The 2014 Kansas Aviation Expo will reach far beyond geographic boundaries when it celebrates the state’s proud tradition of aeronautical enterprise and inventiveness with an air tour, educational and career activities, and seminars from Sept. 22 to 26.
The 2014 expo will be the second annual event, following an initial two-day conference in 2013 that marked one of AOPA President Mark Baker’s first opportunities to appear publicly on behalf of the association. In 2014, AOPA will once again participate broadly in Expo-related events. Two staff members will fly a Piper Archer in the three-day Kansas Air Tour, and a vice president of AOPA’s government affairs division will conduct a presentation on the vigorous efforts to save an embattled airport in Santa Monica, California—a developing issue of major importance to all members of the nation’s aviation community. AOPA Insurance Services will host a booth at the event.
The 2014 Kansas Aviation Expo—with its theme "Where dreams come true"—is a cooperative effort of the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation and the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education. AOPA Insurance Services is a sponsor of the event.
AOPA Central Southwest Regional Manager Yasmina Platt and AOPA Airport Support Network Director Joey Colleran will participate in the Kansas Air Tour, a three-day tour featuring three stops per day and activities scheduled at each destination.
The Air Tour will begin Sept. 22 at Wellington Municipal Airport, where state aviation officials and a high school band will provide the send-off. The tour will proceed to Hutchinson Municipal Airport for a visit to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, where the pilots will talk aviation with local schoolchildren visiting the facility. An early-evening arrival at the Dodge City Regional Airport will cap the day's travel,s and an event will recognize a helicopter training program of Universal Helicopters and Dodge City Community College, Platt said.
On Sept. 23 the air tour will depart for Scott City Municipal Airport, where the Spencer Flight Training and Education Center and its Redbird full-motion flight simulator will be highlighted. The second stop of the day will be Salina Regional Airport, where events will feature a broad array of aviation topics, including unmanned aircraft systems and military aviation. The day will wrap up with an evening event at the Topeka Philip Billard Municipal Airport that features an Aviation Explorer’s post, the Kansas Highway Patrol, and the Civil Air Patrol.
The trip log for day three, Sept. 24, includes a flight to Pittsburg’s Atkinson Municipal Airport, where the role business aviation plays in supporting airports will be examined. Next, the tour will stop at Independence Municipal Airport for a discussion of the vital aircraft manufacturing industry and a tour for registrants of a Cessna manufacturing facility. That evening, a stop at Lloyd Stearman Field will mark the perfect conclusion to three days of Kansas-style aviation and exploration.
On Sept. 25, Platt will join approximately 400 high school students from the Wichita area attending a "flying classroom" with Barrington Irving, who set a Guinness World’s Record in 2007 as the youngest person to fly around the world solo. The event at the National Center of Aviation Training (NCAT) will help kick off the global tour of Irving’s flying classroom—a transformed business jet that demonstrates the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Platt will discuss pilot career opportunities.
When the Kansas Aviation Expo opens the morning of Sept. 26 at the NCAT, Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports advocacy, will present "Saving Santa Monica Airport." The session will summarize the vigorous effort in progress to save the airport, its strategy now focused on winning support for a November ballot initiative that would mandate voter approval before the airport is closed or redeveloped. On Aug. 25, a standing-room-only crowd in Santa Monica heard airport advocates detail the municipal airport’s importance as an asset to the community and a benefit to the local economy.
Other Expo sessions scheduled for the day include an FAA presentation on Avionics and the Future; the business role of unmanned aircraft systems and their place in the national airspace system; aircraft accidents "with a twist"; and a discussion with FAA Regional Flight Surgeon Daniel Berry.
U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), a strong supporter of general aviation, will be the guest speaker at the day’s luncheon of the Wichita Aero Club. AOPA’s Platt will also participate in the fall conference of the South Central Section of The Ninety-Nines, which will be taking place Sept. 25 through 27 at the Wichita Marriott Hotel.