Every community has its own character—that’s one of the truly enjoyable things about travel, discovering the differences and similarities among people and places. Airports, too, have personalities. And that has made each of this year’s AOPA Fly-Ins a special experience.
This past weekend, we were in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a very different setting from our previous fly-ins in San Marcos, Texas, and Indianapolis, but every bit as much fun.
The good weather brought out a lot of airplanes, with 495 aircraft flying in to Plymouth Municipal Airport and Taunton Municipal Airport. We even had 45 airplanes, and their occupants, camp overnight.
We had 2,250 people come out for the day plus more than 250 volunteers to help things run smoothly. I really can’t thank our volunteers enough. Instead of coming just to relax and enjoy, they come to work. And they are all so willing to work together to help make each event great. They really exemplify the community spirit we hope to build with our fly-ins.
As I’ve traveled the country meeting pilots, both at AOPA events and at other types of gatherings, I’ve discovered that while there are regional differences in how we fly—location has a lot to do with whether you need to worry about preheating your engine, planning for high density altitude, or accounting for pop-up thunderstorms—there are huge similarities in why we fly.
Pilots everywhere fly because they enjoy the freedom it provides, they love the challenge, and flying enhances their business or personal lives. And pilots everywhere are passionate about protecting general aviation so they can continue to enjoy everything it has to offer.
I count myself lucky to be part of a pilot community that is ready to come together to work with AOPA to protect the freedom to fly. And I’m thrilled to be meeting so many pilots from around the country and learning what matters to you.
My next chance to do that is at the hub of general aviation activity—AirVenture in Oshkosh. I hope you’ll join me there to learn about how AOPA is working for you and to see all great new things we have to offer, starting with a new location right on the flight line. And for those of you on the West Coast, I’ll be in Spokane, Washington, for the next AOPA Fly-In on August 16. Look forward to seeing you there.