Archive for April, 2011

Virginia Regional Festival of Flight

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

It was a beautiful Saturday morning (finally) in Frederick and we loaded the AOPA Caravan for a flight to Suffolk Executive Airport (KSFQ) to drop in for the pancake breakfast at the Virginia Regional Festival of Flight.  The good folks at Suffolk made us all feel welcomed and we had a great time showing AOPA members their aircraft.  Some even asked for pictures with N394GA and we were happy to share our enthusiasm for this fine aircraft. 

The show goes on today and Sunday.  If you are in the Norfolk, Virginia area, drop in! 

It is always a pleasure to have the chance to visit with AOPA members at events like this and judging by the number of aircraft that were arriving as we prepared to leave this afternoon, Suffolk Excutive is going to have a fine turn out this year.

A flying club with something special

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Some 300 members of Plus One Flyers came out to Rally GA in San Diego.

Last night I had the chance to talk to some 300 pilots—mainly members of a 26-year-old flying club called Plus One Flyers based in San Diego. It’s always good to be back flying in Southern California, since that’s where my own aviation journey began.

Plus One Flyers is quite a remarkable group. They have more than 900 members, including more than 100 flight instructors and numerous “seasonal” members from abroad who spend their vacations in the United States enjoying the freedom to fly that is uniquely ours.

They’ve created a model that makes dues affordable, a variety of aircraft and training available, keeps insurance costs low, and more. And here’s the great part—they want to share it. Talk about a great way to Rally GA!

During my visit, we talked about the big issues that matter most to AOPA members everywhere—advocacy, communication, and safety. We also talked about the importance of growing the pilot population, as well as AOPA’s efforts on that front and the value of groups like Plus One Flyers who do so much to make flying practical, affordable, and enjoyable for club members.

My host, Plus One Flyers President Scott Kurowski, is an avid pilot (and gracious host) who wants more flying clubs to experience the same success Plus One Flyers enjoys. He’s happy to talk about the club’s model, and I would encourage any club that’s looking to start, expand, or build on its current success to consider taking advantage of his expertise. Be sure to visit their web site .

Meeting with groups like this one is rejuvenating for me. These are pilots, just like you and me, who work together to make GA better—for themselves and for everyone. That’s as good as it gets!

Sonoma pilots Rally GA!

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

I spend a fair amount of my time traveling around the country, meeting with pilots, and talking about the issues that affect our flying. You might think these trips would become routine. But nothing could be further from the truth. Wherever I go, I am impressed by the people I meet and their commitment to general aviation.

Several hundred pilots turned out to Rally GA at Sonoma County Airport.

Yesterday, I was at the Sonoma County Airport in California, and once again, I was amazed by the aviators I met. A few hundred people were out at the airport, looking as some wonderful new aircraft and some great oldies, including a B-17. A few lucky folks even got to take rides. It was a great way to Rally GA and share the excitement.

One of the amazing folks I spent some time with was Josh Hochberg. He’s a lawyer and aviation enthusiast who purchased Sonoma Jet Center and is really transforming it into a first-class facility. He was our host for this event. I was also joined by Jon Dauplaise of Cirrus, who updated the audience on all the exciting developments at his company and showed off some of their beautiful airplanes.

I even had a chance to introduce John and Martha King, founders of King Schools, to the crowd. The Kings graciously offered some insight into the flight training process and the innovations that are making training better and more appealing in today’s busy and complicated world.

For my part, I had the chance to talk about issues like NextGen, avgas, and growing the pilot population—and to answer some very astute questions from the audience about topics like security and regulation.

And perhaps that’s really the thing that impresses me the most when I travel. Everywhere I go, the pilots I meet don’t just fly, they believe in flying. They have a remarkable breadth and depth of understanding about the issues that affect aviation in general, and their local communities in particular. There aren’t too many vocations or avocations that inspire that degree of passion, and I count myself lucky to be part of it.

A Review of Sun ‘n Fun

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Each month, I write a short email newsletter that’s been called FIRST MONDAY.  This month, the focus is on events at Sun ‘n Fun.  It was, to say the least, a memorable event. 

You will find several of our AOPA LIVE segments and stories about the week.

To read the current FIRST MONDAY, just click here.

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Airshows don’t disappoint

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Blue Angels

You can always count on the Navy's Blue Angels to put on an incredible show, and their Sun 'n Fun performance this afternoon was no exception!

The nighttime airshow is just getting under way here at Sun ‘n Fun, and if the earlier performances are any indicator, it will be an evening to remember. This afternoon, the Blue Angels were part of the lineup, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. With the weekend upon us there are just a couple of more opportunities to see the amazing aerobatic performances that thrill pilots and non-pilots alike. I hope you’ll come out to Sun ‘n Fun this weekend for the airshow, the displays, and all the fun!

Sunny at Sun ‘n Fun!

Friday, April 1st, 2011

It’s a bright, beautiful day at Sun ‘n Fun with the promise of an equally beautiful weekend in the weather forecast. So don’t let reports of yesterday’s bad weather keep you away.

Craig Fuller with Crossover Classic

It's beautiful day at Sun 'n Fun. Join me at the AOPA tent and take a look at the Crossover Classic 182 that could be yours.

This year we want to Rally GA–and John Burton and his team here at Sun ‘n Fun are a great example of how to do that, even after a setback. They worked through the night to clean up the grounds so all of us can enjoy the next three days. You can do your part to Rally GA and show your support for this classic event by coming out to enjoy the aircraft, airshow, displays, product demonstrations, and more!

As an added bonus, it’s AOPA Day, so members get admission discounts and the chance to win some great prizes. Our AOPA team opened the tent early to welcome members, and I’m here, too, enjoying meeting and talking with AOPA members who stop by.

And, so you know that AOPA is no fair-weather friend, I want to announce that for the fourth year in a row, AOPA will be a Platinum Sponsor for Sun ‘n Fun 2012.