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Wed, May 18, 2011

Guest Editorial: AOPA Ignoring GA's Problems

Former Member Addresses Open Letter To CEO Craig Fuller

By ANN Contributor Bob Miller, CFII, ATP

Dear Mr. Fuller:


Bob Miller

That's the way my letter of resignation to the president/CEO of AOPA began. In this letter, I expressed my deep disappointment in the direction that AOPA has been moving over the past several years - and even more so since the departure of Phil Boyer.

As an example, the last three AOPA bulk mailings I received to my home over the past couple of weeks aggressively tried to get me to purchase: (1) medical and evacuation insurance for me and my family for $109; (2) Lifeline health screenings for $135; and (3) enrollment in a pre-approved AOPA credit card program.

Keep in mind this is all coming from an organization that claims to be the "voice of general aviation."

As my U.S. postal mail box was becoming increasingly stuffed with AOPA promotional junk mail, my e-mail box was becoming packed with even more spam mail. Today, for example, AOPA aggressively sought my purchase of expanded legal services insurance.

This continual outflow of junk mail and spam from AOPA makes AARP and the NRA's member solicitation program look like kid stuff. It has simply gotten out of control.

GA's big problems are ignored

Any modern day thinker realizes that organizations must explore all possible revenue producing activities if they are to successfully underwrite their primary mission. Unfortunately, however, the pursuit of these questionable revenue producing activities HAS become AOPA's primary mission. Anybody interested in Florida real estate?

The fact that we GA pilots have a horrible and unrelenting accident rate receives barely a mention from AOPA. That's troubling in itself. The fact that others like SAFE (Society of Aviation and Flight Educators) are trying to do something about this problem and AOPA's CEO cannot find the time to participate is even more troubling.

Perhaps AOPA's greatest indignity is claiming that its Air Safety Institute (ASI), under the questionable leadership of Bruce Landsberg, fulfills AOPA's safety mission - then claims that the ASI is a separate and distinct organization is nothing other than spinning a message that only utter morons could accept as valid.

I've been a dues paying member of AOPA for nearly 25 years. As an active flight instructor and now operating one of the largest flight schools in the eastern portion of the United States, I've always kept AOPA membership forms readily available for my students. To continue doing so in the face of what AOPA has become is sheer folly.

Today's flight students (and most active pilots) have far too many expenses to fritter away $40 or $50 a year on AOPA's commercial bulk mailing machine.

My suggestion to our readers is that they follow my example and yank the plug on AOPA. You'll not only save a few dollars a year, the huge volume of junk mail coming into your postal box and email account will drop precipitously.

On the other hand, if AOPA ever decides to change the utterly senseless direction it is pursuing, I might once again lend them my support.

In summary, just when general aviation needs very strong representation and leadership in areas that threaten its very existance, it is a pity that AOPA has to wander around the pursuit of wine clubs (which it has wisely abandoned) and the sale of questionable junk mail schemes while ignoring the threats to our very existance.

'Tis a pity.

Sincerely,
Bob Miller, CFII, ATP

FMI: http://overtheairwaves.com, Comments/Criticism????

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