President's Position

Building for the future

September 1, 2010

Craig Fuller

AOPA has always been a forthright and forward-looking organization. It’s almost hard to believe just how prescient the association’s founders were, back in 1939, when they decided to stand up and become the voice of general aviation. They knew then that without a strong organization dedicated to preserving the freedom to fly, general aviation’s future would be at risk.

We remain a very strong organization and in so many ways are the beneficiaries of our founders’ willingness to step forward and advocate for GA. And, through the decades, we at AOPA have preserved our founders’ legacy and taken it to the next level. Just as I am impressed by their foresight, I feel sure they would be impressed with the way AOPA has grown over the decades, continuously offering new services and tools for pilots and aircraft owners, all while expanding the reach of our advocacy efforts from Capitol Hill to state houses, from federal agencies to local airports.

As AOPA’s president, I believe, as our founders did, that it is critical for us to be out in front of new challenges and opportunities. And as I look to the future I am committed to increasing the value AOPA offers you. Together we will strengthen the general aviation community, protect airports, grow the pilot population, and strongly advocate for the needs of GA at all levels of government.

To do all this, and do it well, AOPA needs two things: the continued involvement of our members and the money to fund our work. Throughout this year of engagement, AOPA members have been stepping forward to get more involved in the aviation causes that mean the most to them, and I am grateful for their efforts.

But now we must forthrightly address the second part of the equation: funding. In order to ensure that AOPA can continue to provide the utmost value to our members we will raise the annual dues to $45 beginning this month.

As many of you no doubt realize, this is our first dues increase in 20 years. I can’t think of many other things that cost the same now as they did two decades ago. In fact, I can’t think of anything that hasn’t seen inflation in that time.

Not only have AOPA dues held steady, but during those same years AOPA introduced innovative tools such as AOPA Online, AOPA Airports and its mobile apps, the AOPA Internet Flight Planner, online weather, AOPA ePilot and the Flight Training edition of ePilot. In addition to this award-winning magazine, we added a second magazine, Flight Training, to our roster, created the daily Aviation eBrief newsletter, and much more. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has produced and distributed hundreds of in-person seminars, award-winning online courses, safety quizzes, safety advisories, accident reports, and other tools to help keep you flying safely.

The costs of all of this creativity and outreach have been offset, in part, by growing revenues from advertising in our publications, the AOPA credit card program, the Legal Services Plan, the Medical Services program, the AOPA Insurance Agency, and other programs designed to offer you vital services at great value. We are developing new offerings that will provide services you need and products you enjoy, adding even more value to your AOPA membership. Many of these new products and services will also offer discounts directly to you on both aviation and nonaviation-related purchases, all the while supporting AOPA. These “Lifestyle” offerings come at no cost to the association, but they bring in much-needed revenue.

I hope you’ll agree that AOPA has always been a good steward of your membership dollars, especially in the last two decades without a dues increase. My commitment to you is that we will continue to use your dues wisely to provide the representation, services, publications, and tools that matter most to you. We will also continue to look to the future, getting out ahead of the challenges we know will come and creating new opportunities for general aviation to thrive. Together we will protect our freedom to fly and ensure that general aviation will be here for generations of pilots to come.

E-mail AOPA President Craig Fuller at craig@aopa.org.

Join the fun

AOPA President Craig Fuller invites you to join him at the second annual AOPA Aviation Summit to be held November 11 through 13 in Long Beach, California. Fuller will lead the event through AOPA Live and at keynote general sessions and industry and social events during the three-day convention.