The way I see it.

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Greg Bockelman, Nov 10, 2019 at 1:07 AM.

  1. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    I just finished reading the August issue of AOPA Pilot. Yeah, I know. I am a little bit behind. What follows are some things I saw in the magazine.

    Mark Baker, the President of AOPA, talked a bit about Air Venture and how it brings together people from all aspects of aviation from the Antique/Classic crowd to the Basic Med folks to the ones wanting to learn how to fly to the High School/College crowd with various STEM programs.

    There were various snippets about what AOPA is dong on the advocacy front.

    Thomas Haines discussed a project that Uber is undertaking that may make General Aviation available to more people trying to get from here to there.

    Barry Schiff waxed nostalgic about his area of expertise, various airline subjects from then to now.

    Richard McSpadden analyzed a helicopter accident and how the politicians are trying to restrict our aviation freedoms.

    Several other columnists brought their perspective to various other subjects that should be of interest to all of us.

    Red Bull cancelled their air races. A school teacher had a dramatic effect on one of his students. A couple of articles on places to fly.

    There was a nice article about a man and his Cessna 195. A subject rather dear to my heart.

    One of the principals of Buffalo Airways told of his efforts to resurrect an old C-47 for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

    There was an article about a neat little LSA called the Texas Colt.

    If you are interested in vintage airplanes and aerobatics, there was an article on that.

    There were various articles on pilot technique and new products and ADS-B and mechanics and Never Again. And more.

    I didn’t see any articles this time about corporate hardware or airlines or any of that big iron stuff.

    AOPA stands for Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. It doesn’t stand for LSA owners or Antique owners or Multi-engine owners. It covers pretty much all aspects of aviation at one point or another.

    Some people bemoan the fact that it doesn’t appear that AOPA is very effective at representing their members in Congress. Well the fact of the matter is that EAA is in the same boat. Yeah, they have Sean Elliot as an advocate. What he is good at is conveying to the membership what he is doing. I am pretty sure folks at AOPA are doing the same thing. The difference is that they aren’t as good at communicating their efforts.

    It distresses me a little when people say they are dropping AOPA just because they shut down their forum. Make no mistake, I also think they were short sighted in doing so. But I for one will retain my membership in AOPA. The more representation we have, the better.

    There are approximately 600,000 pilots in the US. That is approximately 0.2% of the population. Add in all the mechanics, dispatchers, flight attendants, and all the other aviation professionals, and I doubt we add up to 1% of the population. Given those numbers, it takes a Herculean effort to get anyone in Congress to even acknowledge that we exist. Given the fact that we are such a small percentage of the population, I think our AOPA and EAA representatives are doing a pretty good job at least keeping the congress critters from steamrolling us.

    My name is Greg Bockelman and I am a proud EAA member and AOPA member and I will remain so for as long as I live.
     
  2. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Cleared for Takeoff

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    I should probably sign back up when I move home. I wish I had time to read though. POA takes up that time. :)
     
  3. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    A man who has clarity.

    I am finding that in several of my national groups (non aviation) there is a whiny minority who seem to thrive on the notoriety of being anti-association. When they speak you can tell they have no idea what it would be like without an association; they have done no research to see what the association is doing for them.

    Dave Taylor, AOPA and EAA member to the end.
     
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  4. Gerhardt

    Gerhardt En-Route

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    Nice write up. I dropped my membership years ago for other reasons, but I’ve never understood all the anti-AOPA talk.
     
  5. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I agree completely, Greg. I became an AOPA member about the time I got my private certificate in 1990 and leaving has never even crossed my mind.
     
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  6. dbahn

    dbahn Pre-Flight

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    I agree. I can't bring myself to drop a long time membership simply because I'm unhappy with one aspect of their activities (dropping the forum), and doing it as a form of protest is a useless gesture, IMHO.
     
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  7. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Member of both AOPA and EAA
     
  8. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I dropped AOPA when they chose the wrong side on ADS-B.
     
  9. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    I am still flying because of them pushing BasicMed - I don't have the patience to work issues through the FAA Medical system when a good alternative is available. It would be stupid for me to bail now just because they've shut down an internet forum.
     
  10. dbahn

    dbahn Pre-Flight

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    Yeah, the amount of money I don't spend going through expensive out-of-pocket expenses for an AME issued medical would pay membership for another two or three lifetimes for me.
     
  11. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yeah.

    To the OP.

    I started a thread on EAA v AOPA v type club.

    I ended up joining both EAA + AOPA. At least for now... I've just gotten my medical sorted (found out Friday, cause someone else turned me on to checking the registry!) and after 20 years away from the yoke, I consider myself "rusty" to say the least.

    AOPA has a Rusty pilot seminar within a hundred miles, so I'll go to that free cause I'm a member.

    AOPA started basic med... And now that I've got my 3rd class (well, as soon as it's in my hand), I'll never have to go through the 3rd again, unless I need another SI.

    EAA has a local chapter, plus support for older planes that I have an interest in.

    ,.............. aside........
    I'm not a joiner, usually. As an example, I am a staunch 2nd amendment supporter but do not belong to the gun groups. I send em donations but I send letters to congress critters my self. As an individual concerned about my rights, not part of the collective.
    ,............ end...........

    So, for now I'm a member of both AOPA +EAA. We need the advocacy. Aviation enthusiasts are a much smaller % of the population than gun owners, and we need some backup.

    Unless we could get "persecuted minority" status as pilots (etc.) from the government. Then they couldn't touch us, and would have to protect us, maybe even subsidize us!
     
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  12. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    As an AOPA and EAA member, I approve the OPs message
     
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  13. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    My only counterpoint to @Greg Bockelman's post is that the advertising in EAA's mag is more relevant to me than AOPAs.

    EAA has things I'd consider buying and I go to the advertiser's websites occasionally. AOPA is more like when I surf light jets on Controller.com. Not much I'd actually spend on.

    AOPA publishes two mags though. (Is that because our engines have two mags? :) ) I liked Flight Training better than Pilot, and eventually settled on EAA only. Perhaps I'll try another year of both.
     
  14. ETres

    ETres Pre-takeoff checklist

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    AOPA & EAA member here. Joined as a student pilot.
     
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  15. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    “if you don’t want to be an AOPA and a EAA member, you should be barred from holding a pilots license. This is America dang it.”

    Thankfully anyone can be a pilot, not belong, and tell you guys to bug off. None of us have a duty to belong to AOPA.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019 at 9:18 AM
  16. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Whoever wants to make primary non-commercial a political priority has my money....
     
  17. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    The original post was dead on. I've been an AOPA member since my second flight lesson back in 2004. As with pretty much any organization, there's some things I haven't liked much, mostly during Craig Fuller's tenure (and that was probably more about perception on my part...) but the good far outweighs the bad. Meeting some of your goals is far better than meeting none of them, and they've certainly done at least SOME good for virtually every pilot from all walks of life. They've earned my support.
     
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  18. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    Who are you quoting? Where in this thread did anyone even come close to making that statement or showing that attitude? A few posters (two?) stated that they weren't members and their reasons, but I don't recall anyone disparaging anyone else....until your post. You are, if nothing else, consistent.
     
  19. manac

    manac Pre-Flight

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    I’m sorry I don’t buy into the argument that well they do some good.
    I’ll never join an organization that has “ make some people rich and help them live the high life” as part of their mission statement.
    Fully support the 120140 org and the 195 club.
     
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  20. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    As long as maintaining poor communication with their members is more important than the members lost because of it, I’ll continue to not be a member.
     
  21. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Pilots in Colorado: 18,011
    3,387,459 Registered voters in Colorado as of Feb 2019 (there are more recent reports, but this is a good sample).
    Assume all pilots are registered, then we're 3.25 % of the Colorado population.

    Don't know about other states, but an 18K voting bloc in the state is very interesting.​
     
  22. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Your math is puzzling to me.
     
  23. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The way I see it is.....


    ....I am IBTL..!!!
     
  24. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'm a member...begrudgingly. Greg makes some good points but his post completely glosses over AOPA's improprieties and malfeasance over the last 17 years (how long I've been a member), if they stuck to their core mission and cut out all the lavish sh** then I'd be all in.
     
  25. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    I guess a person sees what he wants to see, Tim. I acknowledge that there are warts but barring widespread outlandish corruption, I am willing to overlook some of the bad things.
     
  26. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I would love to find out what AOPA has accomplished (not talked about or planned) each year for the last 3-5 years. Is there such a list?
     
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  27. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    BasicMed I think it's their claim to fame. Their part 23 re-write implementation follow through I thought it was very underwhelming, especially with the absence of primary non-commercial from the actual implementation of the signed legislation, which included said category as part of the Aviation Rulemaking Committee's report on part 23 re-write.
     
  28. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    The magazine is so-so; often beautifully photographed, but the writing tends to be pedestrian, and with the war chest they have, I'd like to see them have a more adversarial posture with the FAA. I am a member, and I think we need 'em, and I understand every move they make won't align with my agenda; but geez, grow a pair, pick an issue and make an effing Federal case out of it, raise Hell, buy a couple suits on the Hill, be a real thorn - don't have to win, just be a constant, nagging threat. Instead of the usual door mat.
     
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  29. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I am foursquare with you Greg; I am a member of both organizations, and expect to continue to be for the foreseeable future. I am also a proud member of the American Bonanza Society, who, as a type club, are exemplary.

    There is no question that AOPA has had its ups and downs, but I happen to think that they are on a significant upswing now.

    Please don't forget that, besides creating a common and interesting thread for a remarkably broad base of pilots through the publications, AOPA is doing other things of value that you might not recognize if you're not involved.

    I recently became involved in the Airport Support Network program, and while you might not see it, I assure you that AOPA is working the issue of pilot access to airports diligently. Their success and progress may not be accompanied by horns and banners, but whether you know about them or not, they are there.

    One other thing: if there is it an issue of concern to you, get in touch with AOPA about it. One of the biggest frustrations I hear voiced by AOPA staff is that they get distressingly little feedback from their member base about the issues that are of greatest concern.
     
  30. atbroome

    atbroome Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Did anyone who expressed concern or even a question about the closure of the forum get back more than a form letter pointing them to the Hangar?

    Rather than just liking the OP, maybe @TomHaines could join in the discussion?

    Personally the way the forum was closed really rubbed me the wrong way, but I am still open to maintaining membership. BasicMed is a big win. I would love to see more ASI Accident Case studies. What else is AOPA working on these days? For someone who lives in the D.C. metro area but has no connection to the public sector, how can I help out?
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019 at 8:36 AM
  31. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    Another anecdote ... I DID let my AOPA membership lapse for a few months within the past year, for some of the reasons others have mentioned (inefficient use of my money, increased dues prices and reduced standard member benefits, and constant wasteful "renew NOW" mailings). After about four months, I decided it was worth it, and sent in my membership dues. I had not been receiving AOPA pilot nor any other member benefits during the four months I lapsed. When I got my issue after rejoining and my membership statement, the full year membership fee I had just paid had only extended my membership 8 months.... 12 months from the time I had let my membership lapse. I contacted AOPA via email, explained that they either needed to send me the four back issues or, preferably, carry my membership forward 12 months from the time I had recently paid. I also explained the reasons I had let my membership lapse.

    Not only did I hear back from them that same day, but I received a long, very detailed and kind personal email, obviously NOT a form or automated response. The representative apologized for the issue, extended my membership as I had requested (as they should have), but also addressed each one of my slight grievances against the organization, going so far as to agree with me on some of them and letting me know that they were discussing ways to do better.

    When Craig Fuller was president, I DID get the distinct impression that my membership dues were primarily being used to fund his and his colleagues' enjoyment of aviation more than mine. Phil Boyer, at least in my perception, seemed to be a much more "grass roots" kind of guy, both in demeanor and focus. I think Mark Baker is bringing a good bit of that focus back. HOWEVER... that all may simply be perception. Craig might have just stunk at "public relations" in his columns and had too many photo ops and articles about how great the work HE was doing was... maybe he WAS very effective, and just didn't communicate it as personably as Phil and now Mark do. Who knows. I do know... Basic Med; not perfect, but a HUGE win. Being able to call and get help with almost any aviation question.. great. I've picked up the phone and called them dozens of times over the years, and have always received polite, thoughtful guidance and responses to my questions. AOPA has been a great help in the constant battle against user fees.

    I'm not one to suggest that what I do and think is what others should do and think. We all make our own decisions. AOPA works for me... not perfectly, but what does?
     
  32. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    To be honest if it wasn't for Airventure I wouldn't be a member of either. Better off sending the bribes directly to your representative.
     
  33. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Not really.
     
  34. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I hear it too many times.....single issue makes the entire business bad.

    I don't like this company because they list the pages in their magazine in numerical order from low to high, so I'll never give them money again no matter how much they help (insert favorite activity here)....:rolleyes:

    There is not a single organization that I give money to that doesn't have at least one issue I do not agree with. But it doesn't make that organization bad.