News from Headquarters: Happy 85th Anniversary to AOPA – Mall Flyover a Huge Success

National Celebration of General Aviation D.C. Flyover

54 pilots (with myself in the mighty Vans RV-12) and countless passengers sat in running airplanes with bated breath waiting for their assigned taxi time.  AOPA’s National Celebration of General Aviation D.C. Flyover took place this past Saturday, May 11th.  To say it was a huge success is a drastic understatement.  Fifteen months of planning and coordinating between eleven government agencies culminated in the most incredible spectacle I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. 

Pilots fortunate enough…or perhaps unfortunate enough to fly regularly in the greater Washington D.C. area understand what a massive undertaking this was.  All 54 aircraft, ranging from a Beechcraft Staggerwing (the most beautiful aircraft ever made) to an intimidating AT-802 Fire Boss took off from Frederick Municipal Airport, headed south to pick up the Potomac River where we dropped down to 1000 MSL following the twist and turns of the river, past the CIA headquarters, eventually leading us to “show center”, the Washington Monument.  This flight path took us directly through Prohibited Area 56 or P-56 for short.  This highly restricted stretch of airspace includes the White House, the Washington Mall, and the Vice-President’s residence. 

The event was livestreamed to AOPA’s YouTube channel and featured on local and national news across the country.  If you happen to have missed it, fear not, the livestream was recorded and can be viewed here.  Keep an eye on the AOPA YouTube channel in the next few weeks for an edited video of the event featuring perspectives of each aircraft from a media helicopter orbiting in the area.

For me, it was a reminder of the liberties our great country affords to us.  General aviation is the backbone of the entire flying community and without it there would not be a captain sitting in the left seat of the next 737 you take on vacation.

Oldest Flying Club in the Nation

Better than half a year ago, before I took the reins of the Flying Club Initiative, we started searching for the oldest flying club in the nation.  After an impressive response from the nations flying club community we have found, what we believe, to be the oldest club in the nation.  The Clemson Flying Club, based at Clemson-Oconee County Airport in Seneca, SC, has a 100-year anniversary just around the corner.  They have been continually operating since 1927.  Congratulations to the Clemson Flying Club and thank you to all the clubs that sent information to be included in our list. 

AOPA Medical Certificate Specialist Cade Halle poses for a photo at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland, May 4, 2022. Photo by David Tulis.
Cade Halle
Manager, Flying Clubs Initiative, AOPA
Cade is the manager of the AOPA Flying Clubs Initiative, which helps start and grow flying clubs, nationwide. Cade is a formation qualified, AOPA staff pilot as well as a FAASTeam representative.

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