The hangout is a two-day informal event where you can pitch a tent, participate in educational seminars, browse exhibits and displays, swap stories, and enjoy friendly company around the campfire. AOPA Hangouts offer the ultimate experience for pilots and aviation enthusiasts looking for an escape back to the grassroots fun of GA flying. November 4 and 5, join us at Tampa Executive Airport (VDF). Located just 15 miles from the heart of downtown, Tampa Executive is a great destination for pilots.
Sun and fun—that’s what we think about when we envision a trip to Florida. The beaches, the seafood, the beautiful weather, even the amusement and theme parks. Florida is synonymous with fun. And in November, AOPA will up the fun factor in Tampa at our second 2022 Hangout, an AOPA Flyn-In at Tampa Executive Airport (VDF). We’ll join our exhibitors, sponsors, vendors, and friends November 4 and 5 to hang out, attend seminars, meet friends, camp, and enjoy aviation the way it’s meant to be—fun-filled and fantastic.
Tampa is a vibrant city situated on Tampa Bay, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. It is a hub for cruise ships. From its vibrant waterfront to its packed marinas, Tampa is a waterfront paradise. Visit the nationally acclaimed Florida Aquarium, travel over to the Icon A5 training center at Peter O. Knight Airport (TPF), or see Eureka Springs, just a short walk from VDF.
Tampa is known as the Cigar Capital of the World, as Vincente Martinez Ybor moved his cigar manufacturing facilities from Key West to Tampa in 1885, and the industry flourished in the nineteenth century. Today Ybor City is an exciting tourist mecca with historic architecture, great restaurants, and, of course, cigar rolling. Grab a Cuban sandwich or deviled crab or visit the Columbia Restaurant, Florida’s oldest restaurant, while you’re here.
Tampa International Airport (TPA) and the three small airports in Hillsborough County serve the general aviation activities of the community. The three general aviation airports—Tampa Executive (VDF), Plant City (PCM), and Peter O. Knight (TPF)—form a reliever airport network to allow for safe, efficient, and timely commercial operations at Tampa International.
The former Vandenberg Airport, Tampa Executive was once the site of a vegetable farm owned by Jules Vandenberghe, an immigrant from Belgium. His two sons wanted to learn to fly, so Julian and George established an airstrip on their father’s farm. The location, 15 miles east of downtown Tampa was a great reliever for the international airport, so the Hillsborough Aviation Authority bought the Vandenberg farm and airstrip in 1985, agreeing not to change the name for 20 years. Ironically, the name became confusing—it was too similar to the famed Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Tampa Executive has two runways—one 3,219 feet and the other 5,000 feet long. It is a base for many area corporate jets. The FBO is Skyport Aviation, with a beautiful, spacious lobby and pilot lounge with large-screen TV. Both 100LL and Jet A are available as well as free Wi-Fi, a snooze room, and weather/flight planning room.
Peter O. Knight Airport is located in Tampa on Davis Islands, five minutes from downtown Tampa, museums, Florida Aquarium, and Port of Tampa cruise ship terminals. The airport’s operator Atlas Aviation offers a flight school and aerial tours of the Tampa Bay region. Located in eastern Hillsborough County, the Plant City Airport is located near Interstate 4, a short drive from the annual Lakeland Sun ’n Fun Fly-In and Orlando-area theme parks and attractions.
This is an AOPA Fly-in; however, it is different than our previous fly-ins. The “Hangout” is a more casual event. Like the name states, we want you to fly in and hang out with us. Expect outdoor exhibits, a robust static display, and educational seminars focusing on STOL and backcountry flying predominantly led by our Air Safety Institute. We will have daily, high-energy STOL demos, as well as movie nights, music, and food—all the fun stuff.
We encourage you to pitch a tent and camp in our large camping area, as well as visit our 39 Lounge, which will be where the hanging out will take place. Grab a seat in the 39 Lounge for the STOL demos during the day, and in the evenings grab a drink and something from a local food truck, listen to live music, or visit our fly-in theater to catch a movie. Bring your family and make a weekend of this event.
Those who joined us in Spokane, Washington, at Felts Field in September (shown on these pages) discovered a truly new way to experience the aviation life. There were STOL demonstrations, movie nights, and so much more. All this takes place again in Tampa Friday and Saturday November 4 and 5, and costs just $20.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at how AOPA puts on our events by working side by side with our team as a volunteer. Join other pilots and aviation enthusiasts serving in either air-side or show-side roles: marshalling and parking aircraft, greeting attendees, helping with event set-up or clean-up, and assisting exhibitors. We wouldn’t be able to pull off these events without your help, and we’ll be sure to reward you for your help! Lunch will be provided. Volunteers will receive complimentary admission to The Hangout.
Important: All volunteer roles will involve long periods of being on your feet, some lifting, and being in the sun. Please consider your physical capabilities for this service.