS or the computerized voice reservation system at 800/875-9694 (PC users: 800/875-9759 to access via computer.)
Weather, local knowledge, and skills permitting, VFR arrivals will minimize delays.
For more information on AOPA Expo 2000, call 888/GO2-EXPO or see AOPA Online.
September 14, 2000