President's Position

Communicating about GA

March 1, 2011

Craig FullerThe fact that you are reading this column means you already appreciate the importance we at AOPA place on communicating with you about general aviation. Indeed, sharing news and information about GA is something we’ve been doing here since the association’s inception 72 years ago.

Although I was not around at the founding, I certainly do remember being mailed exclusive reports from John Baker about developments in Washington affecting general aviation. As the Internet became more widely utilized by all of us, I quickly navigated the AOPA website and was pleased with all the new developments Phil Boyer brought to us as members. Rarely did I depart without checking the AOPA site and getting weather, a flight plan, or just some good information about the airports I’d be visiting.

Today, we take our mission to communicate just as seriously as ever. And, now, we have many different offerings to reach our members with whatever medium you desire. We even have found ways to reach beyond our membership to share our enthusiasm about general aviation with people who are not yet members.

I’ll share some of our communications tools below, but remember this: we want you to get as much information as we can offer and not any more than you desire. You can sign up for what you want and you can ask us to stop sending things if we are sending more than you need.

The magazines. We are fortunate to have the world’s largest general aviation publication—that would be what you are reading now, AOPA Pilot. And, for many exploring the excitement of learning to fly or adding new ratings, we offer Flight Training, a publication we fully redesigned last year. Today, these publications are available in digital form and can be read on most popular devices. The digital editions allow you to click on links for more information on the AOPA site or from our advertisers. We are very excited about this new offering! For more information, see www.aopa.org/digitaleditions.

The electronic publications. Our fine writers are covering stories all month long, so if you want a weekly update on developments from our AOPA team, you will enjoy AOPA ePilot. It is distributed early every Friday morning. This publication contains many interesting items, as well as offers a gateway into other stories appearing at AOPA.org. Links often provide readers with the opportunity to read or see more about a story in AOPA Pilot. And we provide links to the more popular video segments that are available on demand. Nearly 300,000 individuals receive their own electronic copy of ePilot every week. We are creating special features on individual topics that some of our members want to follow more closely. For example, the topic of avgas is one such area we are covering with special editions of ePilot sent only to those who opt in. For more information, see www.aopa.org/ePilot.

Another valuable communications resource was launched in 2009. It’s AOPA Aviation eBrief and it provides readers with short news summaries and links to stories that appear from multiple news organizations. Aviation eBrief is designed to keep readers up to speed on the most relevant news from the general aviation community. I am pleased to tell you that 200,000 unique readers receive eBrief every weekday. Both AOPA members and nonmembers tell us how much they enjoy it, and a new poll is one of the best-read items every week with several thousand people participating in the simple online survey. For more information and to subscribe if you are not now receiving eBrief, see www.aopa.org/eBrief.

Video. Launched at the AOPA Aviation Summit in Tampa, Florida, in 2009—thanks in large measure to a generous gift by an AOPA donor—AOPA Live has now seen aviation enthusiasts from around the world play our video segments more than 1 million times. AOPA Live produces video segments throughout the year and organizes them on our website for convenient viewing. We cover the leaders in aviation, air safety issues, new products, and what government officials are saying about the issues affecting GA. We try to open the window to some of the year’s major aviation events so if you cannot get to these in person, you still have the flavor for what’s going on in GA today. See the most recent videos at www.aopa.org/AOPALIVE.

And, all the others. In addition to all of these methods of communication, we share our thoughts in blogs, Twitter postings, Facebook, and, from time to time, you will find me posting in the AOPA Forum. All this to fulfill one of the missions our founders gave us—to educate and share our enthusiasm for the freedom to fly as broadly as possible.

A serious mission. We take our mission to communicate seriously and we know it is one of the reasons you join AOPA—because you tell us so. If we can do more (or less) just let us know. We want to be sure we are your trusted source of meaningful, relevant, and accurate information about our general aviation community and your association.

AOPA President Craig Fuller has been a member of the association since 1973. E-mail AOPA President Craig Fuller at craig@aopa.org.

Topics AOPA, Events