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EAA Participates in Battle Creek AOPA Fly-In
By James Busha - Director of Publications, EAA 119684
September 22, 2016 - Low gray, rain-filled clouds welcomed us at the Cereal Capital of the World - Battle Creek Michigan - and W. K. Kellogg Airport (BTL), host of the AOPA regional fly-in on September 17, 2016.
As EAA’s Piper Aztec was marshalled to a parking spot by a soggy volunteer flagman, our copilot for the flight, EAA Chairman and CEO Jack J. Pelton, opened the airplane’s right door. Immediately the five of us huddled inside were overwhelmed with the odor of pancakes and sausage being prepared in the distance by dedicated volunteers. We all smiled, knowing that even on the worst of weather days, we would soon be sharing a seat at long table with likeminded aviation enthusiasts, all of whom were excited to talk airplanes and flying while enjoying a maple-syrup soaked breakfast.
With our EAA booth set up, we welcomed members who wanted to reminisce about AirVenture and who wanted to talk about advocacy issues and accomplishments, EAA chapter successes, and the growing momentum of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Young Eagles program in 2017. But there wasn’t just talk about what EAA has done, there was plenty of showing as well. Parked outside the exhibitor’s tent on the ramp was EAA’s Cessna 172, which acted as a testbed for the Accessible Safety STC we developed in partnership with Dynon and the FAA. Many attendees took advantage of seeing first hand this significant step forward in upgrading the aging GA fleet.
By the time lunch was being served the sun decided to join us, bathing the handful of Waco biplanes and several Great Lakes biplane models in light. The crowd of aviation admirers then came out to view the many aircraft manufacturers on hand displaying their wares, including American Champion, Cessna, Mooney, Tecnam, Cirrus, and more.
Late in the afternoon many of the attendees filed into the large tent to listen to a presentation by Pelton and AOPA President Mark Baker about the joint efforts each organization is working on for its members. With the last question from the crowd answered, the final ice cream bar served, and over a dozen new members signed up to join EAA, it was time to head home toward the setting sun.