Yesterday the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) announced the dates/locations for their 2014 regional fly-in events. This presents a great opportunity for all of us to get more people into the activity, which we all love so much, aviation!
The events will be set up to feature planes, exhibitors, safety briefings, food, presentations, etc… This is a great way to spend a day if you’re a pilot. But even for someone who is not a pilot, it will be a great take as well. One of the features will be a “Learn to Fly” area, perfect for all those not-yet, but soon-to-be pilots! If each of us makes an effort to not only attend the AOPA event closest to us, but to also bring a friend that isn’t a pilot but is interested in flying, this could go a long way towards the objective of growing the pilot population. The events, I’m sure, will be very exciting and a great way to immerse others and us in aviation for a day. What better way to get someone one-the-edge of learning to fly to take that first step and schedule a discovery flight, than to have them spend a day surrounded by everything that is good and exciting in aviation?
Luckily, the event closest to me is going to be at one of the airports I fly to frequently, KPYM (Plymouth, MA). I have already started planning to spend the day with friends at the event and I will be reaching out to individuals I have recently given demo flight to and other non-flying friends to see if they may be interested in joining. My hope is that these events will convey the sense of ‘awesomeness’ about flying (that every pilot knows) to these ‘newbies’ and they will fall in love with aviation as well…
Bringing non-pilots can help grow the pilot population, but equally as important is getting certificated pilots out to the events. Attending events like an AOPA fly-in goes a long way in getting pilots to remember the fun and excitement of aviation. We need more pilots, yes. But we also need the already certificated pilots to be actively flying! So start making plans with other pilots and friends from your airport/area, and get a group together to attend the AOPA event nearest you. Whether you fly in, drive or walk, I’m sure that attending a regional fly-in or a similar events will remind you about a lot of things you enjoy about aviation.
Of course, if you’re going to be attending the fly-in at KPYM in July this summer, make sure you find me and say hello!
-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9