Adios AOPA...

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Jeff Cutler, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Pilot numbers have declined 28% since 1980. Decline of the middle class, increased fuel costs, and increased aircraft prices have been the largest factors leading to that decline.
     
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  2. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A lot more that you would ever want to think.

    You don't need to be flying to have problems.

    So one day you get a registered letter stating all the violations you are being investigated for. You look at the date of the violations and realize you were not flying that day.

    A quick call to the FAA stating you were not flying that day. The representative for the FAA tells you yeah right buddy, like we never heard that before. Send us your certificate and we will keep it safe for you for the next 180 days. You can do just that or you can fight the charges.

    Lawyer-$20,000+

    AOPA legal services for a private pilot- $49.00 per year. For me it is $99.00 per year and worth every penny.

    Give up the certificate- free

    Of course you do not have to take advantage of having affordable lawyer coverage, but you are wrong to think of and accuse others that do take advantage to be lazy and unknowledgeable pilots.
     
  3. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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    I am thinking of cancel mine as well next year. Not flying as much after losing the job and already have core knowledge and no real need to pay for it plus on budget.
     
  4. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Wow, weren't even flying and those jack booted FAA thugs suspended you. What did you do cheat on a test?
     
  5. MD11Pilot

    MD11Pilot Line Up and Wait

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    With the Feds? Nothing, you're guilty until you prove yourself innocent and even then they will not issue a "Oops, sorry our mistake".

    Ask any police officer if he can find you doing something to pull you over. There are so many regs that you can be in violation of on any flight that it would be very easy to hammer someone.

    Case in point...on a check ride, I had a Fed ask me about a sub-mode of one of the six different modes on our Enhanced Ground Prox System. I said "I don't know what your talking about but I do know that if it sounds off to do an escape maneuver". He said "I could bust you for not knowing" and I replied "and you still have to make it out of the sim in one piece". (Our sons played on the same baseball team). If they want you, they got you.
     
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  6. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Pattern Altitude

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    If it doesn't make sense to you to pay, then you stop.

    While they are far from walking on water, I appreciate what they do and continue to pay.
     
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  7. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    There is no difference between light sport and any other cert/rating when dealing with Class B and C regs.

    Which is neither here nor there, I was refuting your statistics and your incorrect assumption that most weekend pilots are nowhere near Class B or C .
     
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  8. ETres

    ETres Line Up and Wait

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    Like others, I have AOPA and EAA on auto-renew. I don't agree with every single move they make, but they are fighting the good fight for GA.
     
  9. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Every GA pilot in the US benefits from what AOPA and EAA do. I figure the least I can do is make a base level membership contribution to support the efforts.
     
  10. N747JB

    N747JB Final Approach

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    I have been a member since I learned what it was in 1989, I do like the magazine, I can't say I read every article, it stays in the powder room though. I do appreciate having someone in DC, trying to do something for GA. It's not always what you get done, sometimes it's what you stop from getting done! In the grand scheme of aviation, it's pretty cheap. ;)
     
  11. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    Yeah, it's not about not knowing the regs, or "drinking the AOPA cool-aid"; I operate from the DC FRZ, both VFR and IFR, and it's not a big issue; really, it's about the same as working out of any Class B. I'm not sweating that - it's the honest mistake, or the one FSDO azzhat that has it in for, well, just about anyone he/she can eff with.

    For the average pilot, of about average means, AOPA sells a service pretty cheap, basically insurance, to give you some top cover from a Fed agency that isn't accountable outside a court room, or a congressional hearing. I think plenty of FAA people want to do the right thing, heck, probably most of them; it's also true that of the ones who don't, there isn't any practical way to hold them accountable for abuse of power. Or gross incompetence. If you're bored, called several FSDOs, ask the same question: See if you get the same "interpretation". You don't even need an azzhat gunning for you - just a regular, non-flying, buruacrat, who'll go home thinking he did something good.

    About the only ones they'll throw under a bus are controllers - people doing the real work. For $99? I find it worthwhile. YMMV, and that's cool, too. . .
     
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  12. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    You know, I just realized you are correct. If you don't know the regs, you really shouldn't be flying instead of buying a legal plan.
     
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  13. Jeff Cutler

    Jeff Cutler Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks to all for throwing opinions out there and surprised at the amount of support. Membership is up at the end of July... so I'll be sitting on the fence til then.
     
  14. richas

    richas Pre-Flight

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    I just received my 25 year pin, and decided not to renew.

    I sold my plane and it will be a few years before I can fly again, probably in a homebuilt.

    The dues were just to much. There is GA and there is GA. I may not be in their GA.

    Joined EAA.

    Rich
     
  15. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    Some pilots are happy to get the benefits using OPM.
     
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  16. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I see no benefit after ADSB and private user fees have made the progress they have, with all the money AOPA gets they ain't padding the right pockets for GA
     
  17. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    ADS-B dates back 30 years ago. Some of the original regulation stuff I read on it actually was going to require ADS-B in all US Air Space, unless Class G and no electrical system. getting it reduced to just within the mode-c veil and above 18K when this was actively wanted by the airlines was a major accomplishment.
    As for user fees, why are you giving up? AOPA, EAA, NBAA have been fighting against user fees since President Regan (maybe earlier, but from what I read that is the start of recent Presidents proposing it).

    Tim
     
  18. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I don't think we are all reading the actual successes that AOPA has had for us through the years. If it had not been for them, so many flying freedoms would have snapped shut long ago. We would all be flying 50hp clattertraps around a grass field by now if it wasn't for their efforts. We need to get a rep from AOPA onto POA to show what they have done.
     
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  19. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I like results, and ADSB is a lot more invasive than that, plus sending your N number hex, that has many uses, non have to do with safety.

    Also private ATC shouldn't have made it this far, it never had before, I don't know why they aren't paying the right people.
     
  20. Jeff Cutler

    Jeff Cutler Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Would welcome that, in the right forum. Seems AOPA's regional meetings are more 'one way' speak rather than hearing hard feedback like what has been aired on this thread. It should be two way, without malice, and not getting defensive - read: no sour grapes. Most Nonprofits tend to shut the blinds when constituents start pushing back b/c thats the only way they can handle keeping things from turning into a b*tch session. An orderly list of accomplishments, and a list of gaps that have either not moved, or totally failed. Asking for accountability.
     
  21. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Exactly, jet crowd expecting me to pay for their benefit.
     
  22. Vance Breese

    Vance Breese Line Up and Wait

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    It appears to me there is a remarkable amount of thought and emotion involved in such a low dollar decision.

    It puzzles me that people are so anxious to explain why belonging is a bad financial decision for me and I am foolish for sending them money.

    I am happy to send both AOPA and EAA my money.

    I will spend more on 100LL today than both memberships cost.

    I don’t mind appearing foolish and don’t mind that some people don’t pay and still get the benefits of the lobbying.

    It is my observation that is just how things work.
     
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  23. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    Well put. It's unbecoming.
     
  24. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    :sigh::sigh::sigh:
     
  25. airdale

    airdale Pattern Altitude

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    I would be very interested to read independent assessments of what AOPA has accomplished. The only thing I have seen is their own puffery, so it is really impossible to know the truth. Maybe they could use some of the cash hoard to hire an independent firm to examine AOPA's effectiveness over the past 10 years. They could interview major players at the FAA, congresscritters, senior committee staffers, etc. to make an assessment.

    Re a rep, I think Tom Haynes follows AOPA-related threads here; he has weighed in a few times. But to engage is to risk a thread that turns extremely negative, so I can understand lurking rather than posting.

    For me, dropping membership was not about the dues dollars. It was and is about the greed and financial mismanagement by the hired staff. Since members don't have a role in the governance of the organization (by design) the dues dollars are the only potential leverage. And, considering the cash hoard, it's a pretty pathetic lever.
     
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  26. ZeroPapaGolf

    ZeroPapaGolf Line Up and Wait

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    It would be very difficult to have a realistic discussion with an AOPA rep on here. There's a small but extremely vocal group here who seem to exist solely to **** and moan about anything and everything in aviation. Especially things like AOPA and Foreflight. You'd think both were the devil incarnate by their posts. The cyber-aviation version of a grouchy old "get off my lawn" neighbor.
     
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  27. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    Concur - AOPA and ForeFlight are both something I use, but they aren't exactly top of my list of aviation annoyances. Neither is perfect, but for my purposes, both serve me well enough, though I admit I rely more often on FF!
     
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  28. Jeff Cutler

    Jeff Cutler Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Everyones comments have given more thought to the real essence of what we get out of the association for what we 'put in'. Frankly I agree with all points, good and not so - haven't seen anything ugly being tossed around. But the design of not including paying members does bring it in focus for me. Why by design? Most all professional or business associations have member committees that provide input based on those individuals expertise given committee subject matter. In today's digital conferencing world, couldn't committee functions help drive association direction more aggressively? (FWIW, I have submitted letters with regard to 'no user fees' to my Reps in DC with AOPA's help.)
     
  29. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    Like you guys, I gave up AOPA and it was because I felt that I wasn't getting enough value for the money spent and I was tired of getting a letter once a week about being a lifetime member. So I cancelled and I went with EAA.

    To be honest though I had a change of heart because although I don't like how AOPA spams me, I do appreciate them fighting for General Aviation because we don't have that many organizations fighting for us anymore.....the more the better.
     
  30. airdale

    airdale Pattern Altitude

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    Why by design? Because the design takes the power of the members and puts it in the hands of the incumbent employees and insiders. This makes for a very cushy situation.

    There is a reason they solicit proxies in connection with membership renewals. It's a brilliant scheme that successfully encourages the majority of members to abandon their legal rights to participate in governance. Similarly, there is a reason that the annual meeting of the corporation is a nearly-private matter, with few if any ordinary members in attendance. There is a reason that members are not consulted or solicited when board members and senior employees are selected. Members might rock the boat. Members might question why dues need to be increased when the purposeless cash hoard already amounts to several hundred dollars per member. Members might question the business purpose of jet trips to the Florida keys or (gasp!) point out that NBAA does not have a jet.

    The members' role is to supply money and to uncritically believe that AOPA is effectively representing their interests. The insiders' role is to spend the money. The only possible way to cause change is to choke off the money. But it's really a long shot.
     
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  31. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Such a cynical perspective.
    Under the bylaws for the non-profit, an annual meeting is required. Via proxy or in direct participation the non-profit must have a certain percentage (if I recall correctly, AOPA is 67%) to make quorum. At that point they handle nominations and other matters to the board.
    Propose an alternative structure which will work, and then advocate for it. Since this is non-profit with bylaws; if you can make the case sufficiently you can change the organization.

    The organization which members had no say, was EAA. Until Paul died, he had veto authority and control, and this was written into the bylaws of the organization.

    So far, you have yet to suggest a change in how AOPA is governed, or changes to the organization to which you would gather my support and proxy to make a change.

    Tim (not part of AOPA, I just researched the sturcture before I became a life member, EAA I did the same, and why I did not become a life member)
     
  32. ZeroPapaGolf

    ZeroPapaGolf Line Up and Wait

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    AOPA has something like half a million members worldwide. How could you possibly think an organization of that size could function without proxies? You'd need 300,000 people present just to hold a meeting. Voting on an item of business would be as complicated as a presidential election. If you think they waste money now, the expense and time of collecting votes from every Tom Dick and Harry across the country would blow your mind.
     
  33. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The problem with the AOPA and EAA election process is that it is "By insiders, for insiders." Who nominates the people for slots? Who is placed on the proxy ballot? Who holds the proxies? The boards effectively control all 3 pieces of the puzzle and aren't remotely interested in outside contributions. Have you ever been solicited for input on who to nominate for a board position? Have you ever had the option of a "fill in the blank" designee for your proxy? Is AOPA likely to give you a member list so you can go solicit proxies yourself "Give me your proxy, not some stooge on the existing board?" Of course not.

    As it exists today, the election process in both organizations is a sham. The good thing about EAA is that it has an annual convention in Oshkosh. While you'll never get a quorum of members there, you can solicit and collect a hell of a lot of proxies if you're willing to do the work during the convention. Then, you can go to the annual meeting (also held during show week) drop a gazillion proxies on the podium and <hopefully> make a difference.
     
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  34. airdale

    airdale Pattern Altitude

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    @tspear, @ZeroPapaGolf, turning AOPA into a member organization instead of a sinecure for insiders only takes three actions, none of which require a change in the bylaws:
    1. Publicize and hold the annual meeting of the corporation in conjunction with a member event where a large number of members will attend, like a convention. At the meeting, then, the members can ask questions of the board and the employees and can offer motions from the floor. Publish the minutes of the meeting on-line or in the magazine. The way the insiders vote the proxies on member-proposed motions will be very informative to the membership as a whole.
    2. Restrict the proxies so they cannot be used for election of directors.
    3. Open the BoD elections as follows: Announce each upcoming election in the magazine and provide complete information on how candidates can be nominated by petition. Approximately 3 months later (driven by the nomination schedule and publication lead time) publish bios and position statements from all BoD candidates, both the candidates proposed by the BoD nominating committee and those nominated by petition. Bind into the magazine a mail ballot and encourage all members to review the candidates' bios and position papers before voting.
    Sounds difficult? It's not. NRA does it every year with a membership over ten times the membership of AOPA.

    It might take a few annual meetings and a few election cycles, but in the end the members will have retaken control of the organization.

    Oh, and if you believe in the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, you might also believe that the insiders will do anything remotely like this.
     
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  35. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    I beleive I have neither the time, inclination, network, expertise, or background to make overseeing AOPA a central part of my existence. I pay the dues, follow the news regarding aviation, and generally find, when I check in, that AOPA (and EAA) are fairly closely tracking with what is best for GA, from my optic.

    I can't deep dive into every aspect of factors impacting aviation, just like I can't make a career of worrying about student loan debt, global warming, gender identity, world trade, immigration, or a thousand things described by insiders as being a "crisis", but usually are not.

    So they get my proxy. . .if they drift too far from from my goals, eventually I'll notice, and vote with my wallet. For now, they seem to be tracking closely enough that I'm relatively content. How they run the day-to-day I don't actually care much about.
     
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  36. BrianNC

    BrianNC En-Route

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    I think we'd all be surprised at how much good AOPA has done over the years. I'd glad they're there rather than not there.
     
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  37. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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  38. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    People are more concerned about 69 bucks A YEAR while the cable companies (among others) are ripping them blind..MONTHLY
     
  39. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    AOPA doesn't pay the attorney they refer you to. The $20,000 still applies, last time I read their fine print.

    Essentially you're paying $99 a year for five minutes of asking around and keeping a couple of names and numbers in your contacts of your phone.

    Unless something changed.
     
  40. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My experience when I needed a lawyer, AOPA gave me some names close to me, I called one, and I was never sent a bill. That was 11 or 12 years ago, I hope it hasn't changed since then.