The kickoff fly-in of the season takes place at the headquarters of your association. AOPA is situated on the ramp at Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK) in Maryland, just a short drive from the nation’s capital, historic Civil War battlefields, wine country, and the famous Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore Harbor. There’s a lot happening at Frederick Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, so we’re suggesting you make a weekend out of our birthday. There’s so much to keep you busy that you’ll discover why the DMV (that’s District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia) is one of the most-visited destinations in the country.
Let’s start with Frederick. AOPA began as a big idea outside Philadelphia (also just a little more than an hour away and an easy GA flight) but eventually settled on Frederick as its base. Frederick is located within close proximity to the nation’s capital (protecting GA rights is a number one priority for your association), and the airport in Maryland’s second-largest city has a mix of aircraft from gyrocopters to jets. Frederick also is where the author of The Star-Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key, is buried. Its historic downtown is vibrant, and the restaurants are epic—Bryan Voltaggio of Top Chef fame has two restaurants in his hometown.
For the fly-in, we’re going all out with educational seminars, workshops, parties, meet and greets, displays, and tours. Free seminars and paid ground school workshops will be offered both Friday and Saturday; come for one day or mix it up with two. AOPA President Mark Baker and all senior staff will be on hand to welcome you to headquarters; a Pilot Town Hall will be presented both mornings. Tour AOPA headquarters, including the newly created association museum. There will be events up and down the airport grounds, with aircraft, food trucks, displays, exhibitors, a short takeoff and landing (STOL) invitational, a night drone show, Flightline Cookout, C–47 flyover, World War II reenactment parachute jumps, and so much more on the field.
If you’d like to spend the weekend in the area after the Frederick fly-in, drive down to Joint Base Andrews for the nation’s capital airshow. Enterprise, Hertz, and others will be ready to assist.
Please fly in if you can. A 5,200-foot runway and well-maintained taxiways are open and available all weekend (Runway 30/12 is closed for the event), and beginning Thursday, AOPA employees and volunteers will be available to help get your aircraft parked. You can even camp with your aircraft if you’d like. Notams and airport information will be available on the website.
Frederick is located within close proximity to the nation’s capital (protecting GA rights is a number one priority for your association), and the airport in Maryland’s second-largest city has a mix of aircraft from gyrocopters to jets.Grab a burger and a beer and watch the STOL invitational Friday night, then enjoy dinner in town Saturday night. “We really enjoy each event we’ve hosted for the past five years and look forward to creating new experiences to commemorate such a monumental milestone,” said Chris Eads, AOPA senior director of outreach and events. “And we look forward to all our members, along with the next generation of pilots, joining us during this exciting time. This will be another fly-in season to remember.”
After adopting the two-day format in 2017, and continuing into 2018 and 2019, AOPA is building out each day’s events with more seminars and ground school workshops. At the fly-in, you’ll find plenty of focused workshops and dynamic seminars led by some of the greatest experts and voices in aviation. AOPA is expanding its educational content with the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s Ground School Workshops, which are focused learning opportunities with endorsements that apply to the Focused Flight Review (fees apply). Not to be confused with our free seminars, these in-depth learning experiences provide a professional level of education, offered in two, three-hour sessions both Friday and Saturday. You receive logbook endorsement for three hours of ground training, as well as Wings credit. Our free 45-minute seminars are the core of the AOPA Fly-In experience. Choose from more than two dozen topics sure to help add new experiences to your logbook with confidence and competency. Leave the fly-in a safer, better pilot while you connect and develop friendships with other aviators.
Special events are being planned to include a nighttime drone show, a short takeoff and landing (STOL) demonstration showcasing the skills and aircraft of backcountry flying, and an engaging Friday night Flightline Cookout. The D-Day Squadron’s C–47s will make a special appearance before they depart for Normandy, France, for the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day. The Frederick event takes place just days before AOPA’s eightieth anniversary on May 15. “In honor of AOPA’s eightieth anniversary, the 2019 fly-ins are sure to be an unforgettable experience for all aviators, family, and friends,” said Chris Eads, AOPA senior director of outreach and events. “We hope pilots and nonpilots from all over the United States join us as we celebrate 80 years of protecting the freedom to fly. There will definitely be something for everyone to enjoy.”
Hey, we have mountains in Frederick County, and we can get a little bit country. Well, OK, it may not be the Rocky Mountains, but we can replicate the fun backcountry sport of short takeoff and landing contests, especially with the assistance of Texas wrangler Jimmy Gist. The first-ever STOL Invitational at Frederick Municipal Airport will take place Friday evening and Saturday afternoon with Gist masterminding the activity. Gist, a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, calls STOL demonstrations “the aviation equivalent of four-wheeling.” Tailwheel aircraft with big tires and pilots with big ideas take off and land in short distances, just like they have to do in rugged places like Alaska and the backcountry. The shorter the hop, the better. It’s all in friendly competition, and it showcases lightweight, fun aircraft such as Cubs and Experimental types. Bleachers will be set up for viewing the demonstration, and we’ll fire up the grill and serve hot dogs and burgers and some local craft beer (Frederick makes some great beer!).
In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, 925 C–47 aircraft dropped more than 13,000 paratroopers behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied France. Those troops prepared for the launch of what would be the D-Day invasion, the beginning of the end of World War II and the liberation of Europe. On June 6, 2019, C–47s will once again blanket the skies over Normandy. An American fleet of nearly 20 vintage C–47s will cross the Atlantic and then join up with other C–47s from around the world for the Daks Over Normandy event to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the crossing of the English Channel into France. Several of those vintage C–47s will stop by Frederick, Maryland, during AOPA’s eightieth anniversary celebration fly-in. Presented by Signature Flight Support, two special flyover events and reenactment parachute jumps will be a highlight of the Frederick fly-in. CAP’s recently restored That’s All, Brother was the lead C–47 on D-Day.
get out and see some of the amazing sights and experiences in the national capital region. Excursions planned include a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and a behind-the-scenes tour of Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). Guests will have the exclusive opportunity to see historic artifacts not on display at Udvar-Hazy; see what it takes to collect, preserve, and display these aviation treasures; and tour the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar. At the hangar, restoration work is being completed on the Lincoln-Standard H.S. and Martin B–26 Marauder Flak-Bait aircraft. Guests will also tour the Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory, exploring the science behind artifact preservation and care, see current projects, and learn how 3-D digital microscopes are used in conservation. Plans are coming together so check online for more details as they emerge (www.aopa.org/fly-ins).
the Thunderbirds. The Blue Angels. The Golden Knights. Each branch of the service is represented at the Joint Base Andrews airshow, one of the largest airshows in the world. Just minutes from the nation’s capital, this military base is legendary for its service in transporting government and military leaders. It is from here that Air Force One takes off in the service of the president of the United States. On May 11 and 12, the joint base will be open to the public featuring hundreds of aircraft on display and amazing airshows by the top military teams and civilian airshow acts. Finish up your weekend in the area at Joint Base Andrews. AOPA coordinated our event to co-exist on the same weekend so that our attendees could take in this world-renowned airshow. GA celebrities—and AOPA friends—Michael Goulian and Patty Wagstaff join the performers at Joint Base Andrews that weekend.
Need more great ideas? The AOPA staff live in the area and can offer you great advice on what to see and do.