Member News


Looking ahead to 2013

Dec 27, 2012

2013 will be a pivotal year for AOPA, with issues to address that will affect members’ flying in the short and long term, according to AOPA President Craig Fuller.

2013 will be a pivotal year for AOPA, with issues to address that will affect members’ flying in the short and long term, according to AOPA President Craig Fuller.

“For 2013, AOPA has developed priorities that help us advance our freedom to fly: protecting the freedom to fly through our unflagging commitment to advocacy; sharing the freedom to fly by providing information and extending knowledge through our print and electronic media outlets; and building on the freedom to fly by inspiring and engaging the next generation of pilots, while helping today’s pilots find cost effective ways to spend more time flying,” said Fuller. Below, key AOPA executives outline their priorities in 2013.

Melissa Rudinger, senior vice president of government affairs, said that since the Obama administration is continuing, she expects 2013 will look a lot like 2012. “But with the looming debt crisis, the challenges become greater because there’s more pressure on the federal government to find new revenue streams,” she said. “The government will look at all possibilities to raise revenue, including possibly calling for user fees.”

AOPA also faces cuts in programs that are vital to general aviation, said Rudinger. The big issues the government affairs team sees in 2013 are making sure the transition to NextGen continues for the viability of the system; fighting off user fees; continuing to push the FAA to reduce regulatory barriers on GA; hoping for positive news on the exemption for a third class medical; working on the Part 23 Aviation Rulemaking Committee; and continuing to move ahead on an alternative fuel to 100LL.

Lorraine Howerton, vice president of government affairs and the face of AOPA on Capitol Hill, said her main priority is to ensure that the community is not assessed user fees. “If we have to come up with ways to participate in our fair share of deficit reduction, we want to ensure that it won’t adversely affect the freedom to fly or the pilot population,” she stated.

The current climate in Washington is that no matter how hard you try, you can’t always avert participating in cost cutting, said Howerton. “So if we have to do this, we want to do it in a way that will have the least amount of harm to GA. We want to make sure key members of Congress know the impact of cuts to GA,” she said. “The fiscal cliff is scary. Sequestration is scarier.”

Another priority is to boost the numbers of the House GA Caucus, which lost 44 members, said Howerton. “These members are critical to ensuring that Congress act responsibly when it comes to GA issues. Most importantly, we need to educate members on what GA is—and is not,” she stated. “We need to be aware of these and mobilize our members to avoid legislative malfeasance.”

Greg Pecoraro, vice president, regional affairs, noted that while the economy continues to recover from the recession, pressure on state and local government budgets remains. “My priority is twofold—to ensure the cost of aviation is not increased by state action, while making sure there’s adequate funding for states’ roles in aviation,” he said.

On the local level, financial pressures remain on airports, said Pecoraro. “Airports are facing scarce dollars, with less revenue generated by airports because of the decline of the economy and aviation activities,” he said. “Ideally, we want airports open, but budget constraints are creating challenges, including neighborhood pressures to close them or restrict operations and developers seeing facilities as prime real estate.”

Local governments are looking for ways to generate more revenue, said Pecoraro. “In some cases, airports that are self-sufficient are being eyed as a way to balance budgets,” he said. “They can’t do it, but it doesn’t mean they won’t try. In 2013, we will continue our efforts to show the value that airports bring to the community.”

2012 was a busy year for AOPA’s efforts to grow the pilot population, including the hiring of Adam Smith as senior vice president of the new Center to Advance the Pilot Community. “In 2013, we will fully staff the center so it can see what works, share the information widely, and use it to improve every aspect of the aviation experience,” he said.

A major initiative under the center is the AOPA Flying Club Network, a key part of growing the pilot population, said Smith. “In 2013, the network will offer marketing and promotion to existing flying clubs, help new clubs get going with starter kits that include examples of standard operating procedures and sample legal documents, and create a national network of flying clubs,” he said.

The center will also continue its work in helping student pilots complete their training through the Flight Training Student Retention Initiative, continue to oversee the Flight Training Excellence Awards, and ensure that it continues to distribute Flight Training Field Guides to help schools, instructors, and students create the kind of collaborative training environment that engenders success, said Smith.

Heidi Williams, vice president of air traffic services and modernization, said a big priority in 2013 is the FAA’s cost recovery plan for digital charting products. “The FAA has indicated that they plan on having a proposal in January 2013, and have it implemented by October 2013,” she said. “They say they will go through the rulemaking process, but it’s still an aggressive timeline. And it means changes in fee structures for our members.”

Also of importance in 2013 covers NextGen, with new and emerging products being delivered to the market, said Williams. “There are implications to the FAA’s budget and how that will impact NextGen and NextGen technologies. The big unknown is what the fiscal cliff will mean for NextGen,” she said.

Tied in with the FAA’s budget is the legacy versus NextGen technology, said Williams. “There are costs to maintain legacy and new services like WASS, and FAA can’t continue to do both,” she stated. “FAA is in the process of developing criteria to decommission certain navigational aids. It plans to hold public discussion and release the criteria and that will be of great interest to AOPA and its members.”

Craig Spence, director-general of IAOPA, said his major priority for 2013 will be to solidify the regional base for the organization. “Look at European region -- they are best organized of all. As ICAO begins to look at implementation of its global air navigation plan and what’s known as Aviation System Block Upgrades, it will be implementing these on a universal, but more important regional basis,” he said. What is good for CESAR and NextGen may not be good for Asian region. So solidifying IAOPA in those regions in order to discuss the issue with ICAO regional staff will be extremely important.”

Greater GA representation at key events is also going to be important, said Spence. “Many of worldwide aviation events are commercial in nature, and show organizers want to have GA as part of their forum,” he said. “Presenting GA’s case to the world will be another priority in 2013.”

Finally, Spence, in his role as vice president of operations and international affairs, said he expects the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking for the Large Aircraft Security Program to be released in 2013. “We’ll be working closely with the Transportation Security Administration and the industry to minimize the impact on GA,” he said. “We also plan on joining with other industry stakeholders to address the problem of TFRs and the impact they are having on GA.”

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Top 10 AOPA announcements of 2012

Dec 17, 2012

Launches of a television-style webcast, free memberships for youth, and a network of flying clubs are among AOPA’s top announcements of 2012.

It was a busy year for AOPA in the announcements department. Below we summarize the top 10 achievements of 2012, in no particular order.

  1. AOPA Live This Week . This television-style webcast, created by Executive Producer Warren Morningstar and hosted by AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines, offers a comprehensive look at the most interesting stories in general aviation. The show also has its own public channel on Roku, an Internet-enabled box that allows viewers to stream content instantly on their televisions.
  2. AV8RS . This free membership program, launched in July, targets young aviators aged 13 to 18. This new membership category was designed to make an early connection with young people, with the goal of continuing to engage them throughout their pilot life cycle.
  3. Center to Advance the Pilot Community . The center was launched in October with the broad mandate to rebuild the declining pilot population. The center’s initiatives include the Flight Training Student Retention Initiative, the Flight Training Excellence Awards, the MyFlightTraining website, and the Flight Training Field Guides.
  4. AOPA Flying Club Network . Launched in October, the network is part of the Center to Advance the Pilot Community’s goal to reverse the decline in the pilot population. The goal is to have 1,000 clubs up and running within five years.
  5. FAR Part 23 rewrite. AOPA is one of 55 members of this FAA aviation rulemaking committee working to speed regulatory changes without compromising safety.
  6. Flight Training Excellence Awards . This new awards program attracted 2,400 nominations and named five winners. The awards were created in order to allow AOPA to identify and recognize the highest levels of achievement for flight schools and instructors, with the goal of encouraging others to adopt the characteristics of success.
  7. Flight Training Field Guides . The flight training field guides were created as an insider’s guide for students, flight schools, and instructors.
  8. AOPA FlyQ EFB . This iPad app, launched in November, is the latest addition to the AOPA family of digital flight planning products. The new app is a complete pre-and in-flight planning tool that provides airport directory information, aviation weather, and flight planning.
  9. Progress in transition to an unleaded fuel . AOPA and other members of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition applauded FAA in September for creating a Fuels Program Office as part of the ongoing effort to establish an unleaded avgas transition program.
  10. Third-class medical exemption request . AOPA and EAA jointly filed a request in March with the FAA to request this exemption. At latest count the petition has received 16,230 comments.
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AOPA President Mark Baker letter to members

Dec 03, 2012

AOPA President Mark Baker has announced that for only the second time in the past 24 years, the association will increase member dues. Beginning Sept. 1, membership dues will be $59 a year.

Dear AOPA member,

I am writing today because I wanted to tell you personally that, for only the second time in the past 24 years, we’ve made the tough decision to increase AOPA member dues. Beginning Sept. 1, regular membership dues will be $59 a year. 

Raising dues isn’t a decision we made lightly or in a vacuum. We know that the cost of flying is an important consideration for our members, and AOPA dues are part of that cost. So before taking this step, we collected feedback from more than 2,000 members like you. Those members told us that the work we do on their behalf is important and must continue today and long into the future. I hope you’ll agree. As a result of member feedback, we are also providing you with added options that will help tailor your membership to meet your needs.

Thanks to you, our mission continues

Right now, we are working to create an environment where many more people can share in the experience of general aviation, where we can reverse the rising cost of flying, and where all of us can fly more often and much later in life than we ever imagined. With your support and engagement, we are working to create a general aviation community that is stronger and more vibrant than ever before. We can bring our vision to life by fighting hard to protect our freedoms, by opening the hangar doors to anyone who wants to experience aviation, and by removing the barriers that prevent people from starting or continuing to fly.

As your aviation association, it’s our mission to help you do what you love—to get you flying and keep you flying for as long as possible. Advocacy is an important part of that mission, and we are engaged in more intense and successful advocacy efforts than ever before.

When we stand up to federal agencies like Customs and Border Protection, they take action to make sure the rights of law-abiding pilots are respected. When we work closely with regulatory agencies, we prevent government from chipping away at your freedoms with rules and regulations that are impractical, expensive, restrictive, or just plain ineffective. When we work with friends in Congress, we stop user fees, promote legislation that supports general aviation, and get long-overdue action on medical reform.

We know you count on AOPA to represent your aviation interests at every level of government and to provide you with specialized services tailored to how, what, and why you fly. We support you with unique member hotlines, award-winning magazines, outstanding websites, best-in-class safety education, and all the other services you rely on. And we work to build a stronger, more connected general aviation community that will help GA thrive for generations to come.

All of these efforts rely on member dues to some extent. Your dues cover about 30% of AOPA’s annual operating costs, with revenues from other sources like advertising and sponsorships covering the rest.

Since I came on board less than a year ago, we have significantly cut operating costs by doing things like eliminating four executive positions, reducing mailings to save postage, and selling the Caravan. As a result, our 2014 operating budget is the lowest it has been since 2006.

But even with cuts, the basic cost of doing business has gone up in America. Things like technology to operate the websites and postage to mail the magazines are a lot more expensive these days. At the same time, companies in every industry, including GA, are spending less on advertising, significantly reducing an important source of revenue.

As AOPA’s president, it is my job not only to make sure we are good stewards of your membership dollars, but also to make sure your association is here to serve you and pilots like you for another 75 years.  That’s why, after careful consideration, we decided that the time had come to raise dues.

The new options and answers when you need them

To give you more choices so that you pay only for what you need, we’ve added the new membership options with bundled pricing for some of our most popular services. The options range from a $49 e-Membership to a $179 Premier Plus Membership which includes Pilot Protection Services Plus at a discounted rate. We’ve even got lifetime membership options so you can invest in the future of GA and enjoy all the benefits of AOPA membership without ever paying dues again. You can see more details about each membership option online.

Members with expiration dates of August 31, 2014, or later will receive renewal information in the coming weeks and months with the new dues rates. I know some of you will have questions and concerns. As always, we want to hear from you. Feel free to contact us at dues@aopa.org. Your comments are important and, while we may not be able to respond to each one, we will read every message we receive.

All of us at AOPA share your passion for aviation. We are committed to strengthening GA, growing our community, and protecting our uniquely American freedom to fly. We pledge to be good stewards of your dues dollars, and we appreciate the trust you place in us. Thank you for your membership and your commitment to a strong future for general aviation.

Sincerely,

Mark Baker

Mark Baker

AOPA President

Learn more about the dues increase from these frequently asked questions.

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Want to get more out of your membership?

Dec 03, 2012

We’re always looking for new ways to bring even more value to your membership, especially ways to help you be a better pilot.

We’re always looking for new ways to bring even more value to your membership, especially ways to help you be a better pilot, learn about fun places to fly, brush up piloting skills and learn more about issues that could impact your freedom to fly.   Our new expanded webinar program,AOPA Webinars: Stay Smart will do all of that and more!

Members who call into our Pilot Information Center tell us it is one of their most valued benefits.  With  18 aviation experts (the majority flight instructors), we’d be hard-pressed to handle the workload if every one of our nearly 400,000 members called in—but, knowing it is such a valued benefit, we wanted to figure out a way to share their expertise with a larger audience.    Hence, the AOPA Webinars: Stay Smart series was born!

The webinar program will bring great topics to your desktop where you can ask questions and learn from others’ questions on topics like aircraft ownership, safety, medical, legal, flight training techniques and advocacy.  What’s even better is the majority of the webinars are free for members (some are exclusive for AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services participants).

So, watch the Member Benefits bulletin monthly for a list of upcoming webinars.  We’ve got a great line-up for June.

Topics this month include:

6/13:  Thunderstorm Avoidance: ATC, Datalink, and You
6/18:  Flight Schools-Making the Most of Your CFI Team
6/19:  Aircraft Maintenance:  Keeping the Cost Down
6/20:  For your iPad, Introducing AOPA FlyQ EFB
6/26:  Flying Club Insurance
6/27:  The Big C: Cancer and Your Medical*

You do need to register and seats are limited, so sign up now.

If you have any questions call 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672), Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m. ET with your question and one of our friendly expert staff will be happy to assist you.

*Participation in AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services Program is required

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A good nights sleep

Dec 03, 2012

Have any of you checked out the FAR/AIM recently? Often characterized as more of an aid to good sleep than an exciting read, the 2012 edition contains something that should wake you up. In Chapter 8, Section 1, the manual points out that obstructive sleep apnea is a factor in aviation accidents.

In the December 2011 AOPA Pilot magazine (" Perchance to dream" page 32), I wrote an article about obstructive sleep apnea and covered a number of aspects of this common condition that leads to potential for cockpit problems. It astonishes me how often people dismiss serious health issues, and given that our pilot population skews male with an average age in their 50s, common sense tells you there are snorers out there—often a key indicator of sleep apnea.

Have any of you checked out the FAR/AIM recently? Often characterized as more of an aid to good sleep than an exciting read, the 2012 edition contains something that should wake you up. In Chapter 8, Section 1, the manual points out that obstructive sleep apnea, where partial blockage of the airway leads to snoring, disturbed sleep, and thereby daytime weariness, is a factor in aviation accidents. As such, pilots presenting for their aviation physical may be asked about snoring and other symptoms, and if they appear overweight the doctor will calculate the body mass index; if over 30 or if the neck collar is greater than 17 inches, sleep studies may be recommended.

We have all seen the news reports of air traffic controllers and commercial pilots who have been caught having a snooze at inappropriate times, and we also know that fatigue plays a role in motor vehicle accidents and probably in some aviation accidents. It makes sense to be aware of the dangers of sleep apnea for your own health and the sanity of your bed partner. Now there is a compelling reason to be aware and take action to preserve your flying privileges. Lose weight, change your diet, and get tested and treated. And sleep well in your bed so that you can fly well in your airplane.

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Emergency Assistance Plus not just for dire emergencies

Dec 03, 2012

When you're away from home, anything that disrupts travel can seem like an emergency. Fortunately, you don't have to be critically ill to take advantage of the many benefits of EA+.

When you’re away from home, anything that disrupts travel can be an emergency; you don’t have to be critically ill to take advantage of the many benefits of Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+). The program comes to the rescue for serious medical situations and death while away from home, but it also helps with minor yet annoying travel disruptions.

For example, EA+ is on your side to help track down lost luggage. The organization knows the ins and outs of how the airlines work, so you want EA+ on your side when your bags go missing. EA+ also helps with lost documents: passport, driver’s license, visas, and lost or stolen credit cards, too. It’s easy to pick up the phone and call EA+ when you find yourself with the dilemma of something gone wrong on a trip.

EA+ also will smooth the way with a “no limit” emergency cash transfer assistance—against a valid credit card, of course, but you won’t face a frustrating phone tree with anonymous clerks in case you find yourself with no cash and no wallet when away from home. This service becomes particularly valuable when outside the country where toll-free numbers may not work. You can simply call EA+.

There are lots of big reasons to join EA+—knowledgeable assistance in case you face a serious medical emergency away from home for one—but there are a dozen small reasons to join as well. With EA+ on your side, an annoying emergency can be solved by making one phone call.

There’s no better time to join EA+. It’s simple, and you can apply online. For just $89 for an individual and $109 for a family plan, you can’t go wrong. You may not control when an emergency strikes, but you can be prepared when it does.

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Holiday shopping AOPA offers pilot products discounts

Nov 21, 2012

From stunning aviation photographs to deals on aircraft parts and supplies, AOPA makes shopping for the pilot on your list easy this holiday season.

From stunning aviation photographs to deals on aircraft parts and supplies, AOPA makes shopping for the pilot on your list easy this holiday season.

The association offers products that broadcast pilots’ love of aviation and facilitate their flying—and members can get exclusive deals on pilot supplies and more from aviation and nonaviation companies.

A number of companies offer deals to AOPA members through the Lifestyles Member Discounts program; pilots can save on anything from avionics to training resources. Deals include a $10 gift card for a purchase of $100 or more from AOPA Strategic Partner Aircraft Spruce for members who order using the code from the Lifestyles page. AOPA’s 2012 Holiday Gift Guide highlights more training, flight planning, and pilot products. AOPA insignia merchandise is available in the AOPA Store, including the AOPA ornament.

Aviation enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy the inspiring image of an aircraft in flight. Through the AOPA photo gallery store, AOPA photographers’ favorite aviation photographs are now available as prints, framed prints, and gifts. The gallery offers a wide selection from common manufacturers as well as rarer birds, from the whisper-quiet, electric E-Spyder to the rumbling Ford Tri-Motor.

You can express your passion for aviation and support the AOPA Foundation by purchasing any of 26 aviation-themed Christmas and holiday cards, or support the next generation of pilots by donating an AV8RS youth membership. Also, consider the gift of membership for someone who could benefit from the tools, resources, and support AOPA offers to pilots and aspiring pilots.

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National Car Rental offers AOPA members speed choice value

Nov 21, 2012

National Car Rental provides discounts to AOPA members year-round while returning a portion of the rental to support general aviation.

AOPA members know what it means to be in the “driver’s seat.” Crossing the country is second nature to them, and no one knows this better than National Car Rental, the industry leader in customer loyalty for frequent travelers.

As an AOPA strategic partner, National Car Rental provides a discount to members year-round. Each time a member books his or her rental through aopa.org/cars or 866/315-9155, a portion of the rental helps support general aviation.

AOPA members also can take advantage of complimentary enrollment in National’s award-winning Emerald Club. The Emerald Club expedites the rental process for members by offering counter bypass as well as access to National’s “Emerald Aisle,” an exclusive section of the lot where members can personally select any vehicle as long as they reserve a mid-sized car. That means that members can choose the car that best fits their needs&emdash;including a full-size car or larger—and only pay the mid-size price. In addition, Emerald Club members can choose to receive EmeraldAlerts—email communications that include Arrival and Return Alerts, and Drop & GoSM service with convenient e-receipts.

“A frequent traveler has a lot of things on their mind, so we make this as easy as possible for them,” says National’s Assistant Vice President of Marketing Rob Connors. “It’s about speed and putting our customers in control of their trip.”

National also is partnered with Signature Flight Support locations. Upon arrival at one of Signature’s FBOs, AOPA members who are enrolled in the Emerald Club will find a vehicle parked on-site with a representative to greet them with keys. Everything related to the rental is located in the vehicle with no paperwork to complete.

Emerald Club enrollment is free and can be completed online. Enter Contract ID AOPA123 to your profile to save each time you rent, while supporting AOPA.

Already a frequent renter with Avis or Hertz? National offers a status match to AOPA members. Just visit National’s website to learn more.

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Aero Space Reports signs on as third AOPA strategic partner

Nov 19, 2012

AOPA has signed a new Strategic Partner agreement with Aero-Space Reports Inc., one of the leading aircraft title and escrow services providers in the nation.

aero-space reports

AOPA has signed a new Strategic Partner agreement with Aero-Space Reports Inc., one of the leading aircraft title and escrow services providers in the nation. The Oklahoma City, Okla.-based company becomes AOPA’s third strategic partner, joining Enterprise Holdings (Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, Alamo Rent A Car) and Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co.

“The outstanding customer service that Aero-Space Reports delivers throughout an aircraft purchase process is exactly the type of experience we want to make more affordable for our members,” said Ed Thompson, AOPA vice president of corporate partnerships. “We are very excited about the new benefits that this partnership provides for our nearly 400,000 members.”

Just like Enterprise Holdings and Aircraft Spruce, Aero-Space Reports is a family-owned business with deep roots in aviation. The company was founded in 1969 and taken over by Neal Snowden Sr. and his wife, Polly, just a few years later. For the past 20 years, Neal Snowden Jr. and his wife, Vicki, have provided the leadership that has led Aero-Space Reports to become one of the industry’s most respected aircraft title and escrow services businesses.

In addition to offering AOPA members a special rate on bundled services, Aero-Space Reports will be supporting AOPA’s mission and members through sponsorship and aircraft purchase-related education activities.

“Aero-Space Reports could not be more excited about partnering with AOPA, an organization that clearly shares the same core values we strive to practice,” said Snowden, president of Aero-Space Reports. “We understand aircraft purchases can be stressful, and AOPA members need and deserve a company they can trust. With a title search turn-around time of four hours, and never a charge for rush service, we feel confident Aero-Space Reports is the right company for the job.”

To learn more about the services provided by Aero-Space reports, visit the website.

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AOPA honors service with free memberships for active duty military

Nov 11, 2012

Veterans Day offers a reminder of the service and sacrifice of America's military personnel. AOPA is honoring the service of active duty military members by offering them a complimentary one-year membership.

Veterans Day offers a reminder of the service and sacrifice of America’s military personnel. AOPA is honoring the service of active duty military members by offering them a complimentary one-year membership in the association.

AOPA announced the offer in May as part of an effort to reach out to members of the military and support their flying goals. The association offers resources for pilots of all stripes, whether they fly recreationally or for the military.

If you know someone in the military who would enjoy an AOPA membership, please send them to www.aopa.org/military1.

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AOPA Aviation Summit commits to Palm Springs in 2012

Nov 01, 2012

AOPA has committed to hold general aviation's premier trade show and convention, AOPA Aviation Summit, at the Palm Springs Convention Center Oct. 11 through 13, 2012. The return to Palm Springs also means the return of the popular Parade of Planes.

Update: AOPA has canceled its 2014 Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, Calif. AOPA is hosting regional fly-in events across the country and will have a special Homecoming Fly-In at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Md., on Oct. 4, 2014.

AOPA has committed to hold general aviation’s premier trade show and convention, AOPA Aviation Summit, at the Palm Springs Convention Center Oct. 11 through 13, 2012.

AOPA Aviation Summit features dozens of aircraft on display at the Palm Springs Convention Center, more than 400 booths in the exhibit hall, and an enhanced education series offered over the course of three days.

The organization has not been to Palm Springs since 2006. Since then, almost $200 million has been spent to build new hotels and upgrade existing facilities.

The return to Palm Springs also means the return of the popular Parade of Planes, traveling the mile from Palm Springs International Airport to the convention center. Palm Springs is the only city that allows for this option.

“Our goal is to create a convention with a national draw, which is why we’re returning to Palm Springs in 2012 and 2014,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “It’s a very popular destination for attendees and exhibitors alike, and we’re happy to be returning.” If you cannot attend in person, pilots and members will still be able to participate by watching AOPA Live coverage.

“Palm Springs has a great selection of accommodations at a variety of prices, many with a resort feel,” said Director of Outreach and Events Andrea Berry. “We have worked closely with the convention center and the Palm Springs Visitors Authority, who have rolled out the red carpet to ensure that our members and exhibitors are welcomed and will have the best Summit experience.”

“The city is also very aviation friendly and home to the Palm Springs Air Museum, which houses one of the country’s largest collections of World War II aircraft,” said Berry. The summit is expected to generate $12 million in economic impact.

If you are an active pilot or want to get back into flying, AOPA Aviation Summit is the place to be. “AOPA Aviation Summit has something to offer all members, whether you’re an aircraft owner, a pilot who rents, or an aviation enthusiast who doesn’t yet hold a pilot certificate,” said Fuller. “We want to provide more opportunities for pilots to participate in Summit via sharing their stories, attending seminars, attending keynotes with aviation leaders and participating in social events. Pilots will walk away with knowledge on how to get the most out of their flying.”

In addition to all the great interactive displays, educational opportunities and hundreds of exhibits, there will also be time for more social events. The goal in Palm Springs is to offer a range of social activities that will allow pilots to connect in a meaningful way while taking advantage of the best the city has to offer.

AOPA will also use the Aviation Summit to reveal the lucky winner of this year’s Tougher than a Tornado sweepstakes aircraft, a 2011 Aviat Husky. It is a rugged, hand-crafted two-seat aircraft that can land on a wide variety of surfaces, including grass, sand beaches, and river beds.

“We will have many exciting new offerings at the AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs,” concluded Fuller. “We look forward to seeing our members at this important yearly event.”

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Popular Pilot features now in e book

Oct 25, 2012

Two of AOPA Pilot's most popular features--"Never Again" and "Safety Pilot Landmark Accidents"--are being turned into e-books.

Two of AOPA Pilot’s most popular features—“Never Again” and “Safety Pilot Landmark Accidents”—are being turned into e-books.

The first two features being turned into e-books are The Best of ‘Never Again,’ Vol. 1 and The Best of ‘Safety Pilot Landmark Accidents,’ Vol. 1.

One constant through every one of the 660 issues of AOPA Pilot published since 1958 has been the monthly “Never Again” column, said AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Tom Haines . “The stars of this show are not well-known authoritative aviation experts,” he said. “The education, training, and entertainment from these pages is crafted by AOPA members who have courageously decided to share their experiences with the membership at large so we can all learn from their experiences.

The “Landmark Accidents” series dissects notable accidents to uncover what went wrong and what pilots can learn as a result. The articles cover much of what can go wrong from a pilot’s perspective, said AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg. “Dive in wherever you like—each accident has points to ponder,” he noted. “Aviation lets us see and do things that most other people never get to experience. Just remember that safe is never the equivalent of risk free. Manage that risk intelligently and you’ll fly for a long time in great safety.”

“Our members enjoy reading regular magazine features like ‘Never Again’ or ‘Landmark Accidents,’ so we decided to make them more available by compiling them in an e-book,” said Haines. “We look forward to offering even more of the best features in AOPA Pilot as e-books.”

The e-books are available for download from the “shop.aopa.org” online store. When purchased through the AOPA online store, members who are logged in can purchase the book at a special introductory price of $7.99. Nonmembers, or anyone purchasing the e-books through outside vendors such as Amazon or iBooks, will pay $9.99. AOPA’s e-books can be viewed on popular e-readers including the Kindle and Nook, as well as tablets like the iPad and various Android devices. With special software, they can also be viewed on PCs and laptops.

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Matching grant packs a punch for safety more

Oct 23, 2012

AOPA Foundation supporter Bennett Dorrance has issued a challenge to supporters to match his $60,000 contribution to the foundation dollar for dollar by the end of 2012.

Promoting safety, growing the pilot population, protecting airports, and supporting general aviation’s benefits to the community are some of the important goals made possible by programs funded by the AOPA Foundation.

Now, tax-deductible contributions that support those worthwhile programs can go much further, thanks to a matching grant offered by a long-time supporter of the AOPA Foundation.

As a statement of his passion for aviation, and to motivate other pilots to help keep general aviation strong, AOPA Foundation supporter Bennett Dorrance is offering a $60,000 matching grant, challenging the foundation’s supporters to match his contribution dollar for dollar by the end of 2012.

That challenge gives all supporters of the AOPA Foundation’s programs the opportunity to double the impact of their own generosity.

“This is too good an opportunity to lose,” said AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg in a letter to supporters.

Landsberg added that the challenge grant provides an “unsurpassed opportunity for each of us to advance a great cause—protecting our freedom to fly.”

Pilots can make a donation now.

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Want less mail Sign up for AOPAs Automatic Renewal Program today

Oct 22, 2012

You'll no longer receive renewal notices - a benefit for you, your association, and the environment! We will reinvest those savings into new and enhanced member services for you. We will continue to preserve your freedom to fly, building on our past success defending against user fees, GA tax increases, and threats to local airports. We will also expand our new FlyQ suite of digital flight planning tools. Additionally, AOPA is launching the Center to Advance the Pilot Community to help increase the pilot population and secure the future of general aviation.

Enroll today to reduce the clutter in your mailbox and save costs for AOPA.

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Accident Case Study Time Lapse

Oct 22, 2012

One of the great advances in general aviation over the past decade has been the widespread availability of in-cockpit weather. The ability to see exactly where the weather is—rather than having to rely entirely on your eyes and ATC guidance—is a major step forward, and a real confidence booster.

The problem is, sometimes it leads to overconfidence.

In the latest installment in our Accident Case Studies series, we take an in-depth look at a 2011 crash that dramatically highlights an often-overlooked limitation of datalink radar. If you use Nexrad to navigate around convective activity, this is one video you shouldn't miss.

Take this course.

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EA plus helps ill woman get home from Mexico

Oct 19, 2012

Many people are surprised at how costly a medical emergency can be, especially out of the country. That's why programs such as AOPA Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) are so vitally important.

As Americans travel abroad in record numbers, some companies are offering “medical repatriation” services to bring sick travelers home safely and more affordably. But many people are surprised at how costly a medical emergency can be, especially out of the country. That's why programs such as AOPA Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) are so vitally important.

Recently, EA+ was notified that a woman was hospitalized in Mexico for gastrointestinal bleeding. As this was a very serious diagnosis and one that the attending physicians were not qualified to handle, EA+'s assistance coordinators and the EA+ medical director began working with the hospital to gather all of the necessary medical information for the member. The assistance coordinators began planning an air ambulance to transfer her to a more appropriate facility for immediate treatment of her condition.

EA+ transferred the patient to California via air ambulance just 10 hours after her initial hospitalization. The patient was treated for her illness and EA+ flew the patient and her husband home to Arizona. The covered cost for this was $14,508, and the cost of an EA+ individual plan starts at as little as $89 a year. For more information on how you can join AOPA EA+ visit us online.

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Visit the AOPA Insurance Services headquarters

Oct 15, 2012

At the AOPA Insurance Services office in Wichita, Kan., employees are always happy to greet any members who may stop by.

dennis oliver AOPA Insurance Services Team Lead Shelly Kalal and AOPA member Dennis Oliver

At the AOPA Insurance Services office in Wichita, Kan., employees are always happy to greet any members who may stop by, like 56-year AOPA member and 10-year AOPA Insurance Services customer Dennis Oliver.

Oliver, 75 and still flying strong, met with Team Lead Shelly Kalal and even got his picture snapped with her while he was there. Accompanied by two-year AOPA member Douglas Blair, their visit was a welcome one.

Because AOPA Insurance Services provides a variety of aviation insurance services conveniently under one roof, you’re sure to find an affordable policy that meets all of your coverage needs. Since it’s from AOPA, you can rest assured that our insurance is based more on how your world looks from the cockpit than on how you look on an actuarial table. Visit AOPA Insurance Services online, or if you are in the area, stop in and see us!

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AOPAs superb customer service impresses member

Oct 08, 2012

AOPA member Alberto Guerrero described himself as "desperate" when he called AOPA with a problem: He had forgotten to sign and return the policy form for his non-owned insurance, and feared his flying club wouldn't let him fly. Within 20 seconds, AOPA staffer Jo Cox had put him at ease.

AOPA member Alberto Guerrero purchased non-owned insurance from AOPA along with the instructions to sign the policy form and return it to AOPA within 15 days.

“I screwed up and forgot to do that, and I was afraid my flying club would restrict my ability to fly—a fate worse than death,” Guerrero said.

alberto guerrera

He described himself as “desperate” when he called AOPA, but was put at ease within 20 seconds. AOPA staffer Jo Cox gave Guerrero the option of scanning a signed form and emailing it back to her directly with no penalty or problem. He said, “I was so relieved to get someone on the phone who had a solution to my problem and cared to make my life a little easier.”

That should have resolved the problem, but it didn’t.

Like many members with very busy lives, Guerrero realized he couldn’t find the original form and looked everywhere in his house for it. “It was just gone,” he said. “I embarrassingly emailed Jo asking her to mail me another copy as soon as possible, but she did one better.”

Within minutes, Guerrero was emailed a filled-out form ready to sign. “Now that’s what I call customer service!” he said, adding, “Thank you for taking such good care of this occasionally absent-minded pilot.”

For more information on AOPA Non-Owned Aircraft Insurance and other types of aviation insurance, visit www.aopainsurance.org. You can get a free quote online—and in most cases immediately proceed to purchase your coverage and be on your way to the airport. AOPA makes it easy for you to secure the coverage you need.

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AOPA MasterCard becomes inadvertent networking tool

Oct 01, 2012

AOPA member Peter Dekker used his AOPA WorldPoints MasterCard card to buy wood pellets for his home's stove and ended up finding a partner for the Piper Archer II he flies with his wife.

Peter Dekker

AOPA Member Peter Dekker

Peter Dekker, AOPA member since 2008, always wanted to learn to fly, but it wasn’t until his retirement four years ago that he had the time to devote to the process. Having earned his private pilot certificate, he soon bought a quarter share in a Piper Archer II, which he and his wife use for pleasure trips from their home base in Rindge, N.H., to varied destinations like Gettysburg, Pa., and Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine.

When Dekker was in need of a new credit card, he thought he might as well apply for AOPA’s MasterCard so his purchases could help support AOPA’s advocacy efforts. He knew, as well, that he could rapidly accumulate points—a task he actively pursues. In fact, he recently earned double points by paying for the airplane’s $4,000 annual inspection with the card.

When using his AOPA MasterCard, Dekker had noticed that merchants sometimes comment on it, most frequently thinking it’s a credit card to earn frequent flyer miles. But one day, Dekker used his card to buy wood pellets for his home’s stove at the Heart Line Stove Shop in Jaffrey, N.H. Unbeknownst to Dekker, Dave Miller, part of the family-owned business, is also a pilot, and he and Dekker ended up talking about flying for two hours. “At the time, I was thinking it was good Dave is one of the family—had he been just an employee, he probably would have been in trouble for talking with me for as long as we did,” said Dekker.

Peter DekkerWhen one of the partners decided to sell his share, Dekker remembered his conversation with Miller, who had expressed interest in the airplane. When Miller was approached, he said yes, and after a quick sale, Dekker and Miller share ownership of the Archer II, all because the AOPA MasterCard identified Dekker as a pilot.

Dekker and his wife fly about 100 hours a year and use their AOPA MasterCard to accumulate points which they can put to use for trips, merchandise, or cash. You never know what other bonuses this card can provide, identifying you as a pilot each time you use it.

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Protecting flight instructors AOPA offers insurance options

Oct 01, 2012

The AOPA Insurance Agency has a specialized insurance program to protect active CFIs.

Flight instructors are a valuable and critical resource to the future of general aviation. As such AOPA wants to protect them. If you are an active CFI, the AOPA Insurance Agency has a specialized insurance program that will do just that. Whether a loss occurs at the time you are instructing in someone else’s aircraft or afterward, such as being named in a lawsuit for instruction previously given, AOPA can help protect you with a practical level of insurance coverage.

Multiple coverage options allow you to best control the cost of your policy premium as well as meet your specific needs for the types of aircraft you are instructing in. Most importantly, defense costs are in addition to any coverage limit you choose, which often can be a much larger expense than the bent metal involved in an accident or incident.

Spend a few minutes visiting the website to review coverage options and obtain a quick quote. Or simply call AOPA’s helpful and knowledgeable aviation insurance team in Wichita at 800/622-AOPA (2672) to discuss your needs and get answers to your questions. Protecting members is AOPA’s top priority.

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AOPA donors learn associations strategic path

Sep 26, 2012

The FAA's Jan. 1, 2020, deadline for installing ADS-B Out equipment is fast approaching - especially given the limited capacity of avionics shops to install the gear - AOPA supporters learned recently.

Typical of AOPA Aviation Roundtables, a group of pilots from western states quickly found common ground and friendship as they met in Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley for networking and to hear briefings on the state of aviation. The AOPA supporters and guests homed in on Newberg, Ore., for the weekend event in the shadow of the sprawling Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville.

Garmin’s Wayne McGhee kicked off the event with a briefing on NextGen and ADS-B, reminding pilots that while seemingly a long ways away, the FAA’s Jan. 1, 2020, deadline for installing ADS-B Out equipment is fast approaching—especially given the limited capacity of avionics shops to install the gear. McGhee is Garmin’s Northwest regional sales manager out of the Salem, Ore., office, which develops much of the company’s ADS-B technology. Garmin recently introduced several ADS-B-related products, including the GDL-39 portable system and the GDL-88 installed ADS-B transceiver.

Roundtable AOPA Senior Vice President of the Center to Advance the Pilot Community Adam Smith briefs AOPA supporters on the association’s efforts to boost the pilot population.

AOPA President Craig Fuller later shared some of the association’s strategies to impact the declining pilot population, such as the Flight Training Initiative, designed to decrease the number of student pilots who drop out of training. Among the association’s significant investments toward that project is the creation of the Center to Advance the Pilot Community. The center’s new senior vice president, Adam Smith, briefed the group on plans to assist flight schools and CFIs in being more effective in retaining students. Among the projects is the introduction of a series of field guides that will also help students set expectations for the training experience. In addition, Smith discussed ways to keep current pilots involved in aviation, especially through flying clubs. As it did with flight schools in 2010 and 2011, AOPA through research and interviews with successful clubs is introducing an outline of how clubs can be successful in lowering the cost of aviation for many pilots.

Chuck Wallace, a consultant to AOPA, outlined numerous other strategic investments being planned that will attempt to lower costs and increase engagement for pilots.

AOPA Senior Vice President of Media Tom Haines highlighted the organization’s newest media channel, AOPA Live This Week, a weekly video aviation news magazine. Posted every Thursday, the show covers the gamut from aviation news to video features and travel destinations. The show’s Roku channel launched earlier this month.

Roundtable Van’s Aircraft Founder Richard VanGrunsven (left) and AOPA President Craig Fuller.

While in the region, the AOPA team visited Van’s Aircraft, the largest manufacturer of kit airplanes. The company’s RV line of products is the most popular in the world. Founder Richard VanGrunsven led the team on a factory tour and took time to describe his latest model, the RV-14. VansGrunsven is the president of the newly formed Aircraft Kit Industry Association, a group of kit manufacturing companies and suppliers. VansGrunsven briefed the AOPA team on the group’s evolving goals of improving safety among Experimental aircraft and simplifying regulations around FAA sign offs of such airplanes.

The Aviation Roundtables are open to AOPA President’s Council donors and Hat in the Ring Society members. The roundtables are held numerous times throughout the year at a variety of locations around the country.

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AOPA Superb Customer Service Impresses Member

Sep 26, 2012

GuerreroAOPA Member Alberto Guerrero purchased renter’s insurance from AOPA along with the instructions to sign the policy form and return it to AOPA within 15 days. Guerrero says, “I screwed up and forgot to do that, and I was afraid my flying club would restrict my ability to fly – a fate worse than death.”

He describes himself as “desperate” when he called AOPA, but was put at ease within 20 seconds. AOPA Staffer Jo Cox gave Guerrero the option of scanning a signed form and emailing it back to her directly with no penalty or problem. He says, “I was so relieved to get someone on the phone who had a solution to my problem and cared to make my life a little easier.”

That should have resolved the problem, but it didn’t.

Like many members with very busy lives, Guerrero realized he couldn’t find the original form and looked everywhere in his house for it. “It was just gone,” he says. “I embarrassingly emailed Jo asking her to mail me another copy as soon as possible, but she did one better.”

Within minutes, Guerrero was emailed a filled-out form ready to sign. He says, “Now that’s what I call customer service!” He adds, “Thank you for taking such good care of this occasionally absent-minded pilot.”

For more information on AOPA Non-Owned Aircraft Insurance and other types of aviation insurance , visit our website.  You can get a free quote on line – and in most cases proceed to immediately purchase your coverage and be on your way to the airport.  AOPA makes it easy for you to secure the coverage you need.

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5 ways to recruit new AOPA members

Sep 24, 2012

Get involved in AOPA's "Strength in Numbers" membership drive! With new membership options, it's easier than ever to tell your fellow pilots, colleagues, friends, and family members about AOPA membership.

Get involved in AOPA’s “Strength in Numbers” membership drive! With new membership options, it’s easier than ever to tell your fellow pilots, colleagues, friends, and family members about AOPA membership.

  • Refer a military aviator for AOPA’s one-year complimentary membership. AOPA wants to thank servicemen and women for defending our country. Military personnel who have any interest in aviation, from military to recreational flying to mechanics, will gain tools to safely achieve all their aviation goals through AOPA membership.
  • Encourage someone to join AOPA today. Joining AOPA is quick and easy. Share the link with you friends and encourage them to sign up today and start enjoying all of the perks that come with membership.
  • Educate others about the benefits of AOPA membership. Every day, AOPA works to protect your freedom to fly at the local, state, and federal level. Plus, enjoy 12 issues of AOPA Pilot or Flight Training magazine, talk to the experts in our Pilot Information Center, access flight planning tools, news, and other resources on AOPA.org, and save money through special members-only discounts.
  • Give a gift membership. Giving AOPA membership as a gift to a friend, colleague, or family members is perfect for the aviation enthusiast dreaming of getting into aviation or to an active pilot who hasn’t yet joined. The benefits of membership will welcome aviators and enthusiasts alike into the larger general aviation community and ignite their already present passion for aviation.
  • Sign up a future pilot for AOPA AV8RS Youth Membership . For the youth in your life, ages 13 to 18, help foster their desire to learn to fly by signing them up for a youth membership. Membership is free, and they’ll receive a free AOPA AV8RS membership card, a subscription to the digital edition of Flight Training magazine, members-only access to AOPA’s websites, chances to win flight training scholarships, and a free AOPA AV8RS sling bag.
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No risk when you enroll in Emergency Assistance Plus

Sep 22, 2012

Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) is a service intended to fill the gap when accidents, illness, or other problems arise away from home for expenditures that health insurance doesn’t cover.

Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) is a service intended to fill the gap when accidents, illness, or other problems arise away from home for expenditures that health insurance doesn’t cover. Pilots have active lifestyles, so we’re constantly on the go, making an away-from-home emergency a likely occurrence. You can read all about EA+ and its many benefits online.

EA+ and AOPA are so sure that this program is beneficial to you that you can apply for the program at no risk. This means you apply for EA+, at which time you’ll be sent a detailed description of the services and benefits EA+ offers. You’ll have 30 days to decide whether EA+ is right for you. If it is, great—do nothing. If it isn’t, just let EA+ know, and your full annual membership in it will be refunded.

It’s a total iron-clad 100-percent money-back guarantee.

While you’re checking out EA+, be sure to note that one of the membership options is that EA+ will make sure your airplane is professionally flown back to your home base should you be unable to fly yourself due to accident or illness. That benefit alone is worth the yearly membership fee.

Your AOPA membership earns you a discounted rate for EA+. Look at the options and apply today.

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Hurricane preparedness Keeping you covered

Sep 17, 2012

With hurricane season under way, AOPA members who live and/or plan to travel in hurricane-prone areas should have a plan to relocate their aircraft in the event of a storm.

With hurricane season under way, AOPA members who live and/or plan to travel in hurricane-prone areas should have a plan to relocate their aircraft in the event of a storm.

While developing your plan, check your insurance policy to see if it covers any costs for relocating your aircraft. Some policies cover the cost of hiring an evacuation pilot, and relocating and storing an aircraft. Other policies will reimburse policy holders for relocating their aircraft outside of a hurricane watch or warning area.

In the event that you are faced with relocation, AOPA Insurance Services offers the following tips to make the process go more smoothly.

  • Choose evacuation airports that are out of the hurricane watch or warning area and is comfortably within the range of your aircraft. Make sure the evacuation airport has temporary hangar or tiedown space available. Also, see if it has scheduled airline service or rental car availability to get you and/or your evacuation pilot back home.
  • If you plan to have an evacuation pilot fly your aircraft, check your policy. The policy will state the required minimum qualifications for your pilot. For many common single-engine aircraft, it is simply "private pilot or better." When looking for pilots in your area, check flight schools and aviation colleges, as well as local airports.
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