AOPA Sets Dates, Sites For Regional Fly-Ins

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AOPA on Monday announced the dates and locations of the regional fly-ins that will replace its annual Summit event. Each fly-in will feature a pancake breakfast and pilot town hall hosted by AOPA President Mark Baker, exhibits, static aircraft displays, flying activities, safety clinics, a "Learn to Fly" area, and a chance to visit with AOPA staff and program specialists. The events are open to all. The regional events will be held in Texas, Indiana, Massachusetts, Washington, California, Maryland, and Georgia, between April and November.

The announcement about the new fly-ins at last year's Summit event drew mixed reactions, with some vendors expressing a preference for one annual central event. Some shoppers also said they liked the concentration of vendors at one indoor site. AOPA said on Monday exhibitors "will be welcome" at the regional fly-ins. At the Summit, Baker said the fly-ins will enable AOPA staff to interact with more of the association's members and also to recruit new members. "There are still thousands of pilots who are not members of AOPA," he said. "These fly-ins will take our message out to where people fly."

The Maryland "Homecoming" fly-in at AOPA's headquarters on Oct. 4 celebrates AOPA's 75th anniversary. "It’s our intention to make the Frederick Fly-In an annual event again," AOPA spokesman Steve Hedges told AVweb. He added that there will be no charge to attend the regional fly-ins. "A reasonable price will be charged for breakfast, and lunch will be free to all AOPA members," he said. Baker said the new fly-in plan was "inspired by our members," who wanted a way to connect with one another and with AOPA. "This is going to be a great way for our members to tell us what they care about most when it comes to aviation and to share the aviation experience with family and friends in a fun, relaxed setting," Baker said. "Plus, it’s a great excuse to get out and do some flying that supports airports and aviation businesses close to home."

The dates for each event are:

San Marcos Municipal Airport, Texas (HYI) – April 26
Indianapolis Regional Airport, Indiana (MQJ) – May 31
Plymouth Airport, Massachusetts (PYM) – July 12
Spokane Felts Field, Washington (SFF) – August 16
Chino Airport, California (CNO) – September 20
The “AOPA Homecoming” fly-in at AOPA's Frederick, Md., headquarters (FDK) -- Oct. 4
Malcolm McKinnon Airport, Georgia (SSI) – November 8