A high-adrenaline aerobatic demonstration, warbird rides, and gourmet food trucks are among the highlights of AOPA’s Homecoming Fly-In at Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland Oct. 4. Here are some of the top reasons you should join your fellow pilots at AOPA’s home field for a fun day of aviation activities.
1. An aerobatic champ in action. Michael Goulian has thrilled crowds from Massachusetts to Malaysia with an aggressive but precise approach to flying. Now Goulian, a Red Bull Air Race Championship pilot and a winner of the U.S. Unlimited Aerobatic Championship, is following up an aerobatic demonstration at the Plymouth Fly-In with a demonstration at the Homecoming Fly-In. Witness firsthand the skills that earned Goulian a place in the elite group of pilots who have earned all three of the airshow industry’s top honors.
2. A flying piece of history. The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress earned a reputation for its strength and reliability in World War II, traveling on long missions to strike targets within enemy territory. The Experimental Aircraft Association is selling rides on its B-17 Aluminum Overcast the weekend of the fly-in. The aircraft flies as a living tribute to the Greatest Generation, and gives passengers a chance to hear the roar of the engines as they put themselves in the shoes of soldiers who fought in World War II. EAA will offer ground tours of the aircraft as well. Book a flight online.
3. Great food. Gourmet food trucks slated for the event include such offerings as Fowl Play Food Truck and Curley’s Q barbecue, plus vegetarian options at Sexy Vegie. Pick up sloppy joes at Neat Meat, or try variations on a classic favorite at Greatest American Hot Dogs or The Mighty Dog. DC Slices has pizza options, while Linda’s Luncheonette provides American fare. Burrito fans can find something to their liking at Los Lobos, and other trucks are still being added. Reserve your free lunch ticket and $5 all-you-can-eat pancakes.
4. Fun flying. As summer heat lifts and autumn weather rolls into the mid-Atlantic, many pilots are eager for an opportunity to take to the sky. The Homecoming Fly-In offers a chance to take up friends and family and introduce them to what aviation events are all about—and to see the Maryland countryside from a special vantage point. Arrivals from the west can get a glimpse of Harpers Ferry at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Find the arrival procedures here.
5. Educational seminars. Learn how to stay healthy for flying, communicate effectively on the radio, use your iPad in the cockpit, save money on maintenance, and more in seminars running from 9:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Speakers include aviation humorist Rod Machado, the Air Safety Institute’s Bruce Landsberg, and AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines. See the full schedule online.
6. An inside look at general aviation issues. Find out more about issues that affect your flying from AOPA President Mark Baker in a Pilot Town Hall at 2:30 p.m.
7. Tours of AOPA headquarters. Check out where AOPA staff members fight for your freedom to fly by taking a tour of AOPA headquarters. The association has been based at Frederick Municipal since 1983.
8. Cool aircraft and products. The list of exhibitors at the fly-in is quickly growing. Check out the latest aviation gear as well as aircraft on static display that range from backcountry Aviat Huskies to an Aero L-39 Albatros jet.
9. A path back to the left seat. AOPA’s free Rusty Pilots seminar Friday, Oct. 3, will help lapsed pilots get back into the cockpit by reviewing aviation knowledge and explaining what has changed in aviation since they last took the controls. At the end of the presentation, which runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., all attendees will receive their endorsement for completing the ground training required of a flight review. RSVP online.
10. Area attractions. Make a weekend trip out of the fly-in by visiting Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; or Civil War battlefields such as Antietam or Gettysburg. Or stay right in Frederick and explore shops and restaurants downtown. For more ideas, check out these 10 things to do in the region.