News from HQ: Looking Ahead

It’s a new year, and that makes it a natural time to look forward and begin planning for 2019.  As individuals, we often set goals—or resolutions—for ourselves to meet in the coming year.  In the same way, the beginning of the year makes a great point at which to examine the current state of a flying club, and to draft plans and goals for the future. 

As is the case for individuals, club resolutions for 2019 are likely to vary widely; after all, we’re all looking to improve in different areas.  Maybe your flying club is trying to grow, or maybe you wish there were more social interaction among your members.  Maybe your club has decided to improve its safety culture this year, or maybe you are finally hoping to be in a financial position where you can purchase an additional airplane.  Regardless of what your club’s goals may be, you are more likely to be able to reach them with a plan in place.  And there is no time like the winter months to plan.  Not only is a formal planning process beneficial to a club, but it can make for a great way to keep members engaged even when the weather is not conducive to flying. 

This month, we will focus on strategic planning—an organization’s process of defining its strategy and making decisions about how to best reach its goals.  If you are curious as to how your club might go about a structured strategic planning process, be sure to read our Question of the Month, which explains how you can use strategic planning to map out a direction for your club, and set attainable goals for the coming year.  A real-world example of a club that has used regular strategic planning sessions to grow and improve over time can be found in this month’s Club Spotlight.  In it, officers of the Anoka-based Flywell Flying Club explain how planning has helped their club, and offer insights to anyone looking to follow their example.

In keeping with our theme of planning, our Aircraft Spotlight offers tips for conducting a fleet analysis, and highlights some of the factors to keep in mind while making decisions about your club’s aircraft.  Finally, our Safety article examines ways that a club can create and maintain a positive culture of safety and ensure that good practices are exhibited on a consistent basis. 

Whether your flying club is just getting started or was established decades ago, we hope that this issue gives you ideas for how to go about planning your future and ensure that your club remains a thriving organization for years to come! 

Changes Within You Can Fly, ASI  

AOPA's You Can Fly program and Air Safety Institute (ASI) recently experienced realignment after Katie Pribyl, AOPA's senior vice president of strategy and programs, made a decision to leave the organization and return to her family's 130-year-old cattle ranch as its fourth-generation manager.  Pribyl joined AOPA in 2012 as vice president of communications, and moved into her current role overseeing both the Air Safety Institute (ASI) and You Can Fly in 2016.  

As a result of the realignment, Richard McSpadden, executive director of ASI, will now report directly to AOPA president Mark Baker.  Elizabeth Tennyson was named executive director of the You Can Fly program.  Tennyson has served at AOPA since 1998, holding a variety of positions within the organization including vice president of publications, vice president of e-media, and senior director of communications.  

On both a personal and professional note, we in the flying clubs initiative would like to thank Katie for all of her efforts to build You Can Fly into the program that it is today.  Her drive to make general aviation more accessible to everyone remains a core tenet of the initiative, and we look forward to continuing this vision as we move into 2019.  

A New Year of AOPA Fly-Ins Announced

This year, AOPA will be celebrating its eightieth anniversary.  To mark the occasion, it will host three grand, two-day fly-ins in the 2019 season.  Taking place at two previous favorite fly-in locations and one brand-new destination, these aviation festivities will run all day Friday and Saturday, and will feature expanded exhibit hours, seminars, workshops, aircraft displays, and special aerial demonstrations.  

AOPA's fly-in season will kick off May 10 and 11 with a fly-in at AOPA's headquarters in Frederick, Maryland.  The second fly-in will take place June 21 and 22 in Livermore California, and the third and final fly-in of the season will be on Sept. 13 and 14 in Tullahoma, Tennessee. 

At the Frederick event—just day’s before AOPA’s official eightieth anniversary on May 15, the D-Day Squadron’s C-47s will make a special appearance before they prepare to fly to Normandy, France, for the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day. 

“In honor of AOPA’s eightieth anniversary, the 2019 fly-ins are sure to be an unforgettable experience for all aviators, family, and friends,” said Chris Eads, AOPA senior director of outreach and events.  “We hope pilots and nonpilots from all over the United States join us as we celebrate 80 years of protecting the freedom to fly.”  

Since launching its regional fly-ins in 2014, AOPA has seen an estimated 92,540 attendees at a total of 24 events in 20 different states across the country.  "We really enjoy each event we've hosted for the past five years and look forward to creating new experiences to commemorate such a monumental milestone," said Eads.  "And we look forward to all our members, along with the next generation of pilots, joining us during this exciting time.  This will be another fly-in season to remember."  


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