Boyer presented first annual 'Let's Go Flying' Award
Retiring AOPA President Phil Boyer is the first recipient of a perpetual award named in his honor, the “Phil Boyer Let’s Go Flying Award.”
“One of Phil’s driving passions since arriving at AOPA 18 years ago has been encouraging more people to learn to fly. There is nothing Phil cares more about,” said Bill Trimble, Chairman of the AOPA Board of Trustees. “This year under Phil’s leadership, AOPA launched its biggest initiative yet, Let’s Go Flying, which will live on long after Phil departs Frederick.
“It is only fitting that we honor Phil’s legacy in a new award, the Phil Boyer Let’s Go Flying Award, to be presented to the individual or organization that best exemplifies Phil’s commitment to the future of general aviation.
“And it is only natural that the first recipient of this award be Phil Boyer himself.”
Trimble presented the Phil Boyer Let’s Go Flying Award during a dinner gathering of industry and political leaders in Washington, D.C., to recognize Boyer’s accomplishments during his 18 years in the left seat of AOPA.
“I can think of few greater honors than this,” said Boyer. “Nothing is more important to GA’s future than sharing our passion for flight with new generations.”
From the beginning of Boyer’s tenure at the association, AOPA members made it clear that they wanted their association to do something to build the pilot ranks and that they wanted to contribute to that personally. Boyer led the creation of AOPA’s Project Pilot, where members “mentor” student pilots.
Later he commissioned the “needle in a haystack” study to better predict pilot population trends and find new markets. The study, which predicted a very dire future for aviation if nothing were done, also found that there were some 700,000 potential new pilots in the American population – people who had the interest, money, and time to learn to fly, if they got the right encouragement. And that led to the formation of the industry coalition GA Team 2000 (later called Be A Pilot) to encourage potential pilots to “Stop Dreaming. Start Flying.”
Boyer felt so strongly about the importance of priming the student pilot pump, that, after most other coalition members could no longer financially support the marketing initiative, he committed AOPA to shouldering the bulk of the burden alone.
AOPA acquired Flight Training magazine as part of its effort to spread the “learn to fly” message.
And now AOPA is renewing and expanding its work to excite new people to learn to fly and join the pilot ranks with its Let’s Go Flying campaign. New efforts are directing potential pilots to a new Web site – www.LetsGoFlying.com. The Web site is designed to become the single destination for all potential pilots. It’s engaging, entertaining, and exciting.
Let’s Go Flying is more than just an information portal. It shows people engaged in the experience of flying with videos and personal stories about the ways pilots use general aviation for business, family travel, challenge, and adventure. It addresses the barriers to entry and shows that learning to fly is not as difficult or as expensive as some people think. The new online presence helps potential pilots pick a flight school and instructor. And the association is creating the opportunity for rich social media on this new Web site, to provide encouragement and support from fellow pilots and from AOPA.
December 12, 2008