AOPA Summit Launches In Long Beach

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AOPA's annual Summit runs Thursday through Saturday this week in Long Beach, Calif., featuring a long list of events and industry updates. The main hall hosts about 500 exhibits, and the schedule includes programs and speakers for new pilots, seasoned fliers and enthusiasts. A variety of social events and fundraisers are planned, including a Friday-night block party. Among the industry updates, Cirrus Aircraft co-founder Dale Klapmeier will discuss the Vision SF50 personal jet and the new Perspective ESP flight-stability-augmentation system. The Terrafugia crew will be showing their proof-of-concept "flying car" inside the main exhibit hall. Cessna and Bye Energy will have an update on their progress toward building an electric-powered Skyhawk. Long Beach Airport will host static displays, including Fifi, the only flying B-29 Superfortress.

Thursday's opening forum will comprise a panel discussion about the high dropout rate of flight students -- 70 to 80 percent never earn a certificate -- and Friday and Saturday's keynote speakers will focus on the future of aviation. Friday's speakers include representatives from Virgin Galactic, Icon Aircraft and Terrafugia. Saturday, futurist John L. Petersen, founder of The Arlington Institute, will discuss the evolving trends that he expects will dramatically change general aviation by 2020. AVweb staff will be at the event from start to finish to bring you all the news.