Prescott City leadership met on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at ERAU’s Davis Learning Center to begin planning for the 2016 AOPA Fly-In to be held Friday September 30 - Saturday October 01, 2016 at the Prescott Municipal Airport (KPRC). Prescott E News was there.
In attendance were Mayor Oberg, City Council members, Airport Manager John Cox, the Prescott Airport Users Association, leadership from the Prescott’s law enforcement and fire departments, Transportation Security Authority, the Federal Aviation Administration, Prescott’s hospitality industry including Don Prince, the City’s tourism director and Margo Christensen representing hotels, Chancellor Dr. Frank Ayers of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Dave Roy who is the AOPA Fly-In Event Chair and Director of Communications for Guidance Aviation, Legend Aviation, and NorthAire Aviation to name a few.
The meeting was kicked off by ERAU’s Dr. Ayers, who also noted that the highly anticipated AOPA Fly-In will coincide with ERAU’s Octoberwest - Homecoming event - a significant event for ERAU students, alumni and families.
AOPA’s Chris Eads stated that the AOPA Fly-Ins inject anywhere from $350,000 to $500,000 into the local economy on one weekend and it is anticipated that anywhere from 300 to 500 private aircraft from all over the southwest will fly into Prescott for the event. The AOPA holds four fly-ins each year around the country.
The AOPA contingency included team members each assigned specific roles which included tourism, transportation, safety, sponsorships, communications, promotions and others - all focused on helping to benefit the city and produce a successful event. It was clear the AOPA came extremely well prepared and serious about partnering with Prescott to promote both aviation and Prescott itself. Best of all, the AOPA is footing the entire bill.
This will be a significant economic event for Prescott and the surrounding region as planners are developing promotional packages for the city’s hotels, restaurants and stores in addition to planning tours of the surrounding region. The AOPA plans on including a comprehensive tourism package to be included in their print magazines, websites and social media channels all targeting the southwest. Add in ERAU’s Octoberwest - Homecoming event, and the economic impact of this weekend is exponentially enhanced.
This event would not have happened if it weren’t for individuals like Dave Roy, a graduate of Prescott’s ERAU. Roy is responsible for producing the initial proposal document to the AOPA for consideration and review. The fact that ERAU is based at the Prescott Airport is no doubt a big bonus. The airport itself is one of the most unique in the U.S., and one of the busiest because of the flight training schools located on the airport which include ERAU, Guidance Aviation and NorthAire. The Prescott Airport was named ADOT’s Airport of the Year in 2014, while just this year ERAU’s online bachelor program was named US News and World Reports No.#1 Online Educator. In 2013, Guidance Aviation was named the U.S. SBA’s Business of the Year in Washington, D.C.
This is going to be a great weekend for aviation, the City of Prescott and the state of Arizona.