The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for the UK is the trading name of the British Light Aviation Centre Limited. Background and business information is provided below.
The origins of AOPA UK go back to 1928 when the 'Council of Light Aeroplane Clubs' was formed as a subsidiary of The Royal Aero Club. The Royal Aero Club also had extensive air racing and social interests as well as general flying interests.
The Council split from the Royal Aero Club after the Second World War and became independent as the 'Association of British Aero Clubs and Centres'.
In 1966 the 'Association of British Aero Clubs and Centres' merged with the 'Aviation Centre of the Royal Aero Club', which had by now also separated off from the Royal Aero Club, to form the 'British Light Aviation Centre Limited', BLAC Ltd, as a company limited by guarantee and not for profit.
As a totally independent non-profit organisation, supporting General Aviation (GA), BLAC Ltd were invited to join the International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (IAOPA) and trade as AOPA UK. Thus AOPA UK, the trading name of BLAC Ltd, was born.
Each member who joins AOPA undertakes to contribute to the assets of AOPA in the event of it being wound up while a Member, or within one year after ceasing to be a Member, for payment of debts and liabilities of AOPA contracted before ceasing to be a Member and of the costs, charges and expenses of winding up for any amount as may be required but not exceeding the sum of One Pound.
Our mission is to represent the interests of our members by “Securing your freedom to fly” through Influence, Assistance and Information.
AOPA act as an influencer of policy and regulation that supports the continued operations, development and the long-term future of General Aviation. This includes businesses, private flying and aerodromes within the United Kingdom, building on our extensive network and relationships.
We provide valuable services to our members through the provision of information and knowledge and provide direct assistance and advice to our members, especially in times of difficulty, allowing them to conduct their operations in a safe, efficient, and enjoyable manner.
General Aviation pilots, aircraft owners, businesses and aerodromes can undertake their flying and associated activity in an efficient, effective and safe manner.
Regulation is proportionate and simple to understand.
Airfields are vibrant places supporting both the aviation and local communities and have all the required infrastructure to operate.
There is a good pipeline of new private pilots and instructors ensuring a strong GA community.
A strong, respected and independent AOPA UK is at the heart of GA, influencing organisations and
supporting members in the pursuit of their aims. Our unique membership services attract new members to AOPA and our members represent a broad range of GA.
We engage with members and other organisations through high quality communications allowing the movement of information into and out of the organisation.
The Companies assets are secure and are utilised to the benefit of our members and developing the organisation.
Our reputation and ability to deliver against the Mission and Vision depend on the values enshrined in all we do.
Leadership - We are at the forefront of ideas generation. We do not simply wait to be asked but take the lead in developing and delivering plans to enact our vision. We inspire others to follow our lead and seek their support to deliver our aims.
Integrity - We are honest with ourselves and others and believe in always acting ethically and for the greater good. We maintain independence so our views and actions are not overly influenced by other organisations.
Respect - We value the opinions of others and welcome ideas and input from everyone. We treat
people well and do not dismiss others’ views simply because they are different to our own.
Accountability - We accept the responsibility for our own actions and recognize that our membership is the heart of organisation.
Service - We will use all our skills, experience and resources to the benefit of our members, the GA Community and the AOPA organisation responding quickly to requests for help and direct assistance.
Engaging - We communicate proactively to members and organisations and listen to their views. We utilise all means of communications improving the flow of information into and out of the organisation.
AOPA Scope & Representation
There are many organisations that represent part of the GA community. Organisations such as the LAA, BMAA and BGA provide regulatory oversight and as such are not truly independent.
To obtain critical services such as permit renewals, pilots and aircraft owners must become members and as such those organisations have a captive market.
They also provide representation for their members and provide services well outside their regulatory activities which are attractive to members who may not need the paid for regulatory services.
AOPA tries to represent the whole of the GA community and it is not a quasi-regulator of flying activities and as such has strength in being able to operate independently of the regulators. Indeed, the IAOPA charter requires each National AOPA "is an independent organization free of any conflict of interest that would damage its credibility or capacity to freely represent general aviation pilots."
We were instrumental in the development and introduction of the UK National Private Pilots Licence (NPPL).
We were the first to campaign for a poor weather rating, which resulted in the IMC Rating (much opposed at first by other associations).
We were successful in having AVGAS treated as a special fuel with a lower rate of duty, currently worth almost 20p per litre including VAT for any aviation gasoline. For an aircraft that burns 30 litres per hour and is flown 50 hours a year that means a saving of £300 - almost 3 times an annual membership of AOPA!
We persuaded EASA not to introduce VFR Navigation charges for aircraft up to 2000 Kg. This concession is saving you around £20 per hour. We continue fighting to retain it.
We were fully involved in the campaign to have the Part-M Aircraft Maintenance regulation reviewed by EASA and replace it with a lighter Part-ML regime for private aircraft.
We were fully involved in the revision of PPL training at EASA and will continue involvement with the UK CAA post EASA.
We have provided personal assistance to hundreds of pilots who have fallen foul of the CAA (and some who have fallen foul of European Regulators), saving many a court appearance.
We have successfully campaigned for an appropriate response to regulatory offences, including infringements, not automatic prosecution.
We have influenced the revision of Flight Training facility regulations, giving Student Pilots a wider choice of where to learn to fly.
We were the first GA Association to seek sensible alleviations during the COVID-19 restrictions.
We are the only GA Association to have an interest in the UK Flight Training Industry through our Corporate membership.
We are committed to ensuring safe shared access to airspace for GA with the increasing use of "drones" and other unpiloted aircraft.
We will focus on making GA environmentally friendly and meet future environmental targets.
We are the only GA Association to be involved with Electronic Conspicuity for GA and take part in Project GAINS, which has led to the UK CAA being able to allow the carriage of non-certified EC devices and a refund offer on the cost of EC devices.
No-one else achieves more, and AOPA continues to help you keep flying and protect your investment in GA.
No-one else has the reach of AOPA together with IAOPA.
Not a member of AOPA but benefitting from any of our past achievements? Time to give something back?
The British Light Aviation Centre Ltd company is managed by Directors who form the Board. The list of current and past Directors is publicly available on the Companies House website.
The day to day running of AOPA UK, the membership association, are delegated to and managed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Martin Robinson, with support from Staff and Board members, Working Groups, Subject Experts and Members Council members through the AOPA Policy and Strategy Committee :
The annual accounts for the British Light Aviation Centre Ltd. (Company Number 874355) and other business information is publicly available from Companies House.
The most recent published accounts can be viewed below: