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Fly to the Bluegrass State during May

Add Kentucky airport AOPA Pilot Passport check-ins to Derby traditions

The thundering of hooves at Churchill Downs and the sipping of mint juleps amid a sea of hats mean the Kentucky Derby has arrived—and so has the May AOPA Pilot Passport challenge.

Use the AOPA Pilot Passport and check in to Kentucky airports during May. Photo by Chris Rose.

The top participant with the most Kentucky airport check-ins via the AOPA app’s Pilot Passport feature during May will win a $100 AOPA Pilot Gear gift certificate.

If you haven’t yet visited any of the Bluegrass State’s 51 public-use general aviation airports, make a point to stop at one on your way to, from, before, or after the thoroughbred race held on the first Saturday in May. The commonwealth’s six commercial airports boost the current total to 57 public airports.

Kentucky Department of Aviation Deputy Commissioner Brad Schwandt said the Gallatin County Airport along the state’s Interstate 71 northern corridor is under construction. The GA facility is scheduled to be “open for operations in November” with a 5,500-foot-long by 75-foot-wide asphalt landing strip, boosting the state’s landing fields to 58.

The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs attracts a crowd in 2019. Photo by Chris Rose.

Pilots venturing closer to Louisville and the racetrack’s symbolic Twin Spires can choose from two airports profiled in the June 2019 issue of AOPA Pilot magazine.

Now, about the traditions surrounding the fastest two minutes in sports: The wearing of wide-brimmed hats was considered to be a sign of good luck. Hundreds of red flowers are sewn on a green satin blanket and presented to the victorious horse in the winner's circle. And pilots, remember to avoid sipping the famed bourbon-based juleps within eight hours of acting as pilot in command.

Make sure to download the AOPA app from the Apple App Store or Google Play so that you can take part in the May Derby Challenge (see the official rules).

David Tulis

David Tulis

Content Producer
AOPA Media Content Producer David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a private pilot with single-engine land and sea ratings and a tailwheel endorsement. He is also a certificated remote pilot and co-host of the award-wining AOPA Hangar Talk podcast. David enjoys vintage aircraft ad photography.
Topics: US Travel, Apps

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