As an individual owner not subject to accelerated depreciation and the ability to buy a new aircraft every couple of years I have a little different perspective of the role of Cirrus Aircraft within the priorities of COPA. I will never be able to afford another new airplane delivered from the showroom in Duluth. That said:
In a few years time COPA will find itself more interested in marketing to the overall aviation market rather than aligning itself with Cirrus Aircraft. Its a simple matter of market economics not a matter of taking sides. At the size and age of the current fleet the vast majority of Cirrus airplane transactions do not involve the Cirrus Aircraft company. Most of the dollars changing hands will involve used aircraft, equipment upgrades, and maintenance. Owners will benefit from attracting non Cirrus owners into the used airplane market and maintaining values relative to other used aircraft. As a matter of fact, each new upgrade from Cirrus diminishes the value of your existing airplane. Good for new buyers, not so much for the rest of us.
In the beginning there was no COPA without Cirrus Aircraft. Now faced with declining membership as a percentage of fleet size COPA should take a moment and understand who its customers are. MAPA (Mooney Aircraft Pilots Assoc) has endured through several ownership changes and complete stoppages in new aircraft manufacturing. Do you really think a Mooney owner cares what the next ownership structure will look like? What products are on the drawing board? MAPA cares about servicing the fleet, safety education, maintaining airplane values, and a technology upgrade path from the OEM base. The MAPA meeting will take place, as always, in Kerrville even though not a single new aircraft has been produced for some time.
I wasn’t party to any of the conversations but it appears from here that COPA had to choose between ANN’s involvement and Cirrus. Not an enviable position. Maybe this year was the right call, but the answer could be different in the near future.