One of the names that is being quietly discussed as a candidate to replace Craig Fuller as president and CEO of AOPA is Joseph Ratzinger ... who the world knows better as now-former Pope Benedict XVI.
Ratzinger recently resigned the Papacy, and is reportedly looking for an organization that could use his skills in his retirement. It was reported that the former Pope holds a private pilot certificate and a helicopter rating, and often flew the papal helo from the Vatican to Castelgandolfo, his summer retreat.
An internal AOPA memo forwarded to ANN points out that Ratzinger has many of the qualities that could make him a viable candidate for the post. "He is a pilot, and he has international credentials that will make him a strong leader for the international chapters we have. And let's face it, he's infallible. Maybe that will finally get Campbell off our backs," the memo says.
ANN Editor-in-Chief Jim Campbell was unavailable for comment.
The memo indicates that the former Pope has not yet been approached about the idea, and admits that they would have to come up with a very attractive package to lure Ratzinger out of retirement. Another memo discusses the possibility of constructing a balcony at AOPA HQ in Fredrick, MD, from which he could address the membership, and muses about a deal with the White House for a time-share agreement for the use of nearby Camp David. "Maybe we can give him a different retreat to fly to," the memo states.