The Airplane Owners Pilots Association, AOPA, held its parade of planes on Wed Oct. 10th that saw many planes of all types taxi down the streets from the airport to the Palm Springs Convention Center. Seminars, speeches, learning centers and everything connected to pilots and planes could be found at this AOPA conference.
Venders filled the Palm Springs Convention Center ballroom. Everything from new propulsion motors to eyeglasses were on display. Other items were artists selling paintings to hand rolled cigars and even massage chairs. Hundreds of people filled this area all during the day. Seminars were held in the many smaller rooms at the convention center and in the event rooms of the Hotel.
One of the largest seminars was held on Friday morning in the Primrose Room in the Convention Center. Ceo’s of the FAA and AOPA along with other VIP’s and Actor Harrison Ford spoke to all the guests about the problems and new ideas of airplanes, pilots and airports. The FAA said their biggest concern is safety in the air making it the safest mode of transportation. Other things mentioned were the possibility of a user tax on planes and pilots which would be devastating to the industry.
Ipads are now a big help in flight. Other topics included efficient ways of reducing fuel and its emissions, simplifying certification of planes and pilots, the worry about unmanned planes airspace and continued citizen privacy plus laws pertaining to older aircraft. Also the possibility of an 8% cut to the FAA and the generation gap. They spoke about all the exciting new technology in the works.
Actor Harrison Ford is an active participant in AOPA and was a major factor in the EAA Young Eagles pilot program for teenagers. He stressed the fact there is a looming shortage of professional pilots. He said we are training more foreign pilots than from our own country. He is concerned about the generation gap in the industry. He said being a pilot at age 52 gave him a new lease on life. He made 3 movies this year and is excited about his new movie on the life of Jackie Robinson, the baseball player.
There were other celebrities that spoke about various topics they are interested in. Doug Stewart from Flying Wild Alaska spoke about Camping by Plane. Actor and Comedian, Dave Coulier, from Full House and America’s Funniest People shared his love of aviation to the younger generation.
There were parties each night and special lunches each day for the attendees. Local attractions were also on the agenda like trips to the Tram, Air Museum and Villagefest to name just a few.