AOPA Fly-Ins: Being safe, having fun

Safety seminars are one of the top reasons more than 42,000 pilots have said they flock to AOPA Fly-Ins around the country, and their dedication to safety is evidenced far beyond their participation in hangar talks on the ground. Since 2014 when AOPA launched the regional events, members’ careful attention to flight procedures has produced a perfect safety record with no accidents or serious incidents. That’s with more than 6,000 aircraft operations since 2014 and more than 1,600 this year.

Volunteer Jerry McMillan of Prescott, Arizona, marshals an aircraft into the camping area at AOPA's Prescott Fly-In. Photo by Mike Collins.

“We are all very thankful for pilots’ diligence and responsibility while flying in to an AOPA event—they know and follow the special flight procedures and keep their minds focused on safety first,” said Chris Eads, AOPA director of outreach.

To increase safety and better prepare pilots for arriving and departing the fly-ins as they’ve grown in popularity, the AOPA Air Safety Institute launched video fly-in procedures this year to walk pilots through the process and provide simulations of the route overlaid on a sectional. The video also provides links to download the fly-in notam and pilot information packet.

“Getting there is half the fun and being safe is what it’s all about,” AOPA Air Safety Institute Vice President George Perry emphasizes at the beginning of each arrival procedures video. The video also advises pilots to fly with their “lights on, eyes out, and watch for converging traffic.”

The AOPA Air Safety Institute creates customized video arrival procedures for each AOPA Fly-In.

“Pilots really like the Air Safety Institute’s Fly in arrival videos,” Perry said. “This, in conjunction with the printable arrival kneeboard cards helped make the arrival procedures simple and easy. Good planning, conscientious pilots, and great venues have helped make the flying events safe and fun.”

The Air Safety Institute will continue to produce the video arrival procedures for pilots to use to review the arrival beforehand and kneeboard cards for pilots to have handy while flying in.

AOPA also started using an air boss at fly-ins held at nontowered airports to enhance safety.

“We work with a fantastic team of safety professionals, including volunteers, airport operations personnel, air traffic controllers, public safety officials, and our own aviation specialists to make these events run safely and smoothly,” Eads said. “We are very proud of our safety record.”

Each year, thousands of AOPA members volunteer to help behind the scenes, including efficiently marshalling and parking aircraft that fly in for the event.

“Safety is always on the forefront of our minds, so we regularly remind pilots and our ground crews to be vigilant, attentive, and committed to safety first,” Eads said. “These events are always super fun, let’s keep it fun by being sure no one has a truly bad day!”

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Miller

AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Topics: AOPA Events, Fly-in

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