AOPA's Last Summit Draws A Crowd

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Photo courtesy of AOPA

Photo courtesy of AOPA

The AOPA Summit that opens on Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas, may be the last of its kind, but the turnout is strong -- many of the events are sold out, and the convention floor is filled with more than 400 exhibitors, plus 70 aircraft on static display at nearby Meacham Field. Mark Baker, AOPA's new president, will open the event on Thursday morning, with a talk where he'll lay out his ideas and vision for the future of the organization. Cirrus and Epic Aircraft also will offer updates on the projects they have in the works. Several avionics manufacturers are scheduled to introduce new products here this week, and lots of aviation inspiration will be on hand, from the story of a wounded warrior who learned to fly, to the memoirs of a pilot who flew Marine One, the presidential helicopter.

Also on tap is a full schedule of seminars, where pilots can learn about maintenance, new technologies, medical and legal issues, and a range of pilot skills. "We really cover the gamut," AOPA spokesman Steve Hedges told AVweb at the show. "All three days really are packed." Airshow pilot Mike Goulian, who will be flying in the Red Bull Air Races again when the series re-launches next year, is scheduled to give a talk, along with many others with impressive aviation resumes. Lockheed has an expansive presence at the show, as well as HondaJet, Redbird, Garmin, and many others. AVweb staffers will be reporting daily from the Summit about all the events and products, with stories, video and podcasts.