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#166392 - 01/10/14 10:30 AM AOPA's new "Premier" membership
Curious1 Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 1409
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
frown I've been an AOPA member for over three decades. Until a year or so ago I was pretty "OK" with how the organization treated members. During my membership I've been an ASN, worked issues, and have actively supported the AOPA agenda. A year or two ago AOPA set up a new, third tier of membership. This new class of membership was marketed as really 'exclusive'. It was for the 'special' folks who have the bucks to buy in. To emphasize the class system they called this new membership "Premier" and touted instant access, unique privileges, a personal 'navigator' (I wonder if that's where the term came from in the ObamaCare roll out?),etc. This comparison chart shows the differences. Does anyone recall when Bill Clinton turned the Whitehouse into a bed and breakfast, selling the Lincoln bedroom and breakfast with the President to high roller contributors? AOPA's "Premier" membership looks, smells, and feels like the same thing. Anyhow, with great regret, I am no longer a member of AOPA as of Jan 1, 2014.


Edited by Curious1 (01/10/14 10:39 AM)
_________________________
"Safety" simply means "the risk is acceptable" - no more, no less.

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#166401 - 01/10/14 11:08 AM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Curious1]
oilwell1415 Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 09/20/12
Posts: 1906
Loc: Tulsa, OK
My faith in AOPA has been slipping for several years. I've been a memeber since I was 13 years old in 1989. The last several years I have not felt that they are really representing the average pilot, but are focused mainly on corporate pilots. Many of the articles in their magazine seem like things I would expect to read in an NBAA magazine. One big thing that really turned me off was the cost of a life membership, which they don't appear to offer anymore.

The last few years I have been doing life memberships in organizations because it was a cost effective way to avoid having to remember to reup every year. One was for my alma mater alumni association. It is $70/yr for my wife and I to be members, or $1500 for us both for life. The break even point on that is about 21 years. I joined the Academy of Model Aeronautics for life. It's $60/yr for me or $1500 for life. That's a 25 year break even point, plus life members get some benefits that normal members don't get and I got a credit for my previous years of membership. The EAA is $40/yr or $1300 for life for a 32.5 year break even point, plus there are perks for life membership. I fully expect to live long enough to get my money out of all of those memberships plus some. At the time I checked on AOPA their annual membership was $39 (as it was for about 20 or 30 years) and a life membership was $2500, only $2000 of which was tax deductible. That's a break even point of 64 years then, 55 years at the current price. I would have to live and fly into my 90s for that to be worthwhile. I initially expected it was because it included the legal plan, medical assistance, etc. It doesn't. It is nothing more than a way to pry more money out of your pocket so they can support business aviation.

I am still an AOPA member, but only because membership is free as long as you have an aircraft loan with them. Once my loan is paid they will lose my membership unless they can get back on track in supporting private pilots flying 40 year old airplanes. Since I have been an EAA member for the last 3 years I have found that they seem to be a much better representative for private aviation.


Edited by oilwell1415 (01/10/14 11:11 AM)
_________________________
1947 North American Navion N8747H. It isn't the fastest, doesn't have the biggest payload, burns gas almost as fast as I can pour it in the tank and requires lots of TLC, but it's cool as hell and that's why we play the game.

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#166406 - 01/10/14 11:51 AM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: oilwell1415]
Don Phillips Offline
Safety Pilot

Registered: 05/15/13
Posts: 34
Loc: South Texas
Didn't renew my membership awhile back when they raised their annual fee, gave the executives a raise, and stopped sending out the directory. Kept the EAA membership.
_________________________
Don
1967 C172H


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#166407 - 01/10/14 12:05 PM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: oilwell1415]
Awkward Bird Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1060
Loc: San Jose, CA
The whole premier membership thing just looks like something that they're doing to try to get people to put more money in. I don't see anything valuable there that I don't get as a regular member. Its a standard marketing thing to do. I don't like being marketed to by an organization that is supposed to be serving my needs, but I'm not going to stop being a member as a result.

I'm a member of both AOPA and EAA. I'm also a member of the California Pilots Association. I don't get much out of them directly but I believe its important to support the organizations that try to drive the government and agencies that impact us in the right direction.
_________________________
"I fly because I wouldn't want to do anything else." ~ A. Cluff
http://www.aoaflight.com/

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#166411 - 01/10/14 12:39 PM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Awkward Bird]
oilwell1415 Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 09/20/12
Posts: 1906
Loc: Tulsa, OK
That's my issue with AOPA. I don't feel they are driving the government and agencies that impact us in the right direction to benefit us any more. This has mainly been since Phil Boyer stepped down and Craig Fuller took over. Maybe now that Fuller is gone it will return to its roots, but there is a reason their membership has dropped 10% the last few years while EAA membership has increased by about 15%.
_________________________
1947 North American Navion N8747H. It isn't the fastest, doesn't have the biggest payload, burns gas almost as fast as I can pour it in the tank and requires lots of TLC, but it's cool as hell and that's why we play the game.

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#166417 - 01/10/14 01:36 PM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: oilwell1415]
Curious1 Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 1409
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Originally Posted By: oilwell1415
That's my issue with AOPA. I don't feel they are driving the government and agencies that impact us in the right direction to benefit us any more. This has mainly been since Phil Boyer stepped down and Craig Fuller took over. Maybe now that Fuller is gone it will return to its roots, but there is a reason their membership has dropped 10% the last few years while EAA membership has increased by about 15%.


Oilwell, I think you are correct.

I see a huge difference between EAA and AOPA in both governance and structure. AOPA is a corporate, top down organization that survives because it markets products, irrespective of their consistency with its aviation message. For example, does anyone recall "Pilot Chews: the product that keeps pilots going"? Each 'chew' was (and is) laced with caffeine, fats, and sugar - much like the energy shots sold in truck stops. Fatigue is a known factor in accidents. It's easy to find reports on the NTSB site where a tired pilot augured into a mountain with family or friends aboard. Yet AOPA put its name an logo behind Pilot Chews as the "solution to those times when, you know, you just gotta go..." AOPA's marketing is intended to maximize income, regardless of consistency with the AOPA mission. It's gotta support the corporate bureaucracy, doncha know!

I don't believe AOPA. as it exists today, really represents members. Like you, I think Boyer understood the perils of this top down structure. Craig did not. Under Craig's leadership the organization turned into a marketing machine where FAA moves and initiatives were merely grist for fund raising.

On the other hand, I believe that EAA is chapter driven. Unlike AOPA that derives a large proportion of its budget from marketing/royalties/and sales, EAA has a powerful incentive (viability of chapters!) to listen, and serve the collective interests of its members who are loosely represented by their chapters. Sure, AirVenture is a marketing thing, but it's much, much more.

I hope AOPA will reconsider its corporate, top down strategy. It may - the six regional events planned for this year could represent a turning point. I may rejoin AOPA someday. I'd like to. However, I can't, in good conscience do it now. I will not support what it has become.


Edited by Curious1 (01/10/14 01:55 PM)
_________________________
"Safety" simply means "the risk is acceptable" - no more, no less.

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#166418 - 01/10/14 01:45 PM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Curious1]
oilwell1415 Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 09/20/12
Posts: 1906
Loc: Tulsa, OK
Originally Posted By: Curious1
I hope AOPA will reconsider its corporate, top down strategy. It may (the six regional events planned for this year might represent a turning point). I may rejoin AOPA. I'd like to. I can't, in good conscience do it now. I can't support what it has become.


I think you are dead on with that statement and completely understand. If I was paying for my membership I would use the money to by 9 gallons of avgas instead. The magazine kept me onboard for a few years because $39 for a magazine I enjoyed wasn't too bad. Now the mag isn't even that great. Too much rich people aviation in it and not enough of people like us.
_________________________
1947 North American Navion N8747H. It isn't the fastest, doesn't have the biggest payload, burns gas almost as fast as I can pour it in the tank and requires lots of TLC, but it's cool as hell and that's why we play the game.

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#166442 - 01/10/14 03:51 PM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: oilwell1415]
Luvrv8 Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 03/12/10
Posts: 1024
Loc: Camarillo, Ca
I did not renew last year. I too believe the have gotten away from what us little guys care for. The last straw was when AOPA did the China air show promoting general aviation. They knew that one of their performers had his ticket revoked by the FAA, still allowed him to fly there and he crashed killing his interpreter and himself. I was outraged that they let him fly filling a innocent lady knowing his background.
_________________________
1967 172H 2641L. It isn't much but it's paid for and all mine.

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#166465 - 01/10/14 06:48 PM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Luvrv8]
vettdvr Offline
Club Sponsor
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 06/24/10
Posts: 7724
Loc: Slidell La
I am shocked to see the on line courses under the prem membership. I also disagree with this class of membership. Lifetime is ok if you want to pay the $$ but at 68 there aren't enough yrs to justify that expense.

The AOPA flt planner turned from a great program to !@#$#!@%2 and almost non functional about like government health care.
_________________________
Vettdvr

Single/Multi/instrument/type/commercial But then I am still learning.

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#166468 - 01/10/14 07:46 PM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Awkward Bird]
cadcap Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 11/17/11
Posts: 1842
Loc: NW Indiana
I'm with you AB...I enjoy their magazine and the fact that they do advocate for gen. aviation...jet set included...think about how much a corporate jet owner hates misdirected govt. intrusion/taxation and how much more of a vested interest they have in gen. aviation...like it or not we're all in the s**t together... working together will get things smelling better easier. EVER HEAR THE SAYING "DIVIDE AND CONQUER".
I personally enjoy supporting EAA, AOPA, Cessna Pilots Assoc., the South Suburban Chapter of the Illinois Pilots Assoc. AND the Cessna 172Club !!!
_________________________
1967 172H "Bronze Lindy" OshKosh '13


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#166500 - 01/11/14 07:30 AM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: cadcap]
Rusty Rudder Offline
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 02/26/10
Posts: 8363
Loc: Fair Haven New York
I agree with cadcap, these associations are all we have lobbying against the strong arm of big Govmn't. If we all dont chip in a bit ($39), Govmnt will have their way with us and our luv of life, flying !

These associations are probably why we still have and have gained the rights to fly that we have today...

Originally Posted By: cadcap
I'm with you AB...I enjoy their magazine and the fact that they do advocate for gen. aviation...jet set included...think about how much a corporate jet owner hates misdirected govt. intrusion/taxation and how much more of a vested interest they have in gen. aviation...like it or not we're all in the s**t together... working together will get things smelling better easier. EVER HEAR THE SAYING "DIVIDE AND CONQUER".
I personally enjoy supporting EAA, AOPA, Cessna Pilots Assoc., the South Suburban Chapter of the Illinois Pilots Assoc. AND the Cessna 172Club !!!


I enjoy the Flight Training mag over the other, and do agree the other is a bit out of my league per se, for one reason or another I do not find myself reading the other from front to back like I do the Flight Training mag...

Stay united, fight for our rights !
_________________________
Take-off's are optional, landings are manditory


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#166502 - 01/11/14 07:49 AM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Rusty Rudder]
Bigdoggh Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 05/26/11
Posts: 1966
Loc: Georgia
As a newer pilot I get enouigh from my membership to where I'll stay with it for a few years to come and reevaluate. I enjoy a lot of what they offer, and while their focus may have shifetd (I'll take your word for it), there's plenty for me to take advantage of.

_________________________
George - 1972 C-172L


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#166528 - 01/11/14 11:34 AM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Bigdoggh]
Henry M. Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 08/23/11
Posts: 1988
Loc: Leander, TX
It actually seems to me AOPA is changing it's ways and coming back to its GA roots. They are instituting many more regional fly ins (there's one in San Marcos, Tx, near me in April). They are also talking a lot more about things that matter to the small guys, like me. I hope they are successful with the 3rd class medical activities. They've been good about keeping on top of the FAA and then garnering support in congress. I also find the various online courses and quizzes from the Air Safety Foundation useful. At my last BFR, the new instructor had me take a few of these courses before meeting, and it shaved off some time from the ground part of the BFR.

I will keep contributing for the time being. I may also consider joining EAA. I am not very familiar with their products.
_________________________
Henry
1965 C182H

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#166531 - 01/11/14 11:57 AM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Henry M.]
vettdvr Offline
Club Sponsor
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 06/24/10
Posts: 7724
Loc: Slidell La
They were also on top and supported me on the Aircraft/homeland security stops But they still could fix the flight planner.
_________________________
Vettdvr

Single/Multi/instrument/type/commercial But then I am still learning.

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#166543 - 01/11/14 01:23 PM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Henry M.]
Birdman Offline
Bronze Pilot

Registered: 07/05/12
Posts: 667
Loc: Woodland, CA, USA
I too agree that AOPA has drifted away from the grass roots of aviation in favor of the business/corporate aviation segment. I have been a member for 35 years and with EAA for nearly as long. I identify more with EAA events and the articles in the magazine. However I as an advocate in the legislative and regulatory arena AOPA appears to be the most engaged and effective organization for general aviation generally.

A concern I have, speaking as a former lobbyist, is given the direction of AOPA's priorities, who gets included and who gets left out of regulatory solutions when those negotiations happen with the FAA et al? I have no evidence that this has in fact happened and likely never will. But with a membership/interest group as diverse as general aviation choices like that are bound to occur and when push comes to shove who gets taken care of? I have been put in that position myself as an advocate representing a diverse membership a number of times.

On balance I believe we are far better off with what AOPA is doing and will continue to support them with my membership as well as EAA, CPA and others.

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#166622 - 01/11/14 11:07 PM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Birdman]
Captain Sam Offline
Pilot in Command

Registered: 08/27/12
Posts: 470
Loc: KGKY
They gotta put the effort in where their bread is buttered. Folks with Gulfstreams are willing to throw tons of cash at AOPA, but they want their money's worth. I'd bet on the 80/20 rule, we poor folk are actually getting quite a reasonable amount of AOPA's attention relative to the amount of revenue and donations they get from us. The ASF seminars I've been to have all been standing-room only, and probably worth half my membership fee on their own. If not for AOPA, I doubt GA would have survived 9/11.

They've certainly failed to give the premier membership the value that would convince most people to pony up the extra bucks. I bet it either picks up the basic pilot protection services plan as an included (and drops the paper airport phone book) or gets the axe in the next couple years.

FWIW, I'll be expecting my 20 year lapel pin with my renewal packet sometime this month. As much as I roll my eyes at the price increases and the gobs of marketing (especially annoying how much they try to sell me life insurance even after I bought $LOTS from them), but at least it hasn't kept pace with the cost of avgas.
_________________________
Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man.


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#166639 - 01/12/14 06:46 AM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Captain Sam]
Wayne R Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 07/17/12
Posts: 2001
Loc: Central Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Captain Sam
They gotta put the effort in where their bread is buttered. Folks with Gulfstreams are willing to throw tons of cash at AOPA, but they want their money's worth. I'd bet on the 80/20 rule, we poor folk are actually getting quite a reasonable amount of AOPA's attention relative to the amount of revenue and donations they get from us. The ASF seminars I've been to have all been standing-room only, and probably worth half my membership fee on their own. If not for AOPA, I doubt GA would have survived 9/11.


I'm content to let the big planes fund my battle. eek
_________________________
Wayne

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#166642 - 01/12/14 07:17 AM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Wayne R]
XP Driver Offline
Club Sponsor
Gold Pilot

Registered: 01/08/11
Posts: 2407
Loc: Fairfax, Virginia
I still like AOPA. They are fighting the good fight to save airports, get the medical requirements more reasonable, come up with an 100LL alternative, etc. Even if they don't focus on us the resources they make available for all (like their online airport guide) are invaluable.
_________________________


Once you go XP you never go back!

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#166797 - 01/12/14 09:13 PM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: XP Driver]
oilwell1415 Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 09/20/12
Posts: 1906
Loc: Tulsa, OK
My only issue with relying on business aviation to pay the bills at AOPA is that they already have their own organization, the NBAA. This means business has 1.75 organizations representing them and GA has .25 organizations. AOPA has increased dues (which I really don't mind, it was the first increase in a long time), reduced services and changed their focus. I'm glad we have them in the same way I would be glad to still have a job if I got may pay cut by 50%.

Yes, they saved GA after 9/11. They were a different organization 13 years ago when that happened. If we had another 9/11 right now who would they be supporting? We don't know and I hope we don't find out. My suspicion is that their loyalties have followed the money and they will cut GA loose. This is my impression of the Fuller era. Hopefully the new guy will be better, and that is how it looks, but we won't know for sure for a while.
_________________________
1947 North American Navion N8747H. It isn't the fastest, doesn't have the biggest payload, burns gas almost as fast as I can pour it in the tank and requires lots of TLC, but it's cool as hell and that's why we play the game.

Top
#166973 - 01/13/14 05:52 PM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: oilwell1415]
Henry M. Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 08/23/11
Posts: 1988
Loc: Leander, TX
I would give them a few more months to see where AOPA is going. I have seen a marked shift since Craig Fuller stepped down just two or three months ago. They seem to be coming back to GA, but only time will tell.
_________________________
Henry
1965 C182H

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#167438 - 01/16/14 06:35 AM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Henry M.]
Rusty Rudder Offline
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 02/26/10
Posts: 8363
Loc: Fair Haven New York
The amount of work in a fight such as this:

http://www.aopa.org/News-and-Video/All-N...p-searches.aspx

Should motivate any and all aviators to chip in their $39 dollars. Among other services, learning tools, wibinars and on and on should justify your membership.

Of course you know what they say "The cheapest part of aviation is the pilot"
_________________________
Take-off's are optional, landings are manditory


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#167442 - 01/16/14 08:00 AM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Rusty Rudder]
oilwell1415 Offline
Gold Pilot

Registered: 09/20/12
Posts: 1906
Loc: Tulsa, OK
It's $45 now.
_________________________
1947 North American Navion N8747H. It isn't the fastest, doesn't have the biggest payload, burns gas almost as fast as I can pour it in the tank and requires lots of TLC, but it's cool as hell and that's why we play the game.

Top
#167444 - 01/16/14 08:08 AM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: oilwell1415]
vettdvr Offline
Club Sponsor
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 06/24/10
Posts: 7724
Loc: Slidell La
I have AOPA, Legal service, (they did help with the search we had), and have used pilot support. I also learn a lot from the mag tech articles and have donated to the fund. However the flight planner they now use is very limited and only about 10 % of the previous one.
_________________________
Vettdvr

Single/Multi/instrument/type/commercial But then I am still learning.

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#167467 - 01/16/14 10:38 AM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: oilwell1415]
Rusty Rudder Offline
Diamond Pilot

Registered: 02/26/10
Posts: 8363
Loc: Fair Haven New York
Originally Posted By: oilwell1415
It's $45 now.
Yeah, whichever, if anyone has ever fought a fight with the gomn't the 45 beans doesnt go far, so, whatever the admission, AOPA is fighting for our rights, trying to keep us educated, keeping us up to speed and attempting to curb BS rules... (among many other benefits)

Pay up !
_________________________
Take-off's are optional, landings are manditory


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#170232 - 01/31/14 11:44 AM Re: AOPA's new "Premier" membership [Re: Rusty Rudder]
wrecksum Offline
SVP Public Relations
Platinum Pilot

Registered: 09/26/10
Posts: 2704
Loc: Dominican Republic
I just had to renew my AOPA membership, for some reason it's not automatic this time.
Does anyone else reckon it seems much more like a corporation trying to sell stuff than a pilot's help association?

Just feels like it to me now, but I can't put my finger on why that is. Just the commercials for all their insurances and extra payment services etc.

Maybe it's my imagination....
_________________________
A person without a sense of humour is like a wagon without springs.It's jolted by every pebble in the road.

Cessna 172, C172, C-172, Cessna Skyhawk fan.
www.cessna172club.com

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