Saturday, Nov. 8 marks the seventh and final AOPA Fly-In of the year. It’s your last chance to spend a great day at the airport surrounded by thousands of your fellow aviators, dozens of exhibitors, and hours of seminars. Here are the top reasons to join AOPA at St. Simons Island, Georgia.
1. The journey. Whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth, the feeling of approaching the coast and seeing the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean in your windscreen is worth the trip by itself. They call this area of Georgia the Gold Coast, and for good reason. Mile upon mile of undisturbed shoreline is punctuated by only a few small towns, including beautiful St. Simons Island.
2. Parties! Come in on Friday for the Barnstormer dinner. There'll be some great food, live music, and fun right on the ramp. Better yet, pitch a tent and camp right around the corner.
3. Learning opportunities. If just being at the airport weren't reason enough to come, AOPA has planned eight hours of seminars during the one-day event. From buying an airplane to avoiding an enforcement action, or even leadership in a time of crisis from former commander of the U.S.S. Cole, retired Cmdr. Kirk Lippold, the day should hold a bit of something for everyone.
4. Variety of aircraft. Maybe you like traditional four-seat, all-metal classics of the 1970s, or are one of the many fans of the DC-3. Or perhaps your tastes go farther back to the mighty B-17. Whatever your interest, the fly-in will have it. EAA’s B-17 Aluminum Overcast will be on hand to give rides (for a fee) and the private owner of a beautiful, polished DC-3 is planning to have it on hand in the static display.
5. Get up to speed. Feeling a bit rusty? Friday night, Nov. 7, marks another opportunity to learn in the popular Rusty Pilot seminar. This engaging, free session covers all the knowledge areas a pilot needs in order to fly safely again after an absence.
6. Scope out a future family vacation. St. Simons Island is a great vacation destination. It’s the kind of place where parents still let their kids roam free and ride bicycles up and down the tree-lined sidewalks. The fly-in will give you a great taste of the island and make your family want to come back for more.
7. Support a true GA airport. The community, airport management, and Malcolm-McKinnon Airport tenants truly get it. That’s clear from their unflinching support of the AOPA Fly-In to the great relationship based aircraft owners have with the management. People in the community value the airport, Golden Isles is a fantastic FBO, and the whole places radiates small-town charm, but with world-class facilities.
8. Make your voice heard. AOPA President Mark Baker is hosting a must-see town hall presentation at 2:45 p.m., where he’ll speak on the big advocacy issues of the day and take questions and comments from the audience.
9. The beach. It’s an island, and that means beaches! There are a few public access points, each a quick cab ride from the airport. The water won’t be particularly warm, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the surf.
10. It’s your last chance. Close out the flying season right, and join us one final time this year for AOPA’s seventh and final AOPA Fly-In. It’s been a great run of food, flying, and fun. We plan to keep the good stuff coming next year, with places and dates still to be determined. Stay tuned, and we’ll see you on Nov. 8 at Malcolm-McKinnon Airport.