News from HQ: Change is in the Air

Amazinghalfway through the year, alreadySix editions of Club Connector published (this is the seventh), Sun ‘n Fun came and went (it lived up to its name), two highly successful AOPA fly-ins were held (Frederick, MD and Livermore CA)the 100th flying club helped by the AOPA Flying Club Initiative was celebrated, 17 new flying clubs (so far) were helped get up and running, 32 flying club seminars were deliveredand the You Can Fly team attended/presented at almost 90 aviation events.  All fantastic stuffbut this edition looks forward to the second half of the year.  We welcome a new team member, look forward to AirVenture, anticipate another exceptional fly-in (Tullahoma, TN)facilitate some innovative Flying Club Workshops, and address the question that is hopefully on all of your minds – how do we change and/or grow our fleet to stay up with members’ expectations?


portraits of AOPA staff

You’ll be seeing and hearing from a new member of the team as we go forward in 2019.   Amber Kite joined us as Manager, Flying Clubs Initiative, replacing Michael Hangartner who was recently promoted to Senior Manager of High School Curriculum Development.  We wish Michael all the best in his new position in the AOPA You Can Fly family and thank him for his many contributions to the Flying Club Initiative these past 2 years.  If you’ve been working with Michael on club matters, expect a call from Steve or Amber, or send us an email with your contact information, and we’ll get right back to you.

Amber joins us from AOPA’s Flight Training Initiative, where she played a major role in the development of a new adaptive flight training systemand her strong program management skills were central in the development of the Flight Training Experience Survey and Awards.  Prior to that, Amber worked in the Rusty Pilots groupso she has a wealth of experience in the You Can Fly Program. Amber earned bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision from Purdue University, and is currently working on an MBA with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  To cap it off, Amber is an instrument rated SEL private pilot, and is currently working on her commercial certificate.  Welcome to the team, Amber! 

Expanding the Fleet

Talking about changes, this edition of Club Connector will take a look at expanding the fleet. This may also be useful for Clubs in Formation as they go through the process of acquiring their first aircraft.  We’ll take some lessons from the Flying Educators Clufrom Fort Lauderdale, FL who completely changed their fleet a number of years ago when a planning session revealed that members wanted something different to fly. The Question of the Month addresses the tough question “How do we go about adding a club aircraft?" and the Safety section continues the theme by considering transitioning from one aircraft to another.

Flying Clubs at AirVenture

Please join us at the Flying Clubs Social on Friday, July 26thstarting 5:30pm in the AOPA Pavilion.  AOPA Ambassador Andy Miller, and Les Smith, Senior Director of Pilot Community Developmentwill host the event, which is a wonderful opportunity to mingle with other clubs and enjoy some good food and cold beverages.  This is always a popular event—so come early!

Coming to an Airport Near You

Building on a fantastic fly-in season, eyes are now turning to Tullahoma, TN for the third and final AOPA Fly-In of 2019.  Check the website for more information and to learn about the new ground school sessions covering topics such as Aircraft Maintenance for Owners and Aerobatics and Upset Recovery.  These sessions are all presented by CFIs, and attendees will earn ground endorsements and WINGS credit towards the flight review.  Flying Clubs Director Steve Bateman will co-present the session Advanced VFR: Beyond 500NM, which will get into details on, literally, flying cross-country.  Hope to see you there!

Flying Club Workshops

Keep a lookout for an email inviting you to a Flying Club Workshop in your area. These events bring together clubs of different ages and sizes for guided discussions on topics such as managing and growing your club, strategic planning, operational best practices, budgeting, and much more. We’ve already held successful events in Frederick MD, Houston TX, Lake City FL, Livermore CA, and, most recently, we held a well-attended workshop at the gorgeous Airport Building atStanly County Airport in NC (KVUJ).  We’re planning on running more this year in Tullahoma TN, Dallas TX, Austin TX, Syracuse NY and two locations in FL— Punta Gorda and Vero Beach.  If you live near the above towns and are interested in hearing more, please send us an email.

Staying in Touch

We hope you use and like the Flying Club Finder tool, and that it helps get the word out about your club, but it can only be of real use if the data is up-to-date and the emails and telephone numbers listed are monitored.

We’d be grateful if you’d to take a quick look at your club page in the Finder to ensure all information up to date—this is especially important for contact information.  Remember, if we can’t reach you, then neither can prospective club members!

If changes are needed to your club page, please sign in to the AOPA website, and then go to your club page, and you may see a small EDIT slider at the top left of the page.  Sliding this to ON will allow you to make changes to the various sections using the “pencil” symbols.  We have prepared a short video to help you navigate this.

If you don’t see the EDIT slider (remember that you must be signed in to the AOPA webpage), please send an email to [email protected] including the club name, your name, airport ID and your AOPA number.  We’ll then set you up as administrator for your page and will send you an email once it is complete

If your club isn’t yet listed in the Finder please complete this form.  Don’t forget to SUBMIT!  We’ll then enter the club in the Finder and send you an email once it has been done.

By the way, Clubs in Formation can also be listed in the Finder—and this is an excellent way for prospective members to find you as your new club is taking shape.

Fly lots—and stay safe!

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