Tuesday, June 17, 2008

AOPA Fly-In Madness

These posts are a little out of order... but that's how it goes sometimes!

I blogged about the AOPA Open House/Fly-in a few posts back. It was hot... but really fun. This was our third visit to this particular event. The first year we went, I was bribed into going with a promise to continue on out to the Baltimore inner harbor for dinner. Husband was getting serious about buying a plane and wanted to use the event to check out the options. The second year, we both were nearing completion on our private pilot certificates, fresh out of Sun'n'Fun, and couldn't wait to explore more of the flying community. This year, we're still newbies, at least compared to the grizzled old veteran pilots and their wives who have been to thirty of these shows, but we know the lay of the land and run into quite a few folks that we know. It feels good to finally feel "part of the community". There aren't a lot of communities left like the pilot community.

We were so late arriving that we missed the seminars we wanted to attend. We did head over and hear Phil Boyer say a little about general aviation, but left after a bit because it was hard to concentrate in the heat (and with so many shiny planes nearby!). So, we walked through the exhibitor tents and picked up information on the 99s (an international women's flying club), Angel Flight, Virginia airports, Tangier Island, and all kinds of other stuff. We also succumbed to the advertisements and bought the new AOPA/Sporty's flight bag, and of course- a new dog toy for Flyer!

(After completing a round-robin trip since then, I have to say, the new bag is much easier keep organized than our old Sporty bag. There are individual pockets for charts, pens, flashlights, and just about anything you could need.)

From there, we meandered over to the Frederick Flight School-- picking up a colleague of Husband's along the way who is also into flying. At the flight school, we met up with my housemate from senior year of college. What a blast! He's now working toward his CFI and running the computers at the flight school. After scoring a few burgers from the flight school's bbq, doing a lot of catching up-- and admiring his hangar and 182, we wandered back over to the exhibits to check out the myriad of planes.

There were quite a few to look at- old and new, big and small. I mostly focused on the C-182 and the Cessna 400. Nice planes! The Cessna dealer who sold us our plane was there and took good care of us, giving us tons of information on the two. We're already thinking ahead to what our next ride (i.e., investment) might be. Husband took a look at the Mustang, and the sales guy showing him around the plane gave him a nice Cessna hat so he wouldn't completely roast in the sun (Husband doesn't have much hair left, as you can see in most of our photos!). J, Husband's colleague, was checking out a lot of the flight share and flying club options as he's thinking of getting up to date on his currency and back in the flying game.

After a long time of looking around at the planes for sale (that standard air conditioning option on the C-400 was sounding GREAT!), we went inside the AOPA building to check out the other exhibits. We had our picture taken in the AOPA photo booth in front of a backdrop featuring the AOPA Get Your Glass sweepstakes plane, and watched some kids try (badly) to fly a Microsoft Flight Simulator setup with yoke and pedals. Though there were a few more things we could have seen, we then learned that my mom had caught an earlier flight in from Indianapolis, so it was time to turn for home.

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