Airshows and Events Archive

The RAF Fire Hub Let’s You Participate in SUN ‘n FUN!

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

When our friends at the Recreational Aviation Foundation first spoke to me about their idea to create an RAF Fire Hub at SUN ‘n FUN, I thought the idea was sensational!  What better image is there of a group of people relaxing around a fire at the end of a day.  So, I agreed AOPA would help with the first Fire Hub….then, I saw the design and heard more about the RAF’s vision of Fire Hubs around the country.

I really think they are on to something exciting!  And, here’s the best part….everyone can participate.  Around the Fire Hub are bricks that can be purchased by those passionate about aviation.  The first Fire Hub will be unveiled at SUN ‘n FUN in just another few hours and you can be a part of this wonderful opportunity…..the RAF will tell you how to participate…just click here:  http://bit.ly/GPR6t2 ….or, to get your brick right now, click here:  http://bit.ly/GSMJAL .

If you are at SUN ‘n FUN on Tuesday afternoon, come to the unveiling…..look for the SUN ‘n FUN schedule of events for details on time and location.

Huskies In Place at SUN ‘n FUN

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

People and vehicles (and a few aircraft) were bustling around Lakeland Airport early this morning as I arrived at our AOPA tent.  Our very able events person in charge of the scene on our little piece of real estate is Jenni Rosenthal.  Not surprisingly, she had a whole crew at work for her.  First little glitch, no fork lift truck.  A call and the issue is gone….fork lift will arrive as promised. 

You see, Jenni’s vision is for the Sweepstakes Tornado Husky to be under partial shade….actually, it will be the pilots that want shade as the weather forecasts are very encouraging if you like sun!

Up goes the shelter.  Then, the crew comes to meet up with the Huskies and provides the power to push them a couple hundred yards down a path to the tent. 

With some careful work (we’re not revealing our secrets) both aircraft are positioned in front of the tent.  We tie them down and put the covers on as the show opens Tuesday.

My only regret….we can’t really fly for a whole week!

If you are in the area, I do hope you will come by for a visit at SUN ‘n FUN.  The folks here have arranged a great schedule for the week ahead…and, we will be here all week!

Huskies South–Day 4

Saturday, March 24th, 2012
 

Flying past Marathon as we followed the road toward Key West.

We had originally planned to stay in Key West tonight, but the weather forecast has prompted us to change our plans. That said, it is an absolutely beautiful day, so we decided to head south to make the most of the good weather and better scenery but cut our visit short so we could be safely in Lakeland before the forecast rain arrives.

 

If there’s one thing that general aviation flying teaches us, it’s how to be flexible. Conditions and circumstances change. Weather moves in and out. There are so many variables in flying that you can’t be too attached to any particular plan. But, with the right attitude, it doesn’t matter all that much–there’s always something to enjoy, even if its some extra hangar flying while you wait out weather. Flying safely and enjoying it are what count, and that’s just what we intend to do.

In the meantime, let me share a little more of the view…

 

Heading south on this beautiful morning.

We made it! On the ramp in Key West.

 
 
 

 

Huskies heading south

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Yesterday marked the second day of our Husky adventure to Sun ‘n Fun, and it was at least as enjoyable as the first. By late in the afternoon we had arrived in Cedar Cay, where we took some time for a photo and video shoot. To get the light just right, we circled the area as the sun set.

Flying over Cedar Cay.

If you haven’t tried your hand at aerial photography, you might be surprised to learn that the biggest challenge is often finding the right light to make the pictures look great. The photographers from the AOPA Pilot team are perfectionists—as I’m sure you’ve noticed when reading the magazine—so getting the right shot often means making many passes to be sure the light, the landscape, and the aircraft align perfectly. I haven’t seen the pictures from today’s shoot yet, but they can’t help but be beautiful.

Paul Harrop is our talented photographer and videographer on this journney, and he has been gathering great images of our journey as well as terrific interviews with people we’ve met along the way.

Huskies at Cedar Cay

We lined up the Huskies, ready to launch for our sunset photo shoot.

It was a special treat to meet some AOPA members who had spotted us flying around the area, then rode their bikes out to KCDK to say hello.

If you live in Florida and spot a couple of bright yellow Huskies overhead, it just might be us. If you do, come out and say “hi.” Meeting AOPA members is always the best part of any GA trip I take.

 

Huskies to SUN ‘n FUN

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Yesterday, we departed Frederick, Maryland for SUN ‘n FUN.  Of course, we intend to do a little extra flying in the Southeast!

As we’ve done before, AOPA’s Dave Hirschman is piloting the AOPA Tornado Husky, our current sweepstakes aircraft.  I’m flying my Husky, N24HU. 

I will file reports along the way and then spend the week in Lakeland, Florida and visit with members who join us on the grounds at SUN ‘ n FUN.  They have an exciting week planned and Dave and I will be the two fellows standing around our bright yellow Huskies…come see us!

Here we are yesterday waiting out low ceilings before departing Frederick.  Woody Cahall, who helps us with all things flying related, suggested we head out towards Harper’s Ferry and guess what….there was sunshine right on this beautiful West Virginia community.  But, it wasn’t until later that we found a nice hole in the overcast and up went the Huskies!

Our first day took us to Danville (KDAN) for refueling.  We ran into great AOPA members whom we’d last seen at the AOPA Summit in Hartford.  Given weather over the mountains to our West, we changed plans and headed for Beaufort, SC (KARW).  We were rewarded with a beautiful evening sunset and fine dinner at one of Beaufort’s many great restaurants.

Today, we’re planning to head South along the Western side of Florida.  We will look for new and interesting locations along the way as we work our way further South over the weekend and then back  to Lakeland (KLAL).

Follow the journey here….and, if you have the chance, come see us at SUN ‘n FUN!

Abu Dhabi – A New Country Joins IAOPA

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Gulf News provided extensive coverage of the Expo, including this picture of me talking to a local businessman who is importing light sport aircraft from Italy.

When the invitation came months ago to attend the Abu Dhabi Air Expo as a guest of the Abu Dhabi Airports Company, which organized the event, and recognize the newly formed AOPA group for the Emirates, I accepted. This first-time exhibition has not disappointed a few thousand attendees over the three-day event held at the Al Bateen Executive Airport.

It has been great to experience the enthusiasm of aviators here in Abu Dhabi. The show provides attendees with a look at a full range of aircraft from light sport to a Boeing 737 and everything in between. The reported use of GA aircraft is growing in the region and firms are looking to establish themselves here. Local officials are saying that private aviation in the Middle East is expected to experience a 20 percent growth rate. 

Interesting conversations have been held with several individuals who talk about the need for pilots, and flight instruction seems to be a growing part of the aviation industry in the region. When we asked one very active flight instructor from the region about the use of flight simulators, he said that today they only have one Redbird flight simulator but others with motion have been ordered. 

This was just one of many conversations that remind me of how much the U.S. aviation community is respected around the world.

Presenting provisional IAOPA membership to UAE AOPA representative M. Yousif Al Hammadi.

While in Abu Dhabi, in my capacity as IAOPA president, I officially recognized M. Yousif Al Hammadi as the newest representative to the International Council of AOPAs, bringing the number of member countries to 70. The Council is growing fast, with Namibia joining just last year. I must say, finding people with a passion for general aviation around the world is a very rewarding experience.

Later today, Bruce Landsberg, president of the AOPA Foundation, will make a presentation to the attendees. Bruce and I, along with our colleagues, are grateful to have been invited to be guests at this important gathering. And, we all came away enthusiastic about finding yet another place where the belief in general aviation is very much alive and well.

CAF helps rally GA

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

I am in Midland, Texas, today for a Rally GA event that’s part of the Commemorative Air Force’s annual AIRSHO. This morning brought cloudy skies after a full night of rain—something that hadn’t happened in more than a year and was a welcome relief from the drought in this part of Texas. But the clouds did nothing to dampen enthusiasm for a day filled with airplanes and excitement.

A night of rain was welcome in Midland.

CAF President Steve Brown offered a warm welcome to me and all of the show participants, including Congressman  Sam Graves of Missouri—an avid pilot and staunch friend to GA.

For me, it was a chance to meet more AOPA members and share my thoughts about the future, as well as listen to their concerns. Having people like you come out and get engaged with GA has never been more important.

User fees are back on the table and we have a hotly contested election year ahead. At times like these, elected officials—both those already in office and those hoping to win their various races—are listening carefully to voters, so this is a great time to let them know that general aviation matters to you.

We’ll be holding more Rally GA events to bring pilots together and I hope you’ll come when we’re in your area. It’s a great way to stay in touch with what’s happening and let your voice be heard.

TBMs as far as the eye can see

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Today I was in Colorado Springs for the eighth annual meeting of the TBM Owners and Pilots Association. More than 250 people, including more than 80 TBM owners, took part. The airport was a beautiful site, with more than 80 TBMs lining the ramp and Andrew Knott, executive director of TBMOPA, was a gracious host.

Talking to TBM owners at the annual TBMOPA convention.

This is a very astute and involved group of pilots, and they were deeply interested in the challenges that will continue to face general aviation through this fall’s budget debate and beyond. User fees, concerns over the future of air traffic control, and the need to grow the pilot population were top of mind. These pilots understand, as we all must, the importance of continued vigilance and innovation if we are going to protect our freedom to fly in the face of these challenges.

But there’s also a lot of enthusiasm and excitement among these owners—enthusiasm for the airplanes they love, excitement for the many ways aircraft ownership has enhanced their personal and professional lives, and, perhaps most important, hope for the future.

And perhaps that’s one of the most important things I take from every gathering of pilots I am fortunate enough to attend. Even as we struggle through the challenges that face the general aviation community, we shouldn’t forget that aviation is a joyful pursuit and we are fortunate to be a part of it.

TBMs as far as the eye can see.

Just Back from AirVenture

Monday, August 1st, 2011

We are returning to matters at AOPA in Frederick today after a fantastic week in Oshkosh at EAA’s AirVenture.

I hope you enjoy our coverage of events on our web site….go to www.AOPA.org .

We started our AOPA Live coverage with an exclusive interview that Tom Haines conducted with Harrison Ford….to view, click: http://bit.ly/nHCEnK .

And, to see the other features from AirVenture, go to www.aopa.org/aopalive .

We always come back from this experience rejuvenated after spending time with so many members and other aviation enthusiasts!

Now, we are getting ready for the AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford which begins on September 22….hope you will consider joining us.

Type clubs: A bonanza for pilots

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

I have to confess that I really love my Bonanza. Like most aircraft owners, I’ve bonded with my plane over the course of hundreds of happy flight hours. When you spend enough time in a plane, you begin to see it as more than a machine. It becomes a friend of sorts, with its own personality and quirks.

American Bonanza Society

Whit Hickman (left), ABS executive director, and Tom Turner (right), the executive director of the ABS Air Safety Foundation, were exceptional hosts.

Feeling as I do about my plane, I really enjoyed spending some time with members of the American Bonanza Society in Tullahoma, Tennessee, this week. I was invited to participate as the keynote speaker on Friday night at the First Annual Spring Fly-In Dinner, and I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more.

Nearly 100 Bonanzas—including mine—flew in to attend three days of events that included safety and maintenance seminars, tours of the Beechcraft Heritage Museum, social events, and plenty of hangar flying.

A high percentage of Bonanza Society members are also AOPA members, and I was delighted to see how engaged and informed this audience was about the issues that affect our flying, including NextGen, FAA funding, avgas, and the need to grow the pilot population. They had some great questions to ask and some wonderful stories to share about their own flying experiences.

Spending time with pilots who care so much about general aviation and their airplanes was invigorating for me. If you own a plane, regardless of the make and model you choose, I encourage you to consider taking part in a type club. It’s a great way to get to know your airplane better, enhance your safety, and Rally GA! Not to mention that it’s a whole lot of fun, too.