New AOPA National Marketing Director Accepts The Challenge

By Eugene Coetzee

“The strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”
Rudyard Kipling; The Law of the Jungle.

As aircraft owners and pilots, we have inalienable rights. The problem is that authority and bureaucracy doesn't necessarily see it that way. This may not be sheer bloody-mindedness, but more in the nature of the beast that is the establishment, and the fact that we are dealing with individuals who may have agendas other than our own.

So how do we respond to this challenge?

Rudyard Kipling knew the answer. There is an enormous strength in numbers, especially when each member of the pack has the same passion, the same aims and the same enthusiasm for the intended outcome of the pack's hunt. The larger the pack, the stronger the leadership, the more definite the result.

AOPA South Africa needs to enlarge its pack. The challenges that face us as an organisation are not terminal, and they are certainly not insurmountable. What is required is a concerted drive to raise membership by spreading the benefits of AOPA membership to a wider community of fliers and Aircraft owners and thereby building on our strengths and bargaining power. Sometimes the pack can overcome adversity by sheer presence: weight of numbers signifies strength, and strength brings about that power - call it democracy, call it rule of strength if you like, it makes no difference.

In the USA the membership of our parent body is more than 400 000 , and it is no surprise that AOPA USA wields considerable influence in aviation matters on that continent.

We need to emulate that example here in South Africa, and start making use of the powers of collective bargaining. It is a well known fact that many a battle has been won merely because the opposing General could count the numbers of his opponents...our battles can be won by persuasion as well as conflict.

The aims of the association will never waver: we need to keep aviation safe and affordable and we need to have a public image that is beyond reproach, not just for ourselves but for future generations who will share our passion. We need to develop strategic partnerships that support our members and provide economic and other collateral benefits for all parties. We need to be visible and viable in world of aviation: a voice that represents the majority of people who are involved in flying on all levels and whose voice needs to be heard and heeded in matters that concern us.

If you are a member of AOPA already , please consider spreading the word to fellow pilots and Aircraft owners. If not and you realise the benefits of belonging to AOPA SA , that will look out for and build on your interests, please contact me at or 083 251 7457
I will provide all the necessary information and advice to potential members; we just need to reach out and build the pack.

The opening stanza to the above quote was: 'The strength of the Pack is the Wolf...” We need more wolves: let's make AOPA SA the wolf pack it can be through enthusiasm and a concerted building process.


Eugene Coetzee
National Marketing Director

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