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For the New Year: AOPA looks back on its 60 yearsFor the New Year: AOPA looks back on its 60 years

For the New Year: AOPA looks back on its 60 years

The 60 years of AOPA history we celebrated in 1999 are just a prologue to what you can expect of AOPA in the new century. In short, you can count on AOPA.

Globalization is the watchword of our times. More than ever before, aviation—including general aviation—is influenced by a world view, global economics, and internationally negotiated regulations. AOPA’s long experience in the international arena serves to protect our domestic GA interests, while cooperating in the development of general aviation in other nations.


Led by AOPA-USA, the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) was formed in 1962. But as far back as 1947, AOPA was active in protecting GA from international interference, as this old cartoon from our files illustrates.

The blackboard notes (“Restrictive weather minimums,” “Complicated license procedures”) is this 1940s-era cartoon recall proposals debated in international conferences after World War II. AOPA fought them then and continues still to fight such moves to unduly restrict general aviation freedoms. We’re still protecting “the unsuspecting and ‘forgotten’ private pilot.”

IAOPA’s five original members (AOPA-USA and similar organizations in Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the Philippines) have increased to 51. IAOPA is a strong voice in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations. It represents general aviation interests in ICAO deliberations and in meetings of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Associations, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Civil Airport Association, and EUROCONTROL.

This June, for example, IAOPA Secretary General John Sheehan will participate in an ICAO conference on the Economics of Airports and Air Navigation Services. Some 500 aviation decision makers from ICAO’s 185 member governments and related aviation organizations will gather in Montreal. IAOPA will be working hard to keep general aviation’s needs clear in the minds of the delegates.

The decisions and actions of these bodies, all heavily influenced by airline considerations, bear directly on general aviation in the United States and in other nations. And as the global world order continues to develop, spurred by the Internet and increasing international travel, their policies will rapidly become still more important to us.

In domestic as well as international general aviation, AOPA continues its dedicated service to pilots and aircraft owners, while helping foster general aviation around the world.

December 1999

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