AOPA president to step down

In an unexpected move, Craig Fuller, president and chief executive officer of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has notified AOPA’s Board of Trustees of his intent to step down from his position.

He plans to remain in his current role until a successor is named. The board will conduct a national search for his successor.

Fuller, who took office Jan. 1, 2009 and is only the fourth president of AOPA since the association’s founding nearly 75 years ago, will assist with the search for a new president and the transition to a new administration.

In conveying his decision to the Board of Trustees, Fuller, 62, noted that he made a five-year commitment to AOPA when he was appointed president. As he approaches the fulfillment of that commitment, he said he is looking forward to taking on new challenges and opportunities.

“I have flown since age 17, and flying has been part of my life ever since,” he said. “I will always be grateful to the AOPA Board of Trustees for having given me the opportunity to serve the general aviation community and AOPA’s 385,000 members in a leadership position. It has been a privilege to work with my colleagues on a strong set of initiatives that have built on the decades of hard work by AOPA Trustees and members of the management team. With the end of my five-year commitment approaching, this is an appropriate time for me to consider new opportunities and allow the board time to recruit a successor.

“The process of finding a new leader can now go forward as all of us at AOPA roll up our sleeves to fight the day-to-day battles that seem to keep coming our way,” he continued. “The team will not miss a beat this year as we lay the groundwork for the future.”

“During his more than four years as president of AOPA, Craig served nobly and professionally,” noted William C. Trimble III, chairman of the board. “He has advocated strongly on behalf of the general aviation community in Washington, built bridges with the other aviation associations, improved member communications and generated promising ideas for tomorrow. We recognize the importance of finding a leader who can continue to inspire all of us in these challenging times. We are focused on finding a leader who shares our vision and convictions as well as the talent and capabilities necessary to achieve our goals.

Trimble, who has chaired the AOPA Board of Trustees since 2005, said the Board will form a search committee shortly and retain an executive search firm to begin looking for AOPA’s new leader.

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  1. Kent Misegades says

    The EAA’s next President? He’d be right at home with the head of Publications who prefers AOPA style of articles on IFR and corporate aviation.

    • Fritz Katz says

      GOOD RIDDANCE! Like Boyer before him, Fuller has been a major player in the ascendancy of irresponsible corporate greed and the elimination of ethics, truth,. and honesty from the traditions of aviation (where they are essential to improving flight safety). A “forinstance” you demand? How about pounding lecterns nationwide and authorizing full page ads and direct mail funding pleas claiming that the Obama budget included $100 per flight fees for light piston aircraft (doubling the price of that weekend hundred dollar hamburger hop in your Cub). An outright lie and he knew it. Yet AvWeb adores and deifies him.

      • John Wesley says

        Actually, I dont blame Fuller as much as Boyer for the current track that AOPA has taken. AOPA has to get off of its high flying, pie in the sky ways and get back to its basic stick and rudder roots, or there will be no GA. It took them 30 years to recognise that there was a new pilot problem in GA, but they still will not take the moves needed to correct the problem.

    • Bryan says

      Extremely tight co-ordination with one political party is not the way for AOPA.

      User fees ideas originated in the Office for the Management of the Budget (OMB) under George W. Bush. AOPA did not lob grenades at W. for this at the time. OMB has continued to advocated for user fees under Obama.

      AOPA and Mr. Fuller, (who came from the Reagan Whitehouse, google his name and you will see), insisted that Obama was to blame for user fees. AOPA has released weekly, (sometimes daily), press releases and produced daily newsletter links to a certain political party’s websites citing all sorts of half truths about this issue. While Obama has not been helpful to GA on this issue, he is no more to blame than W.

      The adversary we need to target, and work against, is OMB. Had Mr. Fuller been able to exert any signifigant effect on the presidential election, and get Mitt Romney elected; OMB would still be advocating for user fees. The nature of an effective effort to oppose this OMB initiative is very different than AOPA has conducted during Mr. Fuller’s tenure.

      Suggest we eliminate the partisan political agenda and work in good faith for the benefit of aviation. AOPA will have a lot more impact, and be much more effective against OMB when it represents all pilots and aircraft owners.

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