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Baker dishes AOPA news with ice creamBaker dishes AOPA news with ice cream

Almost 300 people crowded into the AOPA Program Pavilion at Sun ‘n Fun on April 5 to hear President and CEO Mark Baker discuss all the latest developments from Washington, what AOPA is doing to grow the pilot population, and more.

From left, Mark Baker, AOPA presdient; Jonathan Freed, senior vice president of communications; and Tom Haines, senior vice president of media and outreach, discuss high FBO fees during Baker's Pilot Town Hall at Sun 'n Fun 2017. Photo by Mike Collins.

The session started with sweet news on medical reform and ended with a sweet bit of ice cream. In between Baker covered a range of topics, including the latest on non-technical standard order equipment, the Part 23 certification rewrite, ATC privatization, AOPA’s You Can Fly program, and FBO fees.

Baker said that AOPA began to push the FAA and FBOs on excessive fees after members started to complain about rapidly rising prices at certain airports. “The vast majority of FBOs do an excellent job,” Baker said. The association is concerned only with those that appear to charge outlandish prices for basic services. AOPA is exploring a number of avenues to ensure FBOs are charging fair and reasonable fees, including through FAA, legislative, and even Department of Justice avenues. The association also is advocating for unfettered access at airports, or a place to park and have access to the road network without being forced to go through an FBO. Baker said it’s going to be a long fight, but, “we will win.”

With the upcoming implementation of BasicMed, the reforms on medical certification remain a top priority for many pilots. Most of the audience questions pointed to BasicMed. Baker said the final doctor’s form will be available prior to BasicMed’s live date of May 1. AOPA was heavily involved in negotiating what will be on the form, which needs a number from the Office of Management and Budget before it can be released. In the meantime, members are encouraged to find AOPA’s Fit to Fly resources so they are ready for May 1.

Baker also addressed the many legs of AOPA’s You Can Fly program, a multifaceted effort to increase the pilot population. AOPA has invested heavily in bringing more people into aviation, ensuring the training industry is serving students well, increasing access to more affordable aircraft, and bringing back those who have fallen through the cracks. Together the High School, Flying Club, Flight Training, and Rusty Pilot Initiatives make up the You Can Fly program.

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly is senior content producer for AOPA Media.
Topics: Sun n Fun

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