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Working together for the greater good
AOPA and EAA sign memo of understanding
By Barbara A. Schmitz,  EAA AirVenture Today

Photo by Aaron Lurth
EAA's Tom Poberezny, left, and AOPA's Craig Fuller give a thumbs up acknowledging the Memorandum of Understanding signed by both organizational leaders Wednesday.

July 29, 2009 - Oshkosh, WisconsinOn perhaps the only unoccupied patch of concrete on AeroShell Square, the presidents of AOPA and EAA today signed a memorandum of understanding to invigorate cooperation and collaboration between the two organizations.

EAA President and Chairman Tom Poberezny and AOPA President and CEO Craig L. Fuller arrived at the news conference in Red 3, Poberezny's convention VW, from a gathering of EAA chapter leaders and volunteers. Poberezny noted that, during the preceding discussions and in numerous other ongoing communications with members, the desire among the general aviation community for closer collaboration between AOPA and EAA is regularly reinforced.

"This document is important … but it's a piece of paper," Poberezny said. "We can talk the talk but we have to walk the walk. You, the members of our organizations, have told us it's your expectation that we put this into action. We can and we will."

Fuller also focused on the rank-and-file perspective. Underscoring the good relationship between the two association presidents, he added, "To truly make this real, we have to get all the people of general aviation working together. We represent the two largest pilot organizations in the world. Each has strengths, and we'll get stronger working together," Fuller said.

Poberezny will join Fuller and AOPA as a one of general aviation leaders who will open the AOPA Aviation Summit in Tampa, Florida, on November 5, 2009. In addition, EAA will play a role in several forums and events at the Summit.

The leaders of both organizations also plan to host a general aviation roundtable discussion with other industry stakeholders in the first quarter of 2010.

Under the memorandum of understanding, AOPA will encourage its members to support EAA's Young Eagles program, providing first flight opportunities for youth and planting seeds for long-term growth of the pilot population. EAA will use its grassroots network to support AOPA's General Aviation Serves America campaign, which seeks to address the root cause of many of GA's challenges-a poor or non-existent public perception of general aviation.

The two organizations also strive to work collaboratively on regulatory and legislative agendas helping to protect the future of general aviation, and on safety initiatives that promote safer pilots.

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