The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is expanding its range of member services to add benefits specifically for members flying turbine-powered aircraft and those considering transitioning to turbines. AOPA has retained Jack Olcott, immediate past president of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), to help guide the association's new turbine services.
"A small but growing number of AOPA members are already flying high-performance single-engine turboprops, and others are looking to transition to turbine equipment, including the new 'microjets' such as the Eclipse, Cessna Mustang, Safire Jet, Adam A700, and Diamond D-Jet," said AOPA President Phil Boyer.
"AOPA will always remain true to its roots—the general aviation pilot flying a piston-powered, single-engine airplane," Boyer said. "But technology is advancing, and so are the needs of some of our members. There will be a day in the not too distant future when small, more affordable turbine engines will make 172s and the like into turboprops. AOPA has always been aggressive in responding to members' needs, whether they're flying a J-3 Cub or a Citation."
In expanding services to turbine pilots, AOPA has turned to one of the most respected and knowledgeable individuals in the business aviation community. Jack Olcott was NBAA president for 11 years, serving the interests of the corporate operators who fly the preponderance of turbine-powered aircraft today. Since his retirement from NBAA earlier this year, Olcott has been president of General Aero Company, a New Jersey-based process management and aviation consulting firm he founded. GAC, located at Morristown Municipal Airport, and its affiliates provide expert advice and problem solving related to safety, security, and management of general aviation aircraft used for business transportation.
"Nobody knows the companies, people, and issues facing pilots on the turbine side of the business better than Jack," said Boyer. "We look forward to his sharing his expertise and guidance with association staff and our members."
Some of the products and services planned for turbine pilots include a monthly newsletter and special weekly content in AOPA ePilot, the association's e-mail newsletter. ePilot subscribers can customize their newsletters to deliver information in their particular area of interest, whether it is as a student pilot or a turbine pilot.
Olcott will be an occasional contributor to the monthly magazine AOPA Pilot with articles geared specifically to the turbine pilot, offering insights on transition training, flight level operations, insurance, and other issues of concern to the turbine pilot.
He will also be available to advise individual AOPA members on transition and turbine questions. At AOPA Expo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 30-November 1, Olcott is scheduled to offer "The Process for Transition to Microjets," a special seminar for pilots considering moving up.
"With the backing of our nearly 400,000 members, we can provide information and education to pilots of all experience levels," said Boyer. "And with the strength of our membership, AOPA has been and will continue to be a forceful advocate on behalf of all pilots, including those flying the flight levels."
Jack Olcott holds an airline transport pilot certificate, is type rated in several turbine aircraft, and currently owns and operates a Beech Baron. He is a graduate of Princeton University, with BSE and MSE degrees in aeronautical engineering. Olcott also has an MBA degree from Rutgers University.
This year's recipient of the Flight Safety Foundation Business Aviation Meritorious Service Award, Olcott is a 2001 inductee to the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame. He currently serves on the FAA's 125/135 Aviation Rulemaking Committee, NASA's Small Aircraft Transportation System Steering Committee, and the Be A Pilot Board of Directors. A certified flight instructor for single, multi, instruments, and gliders, Olcott has been a member of AOPA since 1955.
With nearly 400,000 members, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is the world's largest civil aviation organization. More than two thirds of the nation's pilots, and three quarters of the general aviation aircraft owners, are AOPA members.