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FREDERICK, Md., April 1, 2024—A wide array of aircraft representing virtually every chapter of general aviation’s storied history will be on full display on May 11 over the National Mall during a spectacular commemoration of the numerous contributions the GA industry has provided to our nation since 1939.

The National Celebration of GA Flyover will be broadcast live on AOPA’s YouTube channel with commentary from longtime AOPA Live This Week host Tom Haines and noted journalist Miles O’Brien. AOPA is encouraging watch parties at local airports and other gathering places.

This special event will take place over one of Washington, D.C.’s most restricted flight zones, Prohibited Area P-56, something that’s never been done with GA aircraft since September 11, 2001. Spectators on the ground and online will watch the aircraft fly above the Lincoln Memorial, down Independence Avenue, and past the Washington Monument. The Flyover is being closely coordinated with 11 interagency partners, including the FAA, Transportation Security Administration, Secret Service, and Capitol Police, and has the support of Congress.

AOPA President Mark Baker will lead the GA flyover in his Beechcraft Staggerwing 17, followed by aircraft representing the industry’s long history. General aviation comprises all aviation in the U.S. with the exception of scheduled airlines and the military.

The more than 60 aircraft, comprising 20 different “chapters,” will tell the story of GA in the United States, from those in the Golden Age and representing GA after World War II to the GA trainer era, vertical flight, backcountry flying, seaplanes, corporate and business aviation, technically advanced aircraft, homebuilt aircraft, airshow performers, and other examples of GA aircraft that support public service missions.

The event will also showcase technological advancements that have greatly advanced GA’s safety record. The GA industry enjoys the safest record ever due to better aircraft, navigation systems, flight training, and better, more engaging ways to stay proficient. General aviation aircraft fly over 26 million flight hours each year, including about 30 million takeoffs and landings, and even with this increased flight activity, the GA accident rate has fallen to the lowest in history.

“It’s going to be a special time for AOPA and for general aviation,” Baker said about the event. “What a sight it will be to see the history of general aviation flying over the National Mall as GA has given this nation so much over the past many decades. AOPA is uniquely positioned to plan this complex event and execute it safely and professionally.”

Four aircraft took off from Frederick Municipal Airport on March 24 for a practice run that proved to be successful and smooth.

“We have spent many hours planning for this commemorative Flyover, and we have the full cooperation from our government planning partners,” said AOPA Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy Mike Ginter, who will also serve as the air boss for the upcoming celebration. “The American public will have an opportunity to see the very best of General Aviation and all that these aircraft and pilots do to improve our daily lives. The event will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime celebration for those flying and all of the aviation enthusiasts around the world tuning in to our live feed.”

More information on the event, route and planned aircraft can be found on AOPA’s GA Flyover campaign web page.

AOPA Communications staff

AOPA Communications Staff are communicators who specialize in making aerospace, aviation and advocacy information relatable for all.

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