AOPA Membership Tops A Record 400,000
AOPA did "it"
today. AOPA surpassed 400,000 members, a new record for the
world's largest civil aviation organization. That also places AOPA
among the top 100 associations of any kind in the nation.
"The significance of 400,000 members is what it really means to
general aviation pilots," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "It means
that pilots have an extraordinarily powerful advocate before the
regulators and the legislators. They can't ignore 400,000
committed, passionate aviators and voters. And AOPA is their
Today, more than 61 percent of all of the
nation's pilots - and three-quarters of the general aviation pilots
- are AOPA members. AOPA President Boyer announced the new
membership record to AOPA's 210 employees gathered at the
association's Frederick, Maryland headquarters and its offices in
Washington, D.C., Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kansas. As Boyer
unveiled an electronic tote board with a new membership number of
400,156 the announcement was carried live via an intranet to all of
The association has enjoyed remarkable growth in the last
quarter century, even during periods when the total pilot
population was declining. In 1977, AOPA had 200,000
members, about 26 percent of the total pilot population.
By 1989, membership grew to 300,000, about 43
percent of all pilots.
Even in the uncertainty following
the September 11 attacks, AOPA membership grew by more than
"I think that demonstrates two things," said Boyer. "General
aviation pilots remain optimistic about the future of aviation in
this country. A January survey of AOPA members showed that 67
percent were optimistic about GA's future. And pilots believe that
AOPA can help ensure that future."
The secret of AOPA's strength on issues is its large
membership of individuals - pilots who care about national and
community affairs. And AOPA members are voters - more than 93
percent voted in the last presidential election, compared to 51
percent of the general population.
"Politicians and bureaucrats do pay attention to numbers,
validating the old adage that there is strength in numbers," said
Boyer. "When we go to Congress, FAA, TSA or any of the regulators,
400,000 has a special ring. Speaking with one voice for so many
members - particularly members who vote and contribute to political
campaigns - gains AOPA access and special credence. No other
organization can match that."
Such a large member base also gives AOPA extra buying
power when working with AOPA Certified partners. Knowing that they
have such a large potential pool of customers in a single place
means vendors are willing to cut better deals.
"When AOPA's founders launched the association 64 years ago,
they probably could not have foreseen such a large organization,"
said Boyer. "What they did foresee was a vocal advocate for general
aviation, keeping GA fun, safe, and affordable. With 400,000
members backing us up, that's definitely what we've become."