|Type||Not for profit|
|Headquarters||Frederick, Maryland, United States|
Chairman of the Board
|Bill Trimble III (2005)|
Vice Chairman of the Board
|Darrell Crate (February 2014)|
President & CEO
|Mark Baker (September 6, 2013)|
The organization started at Wings Field in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. On 24 April 1932, The Philadelphia Aviation Country Club was founded at Wings Field. The country club was the location of meetings of members that founded AOPA. AOPA incorporated on May 15, 1939, with C. Towsend Ludington serving as the first president, AOPA's membership consists mainly of general aviation pilots in the United States. AOPA exists to serve the interests of its members as aircraft owners and pilots, and to promote the economy, safety, utility, and popularity of flight in general aviation aircraft. In 1971 the organization purchased Airport World Magazine, moving its operations to Bethesda, Maryland.
With 384,915 members in 2012, AOPA is the largest aviation association in the world, although since 2010 it has decreased in membership from 414,224, a loss of 7% in two years. AOPA is affiliated with other similar organizations in other countries though membership in the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA). In 2015, AOPA was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.
AOPA has several programs.
- AOPA Foundation, is AOPA’s 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The foundation's four goals are to improve general aviation safety (under the auspices of its Air Safety Institute), grow pilot population, preserve and improve community airports, and provide a positive image of general aviation.
- AOPA Political Action Committee, is just for AOPA members. Through lobbying, it represents the interests of general aviation to Congress, the Executive Branch, and state and local governments. The AOPA PAC campaigns in favor of federal, state and local candidates that support their policies and oppose those who do not through advertising and membership grassroots campaigns.
- GA Serves America, was created to promote general aviation to the public.
- Legal Services Plan/Pilot Protection Services, provides AOPA members with legal defense against alleged FAA enforcement charges as well as assistance obtaining an FAA flight medical. Enrollment in Pilot Protection Services is only open to AOPA members and requires an additional payment above dues. The Legal Services Plan was combined with the former medical program in May 2012 under the name Pilot Protection Services. The Legal Services Plan was created in June 1983.
- Air Safety Institute (formerly the Air Safety Foundation) is a separate nonprofit, tax exempt organization promoting safety and pilot proficiency in general aviation through quality training, education, research, analysis, and the dissemination of information.
AOPA sponsors its own Fly-In and open house in Frederick Maryland. The yearly event started in 1991 with 125 aircraft. By 2001, the attendance grew to 760 aircraft. The event was cancelled for five years after the September 11, 2001 attacks and consequent airspace changes, but resumed in 2006.
- Canadian Owners and Pilots Association – similar organization established in Canada in 1952
- Experimental Aircraft Association – similar organization focused on homebuilt aircraft
- Grady, Mary (2013-08-20). "AOPA Names Mark Baker As New President". AVweb. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- Julie Summers (May 2014). "Where it all began". AOPA Pilot: 30.
- "none". Flying Magazine: 76. August 1945.
- Komons, Nick (August 1989). "none". Air Progress. 51: 62.
- "Mission and History of AOPA". Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
- "none". Air Progress: 20. September 1971.
- IAOPA Statistical Report World Assembly, April 2012, retrieved 2012-08-01
- IAOPA Statistical Report World Assembly, June 2010, retrieved 2012-08-01
- "International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations". Iaopa.org. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- Sprekelmeyer, Linda, editor. These We Honor: The International Aerospace Hall of Fame. Donning Co. Publishers, 2006. ISBN 978-1-57864-397-4.
- "About the AOPA Foundation". Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
- "AOPA Foundation". Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
- "Political Action Committee". Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
- Brown, Sarah (April 20, 2009). "GA Serves America campaign to protect, promote GA". Retrieved 2014-04-14.
- AOPA Pilot June, 1983
- "Air Safety Institute". AOPA. Retrieved 2014-01-23.