It will celebrate the 80th anniversary of AOPA.
Frederick, Md (KM) Happy birthday to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. The organization which was founded in 1939 is celebrating its 80th anniversary with a fly-in at Frederick Municipal Airport on Friday and Saturday, May 10th and 11th.
Chris Eads, the Senior Director of Outreach and Events, says the two-day event will feature seminars, workshops, aircraft displays and special aerial demonstrations; and it’s open to aviators and non-aviators. “But a lot of our educational material really is aimed at the recreational pilot, the private pilot, the general aviation pilot; helping them develop their skills; deepening their understanding of aviation; go to some new places in their skill sets,” he says.
As part of the fly-in, Eads says the D-Day Squadron will be at the airport on Friday and Saturday, a few weeks before it heads to France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy during World War II, usually referred to as D-Day. “They’ll be here to do some demonstration flights, where they’re actually going to do re-enactments of parachute drops, that happened in Normandy, they’ll do here in Frederick,” he says. “Also, for the public to get up close and see these vintage aircraft.”
Eads says AOPA anticipates between 6,000 and 10,000 people will attend this event. “Two-thirds to three-quarters of them are going to be from out-of-town, from all throughout the eastern United States that will travel in their small aircraft to get here and be part of this celebration,” he says. “Of course, they’re coming in and eating at restaurants, staying at hotels and renting cars and so forth.”
That’s expected to impact the local economy. “Typically, we’re going to see a little north of half-million in direct economic activity which is brought into the city,” says Eads.
In addition, he says AOPA will be purchasing goods and services locally for this celebration. “We typically spend close to about a quarter of million dollars in event production costs, and try to source all of that locally,” Eads says. That includes catering, food trucks, and renting tents, tables and chairs, port-a-potties and golf carts, he says.
As it marks its 80th anniversary, AOPA says it has had an impact on the general aviation industry, including the development of training materials, improving safety for pilots and supporting local airports. “We’re passionate about aviation and the joy of flying,” says Eads. “It’s such a privilege to get to leave the surface of the earth for a few hours and come back safety again, and to see the world from a different perspective up in the sky.”
The fly-in in Frederick is one of three taking place this year across the country. The second fly-in is scheduled for June 21st and 22nd in Livermore, California at the Livermore Municipal Airport. The third event will be September 13th and 14th in Tullahoma, Tennessee at the Tullahoma Regional Airport.
By Kevin McManus