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AOPA plans new look for 2021 events

Events will be flexible, scalable

While AOPA events may look a bit different in 2021, what won’t change is the commitment to meeting our members where they are and sharing our mutual passion for aviation.

Photo by Mike Fizer

A big monkey wrench was thrown into 2020, altering almost every aspect of our lives. At AOPA, we especially felt the sting through the postponement of our popular fly-ins. Disappointment doesn’t begin to describe what we felt in not being able to meet thousands of our members at one of our true highlights of the year.

We remain committed to engaging members through first-class events that bring aviation enthusiasts together for fun-filled days of excitement, interaction, and learning.

“With the uncertainties surrounding what 2021 will look like, we wanted to develop a special event model for this coming year that will build in tremendous flexibility and scalability,” said Chris Eads, AOPA senior director of outreach and events. “We are really excited with the plan our team has created—two different types of events that focus on bringing AOPA pilots together in smaller settings with more intimate gatherings with AOPA leaders and our friends in the aviation industry.”

The look for 2021 may be a bit different, but not the spirit, excitement, or engagement. AOPA will take a second year off from producing our classic regional fly-ins, but will replace them with two new exciting event models:

  • AOPA Aviator Showcase: These two events (one each in the East and West), geared toward pilots and aircraft owners, will bring together aviators and the products, services, and manufacturers that pilots depend on. These events will feature 40 to 50 exhibits and 25 to 30 exhibit aircraft, and offer seminars related to aircraft ownership, technology demonstrations, and product presentations from exhibitors.
  • AOPA Pilot Gathering Air Tour: AOPA will offer members the opportunity to interact in-person with the association, mingle and learn from each other, and build on their aviation inspiration through two multi-day, multi-stop tours that visit several cities throughout the United States. The first of these series of intimate gatherings is anticipated to occur in spring 2021 and the other later in the fall. Each stop on the air tour will feature a Pilot Town Hall, roundtable discussions with AOPA leadership, and an AOPA Air Safety Institute safety session.

“It will take many months to plan these events, with a lot of moving parts, but we believe that this strategy represents the best possible opportunity to interact with our members, exhibitors and sponsors, and the aviation community,” Eads said. “The strategy allows us to abide by any local health guidelines and have the ability to flex in size depending on conditions at the time the events are held.”

Specifics about timing and locales are still being ironed out, but we are confident that whether you are an aircraft owner, an experienced pilot, rusty pilot, new pilot, student pilot, or simply love flying, these events will have something for everyone.

More details will be announced in the coming months.

Alyssa J. Miller

Eric Blinderman

Senior Director of Communications
Eric Blinderman is AOPA’s Senior Director of Communications. Eric joined AOPA in 2020 after several years at leading marketing/communications agencies in New York and is looking forward to putting his newly minted private pilot certificate to work.
Topics: COVID19, AOPA Events

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