News from HQ: From DC to the Pacific Northwest to Oshkosh—AOPA is Keeping Busy

Change is, well, challenging

Last month’s News from HQ took a positive look on change – from people to medicals to next-gen – things were looking rosy.  Then came the threat of privatization.

How quickly things indeed change – and not always for the better given the recently introduced FAA reauthorization bill in the House of Representatives that includes proposed privatization of ATC.  You will have heard by now that the AOPA is vehemently opposed to the privatization of one of our country’s prized aviation assets – our air traffic control system.  Now, modernization and technical innovation is required and expected, but these are independent of privatization and must not be lumped together – indeed, they are probably on the opposite ends of feasibility. 

So, what can a club do about this?  First, recognize that privatization of ATC is a bad idea.  Second, protect your right to fly in the world’s freest (literately and figuratively) airspace by expressing your opinions to your representatives in Congress - click here to take a stand against ATC privatization.  Third, spread the word.  Non-pilots may not be able to separate rhetoric from reality, so help them understand what ATC provides and how we use it – and that GA is already paying its fair share through fuel taxes.

Flying Clubs Roadshow

On a lighter note, it is wonderful to report that interest in new clubs is active and growing.  Staff from the You Can Fly team took a Flying Club Roadshow to the Pacific North West in June and met with around 50 people interested in forming, growing, and invigorating flying clubs.  First stop was the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon, which is a must-see museum.  The club based there (see the March 2017 Club Connector Club Spotlight) operates a Piper Pacer (see the March 2017 Club Connector Aircraft Spotlight) and has the enviable mission of producing more tailwheel pilots to ensure that the museum’s pristine collection keeps flying. 

Next was a visit to Paine Field in Washington (KPAE), where a group of around 10 people heard about a novel idea to form a new club around a plane and a boat.  Fly to the boat for a spot of fishing - talk about combining passions!  Following this was a fascinating meeting at the headquarters of one-G Simulation, based in Ballard, Washington, where an engaged group dug into the details of forming clubs and how modern simulators can be incorporated as part of the fleet.  Finally, at a meeting of the Washington Pilots Association in Pasco, Washington, a good-sized group spent a happy two hours learning about how to start a flying club.  Thanks to all who hosted and accommodated the roadshow – we are hopeful that at least three new clubs will be formed as a result of this trip.

If you have or know of any interest in starting, growing, or changing a flying club, feel free to call AOPA Flying Club Initiative Director, Steve Bateman, at 301-695-2356.  We are actively considering locations for future roadshows, so don’t be shy in letting us know your thoughts and ideas.

Flying Club Network Survey

By the time you read this Club Connector, the Flying Club Network survey will be at an inbox near you.  Through the provision of information, knowledge and resources, the Flying Clubs Initiative is tasked with growing access to affordable alternatives, compared with owning and renting.  With more than 800 clubs in the network, and with the average club having at least 10 members, the initiative reaches thousands of pilots, and our goal is to help start 30 new clubs in 2017 – we are well on the way, with 16 new clubs as of July 1.

Flying clubs play a vital role in keeping general aviation in the U.S. both accessible and affordable—two priorities of AOPA’s You Can Fly team.  By providing opportunities for like-minded people to come together and experience the camaraderie of the flying lifestyle, clubs like yours represent the social aspect of aviation at its very best.

We want to do everything we can to provide support and resources to both newly-forming and existing clubs.  To do this, we need your input.  We would be most grateful if you would take a few minutes to complete the brief survey and tell us about your club. Your responses will directly impact our plans to enhance and adapt our flying club resources to align with your needs and suggestions.   The email was sent to the email address listed on your club’s details in the Flying Club Finder, so please check that inbox.

At the end of the survey, we encourage you to review your flying club’s listing on AOPA’s Flying Club Finder and confirm that it’s correct. The Flying Club Finder allows prospective members and others interested in aviation to find out more about your club.  For your convenience, the last question in the survey takes you directly to your club’s listing page, where you can check and update your information.   

Please note that this survey will close on July 31, 2017. Thank you in advance for your participation - we look forward to reading and acting upon your feedback.

Flying Club Network Social at AirVenture

If you are attending AirVenture, please join us for the AOPA Flying Club Network Social gathering starting at 5:30 pm on Friday, July 28.  In addition to an update on the Flying Clubs Initiative, AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker will talk about the importance of clubs for the future of GA, and Adam Meredith, President of AOPA Aviation Finance, will introduce some new financing options for flying clubs.    Good food and good conversation will be on the menu, so please come along to socialize, chat with fellow Flying Club enthusiasts, and to share your experiences with others.

Fly lots and fly safe!

Related Articles