Maybe it’s because pilots are accustomed to dealing with weather. Maybe it’s because the events and attractions at AOPA’s Regional Fly-Ins resonate so well with local populations. Whatever the reason, AOPA’s Battle Creek Fly-In at Michigan’s W. K. Kellogg Airport overcame a bout with early morning rain showers Sept. 17 and gave its estimated 1,960 attendees a great weekend.
Rain simply doesn’t deter AOPA Fly-In visitors, and that’s a proven fact. In all, an estimated 172 airplanes flew in, including 35 airplanes that took their places in the static display. In the exhibitors hall 42 companies were set up to sell their wares. In addition, some 450 people went to the popular Friday night Barnstormers Party—and let’s not forget another 20 campers who braved the elements over Friday night and Saturday morning.
The pilot seminars, always a hit, were well attended, with the Rusty Pilots Seminar taking the cake with a full house at the You Can Fly pavilion. Big crowds also flocked to AOPA Air Safety Institute Senior Vice President George Perry’s “Mind over Matter” safety talk at the main stage tent, as well as Adrian Eichhorn’s seminar on night flying, to name just two. AOPA President Mark Baker finished the fly-in with a roundup of the latest details of the victorious new third class medical reform initiative, as well as AOPA’s many efforts to spark and renew interest in boosting the general aviation pilot population. Baker, Experimental Aircraft Association CEO and Chairman of the Board Jack Pelton, and AOPA Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs Jim Coon took questions from the audience.
The next AOPA Regional Fly-In is set for Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 at Prescott, Arizona’s Ernest A. Love Field. And if Battle Creek is any indicator, high and dry Prescott should easily hit a high mark in attendance and enthusiasm. So far, 37,460 aviation-minded people have been to AOPA Regional Fly-Ins since they began in 2014. Will we break the 40,000 mark on Oct. 1? Seems like a safe bet, and we look forward to seeing you there.