This Year's AOPA Summit Will Be Last

Association shifts focus to grassroots events.

AOPA Summit

AOPA Summit

Courtesy of AOPA

AOPA has announced the surprising decision to suspend its annual Aviation Summits and instead hold a number of smaller grassroots events at general aviation airports, reaching members "where they fly."

Incoming AOPA president and CEO Mark Baker announced the change, saying it no longer makes sense for the association to invest in one large event. This year's Summit in Fort Worth, Texas, scheduled for October 10 to 12, will be the last as AOPA prepares to hold more intimate gatherings at airports around the country starting next year.

"One of my biggest priorities is to meet members in venues that truly spark their passion," Baker said. "I want our members to make a personal connection with AOPA, and that is best achieved by meeting them where they fly."

The history of AOPA's annual get together goes back many decades, first as Plantation Party, then as AOPA Expo and more recently under the Aviation Summit name. The 2014 Summit was scheduled to be held next fall in Palm Springs, California.

Baker said the changes give the association an opening "to visit general aviation airports and engage pilots in a much bigger way that is also more affordable and accessible for members." This decision, he said, "is about going out to where our members are, maximizing the number of pilots that we reach on an annual basis. And it will also give me a real opportunity to spend quality time with members and seek their honest feedback in a more comfortable and relaxed setting."

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