AOPA had a big presence at the thirtieth annual Northwest Aviation Conference and Trade Show Feb. 23 and 24, in Puyallup, Wash., including a keynote address from CEO Craig Fuller. It was also the debut of the one-day Aviation Business and Career Forum, created to provide businesses and airports with more targeted sessions.
In his keynote remarks, Fuller said the best way to highlight the good news about general aviation is to stay focused on AOPA’s mission—preserving the freedom to fly. Under that mission, he said, are three key areas where AOPA needs to focus: protecting our freedom through advocacy, sharing our freedom through media, and building on our freedom through AOPA’s Center to Advance the Pilot Community.
“We know there are challenges ahead—economic, regulatory, and political. But we also have great reason for optimism. Flying is as appealing as ever,” said Fuller. “We have the tools to help aspiring pilots achieve their dreams, help pilots fly more, build strong communities of aviators in the United States and worldwide, represent the interests of the GA community before local and federal authorities, work with lawmakers to minimize the damage from sequester, and educate and inform pilots, aspiring pilots, and decision makers.”
During the Business and Career Forum, Shannon Yeager, AOPA’s vice president of the Center to Advance the Pilot Community, joined Deb Wallace, Pierce County Airport and Ferry administrator, for a luncheon keynote speech on how to make flying affordable. Topics covered in the speech included AOPA's Aircraft Partnership Program, light sport training options, flying clubs, and other strategies.
James Oliphant, an account manager for AOPA Insurance Services, also did a session at the forum on effective strategies and tips for the insurance industry, where he discussed nonowned aircraft insurance coverage and also spoke about light sport airplane insurance and what to expect or understand regarding aircraft insurance.
During the weekend events, AOPA's Northwest Mountain Regional manager Dave Ulane and other staffers were on hand to host sessions on topics including flying clubs, airports, aviation safety, and aviation insurance. The government affairs team, including Ulane, also led a series of seminars for airport managers and advocates focused on providing them with information on resources and best practices on airport planning, community relations, and promoting the airport.
Panelists included local airport managers and staff from the FAA Airports District Office and Washington State Department of Transportation Aviation Division. Airport Support Network Director Joey Colleran and others on the government affairs team hosted a meeting of Northwest ASN volunteers, and together with Fuller they met with the leaders of state pilot associations from across the region to discuss continued cooperation and joint efforts.
Air Safety Institute Chief Flight Instructor Kristine Hartzell presented the institute’s “Flying for a Lifetime” and “Chart Challenge” seminars.