AOPA Sets Agenda For 2007

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"We must increase the number of student pilots," says AOPA President Phil Boyer, in setting out his priorities for the coming year. "For our own survival, we must grow the pilot population ... [or] general aviation will become here what it is in much of the rest of the world -- something enjoyed only by some businesses and the wealthy few," he said. At one time, there were more than 800,000 active pilots in the U.S., but now this number has dropped below 600,000. To encourage more people to start flying, Boyer is asking all pilots to step forward and mentor a newcomer. He also encourages pilots simply to fly more often, which not only keeps skills sharp, but creates more opportunities to bring passengers aloft and introduce them to the benefits of general aviation. "The greater the pilot numbers, the stronger our voice," says Boyer, and that strength will be needed to fight the user-fee battle in Washington.