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
The Fly Ins are a great idea, but please be very aware while in the air during arrival. The procedures are limited, and with little control over who’s doing what. With only one runway and one frequency for everyone the pattern and radios quickly become over saturated. Many position calls were stepped on and some pilots provided no regard for the necessity to extend the pattern, or worse stick stubbornly to the pattern designed for much less traffic. Many types (LSA’s to Multi-engine) with great variations in approach speeds and no one providing direction left much to be thought about for future fly ins, thankfully no one suffered seriously.
Hi John, Thank you for reading ReviewBeforeFlight.com and for commenting on the topic. I whole-heartidly agree with you. I personally drove to the event, mainly because it was quicker for me than going to the airport where I typically fly from and then flying into KPYM, but also because as a general rule of thumb I don’t fly into events like these. I view it as an unnecessary increase in risk for no real benefit other than the feeling of being “cool” when I taxi in… Something that could have also been achieved by flying in a day earlier and sleeping under the wings of one’s aircraft. In any event, early in the day this past Saturday I made it a point to stand and watch the final approach at KPYM. At one point I counted 9 aircraft on final (within sight) with two rolling out on the runway, it certainly was a busy day and thankfully everyone was safe! Hopefully next year a plan can be in place to separate out arriving traffic in groups based on approach speed. -Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9