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Accomplishments, projects, and plans

Our mission for GA: Protect it, grow it, keep it safe

Greetings, AOPA members! It is that time of year when we look back at all AOPA has accomplished, what we’re working on now, and our plan for the future.
Illustration by David Tulis.
Zoomed image
Illustration by David Tulis.
This year is special for us as we celebrate our eighty-fifth birthday. Your membership means everything to us, and without you, we wouldn’t be able to maintain our powerful advocacy voice on Capitol Hill and protect your freedom to fly

When it comes to general aviation, we have three primary goals: Protect it, grow it, and keep it safe.

Protect it

Advocacy and legal

Illustration by Chris Rose.

At our heart, we are an advocacy organization, and everything we do supports the health of general aviation and pilots throughout the nation. Our advocacy team has been incredibly busy with some fundamentally important issues for our members and for GA. Here are a few of our current advocacy priorities:

FAA reauthorization and fuel

First, we are glad that Mike Whitaker is in his position of FAA administrator. He is a proven leader, friend of GA, and an AOPA member. The FAA reauthorization bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that impacts every sector of aviation. This year’s bill will have the first ever GA title and will include issues important to pilots and aircraft owners.

We are helping to ensure a safe and smart transition to an unleaded fuel replacement for the fleet. The FAA has approved a 100UL fuel through the supplemental type certificate (STC) process and another fuel is undergoing testing and evaluation through the same process. The FAA is also evaluating a candidate unleaded fuel through the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI) program. A goal established by industry and government is to have an unleaded 100 octane replacement fuel widely available at airports by 2030.

AOPA’s Beechcraft Baron project continues to demonstrate the safety of unleaded fuel at our home base, Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK), and further prove its reliability (“Head to Head,” March 2024 AOPA Pilot). AOPA received a supply of FAA-approved GAMI G100UL at FDK that we used to fly the airplane to Sun ’n Fun and back. A steady supply of fuel is coming to FDK that will allow us to keep flying the Baron and demonstrating that G100UL works at least as well as 100LL. We also plan to take elected officials and Washington, D.C., VIPs on flights for them to experience unleaded avgas for themselves. And, yes, we use it in the Baron’s critical engine.

MOSAIC and medical

We’ve been pushing for major reforms in the light sport category for some time, and we’re happy the FAA is making progress with Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certification (MOSAIC), which will open the skies for more pilots and aircraft by expanding the current sport pilot category limitations. Its current iteration goes a long way, but it’s not enough—we’re especially interested in ensuring an increase to the clean stall speed to include a wider range of eligible airplanes. We’ve submitted comments to the notice of proposed rulemaking on behalf of AOPA, the GA industry, and you. The FAA has more than 1,000 comments to comb through, so we probably won’t see a final rule until 2025.

Several components of medical reform remain a major focus for us in support of our members. We continue to push Canada to accept BasicMed while also pursuing an international medical standard at ICAO. AOPA was also selected to serve on the Mental Health Advisory Rulemaking Committee to help break down barriers that prevent pilots from coming forward to address mental health issues. This is an important issue, especially to our younger members, and we’re glad to be involved in ushering in change.

Thank you to the thousands of our AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers who help us get in front of issues, and for those who want to help protect your home airport , consider becoming an ASN volunteer.


It was the busiest year ever for the Pilot Protection Services legal and medical teams; through PPS, we help pilots and aircraft owners with myriad issues and questions. We can’t help you to our fullest ability unless you sign up for PPS before you have an incident, so invest in protecting your certificate before you really need it. 


Amounts in thousands (unaudited)

Total revenue $43,149

Commissions and royalties $4,773

Product and services $5,441

Contributions, contracts, and grants $3,943

Advertising fees $5,234

Other income $2,396

Membership dues and subscriptions $21,362

Total expenses $47,784

Products and services $7,048

General and administrative $3,651

Fundraising $896

Mission $36,189

The bulk of AOPA’s revenue came through membership dues, advertising, and commissions and royalties. Mission constitutes the bulk of expenses and includes advocacy, media, and member-focused programs such as the AOPA Air Safety Institute. Not shown here is nonoperating investment gain.

Grow it

Outreach and You Can Fly

One of our perpetual goals is to grow the pilot population and grow our community of aircraft owners and pilots. One of the ways we accomplish this is through outreach beyond our award-winning magazines and newsletters. Our primary media through which we do this are our social media profiles. You can find us on social sites like YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and X (formerly Twitter). There, we have more than half a million followers across our platforms and reach more than 7 million views each year. This has been a great tool for us to reach new people and grow our AOPA community.

In the field

As usual, you can expect to find us at Sun ’n Fun and EAA AirVenture every year. And while we are not planning on any standalone fly-ins right now like we held before the pandemic, we plan to continue our fly-in at an airshow concept going forward in partnership with the Buckeye Air Fair. Excellent attendance two years in a row shows how much you, the member, enjoy the intimacy of a fly-in combined with the entertainment of an airshow. With Buckeye on the schedule for 2025 in the west, Oshkosh in the middle, and Sun ’n Fun in the east, we hope we can find a way to see you this coming year.

You Can Fly

Another way we grow the pilot population is through You Can Fly, our innovative program to get more people into the skies and keep them there safely. You Can Fly consists of our free high school aviation STEM curriculum, our Rusty Pilots program for pilots who haven’t been in the air in a while, our Back to Your Roots program designed for pro pilots to get back into GA, and our flying clubs initiative. We also offer a wide variety of scholarships every year worth more than $1 million. The entire You Can Fly program is funded by generous donations, and we thank our donors for supporting the health of aviation and our next generation of aviators.


Amounts in thousands (unaudited) 

Total revenue $11,379

Contributors $11,071

Other income $308

Total expenses $10,099

Education $8,898

Management and general $613

Fundraising $588

Education constitutes the bulk of expenses to support the You Can Fly programs, AOPA Air Safety Institute, and the Airport Support Network. The You Can Fly programs focus on developing flying clubs, supporting flight training, the Rusty Pilots initiative, and the high school program. The AOPA Air Safety Institute offers online safety programs including videos, podcasts, webinars, publications, courses, and quizzes. The Airport Support Network promotes, protects, and defends America’s community airports. Not shown here is nonoperating investment gain.

Keep it safe

AOPA Air Safety Institute

Illustration by Chris Rose.

While the skies are busier than ever, our focus on safety has never been as important.

“The year 2023 was marked by triumph and tragedy. ASI’s global reach was nearly 10 million, influencing pilots near and abroad,” said Paul Deres, ASI’s vice president. “While we will continue to grieve the loss of ASI’s former senior vice president Richard McSpadden, we are committed to continuing his legacy through the work he directed. Exciting new developments for this year include exploring artificial intelligence to expand our data analysis capabilities, a reorganized and redesigned ASI website with improved access to critical safety topics, and new methods of delivering information on recent, notable accidents with key takeaways. We are grateful to our donors and sponsors for making this work possible.”

While 2023 flight activity numbers won’t be published until January 2025, current projections based on 2022 flight activity data indicate that 2023 is shaping up to be the second safest year on record. Overall, general aviation is growing across most segments and has bounced back stronger than pre-pandemic levels.

ASI continues to create the tools pilots rely on to build on safety, including videos like Accident Case Studies, Real Pilot Stories, Beyond Proficient, as well as the There I Was... podcast.

Join us

AOPA members make the difference

Together, we’re strong. There is strength in numbers, and we need your help in supporting and stepping up for important initiatives. We are here for you—today and anytime you need us. Visit us online, at airshows and fly-ins throughout the year, or give us a call. Mark Baker, who in January announced his retirement from AOPA after more than 10 years, remains at the helm while we search for our next president as part of an orderly succession plan.

“We’ve never been busier, doing our part to build the pilot population and keeping our skies safer than ever before,” says Baker. “While general aviation is booming, there is no slowing down for us with many priorities ahead to protect and promote this shared passion we have for flying.”

We will see you around and across the country. You are the reason for doing what we do and what we have been doing every day for the past 85 years. Go fly!

Alyssa J. Miller
Alicia Herron
Publications Content Producer
Publications Content Producer Alicia Herron joined AOPA in 2018. She is a multiengine-rated commercial pilot with advanced ground and instrument flight instructor certificates. She is based in Los Angeles and enjoys tailwheel flying best.

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