Get extra lift from AOPA. Start your free membership trial today! Click here

Protect it, grow it, keep it safe

Your priorities are ours

This is our annual report issue—the edition of AOPA Pilot in which we address AOPA’s priorities and our work on your behalf.

This is an opportunity to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year ahead. You will read about many accomplishments in these pages, including those in advocacy, building the pilot population, and keeping our skies the safest they’ve ever been (see “Accomplishments, Projects, and Plans,” p. 60).

The past 12 months have been eventful, to say the least. We’ve celebrated achievements and faced several challenges, but our work has never wavered for one moment. Providing you with the best services, products, and value in general aviation guides our work every day. Your priorities as members are ours.

In short, the state of our association is strong. Our commitment is strong, and our future is strong. All for your benefit.

Let me cover just a few of our many priorities on your behalf that fit right into this issue’s theme of “protect it, grow it, keep it safe.”

Protect it. Our team in Washington, D.C., and in every region where you live and fly, protects your freedom to fly, 24/7. FAA reauthorization, which as I am writing is being readied for a Senate vote, is the most GA-friendly FAA funding bill ever, thanks to our team’s work and our close allies on Capitol Hill. This includes making sure the GA airports where you land are adequately funded, using those funds to address the severe hangar shortage at many of your airports, making sure we have enough 100LL available for you as we transition to an unleaded future, and expanding BasicMed (which we helped to bring about in 2017).

AOPA is also working to ensure that the FAA goes far enough with light sport reforms through Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certification (MOSAIC). And we’re still working with Congress to ensure that when you park at any one of the nation’s public-use airports, you’re not gouged with a high fee. That practice must stop.

Grow it. While we’re working on all of this, I am glad that GA is booming, and the number of GA and student pilots continues to increase. But you may have seen some numbers that say we will need hundreds of thousands of new pilots and technicians over the next two decades.

That’s one reason why our AOPA Foundation You Can Fly program is so valuable. Whether it’s introducing almost 23,000 high school students to aviation this year alone through our innovative and free STEM curriculum, getting rusty pilots back into the skies, making flight training more effective, or providing more access to aircraft through flying clubs, You Can Fly is ensuring a bright future for GA.

Keep it safe. All this increased flight activity calls for a heightened focus on safety, and our AOPA Air Safety Institute has the resources for you, and anyone in the GA community, to stay safe and proficient. It’s no wonder that we are living in the safest era ever for GA.

Advocacy, pilot resources, and safety are just three of the areas we’re focusing on because we know they’re important to you. Again, your priorities are ours. If you think about the full picture of what we offer to members, an AOPA membership is simply a smart aviation decision.

Wherever you are on your aviation journey, AOPA is there for you. Whether you are starting out in flying, returning to the flight deck, or staying safe and confident in the skies, AOPA needs to be in your flight bag.

The success of our programs won’t diminish our drive. Every day we ask ourselves how we can make an already strong membership value even more significant for you. I can tell you that our team is working on some exciting benefits that will make your membership and aviation journey more rewarding.

For that, I can confidently say that there are blue skies ahead!

[email protected]

Mark Baker
Mark Baker
Mark Baker is AOPA’s fifth president. He is a commercial pilot with single- and multiengine land and seaplane ratings and a rotorcraft rating.

Related Articles