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AOPA Wings ’n Wheels attendance jumps AOPA Wings ’n Wheels attendance jumps

Despite a few raindrops, the third annual AOPA Wings ‘n Wheels on May 5 at Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland was the biggest yet, drawing an estimated 6,500 people, an increase of more than 50 percent compared to the previous year.

  • Engines start on the Delaware Aviation Museum's North American B-25J, "Panchito," before the World War II bomber departed for a local flight during AOPA Wings 'n Wheels 2018. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • Against a background of aircraft, car enthusiasts look at a row of classic Corvettes during AOPA Wings 'n Wheels 2018 at Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • Blake Skoblov, 3, left, and Oliver Korade, 4, try their hands at four-wheeling in a battery-powered toy Jeep during AOPA Wings 'n Wheels 2018. Alas, they lacked sufficient torque to climb the berm adjacent to what is normally the AOPA parking ramp. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • World War II veterans Joe Bigley, left, and Carl Molter talk before their flight in the Delaware Aviation Museum's North American B-25J Mitchell World War II bomber during AOPA Wings 'n Wheels 2018. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • Rosalee MacNett, who is almost 3, enjoys AOPA Wings 'n Wheels 2018 from her perch on the shoulders of her father, Jesse MacNett. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • Some of the 98 antique and classic cars registered at AOPA's Wings 'n Wheels 2018 fill the ramp in front of AOPA headquarters at Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • Visitors to AOPA's Wings 'n Wheels 2018 examine a bright red 1934 Ford pickup truck. The vehicle belongs to Tom Turner. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • This Frederick-based Maryland State Police AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter--better known locally by its Trooper 3 call sign--is a popular stop for families visiting AOPA's Wings 'n Wheels 2018 event at Frederick Municipal Airport. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • World War II veteran Joe Bigley makes his way to "Panchito," the Delaware Aviation Museum's North American B-25J Mitchell bomber, for a flight during AOPA Wings 'n Wheels 2018. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • Paul Smith explains the history of his 1944 Piper L-4H to a visitor during AOPA Wings 'n Wheels 2018 at Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • The polished interior of the hood on Todd and Tammy Fike's customized 2006 Ford Mustang GT reflects visitors to AOPA Wings 'n Wheels 2018. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • Walt Bailey of Jefferson, Maryland, and his 1963 Chevrolet Corvette sit nearly alone in the display area at AOPA Wings 'n Wheels 2018. Rainshowers during the last hour of the event sent most exhibitors scrambling for home. "I knew it was going to rain," Bailey said. "If I left now, I'd be stuck in traffic." Photo by Mike Collins.

Wings ‘n Wheels attendees got to choose their favorite classic or show car, motorcycle, and aircraft in a People’s Choice Award. Nearly 100 cars as well as dozens of motorcycles and aircraft were on display in the competition.

The crowd favorites were a Subaru WRX automobile owned by Brandi Meese, a Honda CT70 motorcycle owned by Erick Webb, and a Cessna 140 aircraft owned by Dave Roy. Both Webb and Roy work in AOPA’s Outreach and Events division.

Besides the bikes, cars, and airplanes, Wings ‘n Wheels had an extensive Kid’s Zone with moon bounces and face painting. The event also featured live music and numerous local food options including Presenting Sponsor Chick-fil-A Frederick North, Bruster’s Ice Cream, Capital Chicken and Waffles, and more.

AOPA Senior Vice President of Media, Communications, and Outreach Tom Haines said, “Wings ’n Wheels continues to grow, bringing more of the Frederick community to our airport to learn more about what it does for our city and maybe even sign up for a discovery flight.”

According to a 2015 report issued by the Maryland Aviation Administration, Frederick’s airport is responsible for 1,059 jobs, $110 million in business revenue, and more than $6 million in state and local taxes.

“These are the types of events that we encourage our members and volunteers to organize at their own airports to facilitate community involvement and show people how accessible aviation can be,” Haines continued.

The B–25 Mitchell Panchito was at Wings ’n Wheels offering attendees a taste of history as well as rides.

World War II veteran Carl Molter celebrated his ninety-sixth birthday during AOPA Wings 'n Wheels 2018. Molter enjoyed a flight in the Delaware Aviation Museum's North American B-25J Mitchell,

Carl Molter Jr., a Frederick local who came to Wings ’n Wheels for a ride in Panchito to celebrate his ninety-sixth birthday, served as an Army combat medic in World War II. Molter said, “At my age you have to try everything and most of my war was in the mud and on the ground.”

Another World War II veteran, Joe Bigley, also got a flight on Panchito. Now 92, the former B–17 and B–24 ball turret gunner recounted a bombing mission over Iwo Jima that left his aircraft heavily damaged by enemy fire. With no hydraulics and leaking fuel, the crew jettisoned the guns, ammunition, and any extra weight. They then secured four parachutes to various gun mounts to serve as brakes after landing, and according to Bigley it worked.

When asked if he was looking forward to the B–25 flight at Wings ’n Wheels, Bigley responded, “Yes, and you’ll never know how much.”

Three Frederick flight schools, Advanced Helicopter Concepts, Bravo Flight Training, and Frederick Flight Center, sponsored Wings ’n Wheels and raffled discovery flights.

Brenda Tibbs, founder of Bravo Flight Training, said, “I love the Wings ’n Wheels event. It was because of a similar experience I learned that I could learn to fly at our local airport!” Tibbs was named Best Flight Instructor in AOPA’s 2016 Flight Training Poll.

The AOPA Sweepstakes Super Cub also was on display. Members who want a closer look at what could potentially be their next aircraft can see it at AOPA’s four Regional Fly-ins and the AOPA Campus at EAA AirVenture.

Joe Kildea

Joe Kildea

AOPA Senior Director of Communications
Joe is a student pilot and his first solo flight was at AOPA’s home airport in Frederick, Maryland. Before joining AOPA in 2015, he worked for numerous political campaigns, news organizations, and the White House Press Office.
Topics: AOPA Events

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