I was an AOPA member back in the 1980s and early 1990s when my wife, Rae, and I owned a C172. My first commitment was my daughters and my work, and after getting my instrument and commercial pilot certificates, I didn't feel I had the time to keep the skills up to that level. And if I couldn't fly at that level, I didn't feel comfortable flying, period.
I recently rejoined AOPA this January when I wanted to try to get back to flying. I completed my bi-annual flight review and then flew solo from Denver to Pittsfield Municipal Airport (KPSF). I have acquired a great instructor who flies a Gulfstream for a living but still loves flying and teaching. I have spent about five hours with him and expect another ten to fifteen between now and May.
Since I hadn’t flown for close to fourteen years, my biggest hurdle was my medical. I would have never gotten back into flying if it wasn’t for the help of AOPA’s incredible medical team, specifically Marianne. She provided the guidance I needed for any questions I had.
I also knew right away that I was going to rely on AOPA insurance now that I was back in the left seat. With a ten-minute phone call and three emails, I was done. I activated my insurance on the ramp in Truckee, CA, just ten minutes before heading to the east coast.
After I had secured my insurance, I started looking for my next plane—a Cessna 735VB—a
nd started exploring some financing options. While my wife and I have a good and long-standing relationship with our bank, it was not excited about processing a loan. I saw that AOPA had a finance division, and with a quick call and some information, I obtained an even better rate than my bank for my $76,500 loan from AOPA Finance.
There was also the issue of whether my ownership would be private or owned by my construction company. This moment was when I relied on AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services. The helpful attorney advised me that putting the ownership in my business’s name would make the most sense.
I’m flying on a regular basis now, and I am so appreciative of AOPA’s wide array of services to help this become a reality. General aviation is hurting, and we are very lucky to have AOPA!