Seeing an airplane 35,000 feet above you is one thing. Getting a chance to climb inside a cockpit and see everything up close is a whole lot better. And the smallest visitors to AOPA’s eighteenth annual Fly-In and Open House are getting plenty of opportunities to climb into airplanes big and small, crawl under the wings, or fly a foam bird of their own.
This year’s Fly-In is introducing kids to a sky full of aviation. Not only can they see GA airplanes of every shape and size at our static display, but they can also check out gleaming model radio-controlled airplanes, see exactly how wide the wingspan of a glider is, and climb into the front seat of a weight-shift-control trike. Many of the kids who stopped by to check out the trikes on display stayed to meet Kiwi. She’s the 3-year-old parrot that belongs to Terri Sipantzi of Precision Windsports. She rode on Sipantzi’s shoulder as he explained the nuances of weight-shift-control aircraft to a fixed-wing pilot. “She enjoys the activity,” he said.
But speed is still an eye-catcher for many. Nine-year-old Cole Gibson, visiting Fly-in with his dad, Duane, and his younger brother, Owen, said he liked the Eclipse 400 best. “We saw that fly at Oshkosh last year,” Duane Gibson, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, said of Eclipse Aviation’s single-engine jet.