AOPA donors learn association’s strategic path
Typical of AOPA Aviation Roundtables, a group of pilots from western states quickly found common ground and friendship as they met in Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley for networking and to hear briefings on the state of aviation. The AOPA supporters and guests homed in on Newberg, Ore., for the weekend event in the shadow of the sprawling Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville.
Garmin’s Wayne McGhee kicked off the event with a briefing on NextGen and ADS-B, reminding pilots that while seemingly a long ways away, the FAA’s Jan. 1, 2020, deadline for installing ADS-B Out equipment is fast approaching—especially given the limited capacity of avionics shops to install the gear. McGhee is Garmin’s Northwest regional sales manager out of the Salem, Ore., office, which develops much of the company’s ADS-B technology. Garmin recently introduced several ADS-B-related products, including the GDL-39 portable system and the GDL-88 installed ADS-B transceiver.
AOPA President Craig Fuller later shared some of the association’s strategies to impact the declining pilot population, such as the Flight Training Initiative, designed to decrease the number of student pilots who drop out of training. Among the association’s significant investments toward that project is the creation of the Center to Advance the Pilot Community. The center’s new senior vice president, Adam Smith, briefed the group on plans to assist flight schools and CFIs in being more effective in retaining students. Among the projects is the introduction of a series of field guides that will also help students set expectations for the training experience. In addition, Smith discussed ways to keep current pilots involved in aviation, especially through flying clubs. As it did with flight schools in 2010 and 2011, AOPA through research and interviews with successful clubs is introducing an outline of how clubs can be successful in lowering the cost of aviation for many pilots.
Chuck Wallace, a consultant to AOPA, outlined numerous other strategic investments being planned that will attempt to lower costs and increase engagement for pilots.
AOPA Senior Vice President of Media Tom Haines highlighted the organization’s newest media channel, AOPA Live This Week, a weekly video aviation news magazine. Posted every Thursday, the show covers the gamut from aviation news to video features and travel destinations. The show’s Roku channel launched earlier this month.
While in the region, the AOPA team visited Van’s Aircraft, the largest manufacturer of kit airplanes. The company’s RV line of products is the most popular in the world. Founder Richard VanGrunsven led the team on a factory tour and took time to describe his latest model, the RV-14. VansGrunsven is the president of the newly formed Aircraft Kit Industry Association, a group of kit manufacturing companies and suppliers. VansGrunsven briefed the AOPA team on the group’s evolving goals of improving safety among Experimental aircraft and simplifying regulations around FAA sign offs of such airplanes.
The Aviation Roundtables are open to AOPA President’s Council donors and Hat in the Ring Society members. The roundtables are held numerous times throughout the year at a variety of locations around the country.
September 26, 2012