Member News


Have you taken advantage of these new FREE member benefits

Jan 11, 2012

AOPA FlyQ—digital flight planning on the go!

AOPA FlyQ is a suite of digital flight planning products that allow you to plan your next flight on your computer or your smartphone. FlyQ Flight Planner is a robust, graphical online flight planner that’s a snap to use. FlyQ Pocket puts powerful, smart preflight planning in the palm of your hand. Available for iPhone and Android smartphones, this app delivers airport directory information, aviation weather and flight planning with unique auto-routing capabilities, all absolutely free to AOPA members. Visit www.aopa.org/flyq for more information!

NEW—Extended AOPA Pilot Information Center Hours

The AOPA Pilot Information Center is consistently one of our most valued member benefits. Our Pilot staff responds to hundreds of thousands of questions from you, our AOPA members on everything from medical certification to purchasing an aircraft. And now, we’ve expanded the hours of this valuable service until 7:30 p.m. ET.

Simply call 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672), Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m.—7:30 p.m. ET with your question and one of our friendly staff will be happy to assist you.


Want less mail? Sign up for AOPA’s Automatic Renewal Program today!

AOPA Membership staff

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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Have you taken advantage of these new FREE member benefits (2)

Jan 11, 2012

AOPA FlyQ—digital flight planning on the go!

AOPA FlyQ is a suite of digital flight planning products that allow you to plan your next flight on your computer or your smartphone. FlyQ Flight Planner is a robust, graphical online flight planner that’s a snap to use. FlyQ Pocket puts powerful, smart preflight planning in the palm of your hand. Available for iPhone and Android smartphones, this app delivers airport directory information, aviation weather and flight planning with unique auto-routing capabilities, all absolutely free to AOPA members.  Visit www.aopa.org/flyq for more information!

NEW - Extended AOPA Pilot Information Center Hours

The AOPA Pilot Information Center is consistently one of our most valued member benefits.  Our Pilot staff responds to hundreds of thousands of questions from you, our AOPA members on everything from medical certification to purchasing an aircraft.   And now, we’ve expanded the hours of this valuable service until 7:30 p.m. ET.

Simply call 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672), Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m. ET with your question and one of our friendly staff will be happy to assist you.

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Aircraft Spruce signs on as strategic partner

Jan 10, 2012

AOPA members can enjoy special offers and discounts through Aircraft Spruce and PilotShop.com thanks to a strategic partnership inked between the association and Aircraft Spruce.

Aircraft Spruce

AOPA has signed a new strategic partnership with Corona, Calif.-based aviation products company Aircraft Spruce.

"Aircraft Spruce is one of the most respected brands in the aircraft parts and pilot supplies arena because of their commitment to great customer service,” said Ed Thompson, AOPA vice president of corporate partnerships. “We are excited about the new member benefits this partnership creates.”

As a strategic partner in AOPA’s Corporate Partnership Program, Aircraft Spruce will support the association and its members through engagement activities including sponsorship of the registration area at AOPA Aviation Summit, support for AOPA website content, and periodic special offers and discounts through both Aircraft Spruce and PilotShop.com. They will also provide year-round special offers through the AOPA Lifestyles Member Discounts Program.

Aircraft Spruce, founded in 1965 by Bob and Flo Irwin, is the aviation superstore for certified and homebuilt aircraft supplies. The company remains family owned and is run by President Jim Irwin.

"Aircraft Spruce has been a sponsor and supporter of AOPA for many years, and we are very pleased to become a Strategic Partner in 2012,” said Irwin. “AOPA does many wonderful things on behalf of general aviation, and we look forward to working closely with them to support their efforts.”

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Dont Sign Your Life Away

Jan 10, 2012

I will tell you right up front, this story does not have a happy ending.  What it does have is a true tale of what can happen when you decide you’ll agree to sign anything to fly the airplane of your dreams.

A seasoned pilot finds himself with an opportunity to fly a 1970s era jet-powered military training aircraft.  Not an aircraft he’d ever flown before and likely would ever have the chance to again.  The owner presented the pilot with an agreement to sign stating that the pilot would be responsible for any damage to the aircraft and any liability arising from his flight. 

Without calling his insurance broker or attorney for a quick opinion, the pilot signed the agreement and jumped into the cockpit. Insurance is rarely the first thing that comes to mind when we have the chance to fly something this special, but the outcome might have been averted with just one phone call.

You have probably already guessed, the pilot crashed, destroyed the aircraft and lost his life.  The sad story does not stop there.  The pilot’s aircraft insurance policy on his personal aircraft did provide Non-Owned Aircraft Insurance Coverage, however, there was a provision that required the aircraft being flown to have a Standard Airworthiness Certificate – the jet trainer was experimental.  Coverage was not triggered to provide his widow defense costs for the suit filed by the aircraft owner seeking a seven figure sum for loss of the physical aircraft and revenue from its future rental.

That single call by the pilot to his insurance broker would have both highlighted the uninsured risk in the agreement as well as given the broker an opportunity to try and find coverage or help the pilot negotiate with the aircraft owner on the terms of the agreement.

For all of you reading this column, you may not be looking to fly a rare aircraft, but having your insurance broker (and your AOPA Legal Services Plan attorney if you are enrolled) look over all your contracts related to your aircraft and your flying is a very good practice.   

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60 000 Matching Challenge

Jan 10, 2012

Mr. Bennett Dorrance, a longtime AOPA Foundation supporter who shares your passion for airplanes and your personal commitment to preserve our freedom to fly, has issued a challenge to you and other AOPA Foundation supporters: Raise $60,000 by the end of this year, and your gift will be matched dollar for dollar.  Please respond today and help the Foundation reach this goal!

Donate Here.

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What are UAS

Jan 10, 2012

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) military training operations in the United States are expected to increase dramatically by 2015. And with this proliferation of UAS, unfettered National Airspace System (NAS) access - as opposed to expanding special-use airspace - would allow military UAS pilots to train and stay proficient.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) military training operations in the United States are expected to increase dramatically by 2015. And with this proliferation of UAS, unfettered National Airspace System (NAS) access—as opposed to expanding special-use airspace—would allow military UAS pilots to train and stay proficient.

But what are UAS and what are the safety implications for general aviation? How will UAS operations affect your flying?

Unmanned Aircraft and the National Airspace System, developed in collaboration with the Department of Defense (DoD), explores how manned and unmanned aircraft can safely share the same airspace. Please take the course to learn what UAS operations are all about.

Take the course.

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AOPA Insurance Services launches to better serve members

Jan 08, 2012

The AOPA Insurance Agency is now AOPA Insurance Services! Unlike a true insurance agency or direct writer that can only offer you one quote, AOPA Insurance Services is a full-service aviation insurance brokerage that works with more than 14 major A-rated carriers to assist members and nonmembers alike with nearly any type of aviation insurance need.

The AOPA Insurance Agency is now AOPA Insurance Services! So why the change? For starters, the name simply has not kept pace with all the company can do. Unlike a true insurance agency or direct writer that can only offer you one quote, AOPA Insurance Services is a full-service aviation insurance brokerage that works with more than 14 major A-rated carriers to assist members and nonmembers alike with nearly any type of aviation insurance need.

The group also has undergone a major transformation designed to bring members a variety of expanded coverage options, as well as an enhanced level of service earmarked to become the best in the industry. In addition to traditional light aircraft and nonowned aircraft coverages, AOPA Insurance Services—Aviation Group has the ability to assist with any type of general aviation insurance need from flying clubs to flight schools to airports and more.

Plus, AOPA group programs for Life and AD&D insurance and the popular EA+ emergency and travel protection plan are better than ever with improved coverage. AD&D, for example, still provides aviation coverage, but now also extends 24/7 protection to members at the same low cost.

All of these valuable member benefits are now under one virtual roof! Check out the new look and highly interactive website, designed to make insurance easy to understand and even easier to secure.

These changes have been driven by a core team of leaders within AOPA, led by Janet Bressler, president of the insurance group.

“I’m proud to say that the evolutions and changes we’ve put in place, and will continue to improve upon, are based upon member feedback, which we have carefully cultivated and refined over the past several months,” said Bressler. “The needs of our members have always come first, and now with the enhanced coverages and levels of service we’ve created—we will be able to meet and exceed those needs for many years to come.”

A key part of the expanded coverage options available from AOPA Insurance Services is the addition of several globally ranked A-rated aviation insurance carriers to the company’s network of insurance providers. This ensures each member consistently receives the absolute best combination of coverage and value. It’s a unique advantage AOPA Insurance Services offers over other firms who write aircraft insurance coverage directly—thereby limiting a customer’s options. “Today’s market is driven by choice and value,” said Bressler, “and our objective is to bring the maximum amount of both to our members and customers.”

The launch of the newly improved AOPA Insurance Services is now under way. Emblematic of the transformation is the new website, which will bring customers the ability to evaluate, purchase, and manage their coverages online much more effectively than in the past. Improvements will come in several steps, so please visit the website often to see what is new.

Protecting your passion is AOPA Insurance Services’ passion!

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A Message from Michelle AOPA VP of Membership

Jan 06, 2012

As I continue on my flight training journey, I’m always amazed at the resources AOPA has to offer. I was super excited to see the Air Safety Institute coming out with “Storm Week” June 11 through 15. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as every other lesson I plan seems to get pushed due to the instability of summer weather. I’m either fogged in early in the morning, or on a day like today, the ominous dark clouds will keep me grounded. The obvious weather situations are easy to figure out, but what about those times when it’s not so obvious?

As I continue on my flight training journey, I’m always amazed at the resources AOPA has to offer. I was super excited to see the Air Safety Institute coming out with “Storm Week” June 11-15. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as every other lesson I plan seems to get pushed due to the instability of summer weather. I’m either fogged in early in the morning, or on a day like today, the ominous dark clouds will keep me grounded. The obvious weather situations are easy to figure out, but what about those times when it’s not so obvious?

Here’s a sneak peak of everything “Storm Week”:

Want to chat live with the editors of Flight Training magazine to find out more about Thunderstorm Avoidance? Go to Flight Training’s Facebook page, Tuesday, June 5th at 3 p.m. EDT.

Air traffic controllers are a great resource for all pilots when it comes to weather avoidance, but just how much can they tell us about the weather ahead? Find out in a new Ask ATC video to be released during Storm Week .

Think you know everything about avoiding thunderstorms? Find out by taking ASI’s NEW Storm Week Safety Quiz.

Join AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg, datalink expert Dr. David Strahle, and air traffic control experts to learn important facts about using cockpit weather, the weather radar services controllers can offer, and how to effectively communicate with ATC to minimize your risk of encountering a thunderstorm’s disturbing wrath. All of this during a brand new live Webcast (Thursday, June 14 at 3pm and 8pm EDT).

Whether you’re just thinking about flying, just starting out, or a seasoned aviator, AOPA and the AOPA Foundation’s Air Safety Institute have something to offer everyone. Visit us online to find all thunderstorm-related products and programs.

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Regional Manager Activity

Jan 06, 2012

Get the latest news from your Regional Manager.

Great Lakes Regional Manager, Bryan Budds

  • Stop by the AOPA booth at Discover Aviation Days in Anoke, Minnesota for a daily drawing for a FREE flight! Come by today, June 2nd – 3rd!
  • Indianapolis Air Show in Indianapolis, Indiana – there will be an exclusive membership offer for new and renewing members plus FREE give a ways.  June 22-24th

Alaska Regional Manager, Tom George

  • Central Peninsula Air Fair at Kenai Municipal Airport – stop by the AOPA booth to meet and chat with your Regional Manager at the 12th Annual Kenai Peninsula Air Fair and Fun Flight! Saturday June 9th.

Southern Regional Manager, Bob Minter

  • Come meet and hear Bob speak at the EAA  #1343 Tennessee State-Wide Fly- In Saturday June 23rd. There will be live music and more!

Western Pacific Regional Manager, John Pfeiffer

  • Meet and chat with John at the AAAE General Aviation Conference June 24-26th in Reno, NV! Vice President of Airport Advocacy, Bill Dunn of AOPA will be speaking there too! Looking forward to seeing you there.

Central Southwest Regional Manager, Yasmina Platt

  • Hear Yasmina present a seminar on “Can I Fly LSA?” during the Nebraska Airfest and Fly-In June 16-17th. Stop by the AOPA both for exclusive membership offers for new and current members! Also bring your kids and grandkids by the Aviation Youth Activities booth to build aircraft and learn about aviation.
  • Yasmina will also be speaking at the Kansas Association of Airports on June 21st and hosting a Pilot Mix & Mingle social event in Kansas City on June 22.
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Weve got your back

Jan 05, 2012

AOPA is launching Pilot Protection Services so that you can take your pilot-in-command status to a higher level by taking more control over your flying future.

Pilot Protection Services

Today marks another important milestone in AOPA’s efforts to protect your freedom to fly.

After months of analysis and design work that included surveying more than 1,000 members, AOPA is launching Pilot Protection Services (PPS) so that you can take your pilot-in-command status to a higher level by taking more control over your flying future.

Many of you are familiar with AOPA’s Legal Services Plan and Medical Services Program. They were designed to protect you if you encountered problems that threatened your pilot or medical certificate. But neither addressed another very important concern: How can you best avoid these problems in the first place?

Ed Thompson, vice president of AOPA Products Ed Thompson, vice president of AOPA Products

I recently began working with the AOPA Products team after leading our Member Services efforts for more than 14 years. During those earlier years, I learned a lot about what’s important to members like you by reading your emails and listening to you during calls. And while the messages and topics were wide and varied, the common underlying theme I heard repeatedly was that you wanted AOPA to provide you with highly relevant and valuable information, and you wanted us to “have your back” when it came to national and local advocacy issues and your freedom to fly.

Pilot Protection Services was designed with both of those important themes in mind. The program helps you avoid problems that can threaten your certificates, while also providing professional assistance and support when you have a problem. So the core benefits include year-round tips and advice from nationally known medical and legal experts, the AOPA Legal Services Plan, and the most valuable elements of the former AOPA Medical Services Program.

Our team of experts includes Dr. Warren Silberman, former manager of the FAA’s aerospace medical certification division and an AOPA consultant; Dr. Jonathan Sackier, AOPA medical consultant and author of AOPA Pilot’s “Fly Well” column; Gary Crump, AOPA director of medical certification services; Dr. Robert Posner, AOPA’s weight management consultant; and Yodice Associates aviation attorneys Kathy Yodice, Ron Golden, and John Yodice, author of AOPA Pilot’s “Pilot Counsel” column.

AOPA members who were previously enrolled in either the AOPA Legal Services Plan or the former AOPA Medical Services Program have been moved into the new Pilot Protection Services program, providing them with two-for-one coverage that also includes new benefits.

We’re launching this program with one very important goal—to increase the chances that you’ll be able to fly for as long as you like.

In this online portal, our experts share how this new program will benefit you through a few one-minute videos. You’ll also find answers to key questions about the program and information on how you can get our free program launch “We’ve Got Your Back” T-shirt.

Ed Thompson is vice president of AOPA Products.

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Whats the 1 reason why members join AOPA

Jan 05, 2012

What’s the #1 reason why members join AOPA?

“To Become a Better, More Informed Pilot.” If that’s your goal, you’ve made a very wise decision.

Your AOPA membership gives you a wealth of aviation tools and educational resources to help you hone your skills, expand your knowledge, and keep you flying safe. Whether you are a student or an experienced pilot, you will soon discover that the value of your membership benefits far outweigh the low annual dues.

Where to start? The Air Safety Institute FREE online courses and safety quizzes are ranked top among pilots of all experience levels.

Air Safety Institute Online Courses — ASI offers a wide array of interactive online courses and mini-courses covering diverse  topics like navigation, repair, accident case studies, weather tips, aerodynamics, and more. Many of the courses you take qualify for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and the FAA Wings Program that can help you save on insurance premiums and more.

Test Your Knowledge with ASI Safety Quizzes – These quick, easy, and interactive quizzes help pilots of all skill levels identify your of strengths and knowledge of air safety.

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Bank of America helps member buy LSA

Jan 02, 2012

After achieving his dream of learning to fly, AOPA member Carl Houghton wanted an airplane of his own. When it came time to investigate financing, he made some inquiries into AOPA's Aircraft Financing Program.

When a good friend of Carl Houghton’s was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2010 and died several months later, it was a wakeup call for him that he better get on with his own life’s goals, and that included learning to fly. After a 15-year career in the Air Force, Houghton was ready to be in the left seat, not in the back of the airplane. In short, he wanted to be the pilot.

“I was predisposed to not wanting to learn to fly in a beat-up older aircraft, so I went to Skyraider Aviation in Denver and looked at their new light sport aircraft,” Houghton said. He decided to become a sport pilot, took his checkride in April 2011, and said, “That was great, but I wanted to own, not just rent.”

He decided to buy the same model airplane that he learned to fly in, a Gobosh 700 Polish-built light sport aircraft, also designated the Aero AT-4. “I was fortunate to find a good used airplane, in Kansas, that only had 93 hours on it,” Houghton said. His next step was to investigate financing, so he made some inquiries into AOPA’s Aircraft Financing Program.

“I exchanged 10 or 15 emails with AOPA with someone very patiently answering all my questions about aircraft financing. The person was very responsive—I’d even get answers during non-business hours and on weekends,” Houghton said.

He was then put in touch with Debbie Edwards at Bank of America. According to Houghton, “She is incredible.” He related the story of discovering the day before closing that there was a mistake in the original title of the airplane, at a bank in Iowa. “I thought there was no way we could get that corrected in time for the closing the next day, but Debbie called the bank in Iowa and convinced them to correct it. She followed up after the closing too to make sure everything was OK,” he said.

“The entire experience was very positive,” Houghton said. “I was provided with the highest level of customer service.”

These days, Houghton enjoys flying with his wife to various locations for breakfast on the weekends. One of his goals for the year is to fly to EAA AirVenture in his own airplane. He said, “I flew the same model to Oshkosh this past July, but now I want to fly my own.”

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