June 19, 2014
By Jim Moore
AOPA President Mark Baker has made meeting pilots where they fly a central focus of the association in its seventy-fifth anniversary year. That mission continues June 21 at the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport (FNL), where the Colorado Pilots Association will hold the 2014 Rocky Mountain Aviation Expo.
The daylong event will begin with breakfast from the Flight Deck Grill, followed by seminars including a two-part Accident Case Study Live presentation by the AOPA Foundation's Air Safety Institute. Pilots flying in will be eligible for a 50-cent-per-gallon fuel discount, and AOPA will offer memberships and membership renewals for $5 off. AOPA Northwest Mountain Regional Manager Dave Ulane will also be on hand, ready to talk with members about the association’s state and local advocacy efforts. Two dozen exhibitors, including Jeppesen, Van’s Aircraft, and a variety of mountain operators, will have displays manned throughout the day.
Baker will deliver a lunch briefing on AOPA activities and advocacy, and field questions.
The Colorado Pilots Association has also lined up Lt. Col. J.D. Lee, a NORAD pilot who will brief fellow pilots on how to avoid airspace incursions and fighter intercepts. The speaker’s list also includes experts on mountain flying, maintenance, and representatives of state and federal aviation agencies.
Baker, who became the association’s fifth president in 2013, said in September that “One of my biggest priorities is to meet members in venues that truly spark their passion. I want our members to make a personal connection with AOPA, and that is best achieved by meeting them where they fly.”
Baker has since made good on that commitment, traveling to grassroots events like the Rocky Mountain Aviation Expo, and launching the association’s own regional AOPA Fly-Ins being held across the country.
“We now have a wonderful opening to visit general aviation airports and engage pilots in a much bigger way that is also more affordable and accessible for members,” Baker said in September. “This decision is about going out to where our members are, maximizing the number of pilots that we reach on an annual basis. And it will also give me a real opportunity to spend quality time with members and seek their honest feedback in a more comfortable and relaxed setting.”
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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