The AOPA Aviation Summit in Fort Worth, which starts on Thursday, Oct. 10, will be my first — and last — time in attendance. While I will be working hard as part of the AOPA ePublishing team to get out all the news from the event, I also look forward to participating in some of the planned events. If you see me around, please come up and say hello — especially if you have a story to pitch! Below is a list of my top 10, in no particular order.
- Congratulate the winners. I was among those who helped choose the 2013 Flight Training Scholarship winners, and their stories were inspirational. I want to thank them personally as I continue my own journey as a student pilot.
- Fly in warbirds. Greatest Generation Aircraft will offer attendees the chance to ride in or even fly a Douglas C-47. The Commemorative Air Force is bringing B-29 Superfortress, Fifi, a B-24 Liberator, and C-45 Expediter to Summit. And the Cavanaugh Flight Museum will be offering flights in the H-13B “Sioux,” made famous by M*A*S*H; North American AT-6SNJ; PT17 Stearman; and Travel Air.
- See new iPad tricks. I look forward to an education seminar with John Zimmerman, vice president of marketing for Sporty’s, who will share hidden tricks to get more out of your iPad as well as how to use high-tech iPad accessories in “Advanced iPad flying.” The panel is Oct. 10 from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. in the Fort Worth Convention Center Ballroom B.
- Pancakes and pilots town hall. Like you, I look forward to hearing from our new CEO and President Mark Baker at this event as AOPA goes into its 75th year. I also look forward to meeting our members.
- Summit before the Summit. The AOPA Center to Advance the Pilot Community will be holding a pre-Summit event on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The event will focus on the AOPA flying clubs initiative, excellence in flight training, research related to lapsed and rusty pilots, and intensive conversations with leading aviation innovators, led by our own Senior Vice President Adam Smith.
- Catch a star. This year’s Summit will feature celebrity appearances by Major League Baseball star Ken Griffey Jr., country-western singer Aaron Tippin, and legendary football player Ed “Too Tall” Jones.
- Learn from the aviation masters. I’m excited about the lineup of aviation greats who will be speaking at this year’s Summit, including sirshow legend Michael Goulian, Rod Machado and John and Martha King.
- Summit exhibitors. I’m one of those people who try and visit as many exhibit booths as I can during conventions, so I plan on seeing everything from the AOPA Flying Club Network at Booth #1806 to XM WX Satellite Weather at Booth #922.
- Check out the next generation of pilots. AOPA and Youth Aviation Adventure are sponsoring a free three-hour hands-on discovery program for teens ages 13-18 at Airportfest at Meacham International Airport on October 12, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Drool at Airportfest. This year’s Airportfest will have around 100 aircraft on display. Look for my photos on the Meacham AOPA Pinterest board.
And I hope you’ll all remember to bring a teddy bear for the Teddy Bear Drive, to benefit Cook Children’s Medical Center.