News From Headquarters

Flying Clubs get their Honky-Tonk on in Tennessee

BarnstomersDespite low ceilings and passing thunderstorms, dozens of flying clubs joined their fellow AOPA members in Tullahoma, Tennessee on October 10 for the final fly-in of 2015.  Many clubs beat the weather by arriving a day or two early, earning them a seat at the Barnstomers Party featuring drumming legend and pilot Paul Leim.  Leim, an eight-time “drummer of the year” award winner, has recorded tracks with top artists including Shania Twain, Lionel Richie, Randy Travis, Kenny Rogers, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, and Kenny Chesney. 

Joining Paul on stage were:

  • Pilot and award-winning songwriter Paul Overstreet, who’s written and co-written 27 top ten songs, including "Forever and Ever Amen," and "When You Say Nothing at All."  
  • BMI Songwriter of the Century, Even Stevens, whose classics include "I Love a Rainy Night," "Drivin' My Life Away," and "When You're In Love With a Beautiful Woman."
  • Songwriter Wendell Mobley, who’s written hits for Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, and many other top artists. 
  • Seasoned studio musician, bassist, and songwriter Spady Brannan, who’s appeared on recordings for Toby Keith, Shania Twain, Keith Urban, and Martina McBride among others.

The Barnstormer party was hosted by the Beechcraft Heritage Museum in its main hangar.  Although most aircraft were removed to accommodate seating for more than a thousand pilots, a few historic aircraft remained to set the ambiance for the show.  Left of show center was a beautiful Stagerwing and a Beech 18 was staged to the right.  The night kicked off with a southern BBQ dinner, drinks, and a welcoming speech by AOPA President Mark Baker.  The band started shortly after, and regardless of the rain outside, the hangar was filled with the warm sent of BBQ and non-stop smash country hits.  

BarnstomersThe following morning the rain began to lift, and pilots were able to arrive VFR for the main event. In total, more than 2,500 pilots joined us at Tullahoma for our final fly-in of the year.  Although the fly-in season is wrapping up for most pilots and clubs, the 2016 season is just beginning for us here at Headquarters.  We recently announced our four 2016 locations, Beaufort, North Carolina; Battle Creek, Michigan; Bremerton, Washington; and Prescott, Arizona.  We hope you and your flying club can join us next year!

Kelby Ferwerda
Manager, AOPA Flying Club Initiative
Flying Club Initiative manager Kelby Ferwerda joined AOPA in 2014. He is an aircraft owner, certified flight instructor, and a designated Master CFI. Kelby flies a variety of aircraft, but specializes in tailwheel instruction and initial training.
Topics: Flying Club, Aviation Industry

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