Our Mission!

by Craig L. Fuller
President & CEO Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association

As we enter 2013, we face a great deal of uncertainty. But even in the face of the unknown, there is one thing we can be absolutely certain about: our mission. Put in the simplest of terms, AOPA’s mission is, and always has been, protecting our freedom to fly. That was the vision of our founders some 74 years ago, and it remains our vision today.

I have the opportunity to meet and talk to thousands of our members each year. And every time I do, you reinforce the relevance of that mission and our priorities. This is what I have come to believe:

1.  AOPA must remain the strongest advocate for general aviation. Our mission of preserving the freedom to fly connects each and every one of us, no matter what we fly, how often we fly, or why we fly. Even when we no longer fly ourselves, we recognize the need to protect that freedom for future generations of pilots.

2.  We must share our passion for general aviation with our fellow pilots and all of those exploring the freedom to fly. Sharing knowledge and information through our print and electronic media makes all of us better pilots who are safer, more engaged, and better prepared to welcome those who wish to join our ranks.

3.  We must build the pilot community, increasing the numbers of those who learn to fly, while promoting cost-effective ways to keep certificated pilots in the air.

These are the priorities you, our members, have set out for us, and they will guide everything we do in 2013 and beyond.

Priorities and values are a critical touchstone, but fully realizing our mission means turning those ideals into strategically planned action. And in the face of a shrinking pilot population, a tough economy, and an increasingly complex regulatory environment, that means tackling each challenge from more than one perspective. There is no single solution to any of the issues facing GA. That’s why, for example, we created the “Center to Advance the Pilot Community,” creating one place to house a range of programs designed to build the pilot population and keep today’s pilots flying.

Thus far, we’ve been very successful in preserving our freedom to fly, even as that same freedom has dwindled or perished in nations around the world. But we also understand that the fight must continue. We can’t rest on our past success, and we can never declare victory. We must keep innovating and evolving while we build on what we know works. Stay tuned. We’ve got some great new ideas coming in 2013!

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