Saturday, 20 November 2010

AOPA Summit 2010 Long Beach, California

I've been to pretty much every AOPA Expo for the last fifteen years (it's only been called AOPA Summit for the last two), and sadly 2010's event was the smallest I can remember.

It's not entirely AOPA's fault, the GA market is going through some pretty lean times right now, but nonetheless exhibitors were thinner on the ground than normal. Most of the big names were there, but a few were missing, or had a reduced presence. The opening sessions, always a great start to the day providing both information and a sense of community have gone, and this year they were replaced by 'AOPA live' an event that is logically better, but that somehow misses the mark.

At the same time there's a little anti AOPA vibe going on in some quarters. Both of the big US online news sites, ANN and Avweb, ran less than positive stories about AOPA, and I heard more than a few members grumbling about the rise in membership fees and the $250 ticket price for the closing banquet (no, I didn't go).

It's a shame, AOPA does a HUGE amount of positive work for GA and thanks to its size, AOPA US makes a significant contribution to IAOPA, so wherever we fly in the world we benefit from having not just a strong local AOPA, but a strong US AOPA.

Next year's event will take place in Hartford Connecticut from 22 to 24 of September, much earlier than usual in order to benefit from the 'fall colors'

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