The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) will hold its annual Expo, general aviation's premier trade show and convention, in Hartford, Conn. The show will run October 4-6 at the Connecticut Convention Center.
"We're looking forward to our first visit to the New England region," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We planned our visit to coincide with the peak foliage season for the region and pilots will enjoy the scenery as they fly in for Expo."
With an average attendance of 10,000, AOPA Expo is expected to bring in about $10 million to the Hartford community.
Each day of AOPA Expo will kick off with a general session at 9 a.m., featuring Boyer and top industry leaders. One morning session will discuss the growing trend of owner-flown turbines; the next will focus on general aviation airports across the country and the efforts of AOPA to promote and protect them; and the final general session will be a report on AOPA and AOPA Air Safety Foundation activities from senior management of the association.
The exhibit hall will open immediately following each general session. With more than 550 exhibits, the hall includes aircraft manufacturers, avionics, flight gear, navigation tools, flight training services, and much more. In addition, Expo Diamond Sponsor DTC DUAT will host an Internet Café that will be located inside the hall. Visitors are invited to stop by to check the weather before their flights.
Less than two miles from the convention center, more than 60 airplanes will be on display for pilots and aviation enthusiasts to see up close. A free shuttle service, sponsored by Cessna, will transport AOPA Expo attendees between the aircraft display and the convention center.
Headlining the display at Hartford-Brainard Airport will be the AOPA 2007 Catch-a-Cardinal Sweepstakes airplane, a 1977 Cessna 177 Cardinal. This will be the first public appearance for the Cardinal following its interior refurbishment. Other upgrades that have been performed on the aircraft throughout the year include a new paint job, new avionics, and a factory overhauled Lycoming O-360-A1FB engine. Attendees will want to stop by to see the completely refurbished airplane, which will be awarded to one lucky pilot in early 2008. Anyone who joins or renews AOPA membership in 2007 is automatically entered to win the sweepstakes plane. Complete rules, eligibility requirements, and alternate methods of entry are available online at: www.aopa.org/sweeps/officialrules.html.
Other aircraft on display will range from light sport aircraft (LSAs) to very light jets (VLJs). Attendees will see the variety of what general aviation has to offer, and can speak with experts about each aircraft.
More than 60 hours of seminars will run throughout the three-day show. Favorite speakers, including aviation humorist Rod Machado, and a host of new presenters will conduct seminars. Attendees will have a variety of seminar topics to choose from, such as decision making, aircraft ownership, medical certification, interior renovations, and instrument flying.
Expo seminars are conveniently organized into two tracks - Proficiency and Safety, and Ownership and Flying. After registering through AOPA Online, attendees can select the seminars they wish to attend, and then print their customized schedule to take with them to the show. Online registration is open until September 12, at www.aopa.org/expo/. Online registration is not required to prepare a customized schedule.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation will host several safety seminars, including its latest, "The Top Five Mistakes Pilots Make," which will debut at Expo. The seminar will tell pilots what they can do to avoid making those same mistakes. Attend the seminar for expert insights and valuable tips that might just save your life someday. UTC will be sponsoring webcasting of all Air Safety Foundation seminars that are presented at AOPA Expo. Anyone unable to attend in person can tune in after the show to view them at www.asf.org.
Among the other seminars, laugh and learn with Rod Machado, popular aviation humorist and flight instructor, in his "Aviation Humor and Techniques for Safe Flying" seminars; get answers to your questions about medical certification from Gary Crump, director of medical services at AOPA; learn from a tax expert about taxes relating to aircraft ownership; and learn how to navigate the process of becoming a career pilot. For a full list of seminars visit www.aopa.org/expo/.
Each evening of AOPA Expo features entertainment, beginning with a Welcome Reception on Thursday night. Always a popular event, this is an opportunity for attendees to talk with fellow pilots and reconnect with old friends.
The Friday Night Party at the New England Air Museum lets attendees dine and dance among more than 80 aircraft from all eras of aviation history.
The Closing Banquet on Saturday evening features dinner and first-class entertainment. In addition, Boyer will present two of aviation's most prestigious awards. The J.B. "Doc" Hartranft Award will recognize the government official who did the most to defend and preserve general aviation during the year. The Laurance P. Sharples Perpetual Award will honor the individual who displayed the greatest selfless commitment to general aviation by a private citizen.
AOPA members who attend Expo are encouraged to join the newly expanded AOPA Project Pilot program by signing up to mentor prospective flight students. Project Pilot is a national call to action for all members to help increase the pilot population by identifying someone they know who is interested in learning to fly, and helping them get started by encouraging and guiding them through the process.
Special gifts will be given to the first 200 mentor-student pairs who sign up on-site at AOPA Expo. In addition, one lucky mentor, among those who sign up at Expo, will win a Sennheiser headset. And one lucky future pilot will win $2,500 toward their flight training. Ten other future pilots will win $250 scholarships.
Those who register in advance pay only $25 per day to attend the general sessions, exhibit hall, and aircraft display. For $45 per day, attendees can also attend any of the seminars. To register now, and to reserve hotel rooms, visit www.aopa.org/expo/. Advance registration ends on September 12. Special rates for hotels ends on September 9.
VFR arrival procedures for attendees flying to AOPA Expo will be posted online ( www.aopa.org/expo/) once they are finalized.
With more than 412,000 members, representing nearly two thirds of all pilots in the United States, AOPA is the largest, most influential aviation association in the world. AOPA has achieved its prominent position through effective advocacy, enlightened leadership, technical competence, and hard work. Providing member services that range from representation at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, advice, and other assistance, AOPA has built a service organization that is without peer to any other in the aviation community.
August 2, 2007