This Year's Expo To Focus On "Serious Personal Aviators"
Whew! With NBAA 2006
just wrapped up last week, ANN staffers will barely have enough
time to regroup before the next big aviation event. Not that we're
complaining, mind you... and it helps that the upcoming show looks
to be a REALLY fun one! The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
(AOPA) Expo 2006 is barely two weeks away... with this year's show
focusing on "serious personal aviators."
Some 10,000 general aviation pilots and aviation enthusiasts are
expected in Palm Springs, CA to attend the general aviation
convention and trade show, which runs November 9-11, 2006. But the
fun kicks off the morning before, at 10 am on Wednesday, November
8, with a truly one-of-a-kind event in the aviation world -- the
Parade of Planes.
It's an event unique to Palm Springs -- as its the only city in
the country capable of hosting the Parade. More than 100 aircraft,
from two-seat light sport models to business jets, will taxi
approximately two miles from Palm Springs International Airport,
through the streets to the Palm Springs Convention Center... where
they'll virtually ring the building in the largest aircraft display
AOPA Expo has ever hosted.
Leading the parade will be the grand prize in AOPA's Win A Six
in '06 Sweepstakes, a newly repainted and completely refurbished
1967 Piper Cherokee Six. Some lucky pilot will be given the keys to
the Six early in 2007.
AOPA Expo strikes a nice balance between such aviation
free-for-alls as Oshkosh -- where serious aviators rub elbows with
the most casual enthusiasts -- and industry-oriented events such as
NBAA (which always send ANN staffers scrambling to dust off our
sportcoats and collared shirts.) AOPA Expo gives members of the
organization a chance to catch up on latest news and products
throughout the industry... while having a little fun, too.
Representatives with AOPA say airframe manufacturers and other
vendors know that the people who attend AOPA Expo are not just
window shopping -- they're serious shoppers willing to spend some
serious money to support their aviation interest. And they're also
serious about the issues facing their community.
Expo kicks off on November 9th with a general session discussing
the threat of user fees as Congress gets ready to reexamine FAA
funding. For the first time, pilots will be able to hear directly
from Congress, as Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), a member of the House
Aviation subcommittee and an AOPA member, joins AOPA President Phil
Boyer, Experimental Aviation Assn. (EAA) President Tom Poberezny,
General Aviation Manufacturers Assn. (GAMA) President and CEO Peter
Bunce, and National Business Aviation Assn. (NBAA) President Ed
On Friday, November 10, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey returns
to AOPA Expo to speak to and take questions directly from
After each day's general session, the exhibit hall -- with more
than 500 exhibitor displays -- and the aircraft display area open
up. In addition, AOPA Expo will host more than 75 hours of
seminars, ranging from ownership issues, through medical
certification issues, to seminars designed to make safer, better
In addition, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation will once again host
daily Pinch Hitter® seminars for those who routinely fly the
With more than 408,000 members, AOPA represents nearly
two-thirds of all pilots in the United States.