AOPA UK is affiliated to the council of International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations (IAOPA) - the largest General Aviation membership Association in the World. Read more about us below.

AOPA UK is an affiliate of The International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) is a nonprofit federation of 82 autonomous, nongovernmental, national general aviation membership organisations. Since 1962, IAOPA has represented international general aviation around the world. The combined total of individuals represented by these constituent member groups of IAOPA is nearly 400,000 pilots, who fly general aviation aircraft for business, fun, and personal transportation. Join us and join the fight to protect and grow general aviation.

In its role as a participant and contributor to ICAO’s mandate, IAOPA participates in a number of Panels, Working Groups and Study Groups to add its GA expertise and to assure that the needs of GA are not overlooked as the wording for SARPs (Standards and Recommended Practices) are generated. 

  • To facilitate the movement of general aviation aircraft internationally, for peaceful purposes, in order to develop friendship and understanding among the peoples of the world and to increase the utility, of the general aviation airplanes as a means of personal and business transportation;
  • To coordinate with other international and national organisations to promote better understanding of general aviation's requirements and further the interests of the membership;
  • To integrate the views and requirements of member organisations with regard to international standards, recommended practices, procedures. facilities and services for international general aviation, providing forums as appropriate for meetings of representatives of the member groups;
  • To advance the interests of general aviation internationally and to represent the membership on matters of interest to general aviation at pertinent meetings of the International Civil Aviation Organization, WMO, ITU, EU, etc.;
  • To encourage the implementation of planned systems, facilities, services and procedures in order to promote flight safety, efficiency and utility in the use of general aviation aircraft;
  • To encourage representatives of national general aviation member groups to meet with and work with their national authorities in the interest of promoting better understanding, enlightened regulation and adequate facilities for general aviation;
  • To encourage the collection from ICAO Contracting States and dissemination by ICAO of information, data and statistics relating to general aviation to provide a meaningful base for development of technical programs.

IAOPA Policies and Positions.

We represent the interests of General Aviation (GA) in the UK through our lobbying and contact at Government, Regulatory and Local levels. Our aims and objectives are in line with those of IAOPA and the specific needs of our members.

General aviation is defined by ICAO as "All civil aviation operations other than scheduled air services and non-scheduled air transport operations for remuneration or hire." Our interest is the whole of GA and not just a specific sector.

Unlike other aviation associations in the UK, AOPA does not have any potential conflict of interest with Government or Regulatory bodies. We do not issue licences and are not co-regulators. This gives us total independence and are free to represent our members in whatever part of GA they are interested in.

We retain our links to our fellow national AOPA's in Europe and worldwide through IAOPA, giving us the widest influence of any UK aviation association.

The cost of our work is borne by our members, even where the whole of GA benefits. With more members we would have more resources to fund wider activities and have a stronger voice.

AOPA UK Principles

  • No national regulation should impose more stringent restrictions on GA than those stated within the ICAO Annexes except, subject to genuine consultation, to meet reasonable local considerations.
  • Where regulations affecting GA are proposed these shall be subject to genuine consultation, be proportional and be risk based on evidential data.
  • No regulation should be introduced that places unreasonable costs on GA and, in principle, the beneficiary of any such regulation should meet such costs.
  • The UK Government should remove regulatory barriers to the development of GA and Aerial Work in the UK and provide incentives to help GA achieve environmental goals.
  • All aircraft should have the right of access to public-use aerodromes on affair an reasonable terms.
  • All non-commercial GA operations should have the right to self-handle at any public-use aerodrome.
  • The CAA, with the support of the DfT, should implement the provisions of ICAO Annex 9 (Facilitation), that state, in part:

“Adequate measures should be taken to ensure convenient parking and servicing of aircraft of all types and categories — regular, non-scheduled and general aviation aircraft — in order to expedite clearance and operations on the apron and to reduce aircraft ground stop time.”

  • No development should be allowed in the vicinity of an aerodrome that will affect operations or result in neighbourhood campaigns to restrict operations or close an aerodrome.
  • The sale of aerodrome property for non-aviation purposes that do not benefit operations should be discontinued.
  • Publicly and State owned aerodromes should not be sold to private operators without a government sponsored hearing on the issue. The desired result of the hearing would be a written agreement for the aerodrome to continue as a public use facility as part of a document and agreed national aerodrome infrastructure.
  • Eliminate barriers that unduly impede or restrict the use of airspace by general aviation and aerial work flights, such as restricted areas and closely controlled airspace not necessary for the safe and efficient control of air traffic. Controlled airspace should be the minimum required to support the safety of commercial air transport flights not the maximum.
  • Simplify airspace structure and reduce controlled airspace to minimum amounts needed for the safe and efficient flow of air traffic.
  • Provide a maximum amount of uncontrolled airspace, particularly at lower altitudes, for VFR traffic.
  • Where classes of Controlled Airspace (CAS) are required it should either be D or C as both accept VFR. However all CAS needs to be reliably serviced by a controller as permission to enter is required. Therefore AOPA want to see improvements in access being granted, with more investment being made to support services for all airspace users where CAS exists.
  • Whilst AOPA supports Electronic Conspicuity (EC) we want to see a cooperative surveillance environment.
  • Provision of air navigation and communications facilities that are adequate to the needs of general aviation.
  • Requirements for additional/new equipment necessary to operate in the airspace system should not be imposed with less than seven years lead time.
  • Encourage development of a multipurpose satellite system that will provide navigation, communications, surveillance, collision avoidance and search and rescue information.  Multiple satellites/systems should be avoided to preclude investing in multiple systems/receivers. Satellite systems should be shared with other users to achieve maximum economy for general aviation users.
  • Re-instate access to EGNOS LPV signal and approaches unless/until a fully functional and compatible alternative service is available and free at point of use.
  • The CAA and DfT should fund accelerated standardisation and experimental evaluation by general aviation and aerial work users of such technologies to allow early use of enhanced navigation and communications techniques that meet international standards and will provide efficiency and safety benefits.
  • The integrity of the aeronautical frequency spectrum must be protected.
  • The 108-112 Mhz frequency spectrum currently used for ILS localizer signals should be retained for aeronautical use regardless of any ILS service termination dates.
  • ACAS/TCAS should not be required for small general aviation or aerial work aircraft.
  • As new technology becomes available, including low cost portable solutions, such as ADS-B and SWIM (system wide information management), AOPA will encourage the CAA to remove controlled airspace where technology is able to provide the solutions for known/known intent environment.
  • AOPA accepts that GA must remain sensitive to the environmental concerns of the public and take steps to educate both the public and members about the relative merits of their mutual concerns.
  • AOPA recognises that Aircraft owners and pilots should do their utmost to be good neighbours to the non-flying public. One of the main objections is aircraft noise. AOPA’s position is that noise reduction equipment certified to international standards should be accepted without any supplementary national requirements and costs.

AOPA is keen to promote the use of unleaded fuels: 

  • Make unleaded aviation fuel more generally available and at an attractive price. Gain DfT support to encourage airfield installations, national fuel distribution and a temporary tax break.
  • Make it easy for pilots to know whether their aircraft can use unleaded aviation fuel. eg placards by fuel filler caps and new information added to G-INFO to facilitate lookup.
  • Encourage people buying new aircraft to only consider models that are clearly capable of running on unleaded fuel.  
  • Pursue the authorisation of a higher octane unleaded fuel for those aircraft not able to run on the current unleaded variants. A leading European contender is under trials and should be prioritised.
  • Encourage the introduction of electric aircraft charging facilities widely at airfields.
  • General aviation aircraft certification and continuing airworthiness standards should not impose unrealistic or excessive measures beyond those required for the safe and economical operation of aircraft.
  • Maintenance schedules should be appropriate to the operation and not be unduly restrictive.
  • Owner/operator maintenance should be permitted to the maximum extent possible for non-commercial aircraft operations, should the owner/operator wish to do so.
  • All maintenance programs should be designed to achieve safety at a reasonable cost.
  • Urge the CAA to adopt as mandatory requirements for non-commercial aircraft only the provisions specified in the airworthiness limitations of the approved maintenance manual, Type Certificate Data Sheets (TCDS), or an airworthiness Directive (AD), and not any other manufacturers’ recommendations contained in Service Bulletins, Service Instructions and Service Letters relating to power plants, their accessories and airframes and their components.
  • AOPA continues to press the DfT to enter into appropriate bilateral agreements for aircraft maintenance standards.
  • AOPA continues to press the DfT to enter into appropriate bilateral agreements for flight crew licensing and training standards.
  • AOPA continues to press the DfT to apply zero rate VAT to professional flight training.
  • AOPA continues to press the CAA for a single pilot licence that can cover all flying activities with appropriate training and ratings with common revalidation standards and ICAO compliance where flight outside UK Airspace is required.

AOPA represents General Aviation businesses involved in Training, Airfield Operations, Aircraft Maintenance and GA Trade Services.

The majority of Authorised Training Organisations (ATOs) and Declared Training Organisations (DTOs) in the UK are Corporate members of AOPA.

Through the Training and Education Committee we represent ATOs and DTOs directly with the CAA who attend the meetings. Only ATOs and DTOs who are members are able to put issues to the Committee for discussion.

Through the AOPA Maintainenance Working Group we bring together Aircraft Owners, Maintainers and the CAA. Membership of the group also includes LAA inspectors and engineering personnel.

All Corporate members are promoted through the AOPA website and annually in the AOPA UK Magazine Corporate Directory, with consent to a listing.

Corporate members can request advice and support for issues affecting their business - saving you time and effort and leaving you to carry on with business. 

AOPA is primarily a lobbying voice for General Aviation, also providing our members with a helping hand when you need us.

A bit like one of the automobile associations - if you break down they are there to help while also lobbying for drivers.

Do you wait until you have broken down before you join, or only take out insurance after you need to make a claim?   

No? Then why wait until you are in need of help to ask to join AOPA?

AOPA stands out above other General Aviation associations as we are totally independent from any external influence other than from our members.

We only take part in organised committees where we are not tied to a collective decision that may not be in the interests of our members, or where working collaboratively with other associations is in the interests of our members.

AOPA does not issue licences nor permits to fly. We are not seen as co-regulators by the CAA and so are not conflicted in our relationship with the CAA or Government departments.

When meet pilots face to face we are asked why should they join AOPA we often hear the following, or similar:

  1. "I've been flying for many years and never needed you" or;
  2. "I know you lobby for our right to fly but what other benefits do I get?".

The main benefit of membership is our lobbying work which is focussed on protecting your right to fly. Unchallenged, regulations affecting your flying would be more restrictive and your costs would be even higher.

Everyone has benefitted from two AOPA wins:

AVGAS duty is 20p per litre, including VAT, less than unleaded petrol (MOGAS). So an aircraft burning 32 Litres per hour and flying an average of 50 hours a year the saving is £320 thanks to AOPA and more than three times the cost of membership. Time to give something back?

There are no en-route navigation charges for aircraft in receipt of an Air Traffic Service below 2000 kg. In UK airspace this would cost around £15 per hour based on an aircraft with a MTOW of 1200 kg and cruising at 100 kts. Time to give something back?   

AOPA membership can also be seen as a form of insurance, where you hope you never need the insurance. If you do. AOPA is there for its members.

We answer on average over 150 requests a year for advice and support, which is a member benefit. These can be in respect of things that have gone wrong, e.g. infringement, maintenance issues, or relating to licence, medical or clarification of regulations for specific personal situations. Our advice has saved money for some, e.g. avoiding the need to defend a prosecution, not needing additional training when misinformed it was required, customs duty refund, avoided someone flying illegally because of misunderstanding CAA publications or many hours searching for a correct answer. Beware of free advice on forums!

In addition we keep our members informed through our magazine, regular email updates and our website.

Secondary to the above, we do have a varying number of member offers, including:

15% off eligible Jeppesen products, subscriptions and databases (excludes Associate members)
5% off fuel at Jersey and Guernsey airports.
5% off eligible online purchases from Pooleys 

All this from under 30p a day for full membership.