Transportation Experts Blog


Craig L. Fuller

Biography provided by participant

Craig Fuller became the President and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) on January 1, 2009. He is only the fourth person to hold this position since AOPA was founded in 1939. He brings to this position a career that includes senior public affairs positions in business, association leadership and executive positions in the Federal government, including eight years of service in the White House from 1981 to 1989. Fuller has a well-developed sense of the general aviation community having been a pilot for more than 40 years. He learned to fly at Buchanan Field in Concord, Calif., while still in high school and continued to fly while a student at UCLA. Business travel in his early career led to the purchase of a Cessna 172RG Cutlass. Today, he regularly flies more than 200 hours a year in his Beechcraft A36 Bonanza and holds single, multiengine and instrument ratings as well as having been a member of AOPA since 1973. As AOPA president, Craig Fuller leads the largest and most influential aviation organization in the world. AOPA membership has grown to more than 400,000 - a number that represents more than two thirds of all certificated pilots in the United States. With a staff of more than 200 professionals and operations in two states and the District of Columbia, AOPA provides a wide variety of services to its members worldwide. No stranger to politics and Capitol Hill, Fuller moves through the Halls of Congress and the Administration in Washington as often has he visits airports and pilots around the country. He is the Chairman of AOPA's Political Action Committee, an important role to insure that elected officials who defend general aviation receive support from the pilot community. Additionally, he testifies and engages in other forums at the national and state level to represent the interests of general aviation. In addition to the role of communicating to and on behalf of the membership, Fuller spends time reaching out to broader audiences who benefit from but do not fully understand the role general aviation plays in the lives of millions of Americans. Whether recruiting new pilots or just helping business leaders and others understand how general aviation works for them, Fuller is a vocal ambassador for the advantages of general aviation. While most of the role of President at AOPA involves work inside the United States, Fuller was elected President of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations, representing 66 national AOPA organizations with more than 470,000 pilot members around the world. His responsibilities at AOPA include serving as the Publisher of AOPA Pilot Magazine, the world's largest and most influential aviation publication. He writes regularly for the magazine and contributes to AOPA's growing presence in the blogosphere. He serves as the President of the AOPA Foundation and travels throughout the country to build support for the Foundation, which has the vital mission of enhancing the understanding of general aviations important role in today's transportation system as well as supporting the critical work of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. For all of this, Fuller draws on his Washington, D.C., experience as Assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs (1981-85) and Chief of Staff to Vice President Bush (1985-89). His business positions have included service as President or Vice Chairman of leading public affairs firms. His association experience includes service on the US Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Executive Committee and leading a health care association as President and CEO for more than six years. Fuller is a frequent speaker on aviation, advocacy and leadership topics throughout the United States and is a sought-after commentator on political developments. With his business, political and association background, Craig Fuller enthusiastically represents America's pilots and aircraft owners with passion, conviction and a desire to ensure that the best days of general aviation remain ahead of us!

Recent Responses

January 9, 2013 10:45 AM

We all know that living with uncertainty is a challenge—and the FAA has been dealing with uncertainty for quite some time. Administrator Huerta’s confirmation ends some of that. Huerta’s track record as a collaborative problem solver is good news for the general aviation community and the aviation industry as a whole. By actively engaging organizations like RTCA and MITRE, Huerta has helped spur consensus-building on tough issues like NextGen modernization and managing the exploding interest in unmanned aircraft. He’s taken a similar, collaborative approach to supporting the Aviation Rulemaking Committee process for handling issues related to transitioning to a lead-free aviation fuel and simplifying certification rules for small airplanes. It’s an approach that ensures stakeholders have a seat at the table and the policies that emerge make sense in the real world.

But Huerta’s appointment doesn’t mean an end to uncertainty at the FAA—and we can expect the agency to face some serious challenges in the coming months. Reaut

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