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Celebrating general aviation

A spectacular commemoration in the skies over D.C.

An array of aircraft representing virtually every chapter of general aviation’s storied history will be on 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.
Illustration by Wesley Merritt.
Zoomed image
Illustration by Wesley Merritt.

The May 11 flyover will begin at Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK), home of AOPA. The takeoff sequence of aircraft begins at 11:30 a.m. from Frederick; the flyover in D.C. is from noon until 1 p.m. The event will be livestreamed on AOPA’s YouTube channel (@flywithaopa), and AOPA is encouraging watch parties at your local airport.

The flyover will consist of 15 different “chapters” telling the story of GA in America starting in the Golden Age and continuing to the present day. Two dozen groups of aircraft will fly the 88-mile round trip from FDK, down the Potomac River. The formation will be led by AOPA President Mark Baker in his historic Beechcraft Staggerwing. He will be followed by storied aircraft such as a Waco UPF–7, North American Navion, Douglas DC–3, Spartan Executive, Hatz biplane, and Beech Starship, as well as numerous modern-day aircraft such as the Robinson R44, Carbon Cub, and Icon A5. In all, more than 60 aircraft are scheduled to be featured, flown by some of the most accomplished pilots in the United States. The Titan Aerobatic Team (formerly AeroShell) will conclude the flyover. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) will be closed for 60 minutes; FDK will close for two hours. AOPA has the support of Congress and the participation of 10 government agencies.

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. Observing and commentating on the flyover from the rooftop of the National Museum of American History will be AOPA’s Thomas B. Haines and former CNN correspondent Miles O’Brien. 

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A Kitfox A Pilatus PC-12 A Douglas DC-3 A Piper PA-22 Tri-Pacer A Piper PA-18 Super Cub on floats A Robinson R44 A Vans RV-12 A Howard DGA-15
Julie Walker
Julie Summers Walker
AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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