AOPA membership.

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Fabio, May 7, 2019.

  1. Fabio

    Fabio Pre-Flight

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    Hello there.
    Low time pilot here.
    I am receiving constantly in the mail and emails, offer about joining AOPA.
    I would like to know what’s the advantage and disadvantage of carrying a membership.
    Not a big deal for $70 but just curious to hear your opinion.
    Thanks all for the help.
     
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  2. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    The biggest things I've used are information and resources especially in regards to airplane ownership- valuation, insuring, how to file paperwork, etc, etc. They also do offer some discounts on certain services/products. The biggest disadvantage is they always are bugging you for more money. You're also contributing to an organization that advocates for GA with the government.

    A lot of folks who will no doubt be along soon are very critical of how they spend their funds as an advocacy organization so there is that... I can't claim to be an expert in that arena.
     
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  3. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Canceled mine over two years ago and I’ve never looked back once.
     
  4. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    AOPA is a strong advocacy group for GA. Nonprofit advocacy group strength emanates from the membership numbers it represents. AOPA does offer a wide range of resources for pilots as well, as well as a monthly mag. Well worth joining if so inclined. I've maintained my membership since 1985. Like every nonprofit, you may not agree with everything they do, but overall they have done a good job of protecting GA freedom. If you are flying with Basic Med, for example, you can thank AOPA in large part.
     
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  5. simtech

    simtech En-Route

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    All you gain is an expensive Hat and magazine subscription. With that, I am a member..hahaha and of EAA. I mean there are other little things but...
     
  6. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route PoA Supporter

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    26 years and they've never given me a hat...
     
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  7. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Member of both AOPA and EAA.
     
  8. simtech

    simtech En-Route

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    Yep I have a friend who is on auto renew gets nothing. I dont auto renew and every year I get an offer for a hat if I renew. So I pay for my expensive hat every year. So if you're on auto renew cancel it and you will get a hat every year. haha
     
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  9. flhrci

    flhrci Final Approach

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    Tonight via email, they offered me a $20 charging pack and $20 off for coming back. Not flying right now, not coming back right now.
     
  10. Scott@KTYR

    Scott@KTYR Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Member since 2007.
     
  11. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Member since 1965 (Member #282896). The legal services plan was very helpful when I had my infamous issues with the FAA, and we now have third class medical reform in BasicMed, which AOPA spearheaded and lobbied heavily for. For me, BasicMed alone is worth all the dues I've paid over the past fifty four years.

    If you don't want to respond to their constant solicitations for money, just ignore them.
     
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  12. Dean V

    Dean V Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Once upon a time AOPA had member services that were really a good values. A good credit card, good car rental discounts, Jeppesen chart discounts, a really good certificate of deposit, ect.

    Now everything they offer the members is a poor value with proceeds feeding N4GA and an over compensated staff.
     
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  13. Arrow76R

    Arrow76R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    51 year member here...the medical assistance folks helped me a lot during my "special issuance" days. Air Safety Foundation has very good videos and I do the Flight Instructor re-cert through this mechanism. The magazine is a good read and you have the choice of not responding to solicitations just like any other entity.
     
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  14. simtech

    simtech En-Route

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    Are the legal services and medical services extra?
     
  15. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Yes. But if you need them, well worth it.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
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  16. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    I get almost daily emails and, at this point, what I would consider junk mail. Joined a long time ago, was a member for a few years because "they advocate for GA" and it made me feel nice to be part of an Aircraft Owner and Pilot Organization (cool!).. but I eventually found no value to it.. did not renew, and haven't in probably a decade or longer.. and I still get hounded by them. The amount of money they spend sending me mail has surely outweighed the 3 years of membership I paid them. I haven't received any real discounted goods from them, and their resource center, while helpful, is not something that a competent person can't live without

    The big picture thing they stand for is admirable.. "advocating" for GA, which I support full heartedly. But I put "advocating" in italics as I have done a fair bit of research (have for years) and cannot tangibly figure out what their avocation actually accomplishes or does with the $30,000,000 they collect (rough estimate based on membership count)

    Remember, aviation and general aviation is not some taboo "right" or "thing" like gun ownership, medical marijuana, medically assisted suicide, religious freedoms, etc. It is a successful commercial and federally regulated extremely forgiving environment to operate in. A competent person can get their license in 40 hours, their instrument shortly after, and be a commercially rated pilot yet shortly there after, and in two years be flying an airliner. Think about that! That's nuts. Any time I want I can get in my car, go to the airport, and go flying.. the only thing the government asks of me is that I go to the doctor every 5 years, do a flight review every 2 years, and to stay proficient. I find these extremely forgiving laws to operate under. There isn't any strong political push to take those privileges away from me (like you might have with gun ownership, etc.). And admit it, regardless of how big AOPA gets, if AvGas eventually goes away, or the laws shift, there is little that we can do about that. There is also very little AOPA can do about how slow new plane sales are, or do anything to help lower the costs on aircraft ownership. That's where, if you're going to join something, at least EAA advocates for that more directly. More thoughts below


    What do they actually do though? Their advocacy page https://www.aopa.org/advocacy lists things that seem to be already under way, or started by local airports, town's officials, etc. AOPA would have you think everyone hates GA and their is some evil force acting on it to close, but in reality, outside the occasional click bait media article most people by and large think it's cool, don't want it gone, and most towns understand that having an airport does provide a vital commercial and logistical hub.. many politicians fly GA anyway.. but looking at that page here is what their putting front and center as their advocacy

    -BasicMed, still front and center two years later. Ok, maybe this helped some people out, but frankly, lowering the health standards to me is ill advised. If you cannot pass a third class medical once every 5 years you have no business flying as a PPL

    -ADSB rebates nearly gone. Ok, not really sure what a rebate status has to do with advocacy.. and from my understand the delays and push backs in ADS mandates are more to do with gov bureaucracy and resource available than AOPA asking them to delay it or not do it. Most of us have actually found tremendous benefit in ADS-B from inflight weather, etc.

    -Mistakes and mitigation study. They reposted an article about an FAA study on human factors and performance. Again, cool, but how is this them advocating for us? Did they help fund the study for the FAA?

    -Montana airport funding bill passes. Reading this article it sounds like this was a decision that financially made simple sense for the state, and, will be funded at least in part by an increase in tax on aviation fuel and would have passed agnostic of AOPA. The only real claim to ownership in the article is that "AOPA members in Montana overwhelmingly supported this" <- of course they did.. it sounds like most voters and lawmen would have based on the financial math

    -Maine seaplane usage.. okay
    -Virginia county aircraft property tax cut.. supported by AOPA, obviously, but seems the state acted on the regional airport's director anyway

    *they also randomly picked a fight with FBOs recently. https://www.aopa.org/advocacy/airports-and-airspace/airport-advocacy/egregious-fbo-pricing which was remarkably misleading. They will have you think that flying your 182 and stopping at Signature or Atlantic will cost you upwards of $1,600... WHAT?! Starting a battle within the GA world is not going to help us. Plus, it's a free market. If Signature can get away with charging those rates to the Gulfstreams and big boys.. then have at it! I've been to many Signature and Atlantic in single engine piston (PA28, C172, SR22) and if I buy some gas I won't even pay any kind of fee... so what gives AOPA?

    -how about instead they help keep airports open later and longer, help improve staffing and training for ATC, work to update the training and airman standards to fit with 2019 technology, work with the FAA for aicraft certification to help reduce costs on the consumer, etc., things like that which we would actually tangibly notice


    **Ultimately they're a group.. you have my worthless, but fee, advice. Cheers and happy flying!
     
  17. simtech

    simtech En-Route

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    So as far as the regular membership is concerned they are not included? Which furthers the question other than a hat and a magazine, over priced I might add, you are nothing but a meaningless number...?

    Remember I'm a member so I clearly don't care but for the value why would new members want to join? Heck why do I stay a member....
     
  18. sarangan

    sarangan Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I can't say if AOPA's advocacy is successful, but you have to look only once at general aviation in other countries to realize that someone is doing something right here. I am happy to pay for my membership even if AOPA's advocacy is only marginally effective. EAA is also definitely worth joining. Both memberships cost less than what I spend on coffee in a month.
     
  19. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I quit 2+ years ago, and I still get emails a few times a week that say ‘FINAL NOTICE: MEMBERSHIP CANCELLATION’ <no joke>

    Speaking of which, this email arrived just this evening. Perfect timing for this thread!

    EFE52834-E366-4F89-AA5A-4C3923A3F55F.jpeg

    Like, seriously? Whoever does their member retention needs to re-evaluate their strategy. How long does it take for your account to officially expire after canceling? A few decades? Centuries? Or does it remain for all eternity?
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  20. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Pattern Altitude

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    I may be a member... I also tend to wait on the swag and renew. I have some hats, some T-shirt’s and the like. I’ll have to look because I want that power bank charger!

    I am a member of EAA though.
     
  21. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    Ouch. First off, Class III is only once every 60 months if you're under 40. MANY of us are not. For a lot of us, it's every 24 months. To be honest, I had to look up that 60 month (or, five years as you stated); I thought I remembered it being 36 months when I started flying prior to age 40, then 24 months after age 40. Am I insane, or did that change... and if it did, perhaps the AOPA had something to do with THAT extra perk for those under 40?
    Secondly, the likelihood of doing someone damage while driving a car is about a zillion times more likely than the likelihood of someone doing damage while flying an airplane. There is no logical reason in the world why a private pilot (not speaking about commercial) flying his/her own airplane with his/her friends or family should be subject to anything more stringent, medical-certification-wise, than anyone who drives a car. If you feel that everyone who drives on public roads should also be similarly subjected to medical evaluation on specific time schedules, then I guess you could make your point. Getting a medical is at best a hassle and an expense. Some of the hoops some folks have to jump through makes it MUCH more than that, when there's no conceivable logical reason that should prevent them from flying safely. Don't misunderstand me.. there ARE certainly health problems that preclude safe flight, just as there are health problems that preclude safe automobile operation.

    As far as the AOPA goes, I'm a member and have been since the early 2000s when I started flying. I miss the Phil Boyer days... the organization back then seemed to be much more "grass roots" and less "image" oriented. Craig Fuller, Phil's successor, always rubbed me the wrong way.... but I could be wrong. Mark Baker seems to be returning the organization closer to it's original focus, but I do miss the days when a member got medical and legal assistance and other perks without paying a lot of extra dough on TOP of their dues. AOPA's advocacy has given us Basic Med (OK, if you don't care about it, that's fine, but a lot of folks benefit from it, the skies aren't any less safe, and, in all probability, folks are probably taking BETTER care of themselves and seeing doctors since they don't have to hide stuff so as not to lose pilot privileges or incur huge expenses jumping through unnecessary medical hoops and tests to appease the FAA), kept us from all being subject to user fees, fought unnecessary ADs, and a host of other things. Yes, there's almost certainly waste in the organization. Yes, those higher up probably make a nice piece of change from our dues. To me, it's worth it.
     
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  22. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    AMEN!
    All the things listed above this are discussing the fluff, the irrelevant add-ons of AOPA membership! I really don't care about "member services" such as credit cards and advice and for God's sake.... hats!

    The largest value in a national organization is intangible.
    Having a loud and respected voice in Washington, when it comes to fighting for our ability to fly is HUGE!

    There is an ongoing attempt to restrict GA, or tax GA out of existence - this is the natural course of governments vs aviation, through the last ~120 years!
    Remember, "no voice; no flying".
    So many countries have been through this before us, ours is next if we don't watch out.
    So many countries had a weak GA presence or no representation and those in power regulated it almost out of existence!

    There simply is no other organization who is effective at this as AOPA.

    You are either a member (like me) (note; I have no association with AOPA other than membership) or you are freeloading - enjoying the benefits of AOPA's work without payment.

    Quit thinking small about this and send AOPA $70. I bet most will spend 50-200 times that flying this year!
     
  23. Scrabo

    Scrabo Pattern Altitude

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    Dumped them years ago, Wine club just showed to me it was a money grab.

    It was better under Phil, he was on TV talking about aviation related news items, after Phil there was no public face
     
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  24. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I tried that a couple years ago, and all I got was a lot more annoying emails and window sticker. o_O
     
  25. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    The political presence alone that AOPA has makes membership worth it, as well as the discounts on big ticket items - like various forms of insurance and aircraft finance. Further, if you pay a very small premium, you can get their protection services included in your membership. You may well never need them, but they will help significantly if you do. Lawyers are expensive. I know - I am one.

    Some examples:

    I talked to my insurance agent about life insurance with no GA exception - the best he could do for me was 4 times what AOPA does it for. That pays for my membership over, and over, and over.

    Non-owned aircraft insurance - half the price of other places, if you can even find it.

    AOPA was able to prevent even the current administration (whatever your opinion there is), which was getting hounded by the airlines to privatize ATC, to not do so. That is extraordinarily important for our safety, our pocket books and our access to the public airways.

    AOPA has gone after problematic FBOs really hard, which has resulted in FBOs being kicked out of some airports (Signature at SNA) or substantially reducing prices and increasing transparency (Signature at SBA). An AOPA member who lands at SNA probably saves their yearly membership in fuel prices on a single top off.

    AOPA even does little things, like get an STC for the Lance/Saratoga, that reduces the seating to 6 so they can be operated under Basic Med, and then gives it away for free.

    That's just the tip of the carb ice.
     
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  26. k9medic

    k9medic Line Up and Wait

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    I'm a member and have been for 25 years. I pay additional for the professional pilot legal coverage. I would like to think that if I ever had an issue with my medical or the FAA that it would help.

    Remember, you're only one checkride or flight physical away from possibly never being a pilot again.
     
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  27. upstateny

    upstateny Line Up and Wait

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    What is this annual hat of which you speak? Got one when I joined 25+ yrs ago, haven't seen one since.
     
  28. Volitation

    Volitation Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This. Even if I don’t agree with everything they do, a GA advocate is worth a few bucks to me.
     
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  29. alfadog

    alfadog Final Approach

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    Been a member on and off over the years, currently not though I just reupped with EAA for three years. I think I will rejoin AOPA because I do think it is important to support an important advocacy group in our political climate.
     
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  30. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I'm still a member. Maybe by inertia more than anything.

    When I first joined (2004) they had a very useful flight planner online. As a student pilot (before the ubiquity of tablets, smart phones and EFBs/flight planners) this was good value. The flight training magazine was also useful as a student pilot.

    Oh, yes. I also had a run in with the local FSDO after violating the class Bravo around Orlando International (KMCO). (You can read about it here:https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/com...or-the-lack-there-of-and-airspace-long.39513/). Because I was an AOPA member, I had access to a couple of online courses from the Air Safety Foundation which the FSDO person asked me to take, send him the completion certificates and "go and sin no more." I'd have joined to get that if I hadn't had it.

    Today, I'm not sure how much direct services and discounts are worth as I have other discounts that often top theirs. Flight planning is everywhere and I use a tablet.

    How effective they are as a lobbying organization is going to be extraordinarily difficult to measure. (Despite all the folks above who say "All this stuff would have happened anyway!") I am a bottom feeding^W^W government contractor and deal with the Federal Government in many ways. Government policy and action is shaped by so many things from casual conversations to outright campaigns and there are so many stakeholders who's desires may align for any given decision that it's darn near impossible to point to a single person/organization and say "They made a difference." My $.02.

    The constant "sky is falling" money raising gets old. But all advocacy groups do it because market data says it works. The "lifestyle" club stuff really turned me off. And yet, I'm still a member. It's pretty cheap compared to the rest of my flying budget.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  31. FlySince9

    FlySince9 En-Route

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    you must be on auto renewal... Wait a month after expiration of your membership and you'll get your hat...and maybe a solar charger for your Ipad as well...

    I even have their sticker on the rear window of my car... I think it's worth the money to support an organization that is in your corner... GA-wise...
     
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  32. JScarry

    JScarry Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A minor benefit is that you get $10 off Knowledge Tests if you belong to AOPA or EAA.
     
  33. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    YES! If you want to get a member back spamming them asking for $60 is not the way to do it. Tell us what you're actually doing and what value you will bring me.. that goes beyond a hat or a gimmick
     
  34. alfadog

    alfadog Final Approach

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    Just like the Church of Scientology.
     
  35. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    General aviation is successful here for many other reasons, political, social, economic, than what AOPA is giving us. That's my thing. I feel like AOPA piggy backs on naturally occurring things and likes people to think they were the ones that made it all happen. I was at a Starbucks a few years ago and their water bottles had stickers that said "gluten free, no calories" <- like, duh.. it's water. There is very little that an organization pulling in $30M a year can actually do for us.. GA is successful because this country has always had a strong and proud can-do attitude and heritage and because of our air space laws. For the busiest airspace in the world (LA TRACON) there is no AOPA presence here. Standing behind Montana's federal money and a sea plane lake in Maine is great and all, but I would think a GA advocacy group with close to 400,000 members would have somewhat of a bigger or more felt presence here..

    I agree with part of that. But car accidents happen every day.. and people don't bat an eye. A plane has even a minor accident, and it's all over the news. If planes crashed with as much frequency as cars that would end GA.. of all the things wrong with GA, the ability to get a medical just seemed like a weird thing to go after.. what we need to do it make the certification costs more reasonable. This is where EAA and their push in the experimental world actually does help make flying more affordable. The recent affordable Garmin panel upgrades that became available were due in large part to the EA world

    Except that aviation is a much more socially visible activity. A thousand cars can crash in a day and no one bats an eye, one C172 lands on a beach and people freak out Helping people get their medical and work with doctors, that's awesome. Changing the law to basically say "get a physical and a driver's license" is odd to me. Every time you get in a car there's an assumption of risk, even if you are not at fault in a crash. But if you're just reading a book in your house and an airplane crashes into your ceiling and kills you, you were legit innocent there. I do believe flying needs a much higher standard of health

    I agree, I miss the grass roots approach. EAA feels very grass roots to me, I love it

    But who's actually trying to take away our ability to fly? That's the part I'm missing. Seems like AOPA has created a straw man of sorts that there's this evil mystery man somewhere actively trying to take down GA. Despite it's small numbers GA has a very active and productive role in the economy. Are there any politicians you are aware of that want to take it away from us?

    Who's trying to tax it out of existence? At around ~$5.50 per gallon AvGas is only marginally more expensive, and it plays by much different (and more lenient) rules than automotive gas, given that it's leaded and all, and is sold in much smaller numbers.. simple laws of supply and demand would suggest that avgas should be more expensive than it is, or frankly illegal since cars haven't been legal to use leaded gasoline in years. Are there any current legislative initiatives to kill GA? The whole Santa Monica thing is different, that's related to neighbors, noise, and land developers who want to use the land for something else. The government just helped repave Catalina's runway.. I don't believe AOPA had any involvement in that, and that runway was deplorable.

    I almost feel like it's reversed.. AOPA likes to take credit for things that very well may have occurred without their influence at all. Most of the things they list on their advocacy page seems like they were already in the works, and they just tack on "with the support of local AOPA members" to attach some ownership to it

    **I could get over all this, to be frank, because I inherently agree, great to have a supporting voice for GA.. but AOPA's image of constantly spamming me and patting themselves on the back for a job well done just irk me. EAA carries themselves with much more class and humbleness.. if you want to support someone support those guys.. or encourage the general public to come flying with you, get a cousin, brother, sister, aunt involved in flying, etc. At the end of the day the more pilots that we have the better our chances are
     
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  36. Eric Stoltz

    Eric Stoltz Line Up and Wait

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    This!!!!

    And, all political slash professional organizations participate in spamalot. I dumped the NRA in the 90s and still get crap from them. I just recycle it because I feel like they would prefer me to burn it in the ozone layer.

    EAA AOPA are about the most effective voices we get on a national front. There are effective regional organizations that advocate locally too. If you want grass roots, look them up and join them while you're at it.

    The effective aspect is numbers. The more members, the more effect the organization has in lobby efforts ($ too), and when the leadership can point to the army standing behind them.

    Besides, AOPA legal and med services have paid for themselves for my issues 10 fold.
     
    PlasticCigar likes this.
  37. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    3,183

    Display name:
    Bob Gardner
    I have been a member since 1962 and have never regretted it. General aviation is a very small group of enthusiasts competing for congressional attention and dollars with many, much larger organizations. We need a seat at the table and a voice in discussions. Worth every penny to me, and the magazines are very good as well. I have not bought any of their products but I do contribute to the AOPA Foundation because it supports issues I believe in.

    Bob Gardner
     
  38. RalphInCA

    RalphInCA Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Messages:
    1,351
    Location:
    Glendora, CA

    Display name:
    RalphInCA
    DOUBLE AMEN!!
     
    Eric Stoltz likes this.
  39. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2014
    Messages:
    1,978
    Location:
    NC

    Display name:
    exncsurfer
    Do you get the ones that try to shame you into renewing? "If you are no longer a pilot, please disregard this offer". As if you couldn't possibly still be a pilot and not renew. Nice angle marketing dept!
     
  40. Luigi

    Luigi Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Messages:
    514

    Display name:
    Luigi
    All you have to do is call them to get the free hat! They sent me two!