Keeping Pilots Safe.
Safeguarding the future of GA.

Hat in the Ring Society Members

AOPA Foundation Hat in the Ring Society


Harrison Ford, Co-Chairman

Harrison Ford, Co-Chair

With instrument and fixed-wing single- and multiengine ratings and a helicopter certificate, Harrison Ford is an experienced pilot who values the utility and joys of aviation. Channeling his passion for the industry, Ford touts its benefits to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Morgan Freeman, Co-Chairman

Morgan Freeman, Co-Chair

Morgan Freeman joined AOPA soon after passing his check ride, and is proud to call himself a Hat in the Ring Society member. Morgan began flying only 10 years ago and like many pilots he wishes he’d started sooner. The more he flies the more he realizes that America’s general aviation system is truly a national treasure, and that as pilots we have a significant duty to protect that treasure.

Michael Goulian

Michael Goulian, Air Show Star, Honorary Co-Chair

Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley, Country Music Icon, Honorary Co-Chair

Dave Coulier

Dave Coulier, Comedian and Actor, Honorary Co-Chair

Chris Meloni

Chris Meloni, Actor, Honorary Co-Chair

Ken Griffey Jr

Ken Griffey Jr., Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, Honorary Co-Chair

Stuart Woods

Stuart Woods, Aviation Author, Honorary Co-Chair

Hat in the Ring Member of the Month

Hat in the RingPaul T. Vesely began his computer programming career working at two most exciting places; Patuxent River Naval Air Station, and Grumman’s Calverton Flight Test Center. The roar of F-14’s, EA6B’s, EF-111’s, P3B NAV MOD’s, etc. was such a motivator, as he developed software initially for mission data reduction of ASW flights at NAS Pax River, then for flight testing at Calverton. One of the highlights of Paul’s software development work was creating a failure status monitor application for the Grumman/DARPA X-29, and spending one Thanksgiving at Edwards to transition the software to NASA, in support of its first flight.

Paul says, “I was 25 years old then, and can say that I actually flew out of Edwards! When I finished work there, one of our chief test pilots flew me in his Bonanza from Edwards to John Wayne field, and that was awesome!”

On July 4, 1986, Paul decided to take an introductory lesson at Brookhaven Airport on eastern Long Island. From there, he was hooked. Vesely trained primarily in Warriors, and passed a nerve-wracking checkride at Islip on March 15, 1987. Paul says, “Let’s just say that the examiner was not very kind. After yelling at me several times during the flight, presumably to create distractions, we finished, and then he pulled out a pink failure slip from his drawer and laid it on the desk. Keeping that failure slip in front of him, he kept me in agony while he shuffled papers for a few minutes, then pulled a temporary certificate out of the garbage. That was my ticket!” After coming back from the checkride, he took his now husband Vince for his first flight in an aircraft. Paul flew for a few years in the Grumman Flying Club on Long Island, before moving to Virginia. He achieved his Instrument Rating in 1993 and Commercial certificate in 1997.

In 1990, he partnered with another individual to purchase a C172. “Establishing a partnership is certainly an easy and most affordable way to aircraft ownership. At that time, we each paid little more than 15K for the aircraft, and 1500 per year in operating expenses to fly”, says Vesely.

“One day” Paul says, “I was coming back on the metro from DC to Vienna, and met two pilots from South Africa who were going to Dulles for recurrent training. They were staying at a hotel in Fairfax but didn’t have a car, so I offered to take them to their hotel. It was a real treat when they invited me to fly the Jetstream 41 simulator the next day.”

Paul is President & CEO of an IT firm, Blue Mountain Data Systems Inc. He also owns Anna Valley Farm, a horse and mustang training facility in Louisa, VA. In addition to Warriors, he has flown numerous single engine piston aircraft; C150, C172, C182, C210, C82R, Arrow and Mooney. He’s received some training in several multi-engine aircraft; Seminole, Seneca, Apache and Navajo. Paul currently owns a TR182, based at Louisa County Airport (LKU) in Louisa.

Vesely has been a supporter of AOPA for 29 years, and a Hat in the Ring Society member for 12 years. Paul primarily flies the northeast corridor to Islip, Stewart and Provincetown, as well as south to Merritt Island, Florida. “Flying is such an attitude adjuster, and I always try to find the time to fly more”.

On May 24th, Paul lost his flight instructor, John J. Quinn, known as JJ. Paul had flown with JJ for years, and he says that he’s still there and will always be in his right seat. He’s “JJ Trained.”

Thank you to all of our 2016 Hat in the Ring Members!

  • Robert Agnew
  • Moazzam Ali
  • Douglas Allred
  • Andrew Alson
  • Bill Anderson
  • Thomas Arthur
  • Mikel Atkins
  • Ronald Baade
  • Donald Baer
  • David Baines
  • Brett Baisden
  • James Baisden
  • Gary Baker
  • Mark Baker
  • Freddie Baker
  • Michael Balkema
  • Andrew Balogh
  • Michael Baraz
  • Robert Barnhill III
  • Lynn Barr Jr.
  • Orhan Baser
  • Morton Bass
  • Arthur Beckwith
  • Joseph Bennett
  • Chris Bennett
  • Steve Benoit
  • Barry Bentley
  • Dierks Bentley
  • Jeffrey Berg
  • Bruce Berkowitz
  • Steven Bernstein
  • James Bersig
  • Jim Black
  • William Blake
  • Earle Blomeyer
  • Stephanie Blomeyer
  • Mark Bluth
  • Clifford Boese
  • Deanna Boese
  • Dwight Bowden
  • Penelope Bowman
  • Raymond Bowman
  • Robert Brahm
  • Barry Brannon
  • Alyn Brannon
  • Jason Breeden
  • Mark Bretz
  • Will Brewer III
  • David Bridges
  • Richard Broderick
  • Jacob Brombach IV
  • John Broome
  • Harold Brown
  • Dale Brown
  • Tony Brown
  • Thomas Brown
  • Hunt Broyhill
  • Phillip Bruns
  • Betty Bucci
  • John Bucher
  • Lawrence Buhl III
  • Bruce Buhr
  • Paul Burger
  • Curtis Burton
  • Bernard Byers
  • Glenn Byrd
  • Neil Cahoon
  • David Cairns
  • John Carr
  • Dale Carson
  • Hans Carstensen III
  • Hans Carstensen III
  • Marshall Carter
  • Peter Chmelir
  • Scott Coatsworth
  • Adam Coffey
  • George Cois
  • T. Colket Jr.
  • John Colman
  • Lawrence Colvin
  • Robert Composto
  • Thomas Conheeney Jr.
  • Carl Conti
  • Thomas Cordingley
  • Mario Corti
  • Dave Coulier
  • Ralph Crafts
  • Barbara Crafts
  • Stephen Craig
  • Darrell Crate
  • James Crawford
  • John Crow
  • Daniel Culkin
  • Charles Curran Jr.
  • Thomas Curtis Jr.
  • Stewart Dall Jr.
  • Michael Dau
  • Joseph Davis
  • Thomas Davis Jr.
  • Paul DeHerrera
  • Laura Del Favero
  • William Denton
  • Donald Deubler
  • Paul Diette
  • Gabrielle Disanza
  • Matt Domenici
  • Frederick Dorroh
  • Michael Draelos
  • Debi Dreyfuss
  • William Dubois
  • James Duda II
  • Marc Dulude
  • Robert Duncan
  • Michael Dunleavy
  • Calvin Early
  • Ray Ebner III
  • William Eischens
  • John Everson
  • Steve Ferree
  • David Fields
  • Gary Fielland
  • Michael Filucci
  • Wallace Fisk
  • Hudson Fitzgerald
  • Harrison Ford
  • Raymond Fortson Jr.
  • Tim Fortune
  • L. Fountain
  • Marc Franklin
  • Morgan Freeman
  • Ian Fries MD
  • James Gabbert
  • John Gabriele
  • A. Denis Gagnon
  • John Gaither Jr.
  • Thomas Garrot
  • Van Gates
  • John Gauch
  • James Gibertoni
  • P. Gilbert
  • Elliot Gindi
  • Joseph Goodin III
  • James Gorman
  • Michael Gottdenker
  • Michael Goulian
  • Mike Gourley
  • Dennis Granquist
  • Sayre Graves
  • Frederick Greene
  • Ken Griffey Jr.
  • Terry Griffin
  • Eduard Guimaraes
  • Kenneth Guthrie
  • Thomas Haas
  • Roger Hamilton
  • Robert Hamilton
  • Mark Hanson
  • Rodney Harbin
  • Bill Harrelson
  • Steven Harrington
  • William Harris
  • James Hassenstab
  • Nick Hatzis
  • Granger Haugh
  • David Haushalter
  • Rhett Hayes
  • James Hefelfinger
  • Thomas Hemphill
  • Tina Herington
  • Peter Herington
  • Michael Herman
  • Steven Higgins
  • Barron Hilton
  • John Hodgson
  • Elaine Hodgson
  • Robert Holtaway
  • Karen Hooks
  • James Horan
  • Joseph Horton MD
  • William Hueter
  • John Huss
  • William Issa
  • Andrew Jackson
  • David James
  • Curt Johnson
  • Lory Johnson
  • Jim Jones
  • Joseph Jones
  • Joanna Jonsson
  • John Jorgensen Sr.
  • Alan Kane
  • Steven Kaplan
  • Jordan Kaplan
  • Arthur Keefe
  • Gary Kelson
  • Denise Kenna
  • Todd Kimmes
  • Scott Kirkpatrick
  • David Kleine
  • Florence Kleine
  • Stephen Kline
  • John Knight
  • Kyle Kopec
  • William Korner
  • Charles Krasne
  • Morrie Krasner
  • Jeffrey Kratz
  • Michael Kremski
  • Keith Kretschmer
  • Arthur Kudner III
  • Steven Kuhlman
  • Lawrence Labriola
  • Aaron Lade
  • Kenneth Lally
  • Miguel Laosa
  • Patrick Larreategui
  • Peter Larson
  • Kurt Larson
  • Karl Lautman
  • Michael Lazar
  • Skip Lehman
  • Mark Leise
  • David Lenz
  • Michael Lepore
  • Woody Lesikar
  • Joseph Leverone Jr.
  • John Lewis
  • Jeffery Liljenquist
  • Mary Ann Liljenquist
  • Jeff Litz
  • David Long
  • Herbert Louis
  • Michael Lovitt
  • Dale Machalleck
  • Walter MacKinlay
  • Neil Mancuso
  • Roland Mansfield
  • Jesus Manteca
  • Paul Markovits
  • Adrienne Mars
  • Peter Mathisen
  • Sara Maurer
  • Bernard McBain
  • John McCann
  • Francis McClernon Jr.
  • David McGowan Jr.
  • David McKay
  • George McMillin
  • Edward McNeil
  • John McVicker
  • Chris Meloni
  • Ronald Meyer
  • Robert Miller
  • Michael Miller
  • Andrew Miller
  • Andrew Miller
  • Stephen Miller
  • Steven Molder
  • Joseph Monaghan
  • Wayne Moon
  • Joseph Moran
  • Kenneth Morris
  • John Mullins
  • Thomas Musgrave III
  • Edmund Noel
  • Peter Norton
  • William Ott
  • Jonathan Palmer
  • Vincent Panvini Jr.
  • Preston Parish
  • Craig Parker
  • John Parker
  • Susan Parson
  • Ricardo Pascoe
  • Antonio Pelletier
  • Jeff Perich
  • Wayne Phillips
  • Robert Pond
  • S. Pozez
  • Fred Prentice
  • Len Quiat
  • Z. Rajnay
  • Joseph Ramrath
  • Michael Raney
  • Peter Ranney
  • Bruce Ray
  • James Ray
  • James Read
  • Matthew Reedy
  • R. Reynolds
  • Wiley Reynolds III
  • H. Ritchie
  • James Robins
  • Juan Rodriguez
  • William Rogers
  • John Rogers
  • William Roosevelt
  • Ron Rose
  • Ignacio Rosenberg
  • Joel Rosenlicht
  • Herbert Rosenthal
  • Timothy Rouch
  • Jeffrey Rubenstein
  • Shannon Rubicam
  • Robert Ryker
  • John Saidy
  • Timothy Saltonstall
  • Ignatius Sargent
  • Donald Scattergood
  • Clay Schile
  • Craig Schneidermann
  • John Schrock
  • Jack Schulte
  • Lawrence Schumacher
  • Shawn Schwartz
  • John Seeler
  • David Shaffer
  • Neil Sherman
  • Hal Shevers
  • Ronald Short
  • Old Bob Siegfried
  • Thelma Jean Siegfried
  • Alicia Sikes
  • Randall Sikora
  • Kirby Smith III
  • Frederick Spencer
  • David Speranza
  • Richard Spillman
  • Randy Spoo
  • Billie Sposeto
  • Wendell Sproul
  • Joe Spytek
  • Lawrence Stalla
  • Michael Stanton-Hicks
  • Lessing Stern
  • Shepard Stone
  • Ryan Stovall
  • Harry Stowers Jr.
  • Michael Swain
  • Trevor Thies
  • Marilyn Thompson
  • Brian Thomson
  • Landon Thorne
  • Daniel Titcomb
  • Guadolupe Torres
  • William Totty
  • Charles Towles
  • Barbara Towles
  • Thomas Tracy
  • Andy Travnicek
  • Ivan Truyaert Jr.
  • Pete Turecek
  • Michael Turner
  • Kenneth Uhlmann
  • James Van Hook
  • Craig Van Matre
  • Albert Van Metre Jr.
  • Louis Vandermolen
  • Kathleen Velazco
  • Antenor Velazco
  • Ronald Vickrey
  • Victor Vogel
  • Peter Wade
  • Shadi Wadi-Ramahi
  • Matthew Wallace
  • Louis Waller
  • James Ward
  • Thomas Wathen
  • Laura Watson Krieble
  • Larry Webb
  • Robert Weinmann
  • Claus Weisemann
  • Jeffrey Weiss
  • Garry Wells
  • Joe Whisenhunt Jr.
  • Connie Whisenhunt
  • Richard Whitney
  • John Whittemore
  • Robert Wild
  • James Williams
  • David Williams
  • Joyce Wilson
  • Homer Womack
  • Sean Wood
  • Stuart Woods
  • Glenn Woolsey
  • Ange Workman
  • Todd Workman
  • William Wright
  • Mitchell Young
  • Brad Zaro
  • Bruce Ziegler
  • Guillermo Zuloga
Thank you to all of our 2015 Hat in the Ring Society Members


Thank you to all of our 2014 Hat in the Ring Society Members

 *Hat in the Ring Members are listed by tax year of donation.

  *Members listed on these pages are Hat in the Ring members for 1 full year from the time of their donation.

Hat in the Ring Society:

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Hat in the Ring Society Events

AOPA President Mark Baker presents to Hat in the Ring Society members at the Chino Fly-In.

Meet and mingle with fellow society members at these upcoming events:

Aug. 20 at Bremerton National Airport (PWT) in Bremerton, Washington;

Sept. 17 at WK Kellogg Airport (BTL) in Battle Creek, Michigan;

Oct. 1 at Ernest A. Love Field (PRC) in Prescott, Arizona.

AOPA also will participate in other aviation events, including EAA AirVenture and Sun 'n Fun.

AOPA President Mark Baker speaks to Hat in the Ring Society members at the Chino Fly-In.

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