Monday, November 15, 2010
Call it whatever you want...EXPO or Summit, this years event at Long Beach was far and away the best ever. I have attended numerous EXPO’s in Las Vegas, Palm Springs and San Jose and this was the best planned ever.
Starting with landing at Long Beach (LGB) the volunteers were really prepared. We landed on 30 and taxied to taxiway Juliet (J) where volunteers directed us to park. We were given a sheet with our location as Blue 5 so that when we left the van took us right to our plane without driving around forever to look for it. We shuttled in and unloaded at an outdoor area next to Air Flite FBO to check in and give our fuel order. In the past I have had FBO’s forget to fill our aux tank, this did not happen at Air Flite. They did an excellent job. Upon departure Air Flite had our bill ready and took us back to the plane. We were loaded and departed IFR in 15 minutes.
A shuttle bus took us to the convention center and we walked the .7 mile to our hotel with an easy check in. After unpacking we walked back to the convention center. We picked up our badges and were on the exhibit floor in minutes. This year exhibits seemed to be more numerous than in the past. The aisles were wider which allowed us to walk around without bumping into people. One difference this year was that live seminars were held on the exhibit floor. We spent more time on the exhibit floor than we have in past EPOS’s. Almost every vendor in Aviation seemed to be there. You would not know that Aviation was in a deep slump attending this years event. As usual Garmin had the busiest booth. There was not a lot of new things on the exhibit floor this year. One of the most exciting booths was Wing X whose program is now on Apple, Android and Windows. ForeFlight is still just written for the I Pad.
The static display was the best ever hands down. It was like a mini Oshkosh. Two of the most viewed and talked about planes were the B29, the only one still flying, and the Lockheed Electra. This was the first Lockheed Electra that I have ever seen in person, and this includes going to Oshkosh and Sun N Fun. There were over 100 planes on display. Cessna, Cirrus, LanceAir, Beech, Kestrel and Piper had all their planes there and there were also 4 WACO’s. In addition the AOPA had the Remos and the 182 give away planes on exhibit. Two concept planes were also shown. Terrafugia, the flying car/airplane and ICON amphibian were also on display.
In addition to the Exhibit Hall and Static Display there were numerous seminars. My favorite is still Rod Machado who helps educate and save lives by using humor to get his point across.
There were night time activities including a block party on Friday night closing down Pine Street to traffic. I would like to thank AOPA and Chris Dancey for the wonderful media dinner on Friday. It was fantastic.
Overall I would have to rate this years summit as a 10. It will be hard to top this one.