The Pilatus Owners and Pilots Association (POPA) is an independent association comprised of, and controlled by, owners, operators, and pilots of Pilatus aircraft. POPA offers its members an international platform for the exchange of experience and ideas. Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd
POPA’s mission statement is to “elevate the Pilatus experience”. The organisation strives to achieve this goal by offering its members programmes on safety, education, cost savings, communication and operational satisfaction.
Continuous growth in all areas
From its humble beginnings over 22 years ago, POPA has never stopped growing – it now has nearly 400 members, representing over 500 aircraft worldwide. The membership ranges from single airplane owners to the world’s largest Pilatus fleet operator.
Over the years, POPA has added programmes and resources to benefit its membership. “Today POPA offers such a variety of programmes that we are confident that any member, regardless of their experience or size of operation, can find several areas of value among our initiatives”, comments current POPA president, Jack Long.
One of POPA’s main events is an annual multi-day owner and pilot meeting. Now in its 22nd year, the Annual Operations & Safety Convention combines educational sessions, networking opportunities, and time to visit with equipment and service providers. More than 150 members attended the most recent convention in mid-June in New Orleans, Louisiana. The next convention will be held in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, from 6 to 8 June 2019.
“We believe sharing information among ourselves is key to maintaining our community and protecting our collective interests. To that end, we offer both a Knowledgebase and Members Forum on our website. The forum is active and deep in content. Our members love to help each other out by sharing information and experience. Our quarterly magazine is also filled with Pilatus specific articles”, Long points out.
Strong focus on safety and training
POPA’s newer programmes focus on training. The “Pilatus Proficient Pilot Programme”, for example, offers a simple way for members to maintain their pilot skills. The “Transition Pilot Proficiency Initiative” offered by FlightSafety International is ideal for those who have recently transitioned to the PC-12. A limited number of positions per year are funded entirely by POPA for the benefit of the members.
Other POPA offerings aim to save operators money. Members have the opportunity to save on fuel, insurance, and annual recurrent training. Each programme alone can save members thousands of dollars.
Direct communication with Pilatus
Advocacy in a cooperative spirit is also essential for POPA and they maintain a direct line of communication with Pilatus. POPA and Pilatus have maintained a consistently positive and productive relationship anchored in mutual trust. “We have evolved as we have grown to become a truly effective voice of the owner and operator community. As the PC-24 comes on-line and the PC-12 community continues to shift how they utilise their aircraft, we will continue to develop new programmes to be responsive to membership needs”, summarises Long.