AOPA Smashes Record at Prescott Fly-In

Hundreds of airplanes come for AOPA’s final Fly-In for the year.

AOPA Prescott Fly-In
AOPA Pilot Editor-in-Chief Tom Haines speaks at the opening session of the record-breaking Fly-In in Prescott, Arizona.Pia Bergqvist

Good weather and a beautiful setting in Arizona at the Ernest A. Love Field in Prescott, where the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has one of two main campuses, became the perfect recipe for a record-breaking AOPA Fly-In this weekend. This was the final fly-in for the year, the third year AOPA has done its regional shows. AOPA increased the previous fly-in record by around 2,000 attendees, bringing about 6,300 people out to see airplanes on display along with terrific seminars, exhibitors and a miniature air show.

While the pink puffy clouds surrounding the area faded on Friday night, pilots gathered at the main hangar for the Barnstormers Party. Long lines formed to pick up plates of BBQ while live music entertained. A campground had been set up in a grassy area adjacent to the event, providing convenience for those who were brave enough to camp. Golf cart shuttles provided transportation for pilots who were parked too far away to walk.

By Saturday morning, the ramp and runway 12-30, which had been closed for the event, were jammed with airplanes. Official numbers from AOPA indicate that 565 aircraft flew in for the free event. Non-current pilots filled a large hangar for the three-hour long Rusty Pilots Seminar, a free class that brings pilots up to speed on a variety of flying topics. There were many other terrific seminars, and the event closed with a Pilot Town Hall meeting with AOPA president and CEO Mark Baker.

“Thanks to everyone who helped make this our best-attended fly-in yet,” Baker said. “With the support of Embry-Riddle, hundreds of volunteers, and a great airport team, we closed our 2016 fly-in season on a high note.” AOPA will continue its regional fly-ins at airports around the country in 2017.

Take a look at some photos from the Prescott fly-in. Photo Gallery