As Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines played in a large hangar, airplanes and helicopters took off and landed outside on a calm spring evening. Inside, moviegoers at the AOPA National Aviation Community Center watched the British comedy beside a magnificent flying machine, the North American T-6 Texan.
The draw of the airport, airplanes, and aviation-related movies—not to mention free popcorn, hot dogs, and beverages—have brought more than 100 people to the aviation community center after two Saturday-night movies.
“I think it’s great,” said Linda Moore, of Frederick, Maryland. Linda, who came with her boyfriend John B. Moore Jr., said she hasn’t flown in a general aviation airplane, but she’s watched aircraft take off and land at the Frederick Municipal Airport, home to AOPA headquarters, and attended a fly-in. These movie nights are another way for her to enjoy the airport, and after attending these first two events, she said she plans to come to more.
“It’s different,” she continued. “Something you can do with the family on Saturday evening.”
John said he likes to look at the different aircraft in the hangar and on the ramp outside, including Cessna 172s, a Cessna 182, a Citation Jet, and the T-6 Texan. Attendees can also try their hand at flying an AOPA Jay or a Redbird FMX full-motion simulator before the movie starts. In addition to seeing the different aircraft, John said one of the points that make the event enjoyable is that “you get to meet people.” Movie night draws people of all ages, from children to teenagers and adults.
The AOPA National Aviation Community Center is a place where pilots and local community members can come together, get to know one another, and learn more about the value of the airport while enjoying a movie.
“We hope groups at other airports offer movie nights in their large hangars too,” said Woody Cahall, AOPA vice president of the Pilot Information Center and flight operations. “This is a great way to get more people out to the airport and to build good relationships with the surrounding community.”
AOPA is hosting movie night at the aviation community center every other Saturday night through October.