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AOPA donates more than $33,000 to help Seaplane Pilots Association produce advocacy video defending seaplane operationsAOPA donates more than $33,000 to help Seaplane Pilots Association produce advocacy video defending seaplane operations

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has donated $33,717 to the Seaplane Pilots Association. The grant will help fund SPA's new video, Flying America's Waterways, which will be used to educate the public and government officials about seaplane operations.

The video will answer questions about seaplane safety, noise, environmental impact, compatibility with boats and waterside residential development, and the economic benefits of seaplane operations.

Flying America's Waterways is the cornerstone of SPA's "Open Waters" campaign to debunk the common myths surrounding seaplane operations and educate policymakers about the real benefits of seaplanes. SPA asked its members for donations to help fund the campaign.

"This is a huge project for a relatively small association like SPA," said AOPA President Phil Boyer, "but the goals are important to all aviators. Therefore, AOPA offered to match all SPA member donations to the project 50 cents on the dollar."

SPA member contributions far exceeded expectations.

"Our members contributed more than $67,000," said Mike Volk, SPA executive director. "Thanks to AOPA's matching funds and additional corporate contributions, we will also be able to produce a supplementary booklet and enhanced video packages."

Volk said SPA will also produce the video on CD-ROM, making it possible for key decision makers to view Flying America's Waterways on their home or office computers.

"This video will be a significant tool in helping SPA defend against efforts to close waterways and seaplane bases," said Volk.

AOPA's Boyer noted that there are more than 33,000 seaplane pilots in the United States; some 17,000 of them are AOPA members.

"Obtaining a seaplane rating is valuable training for any pilot," said Boyer, who earned his "water wings" last summer. "I learned more about the effect of wind on an aircraft than I ever knew before."

For more information on seaplanes, contact the Seaplane Pilots Association at 888/772-8923 or visit its Web site.

The Seaplane Pilots Association is an international, nonprofit membership association that has grown to more than 7,500 members in the United States, Canada, and 22 other countries. It works to protect the water-flying rights of all seaplane pilots.

The 365,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is the world's largest civil aviation organization. More than one half of the nation's pilots are AOPA members.

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