Published in Midwest Flyer – June/July 2020 issue
FREDERICK, MD – Realizing that his members may be wondering what they can or cannot do during the current Coronavirus Pandemic, and what the future holds for general aviation, AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker livestreamed to his members on April 22, 2020. AOPA Senior Vice President of Marketing, Jiri Marousek, presented Baker with questions from members, such as “can I go flying,” and “what about losing my currency,” to “is the value of my aircraft better now than before the pandemic?” Baker and Marousek hosted this virtual discussion while socially distancing from their respective homes.
Baker first commended his “team” at AOPA for adapting to working from their homes and continuing to provide members with the services they need and depend on.
One of the first questions had to do with “renewals,” from annual inspections and biennial flight reviews, to medicals. Baker stated that he and AOPA’s Washington staff have been working with the FAA to address this issue. “Renewal dates are coming up as fast as always,” said Baker, “and we have been disappointed on how long this is taking.” Baker assured members that the GA Caucus has likewise been urging the FAA to move swiftly on this issue.
What about airports? Will airports continue to stay open during the pandemic?
“Airports have been recognized as essential,” said Baker. “The FAA has not closed any airports and municipalities don’t have the authority to close them.”
When can we go flying again?
Baker urged members to check out the AOPA.org website for information on policies issued by individual states.
“I believe that GA will get a boost out of all of this and careers in aviation will continue, especially in general aviation,” citing the increased demand for both personal and business aviation.
“I think there will be a lag in tourist travel. However, business travel will come back more quickly.”
For aircraft that have been sitting around for a while since the pandemic began, Baker urged owners to do a very thorough preflight inspection before their next flight, and to keep up their maintenance.
Has the value of my airplane increased, decreased or stayed about the same?
“Aircraft values should hold pretty good,” said Baker. “If you have a good used airplane with modern avionics, it is very sellable!”
As for new aircraft sales, AOPA is working with manufacturers to offer buyers as much as a zero-interest rate for two years.
The question of fly-ins came up. AOPA had to cancel its first event in San Marcos, Texas scheduled in May, and has postponed its fly-in at Casper, Wyoming, originally scheduled in June 2020, until 2021. AOPA’s Rochester, New York event, September 11-12, 2020, is still a go at this time. Contact AOPA membership services for additional information: 800-872-2672.
As of press time, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh was still a go, but Baker said that EAA officials will have to make a decision – one way or another – in the next few weeks, whether that event will be held as scheduled.
To listen to Mark Baker’s complete interview, go to