New AOPA President Craig Fuller Steps In For Boyer
On Dec. 31, 2008, Phil Boyer stepped down as AOPA's third president and handed the reins of the general aviation advocacy group to incoming president, Craig Fuller, who spoke of the challenges and opportunities he sees ahead. Fuller has already met with the Obama administration's transition team and written the incoming president to express AOPA's eagerness to work with the president-elect toward the goals of modernizing air traffic control, seeking long-term financing of the aviation infrastructure, addressing environmental issues and managing aviation security. "Aviation is an integral part of this country's infrastructure, and economy," Fuller wrote to Obama, "and I can assure you that AOPA is ready to work with you on the pressing issues facing the aviation industry." Fuller steps into his office committed to AOPA's support of passenger ticket taxes and general aviation fuel excise taxes in the place of a proposed user-fee system as a source of funding for the FAA.
He has urged the Obama team to select an FAA Administrator who has both technical and labor-relations skills together with an understanding of the aviation industry and political savvy. He's also urging the development of a specific plan to define the benefits, equipment needs and goals of a NextGen system to facilitate its acceptance in the general aviation community and thereby facilitate its implementation. But Fuller is also aware that he is taking the reigns in the midst of a 30-year slide in the number of active pilots. AOPA "is determined to reverse" the downward trend in the pilot population. The organization says it "has committed millions of dollars to do so, with or without government or industry support." Currently, the centerpiece of those efforts is AOPA's Let's Go Flying web site.
Late last year, AVweb's Paul Bertorelli sat down with then incoming AOPA president Craig Fuller for a video interview. Meet AOPA's new boss here.