The old saying, “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” is holding true for AOPA Aviation Summit 2013. About 400 exhibitors are filling the Fort Worth Convention Center in Texas, and nearly 100 aircraft are flying in to Fort Worth Meacham International Airport for the static display at Airportfest.
AOPA anticipates more than 1,000 aircraft will fly in to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for the three-day event, Oct. 10 through 12. (Download the fly-in procedures.)
Attendees will be treated to a range of aircraft at Airportfest, including the B-29 Superfortress Fifi. The Commemorative Air Force, Greatest Generation Aircraft, and Cavanaugh Flight Museum will be giving rides throughout the event in warbirds ranging from Fifi to a C-47 or a H-13B "Sioux” helicopter made famous by M*A*S*H. (Some rides can be purchased online in advance, while others are available in person at Airportfest.)
Airportfest will have aircraft from Cessna, Cirrus, Piper, Embraer, American Champion, Diamond, Eclipse, Epic Aircraft, Piaggio, Pilatus, Quest, Waco Classic, and a host of light sport aircraft dealers. Attendees will want to make sure they don’t miss what is sure to be a crowd favorite, Sarah Wilson’s pristine Jimmie Allen Speedmail biplane dubbed Buddy. Dusty, the star of Disney’s Planes, also will be featured at Airportfest. The cartoon character comes to real life, so to speak, as an Air Tractor painted to look like the lovable animated version.
Airportfest is free for the public to attend and will offer special events throughout the show, including Saturday, which is dedicated to inspiring youth to fly.
The exhibit hall features full-scale mockups, simulators, aircraft, engines, and products and gadgets galore. Honda Aircraft Co. is showing off its HondaJet with a mockup that attendees can go through to learn about the jet’s over-the-wing engine mount, all-composite fuselage, natural laminar flow, and more. Redbird Simulations has its full-motion simulator on hand, and a mockup of the Cirrus Vision Jet also will be in the exhibit hall. While most aircraft and simulators in the exhibit hall are trucked in and reassembled inside, one special arrival landed beside the convention center Oct. 9—a Bell Helicopter 407. The helicopter will be on display outside the convention center.
One of the biggest draws at Summit each year is the educational seminars. This year, AOPA is offering more than 100 hours of seminars on five topic areas: leading luminaries, maintenance, medical and legal, pilot skills, and technology.
With so many activities, attendees may have a hard time packing in everything they want to do in a three-day period. Download the AOPA Aviation Summit 2013 app to help plan your visit.