AOPA’s first event of the year brings everything you’ve come to know and love about an AOPA fly-in and combines that with Buckeye Air Fair’s eye-catching, fast-paced, and family-friendly aerial entertainment.
The Buckeye Air Fair began as a small airport open house in the early 2000s and has since become one of the largest aviation events in the western United States, attracting as many as 30,000 visitors in a single weekend. “We knew there was a need to share with the public what general aviation is all about,” Buckeye Mayor and private pilot Eric Orsborn said.
The fun begins at 9 a.m. on February 17 with the Buckeye Air Fair Aviation Academy’s famous Field Trip Friday, where more than 3,000 local kids are bused in to take part in several hands-on aviation experiences. From there, visitors can choose to attend one of AOPA’s many educational seminars that will take place throughout the weekend. In the evening AOPA invites members to view a private airshow practice and happy hour sponsored by Boeing starting at 4 p.m. in the AOPA Flightline Chalet.
The airshow will dazzle attendees on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and AOPA members are encouraged to catch the show from the AOPA Flightline Chalet for prime seating, snacks, and more. Local food vendors and breweries will have delicious treats available on-site to all visitors.
Airshow viewers will enjoy aerobatic performances by Jon Melby in his Pitts S-1-11B biplane; Eric Tucker flying his 1941 Piper J–3 Cub in the well-known Tucker’s Air Patrol performance; and Brad Wursten in his MXS-R. Other performances include the Vanguard Squadron performing a four-ship formation aerobatic routine in their Van's RV–3 aircraft; Red Thunder Airshows’ Karl Gashler and Barry Hancock flying their Yak 50s; the Aerial Extreme Skydiving Team; a SubSonex mini jet performance; and Pylon Aviation’s aerobatic Airbus BO105 helicopter show. The airspace will be closed for the airshow from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Special air traffic procedures will be in effect at the Buckeye Municipal Airport each day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to manage traffic, enhance safety, and minimize delays. Those flying in can learn more about this event’s flight procedures online. Camping registrations for aircraft, vehicles, and RVs have already been filled. More information, as well as an in-depth weekend schedule can be found online.