New Association Gives Wings to Popular Sport of Air Camping
There is a new association dedicated to pilots and families with a passion for camping under the wing - American Air Campers Association (AACA). Founded by long-time pilot and camping-enthusiast, Don Abbott, the American Air Campers Association is the culmination of five years of research and planning.
"My love for air camping started when my daughter Liz was six," he notes. "We would fly a Cessna 150 into a grass landing strip at Shades State Park in Indiana, pitch a tent under the wing and go hiking. Camping in the great outdoors is the ultimate American experience," Abbott notes. "It puts us in touch with the magnificent beauty of the country, while bringing families closer together. Air camping provides a great, new alternative to traditional vacations. Coupling the experience of camping with the freedom of flying makes distant and hard-to-reach campsites more accessible and multiple-location trips can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time."
To confirm that others would share in his enthusiasm, Abbott conducted a survey of more than 20,000 pilots to assess interest in the association. Response was overwhelmingly supportive of the idea with over 90 percent of those surveyed showing a desire to become AACA members.
"Until now, there has been no organization to lobby to protect the rights of air campers and insure that airports will continue to offer on-field camping facilities. That's why I formed the association," says Abbott. "In addition, we offer our members the most complete air camping guide available and provide a network where air campers can exchange ideas and helpful tips. Our members will be able to participate in regional air-camping adventures, and attend annual East & West Air Camping Jamborees. At the request of many of those surveyed, we also locate and offer the best lightweight, low volume, durable gear suited specifically to air camping. "
In 2012, Pilot Getaways magazine, along with their friends at the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF), acquired the AACA. Both Pilot Getaways subscribers and RAF Donor Members now have access to the AACA database. Don Abbott continues to be involved with the AACA as a member of the Pilot Getaways advisory board.