National Mall flyover involving nearly 60 aircraft set for take off Saturday

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The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association will fly 56 aircraft over the National Mall on Saturday in a celebration of aviation in the works for more than a year.

The event will feature a wide array of aircraft representing virtually every chapter of general aviation’s storied history, the association said in a news release. The event celebrates “the value the general aviation industry has provided to our nation since 1939.”

The flight, leaving from Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland around 11:30 a.m. and scheduled for about noon, takes place over one of Washington’s most restricted flight zones, Prohibited Area P-56.

Spectators on the ground and online will watch the aircraft fly above the Lincoln Memorial, down Independence Avenue and past the Washington Monument.

“The idea to celebrate the many contributions of general aviation to our nation’s communities began over a year ago, and we’ve had countless meetings and planning sessions with officials from the FAA, TSA, and Secret Service for the route, airspace, aircraft, and pilots,” said AOPA Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy Mike Ginter in the release. “We greatly appreciate the support from these partner agencies and getting the final approval was great news. We’re ready to go!”

The aircraft, comprising 15 different “chapters,” will tell the story of general aviation in the United States, from the Golden Age, to World War II, the general aviation trainer era, vertical flight, backcountry flying, seaplanes, corporate and business aviation, technically advanced aircraft, homebuilt aircraft, airshow performers and other examples of general aviation aircraft that support public service missions.

The pilots were specifically selected to participate based on their aircraft and level of pilot qualification, and all aircraft will be inspected by the TSA, Secret Service, and FAA before departure, the release said. All pilots and crews were required to pass a security screening, and every detail of the flyover was carefully planned with the government agencies.

More information on the event, route and planned aircraft can be found on AOPA’s GA Flyover campaign website.

If you can’t make it in person, the flyover will be broadcast live on the association’s YouTube. There will also be watch parties at area airports and other gathering places.

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