President's Position: AOPA's virtual store

Useful and valuable general aviation products

April 1, 2013

Craig Fuller

It’s the beginning of my favorite season—flying season—when I have a chance to meet so many of you at events such as Sun ’n Fun. But, if you’re like me, you want access to AOPA, and all we have to offer, at any time of day or night, not just at big aviation events. That’s one reason our websites are so popular, and it’s why we’re introducing a new way for you to access AOPA’s products and services 24/7.

We call it the AOPA Store, and it’s packed with individual shops where you can find our long-standing services as well as some new offerings. You will find it online ( www.aopastore.com).

For decades, AOPA has offered members a steadily growing collection of useful and valuable general aviation products, and now you can find them all in one place.

You’ve told us about the types of products you’d like to purchase, and we’ve made changes to suit your needs. We are relaunching our AOPA logo gear collection with new styles, and we’re taking steps to let you personalize items with your name or aircraft registration number.

The AOPA Store also will have some of our newest offerings, such as the AOPA field guides for flight students, developed from our extensive research into how to create the best possible training experience. The companion field guides for flight schools and instructors have been widely embraced and are an important element of the work being done by AOPA’s Center to Advance the Pilot Community.

Our AOPA Pilot Protection Services offer legal and medical assistance to tens of thousands of our members each year. And our financial services can help you plan for the future in ways that consider the special needs of pilots. We are proud of these long-standing offerings, and you will find more information about them in the AOPA Store.

For those of you seeking a fully integrated flight planning experience, all three FlyQ products are available through the AOPA Store. When you use FlyQ Pocket, FlyQ EFB, and the newest element, FlyQ Flight Planner, all your planning tools are connected, making information entered in one FlyQ product instantly available in the other two as well. It’s the easiest way to move all your critical planning information seamlessly from the living room to the cockpit.

Finally, we are very excited to be launching the AOPA Store with a unique offering that I believe will give a wide range of people better access to a meaningful flying experience. Honestly, it’s the best, most innovative product of its kind I’ve ever seen.

It’s the AOPA Jay by Redbird, and it is available exclusively in the AOPA Store. Flight experiences can be selected by the aviator for very realistic takeoffs, landings, and cruises in familiar or unfamiliar territory. But what is really unique is that we here at AOPA, and experts from other aviation organizations, will be designing “flight scenarios” that can be shared and downloaded into the Jay. We plan to offer scenarios that bring articles from AOPA Pilot to life. John and Martha King are designing scenarios sharing their unique flight experiences. Our friends at EAA and the editors of Flying magazine also will be developing scenarios. We hope that even more aviation organizations will join with us in developing and sharing flight experiences that are meaningful to experienced pilots, aviation enthusiasts, and everyone in between (see “This Bird Really Flies,” page 70).

I hope you will explore the AOPA Store and learn more about the types of products and services available to AOPA members. Come back often. We’ve got exciting plans in the works, so expect to find new offerings as we continue to develop the AOPA Store.

And there’s one more thing you should know about the AOPA Store: With every order, you are helping protect our freedom to fly. Proceeds from the store go to support vital programs and operations that support advocacy, protect airports, help grow the pilot population, and do so much more.

As with everything we do, your opinion matters. Share your comments on the store and your experience there—and tell us if there are other types of products or services you’d like to see by sending an email to aopastore@aopa.org. Your feedback will help us create a shopping experience that really works for you.

For those of you who prefer a hands-on approach, all these offerings and more will be at Sun ’n Fun. Whether you just want to get connected with your association or you’re looking for something specific, such as aircraft insurance or an up-close look at the AOPA Jay, come see us. I look forward to meeting you there!

AOPA president Craig Fuller is an active general aviation pilot who has been flying for more than 35 years. Email Craig at craig@aopa.org.