AOPA and States Strengthen Relationship at NASAO Washington Conference

There has been a long standing relationship between the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the National Association of State Aviation Officials, but perhaps the recent appearance of Craig Fuller, AOPA’s new President, at NASAO’s Washington Conference last week, along with 19 AOPA staff members and regional representatives, might suggest a strengthening of that relationship.   

Not to suggest anything was amiss; the two organizations are more often than not on the same side of the issues, but according to NASAO, for almost a year AOPA’s Greg Pecoraro, Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy and Henry Ogrodzinski, NASAO President, have been working behind the scenes to bring the two organizations closer together during the 2009 conference.      

Fuller spoke to NASAO members and guests during lunch on March 30th about the mounting threats to general aviation and how AOPA is fighting back through the GA Serves America campaign. Fuller said that lately he finds himself thinking that general aviation must look like an easy target, because everyone seems to be targeting us. Fuller said that continued cooperation between AOPA and state officials in responding to threats that include user fees, onerous security regulations and negative public opinion is a must.  

 Photo above (from left to right): AOPA Central Regional Representative, Bill Hamilton
 and Travis Vallin, Director of the Colorado Division of Aeronautics. 

AOPA staffers and Regional Representatives actively participated in forums. Former state aviation directors and now AOPA Regional Reps, Bill Blake, (Illinois) and Mike Ferguson, (Montana) were on hand. AOPA also sponsored an evening networking session for conference attendees.  

Photo above: Andy Cebula, Executive Vice President Government Affairs, AOPA speaks with
Catherine Lang, Acting Associate Administrator for Airports, FAA after her open discussion with session attendees.