Aero-Analysis/Commentary By ANN E-Media Producer, Paul
Is it just me, or is AOPA out to
deforest the planet?
It seems like the last year and a half, the amount of mail I'm
getting from Frederick, Maryland is getting a little silly. Some of
it is clearly from AOPA, but some of it has come dressed in
One came emblazoned with a red warning that read as if I was
about to lose my pilot certificate. I can't remember now whether
that was the one pitching the pre-paid legal services, or the one
warning me of the pending obsolescence of paper
I got an invitation to join the AOPA Wine Club. At least that
one taught me something new. I had never known that aviation
advocacy and alcohol sales were an appropriate mix.
Some of these read like they come from sleazy political action
Oh wait, sorry - they do!
I got one a few days ago warning that the time before the
mid-term Congressional election grows short, and that unless I
donate generously to the AOPA PAC, some of AOPA's friends in
Congress could be at risk. Apparently the assumption is that all
AOPA members are single-issue "sheeple" who care only about user
fees, and as long as my reps vote against that, I should be
perfectly OK with their support of federal healthcare or the GM
So, as I'm pondering all this, a pitch to renew my membership
arrives in my mailbox Saturday. My membership doesn't expire till
March of next year. There's a cheezy simulated check for four
dollars signed by the president and CEO, and the offer of a free
headset bag, both of which are mine if I'll just give AOPA my
credit card number and sign up for automatic renewal. Presumably,
they'll charge my card months before I'm due. And the regular dues
have gone up to $45.
But the topper? There, on the front page of the letter,
underlined and highlighted in yellow, it says I should sign up for
auto-renewal to "Help AOPA spend less money on mailings, more money
Really? The AOPA Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance
is advertised on the website as providing, "...supplemental
protection for all pilots, guaranteed." But a few lines down I'm
excluded, because I fly Experimental Amateur-Built rotorcraft. Same
with the renters insurance.
Another paragraph holds a promise from the CEO that "every
dollar I can save on operating expenses will go directly to
promoting and protecting general aviation." Forgive me if recent,
conspicuous expenditures by AOPA make me skeptical.
Guys, be careful urging us to save the trees. I'm already
thinking about how I might stop all the junk mail next March, and
it's not the tactic you seem to have in mind.