With the letters “EAA” emblazoned across a crisp blue Wisconsin sky, the presidents of the world’s two largest aviation associations on July 29 signed a memorandum of understanding that harnesses the power of the two organizations to bring about improvements to general aviation. Under the agreement, EAA and AOPA pledged to support each other’s efforts to promote, protect, and expand the general aviation community.
“EAA welcomes AOPA’s support of our outreach efforts to expand the pilot population, especially through our Young Eagles program,” said EAA President Tom Poberezny against a backdrop of the Airbus A380, the world’s largest airliner. “And we are looking forward to supporting AOPA efforts to polish GA’s public perception with its General Aviation Serves America campaign.”
“It just makes sense for two of the largest aviation associations in the world to collaborate where our interests align,” added AOPA President Craig Fuller. “The general aviation community faces significant challenges and opportunities in the years ahead, and our associations’ individual strengths, when combined, put us in a much better position to deal with the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities.”
Crowds surrounded the podium to see the historic signing while others looked on from the sidelines. Under the memorandum of understanding, AOPA will encourage its members to support EAA’s Young Eagles program, providing first flight opportunities for youth and planting seeds for long-term growth of the pilot population. EAA will use its grass roots network to support AOPA’s GA Serves America campaign, which seeks to address the root cause of many of GA’s challenges—a poor or non-existent public perception of GA.
The two organizations agree to work collaboratively on regulatory and legislative agendas helping to protect the future of GA, and on initiatives that improve GA safety.
“To make it real, the people in both organizations must work together,” Fuller reminded the crowd, urging pilots to support both organizations.
“You expect us to work together and we will work together,” Poberezny remarked.
Poberezny will join Fuller and AOPA as a one of the GA leaders who will open the AOPA Aviation Summit in Tampa, Fla., on Nov. 5. In addition, EAA will play a role in several forums and events at the Summit.
The leadership teams of both organizations plan to host a GA roundtable discussion with other industry stakeholders in the first quarter of 2010. The agenda will be based on the shared theme of this relationship—to “Protect and Grow General Aviation.”