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Chapter of ‘rapid growth’ features this Cessna 180

The late 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s were a pivotal time for the country, for the aviation world, and for general aviation. 
Photography by Mike Fizer.

Expansion, modernization, and increasing complexity characterized the aviation world during this period. A decade that began with radial-engine transports ended with the Concorde and a man on the moon. By the dawn of the 1970s, Boeing 747 jumbo jets were taking more passengers farther, faster. Individual ownership of reliable cross-country traveling machines increased dramatically.

In 2017, AOPA Vice President Katie Pribyl purchased a 1956 Cessna 180, known as a Skywagon, which she will fly in the DC Flyover, representing the period of rapid growth in the evolution of general aviation. The Cessna 180 was introduced in 1952 and produced until 1981.

The flyover

An array of aircraft representing virtually every chapter of general aviation’s storied history will be on full display over the National Mall in Washington, D.C., during a spectacular commemoration of the numerous contributions the GA industry provides to our nation. The celebration will coincide with AOPA’s eighty-fifth anniversary in May 2024. This special event will take place over one of Washington, D.C.’s most restricted flight zones, P-56, something that’s never been done with GA aircraft. 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 will consist of more than 20 different “chapters” telling the story of GA in America starting in the Golden Age and continuing to the present day when the Titan Aerobatic Team team will fly over the National Mall. DC Flyover announcers are former AOPA Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines and journalist Miles O’Brien.

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