Jan. 5, 2004 - AOPA ushers in 2004 with nearly 402,000 members (401,952), representing nearly two-thirds of the entire U.S. pilot population, and more than three out of every four general aviation pilots. AOPA gained some 11,000 new members in 2003.
"As I said when we first topped 400,000 members, politicians and bureaucrats do pay attention to numbers," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Speaking with one voice for so many members - particularly members who vote and contribute to political campaigns - gains AOPA access and special credence. No other organization can match that."
"Being able to say you represent more than 400,000 voters means that even the hard-to-reach people in Washington and in the state capitals will listen to your concerns," said AOPA Sr. Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula.
"Not long ago, I needed to reach someone at Homeland Security," Cebula continued. "I told that person's assistant, 'I'm calling on behalf of 400,000 pilots to discuss what your policies are doing to their ability to fly.' I got a callback right away."
More than four hundred thousand voices speaking as one means that the FAA, the Transportation Security Administration, and other government agencies cannot ignore the concerns of general aviation pilots when put forth by AOPA. It means members of Congress will listen to what thousands of their constituents think. It means AOPA cannot be ignored when airlines want to block GA out of airports or airspace.
"'Over four hundred thousand' means that ours is a voice that will be heard," said Boyer.