While pancakes were frying on the griddle early June 21, pilots were flying in to Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport in Loveland, Colo., for the Colorado Pilots Association’s annual Aviation Expo and Fly-In. Sunny weather and the expo’s new focus encompassing all general aviation aircraft, not just light sport aircraft, attracted more than 200 pilots and dozens of aircraft.
AOPA President Mark Baker and AOPA Northwest Mountain Regional Manager David Ulane met with pilots, hosted a breakfast for Denver-area AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers, and spoke to the crowd. Baker, who was a keynote speaker at the event, and Ulane briefed attendees on AOPA’s state and local advocacy efforts in Colorado. Baker also told the group about AOPA’s national advocacy efforts on Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine searches of innocent general aviation pilots and their aircraft, as well as AOPA’s continuing work on third class medical reform.
The AOPA Foundation’s Air Safety Institute hosted a two-part “Accident Case Study Live” seminar. In addition, pilots took part in the Colorado Pilots Association’s mountain flying safety course, a North American Aerospace Defense Command seminar on how to avoid military intercepts, and a seminar with Colorado’s State Director of Aeronautics Dave Gordon.
With a flurry of activity showcasing the best of general aviation operations in the area, Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport Manager and AOPA member Jason Licon took the opportunity to facilitate a meeting with Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat about the airport’s value to the community, its burgeoning activity levels, and more. Baker, Ulane, Gordon, Fort Collins-Loveland Airport Support Network volunteer Steve Wolf, and Fort Collins-Loveland Pilots Association President Rick Raesz also met with the mayor to discuss GA’s importance and highlight initiatives that the airport’s pilots association is undertaking to promote the airport to the public.
“Mayor Weitkunat is a big supporter of the airport and general aviation,” Ulane said, “and we were pleased to meet with her to discuss all that the Fort Collins-Loveland Airport and GA offers the community.”
Ulane credited the new focus of the annual event—encompassing all GA—with its success in attracting more pilots. AOPA was pleased to work with Colorado Pilots Association President Ann Beardall and former president Mark Brown to expand the focus of the event and offer additional AOPA involvement.
“This is part of our nationwide effort to meet pilots in their own backyard,” Ulane said of AOPA’s participation. “With great weather, great food, and a broad GA focus, the Colorado Pilots Association’s 2014 Aviation Expo was a huge success.”