AOPA President Mark Baker letter to members

Membership dues to increase Sept. 1

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.