AOPA President Mark Baker will deliver a keynote address and AOPA will hold a variety of seminars and activities at the thirty-fifth annual Northwest Aviation Conference and Trade Show on Feb. 24 and 25 in Puyallup, Washington.
Admission to the conference, the largest aviation gathering in the Northwest Mountain region, is $5, with free parking. For pilots who plan to fly in to the event, shuttle transportation will be available from Pierce County Airport-Thun Field in Puyallup to the event site, the Showplex at the Puyallup Fair and Events Center.
Presentations offered by AOPA will get started on Feb. 24 at 9:15 a.m., when pilots who are considering returning to flying after a long absence can attend an AOPA Rusty Pilots Seminar presented by instructor William Beuck, free to AOPA members. The seminar is designed to help you learn what has changed in aviation since you last took the controls and brush up on your VFR aviation knowledge for your return to the cockpit.
Another AOPA event will be held at 10:30 a.m., when Richard McSpadden, executive director of the AOPA Air Safety Institute, presents IFR Decision Making: Chasing Choices, a seminar that analyzes accident scenarios in which stress and confusion in instrument meteorological conditions can lead to task saturation, problematic choices, and suboptimal decisions. Attendance can be credited toward Basic Knowledge in the FAA’s Pilot Proficiency Wings Program.
Baker will speak at 1 p.m. on the issues that most directly affect your freedom to fly. He will review AOPA’s work to make aviation more accessible for everyone, bring attendees up to date on the continuing fight against “privatization” of air traffic control, and give a status update on BasicMed, the new alternative medical qualification process under which more than 25,000 general aviation pilots are now flying.
Pilots who would like to become involved with or organize a flying club should plan to attend a free seminar at 2:15 p.m., when Les Smith, AOPA's senior director of Pilot Community Development, presents Maximum Fun, Minimum Cost: How to Start and Run a Flying Club. Flying clubs are one of the best ways to save money, fly more, enjoy greater access to aircraft, and spend time with friends and family, and AOPA is committed to helping pilots experience the benefits of flying club membership through its Flying Clubs initiative, another component of AOPA’s You Can Fly program to support and grow the pilot community. Since 2015, the Flying Clubs initiative has helped launch more than 60 start-up flying clubs.
On Feb. 25 at 1 p.m., the Air Safety Institute’s McSpadden will return to present a new seminar: Collision Course: Avoiding Airborne Traffic. Even with air traffic control support, and technology, near misses happen too frequently, and midair collisions still occur. This seminar will look at the problem from a risk management perspective, identifying high-risk scenarios and locations, and laying out avoidance strategies.
Leading up to the conference on Feb. 23, a Career Forum will be held at the Showplex at the Puyallup Fair and Events Center, providing networking opportunities for individuals, students, employers, and educators.
For career pilots and military pilots in transition, there will be opportunities to connect with more than 20 airlines to explore employment opportunities. Mechanics and maintenance professionals can learn about industry opportunities and advancements, and students can explore career options, scholarships, and aviation schools. High School groups will be offered discounted rates to attend.