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BJC

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Well, sort of. I head Paul say (in person) that in the early days, he wanted to defer (not prohibit!) aerobatics in homebuilts till homebuilts were well-established. His reasoning was that an aerobatic accident in a homebuilt could shut down homebuilt aerobatics for years, and maybe homebuilding entirely. Better to get a solid track record and to then expand into aerobatics.
Yes, that aligns with what Duane wrote, but Paul apparently did not share his strategy, and the EAA officially opposed aerobatics in homebuilts. And part of the membership was unhappy with the direction of the association.


BJC
 

cblink.007

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K2W6, Maryland, USA
Hate to keep kicking the dead horse here as a prior contributor to this thread, but based on our experiences and after talking at length about it, the Mrs and I have elected to start curtailing our involvement with the local EAA chapter and when it comes time, not renew our annual dues…with the strong possibility of washing our hands of the EAA altogether in due course.

We joined the organization back in 2017, after becoming more and more disenfranchised with the AOPA. Paying seventy-something dollars annually to an organization where we were getting absolutely nothing in return made no more sense to us. If anything, getting nonstop mailers and phone solicitations for PAC donations is what did it in for us.

The first EAA chapter we were a member of was okay for the brief time we were there. It was new, and all of us were under 45. We hosted the Tri-Motor, got great mentorship from National, started a chapter build, but unfortunately, being next to a military base made the chapter suffer, as the membership was effectively a revolving door. Most of the members were either deployed, preparing to deploy, spending time with family after deployments, or moving to the next duty station. The chapter, despite having a strong start in early 2017, became defunct after only a few years.

The second chapter (our current chapter), despite having a much older (but significantly larger) membership, is seemingly not interested in homebuilding at all. Only Young Eagles. In fact, the chapter is all-in on it. We have a VMC/IMC club, but the focus always shifts to Young Eagles. Every. Single. Time.

A few months ago, a couple engineering flight test colleagues and I, who are doing our own E-AB design & build, were invited by a chapter a five hours’ drive away up in Pennsylvania to give a presentation on our project. Given that one of my buddies came from the area, we readily accepted & made a road trip out of it.

This chapter was no different than the other two I had previous exposure to and involvement with: you had the one pompous guy who knew everybody in the world of aviation (you know, the guy that if you mentioned any given airport around the world, he knew the manager, mechanics, pilots based there, etc?), a handful of folks who were along for the ride, an old guard who had been there, done that and only wants the chapter their way as they lecture us on the good ole days, and a leadership trying to keep it all together. Did I miss anybody?

Long story short, the presentation we gave was technical in nature, but not “over the top” technical; only discussing the mostly-rewarding adventure that was the project up to that point. The old guard who attended brought their shotguns and sniper rifles with them. Interruptions from them were nonstop, unsolicited and extremely rude. One openly called our professional credentials into question, while another said that the aircraft “was the stupidest thing he ever saw”, all in front of the impressionable youth that was in attendance at this STEM-centric event. In fact, it was so bad that we almost terminated the presentation before its planned conclusion. While we kept it professional and concluded it with smiles on our faces, we left immediately after. Never once did the chapter president thank us for coming, despite the fact that it was known that we came from a significant distance away. We left convinced that the trip was a total waste of our time.

I was genuinely left disappointed by what I had just experienced. Those older chaps had, in front of a distinctly young audience at a STEM event, tried to make us credentialed engineers and test pilots look like a bunch of chumps in a very disrespectful manner...and the chapter leadership present seemed completely indifferent to it. Sorry fam, but that’s unacceptable.

I know this has been mentioned on this forum ad nauseum, but I honestly am starting to think that the EAA has lost its way. I get it that their job is to be that voice for us up on Capitol Hill, but they seem to be doing it at the expense of the core constituency its very mission is built upon. Am I wrong? Sport Aviation is a great magazine when it features actual homebuilt experimentation and innovation, but most are always centered around the latest multi-million dollar warbird restoration, back country (and Instagram photo-worthy) adventures in the latest [priced out of reach] Carbon Cub et al, but in any case, when you look in the back of any given issue, when recent completions are shown off, you’d think that the only aircraft kits out there are RV’s! I won’t lie that when I get a new issue in the mail and I see another warbird or STOL bird on it, I don’t even get to reading it. No disrespect to those communities, but those groups just don’t appeal to me as much as others that I thought the EAA was all about! I’d also go as far as saying that National simply doesn’t care about our demographic (the 30-45) either, sans the very, very, very few of those who work at Scaled Composites, but, like my current chapter, they are all-in on two things- Young Eagles and the Old Guard. For the sake of simplicity, I won’t even bring up the big aerospace industry trade show that AirVenture has evolved into....

Look, I am all about warbirds, but let’s face it, those who have them are not exactly shoestring budget tinkerers working out of a garage in their spare time anymore. Conversely, I am all about exposing kids to aviation, but having a one on one private discussion with my chapter President & VP earlier this week, I asked the basic questions: “Of all the kids that this program flies across the country, how many go on to take formal instruction? How many have done that here? Of all the ones we fly, how many are repeat visitors? How is this lowering barriers to entry? How is this truly benefitting the chapter?”. Their answers? They ranged from key phrases from “Silver Chapter status is a goal of ours” to “we make x amount for each kid flown” and they even invoked covid, but overall seemed to dodge every question I asked.

All truth being told, I already knew the answers before I asked them: In our chapter, of all kids flown, 94% have already done at least one prior YE flight with us. I guess that EAA only cares about numbers, even if it’s the same names repeatedly. None have yet to take part in any follow-on instruction. The massive investment in time and money this chapter of mine puts into Young Eagles yields absolutely zero net benefit. For anybody. Barriers aren’t being lowered at all. Hell, I am convinced that the kids only show up for the sake of getting a free airplane ride out of it, and absolutely nothing else. I took one kid up at a YE event years ago, and he was completely uninterested the entire time; I was just a glorified babysitter for 20 minutes while he was heads down on his iPhone. Our chapter YE coordinator, despite having an airplane, has yet to take part in any of the flying, because the chapter old guard demands to do all of it, leaving the coordinator (as well as the younger pilots) stuck on the ground on game day. And to make matters worse, I’ve acted as a safety officer on the ground during these events, and as predicted, the older guys never take my briefings seriously; after all, they want it their way…it’s better than anybody else’s. It’s crap. All of it.

At the end of the day, here I am as a guy who is endeavoring to put the ‘experimental’ back into the EAA, and I can’t even get the time of day. My wife was a senior pilot in the Estonian Air Force, and believe me when I say that the chapter old guard likely holds some serious contempt, based on how they talk down to her during board meetings. That's bull$**t.

What I can say is that I have gotten way more out of being a member on this forum than ever taking part in an EAA chapter. Here, we can literally discuss anything from the latest news story to intensive technical discussions. I’ve even made a few good friends here.

For those who created this site, well done, and keep it up!

For those who have yet to contribute, do it!

There is a potential relocation to the DFW region in our near future, and despite there being a massive chapter where we will be going (apparently the Arlington chapter is one of the best out there), I’m not even sure I want to at least go to a meeting as a fly on the proverbial wall, as it’s said that insanity is the act of doing the same action repeatedly while expecting different results.

Whether or not I will continue paying dues to big EAA past 2027 (when our membership comes up for renewal) remains to be seen. I don’t know what the right answer is, but I do know for fact that Dan Johnson is doing amazing things for the E-AB community; maybe one day he will open up LAMA to membership beyond kit manufacturers and suppliers!

Again, am I wrong?
 
Last edited:

BJC

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Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
15,421
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
We joined the organization back in 2017, after becoming more and more disenfranchised with the AOPA. Paying seventy-something dollars annually to an organization where we were getting absolutely nothing in return made no more sense to us.
Effective lobbying frequently results in some adverse regulatory action not being taken. Those wins are not visible, and best remain non-public. The only reason that I am a member of AOPA is to support their lobbying efforts.
The first EAA chapter we were a member of was okay
Almost all members of my first EAA chapter were scratch building or flying scratch built E-AB. Two were practicing aeronautical engineers, and several were A&P’s or professional aircraft maintenance / modification technicians. It was a small group, but 12 - 15 homebuilts flew, plus several TC restorations. Very active socially, too.

But times have changed. Information once shared personally now is quickly found on the www. People want more advanced, proven, aircraft with fool-proof construction techniques and stereo EFIS panels. Ergo, 10,000+ flying RV’s.
the presentation we gave was technical in nature, but not “over the top” technical; only discussing the mostly-rewarding adventure that was the project up to that point. The old guard who attended brought their shotguns and sniper rifles with them. Interruptions from them were nonstop, unsolicited and extremely rude. One openly called our professional credentials into question, while another said that the aircraft “was the stupidest thing he ever saw”
About 15 years ago, I was invited to give a presentation, about flying aerobatics in the Pitts, to a QB hangar. What a bunch of jerks. One kept interrupting with rude, crude, “corrections”, until another member shouted, “Just shut the f*** up, Ted. He knows what he is talking about, and I want to hear it!”

As in your case, that was just some people, not the entire organization. I’ll bet that most of the people there enjoyed your presentation.

My wife was a senior pilot in the Estonian Air Force, and believe me when I say that the chapter old guard likely holds some serious contempt, based on how they talk down to her during board meetings. That's bull$**t.
Jerks, again. I’ve seen lots of old farts who held any female aviator in contempt. I attribute it to their personal insecurities.
What I can say is that I have gotten way more out of being a member on this forum than ever taking part in an EAA chapter.
This is a great place. The trick is to find the pony in all the horse s***.
Whether or not I will continue paying dues to big EAA past 2027 (when our membership comes up for renewal) remains to be seen.
EAA is good at government advocacy. I will continue supporting them for that. And yes, I believe that we need both AOPA and EAA.


BJC
 

MACOWA

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Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Messages
164
Location
Grapeview WA. USA.
Hate to keep kicking the dead horse here as a prior contributor to this thread, but based on our experiences and after talking at length about it, the Mrs and I have elected to start curtailing our involvement with the local EAA chapter and when it comes time, not renew our annual dues…with the strong possibility of washing our hands of the EAA altogether in due course.

We joined the organization back in 2017, after becoming more and more disenfranchised with the AOPA. Paying seventy-something dollars annually to an organization where we were getting absolutely nothing in return made no more sense to us. If anything, getting nonstop mailers and phone solicitations for PAC donations is what did it in for us.

The first EAA chapter we were a member of was okay for the brief time we were there. It was new, and all of us were under 45. We hosted the Tri-Motor, got great mentorship from National, started a chapter build, but unfortunately, being next to a military base made the chapter suffer, as the membership was effectively a revolving door. Most of the members were either deployed, preparing to deploy, spending time with family after deployments, or moving to the next duty station. The chapter, despite having a strong start in early 2017, became defunct after only a few years.

The second chapter (our current chapter), despite having a much older (but significantly larger) membership, is seemingly not interested in homebuilding at all. Only Young Eagles. In fact, the chapter is all-in on it. We have a VMC/IMC club, but the focus always shifts to Young Eagles. Every. Single. Time.

A few months ago, a couple engineering flight test colleagues and I, who are doing our own E-AB design & build, were invited by a chapter a five hours’ drive away up in Pennsylvania to give a presentation on our project. Given that one of my buddies came from the area, we readily accepted & made a road trip out of it.

This chapter was no different than the other two I had previous exposure to and involvement with: you had the one pompous guy who knew everybody in the world of aviation (you know, the guy that if you mentioned any given airport around the world, he knew the manager, mechanics, pilots based there, etc?), a handful of folks who were along for the ride, an old guard who had been there, done that and only wants the chapter their way as they lecture us on the good ole days, and a leadership trying to keep it all together. Did I miss anybody?

Long story short, the presentation we gave was technical in nature, but not “over the top” technical; only discussing the mostly-rewarding adventure that was the project up to that point. The old guard who attended brought their shotguns and sniper rifles with them. Interruptions from them were nonstop, unsolicited and extremely rude. One openly called our professional credentials into question, while another said that the aircraft “was the stupidest thing he ever saw”, all in front of the impressionable youth that was in attendance at this STEM-centric event. In fact, it was so bad that we almost terminated the presentation before its planned conclusion. While we kept it professional and concluded it with smiles on our faces, we left immediately after. Never once did the chapter president thank us for coming, despite the fact that it was known that we came from a significant distance away. We left convinced that the trip was a total waste of our time.

I was genuinely left disappointed by what I had just experienced. Those older chaps had, in front of a distinctly young audience at a STEM event, tried to make us credentialed engineers and test pilots look like a bunch of chumps in a very disrespectful manner...and the chapter leadership present seemed completely indifferent to it. Sorry fam, but that’s unacceptable.

I know this has been mentioned on this forum ad nauseum, but I honestly am starting to think that the EAA has lost its way. I get it that their job is to be that voice for us up on Capitol Hill, but they seem to be doing it at the expense of the core constituency its very mission is built upon. Am I wrong? Sport Aviation is a great magazine when it features actual homebuilt experimentation and innovation, but most are always centered around the latest multi-million dollar warbird restoration, back country (and Instagram photo-worthy) adventures in the latest [priced out of reach] Carbon Cub et al, but in any case, when you look in the back of any given issue, when recent completions are shown off, you’d think that the only aircraft kits out there are RV’s! I won’t lie that when I get a new issue in the mail and I see another warbird or STOL bird on it, I don’t even get to reading it. No disrespect to those communities, but those groups just don’t appeal to me as much as others that I thought the EAA was all about! I’d also go as far as saying that National simply doesn’t care about our demographic (the 30-45) either, sans the very, very, very few of us who work at Scaled Composites, but, like my current chapter, they are all-in on two things- Young Eagles and the Old Guard. For the sake of simplicity, I won’t even bring up the big aerospace industry trade show that AirVenture has evolved into....

Look, I am all about warbirds, but let’s face it, those who have them are not exactly shoestring budget tinkerers working out of a garage in their spare time anymore. Conversely, I am all about exposing kids to aviation, but having a one on one private discussion with my chapter President & VP earlier this week, I asked the basic questions: “Of all the kids that this program flies across the country, how many go on to take formal instruction? How many have done that here? Of all the ones we fly, how many are repeat visitors? How is this lowering barriers to entry? How is this truly benefitting the chapter?”. Their answers? They ranged from key phrases from “Silver Chapter status is a goal of ours” to “we make x amount for each kid flown” and they even invoked covid, but overall seemed to dodge every question I asked.

All truth being told, I already knew the answers before I asked them: In our chapter, of all kids flown, 94% have already done at least one prior YE flight with us. I guess that EAA only cares about numbers, even if it’s the same names repeatedly. None have yet to take part in any follow-on instruction. The massive investment in time and money this chapter of mine puts into Young Eagles yields absolutely zero net benefit. For anybody. Barriers aren’t being lowered at all. Hell, I am convinced that the kids only show up for the sake of getting a free airplane ride out of it, and absolutely nothing else. I took one kid up at a YE event years ago, and he was completely uninterested the entire time; I was just a glorified babysitter for 20 minutes while he was heads down on his iPhone. Our chapter YE coordinator, despite having an airplane, has yet to take part in any of the flying, because the chapter old guard demands to do all of it, leaving the coordinator (as well as the younger pilots) stuck on the ground on game day. And to make matters worse, I’ve acted as a safety officer on the ground during these events, and as predicted, the older guys never take my briefings seriously; after all, they want it their way…it’s better than anybody else’s. It’s crap. All of it.

At the end of the day, here I am as a guy who is endeavoring to put the ‘experimental’ back into the EAA, and I can’t even get the time of day. My wife was a senior pilot in the Estonian Air Force, and believe me when I say that the chapter old guard likely holds some serious contempt, based on how they talk down to her during board meetings. That's bull$**t.

What I can say is that I have gotten way more out of being a member on this forum than ever taking part in an EAA chapter. Here, we can literally discuss anything from the latest news story to intensive technical discussions. I’ve even made a few good friends here.

For those who created this site, well done, and keep it up!

For those who have yet to contribute, do it!

There is a potential relocation to the DFW region in our near future, and despite there being a massive chapter where we will be going (apparently the Arlington chapter is one of the best out there), I’m not even sure I want to at least go to a meeting as a fly on the proverbial wall, as it’s said that insanity is the act of doing the same action repeatedly while expecting different results.

Whether or not I will continue paying dues to big EAA past 2027 (when our membership comes up for renewal) remains to be seen. I don’t know what the right answer is, but I do know for fact that Dan Johnson is doing amazing things for the E-AB community; maybe one day he will open up LAMA to membership beyond kit manufacturers and suppliers!

Again, am I wrong?
As a previous contributor to this thread as well,
I am sorry to see your disaffection with EAA as a whole. Local chapters are exactly that, LOCAL. And as such reflect their surrounding communities. Just a guess, but you might find the same personality present in other organizations in your area, from the Elks club to the chamber of commerce. One of the main reasons that I live where I do is the people here, aside from the natural beauty of this area. Granted, the Olympic peninsula is populated by a "different breed of cat". Our local chapter is of the finest kind, old knowledge, fresh ideas, great conversation, and people who actually build what they fly.
 

rv7charlie

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Pocahontas MS
I can understand the frustration, but I'd say to not paint the whole org with that one chapter brush. (And maybe report your treatment to HQ.) There are good chapters out there, and the lobbying alone (both EAA & AOPA) is worth the money to me, for what *doesn't* happen.

When I discovered homebuilding shortly after starting work on my PL, our local chapter was a bunch of old farts who were mainly interested in donuts & coffee. But fortunately, there were a few members who really were into homebuilding, and/or 'owner-maintenance' of older certified stuff. The chapter has evolved over the years, and now there are quite a few middle aged and even 20-somethings that attend. We do sponsor stuff like the B-17, and we do YE a couple of times a year (everyone who's qualified is asked to fly the kids), and we've been doing a couple of Scouts aviation merit badge weekends a year (we usually have to limit attendance). According to Scout HQ, our chapter has singlehandedly moved the aviation badge from the least earned, up several notches from the bottom.

For perspective on percentage return on YE investment, ask a sales person what their cold-call to sale ratio is. I'll bet the YE-to-private ratio is at least as good as the overall intro flight-to-private ratio for adults. We're currently working with our 3rd or 4th aviation scholarship student (must be <18 in that program), and all are now active, willing participants in the chapter. The kids I've flown have all been interested in what's happening in flight, and almost all have wanted to actually handle the controls. Our flights rarely last more than 8-10 minutes because we usually have so many kids waiting to fly that we have to keep rides short. What we *do* try to do is get any parents that are willing, to go up with us after all the kids have flown. I'm hopeful that it will motivate the parent to assist their kid if he/she shows an interest. One of our YEs was the son of a single mother, who drove him to meetings for years before he could drive. Last I heard, he was in one of the military academies in their aviation program.

Maybe you should do the same thing for a chapter that we should be doing for politics; if you don't like the current situation, vote, and consider running for office. I guarantee you're more qualified than most.
 

bmcj

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Apr 10, 2007
Messages
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Fresno, California
There are lots of different types (or character) of chapters, even among the traditional (i.e. not UL-warbird-antique-aerobatic-etc) chapters. Some are full of builders, some do mostly Young Eagles, some are not much more than social clubs, some are like Dawn Patrol fly-out groups, some are single design focused (like RV’s or EZ’s), and a lucky few are truly innovators and designers. I like our social and YE group, but I also missed builder, so I revived an old defunct chapter by recruiting the old members who are builders and recruited new builders. In short, you might have to create your own group to get what you desire. Even then, people crave unrelated social interaction so you have to incorporate social activities to keep them energized. Actually, the best option (especially if the chapter has a large hangar) might be to pull together some of the chapter members into a group build or parallel builds of similar design.
 

Toobuilder

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Jan 19, 2010
Messages
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Mojave, Ca
Considering the local chapters are the "face" of EAA, its amazing how often there are experiences like this, and how often they are brushed away by the "dont judge the whole..." excuse. And no, I don't consider it unreasonable to give them one shot to WOW me. If I go to a resturaunt and the service sucks and the food is terrible, I dont go back. EAA is a social experience first and foremost, with a potentially big impact on ones free time. I dont blame anyone for walking in, taking a look, and walking right back out. Life is too short to deal with a "fixer upper" social enterprise.
 

N804RV

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Jun 9, 2013
Messages
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Mount Vernon, WA
I'm an EAA lifetime member. I call myself a "member-at-large". But really I'm more of a lurker.

I've found that every chapter seems to be a fairly representative cross-section of the general aviation community over all. And, I just accept it for what it is. Within the diverse community of GA, I have a few friends. Some of them are also EAA members. The friends from my home area occasionally invite me to events. And, sometimes a call will go out for volunteers. If I have time, I'll go.

If one of the 2 chapters in my area hits me up for chapter dues, either email or a challenge at a meeting, I'll pay them. It usually happens once a year or so. But, I'm not real big on "mandatory participation". Because, experience (gun clubs, RC airplane clubs) have proven to me that its all fun and games till some A-hole eventually gets elected, then its pretty much over.

So, I just accept it for what it is. Its human nature....

Come by the hagar and shoot the XXXX with me sometime. I've got coffee. And, I might ask you to hand me tools if you stay long enough. That's the kind of meetings I like these days.
 

Yellowhammer

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Feb 21, 2020
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771
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Born In Alabama, reside: Louisiana (unfortunately)
Hate to keep kicking the dead horse here as a prior contributor to this thread, but based on our experiences and after talking at length about it, the Mrs and I have elected to start curtailing our involvement with the local EAA chapter and when it comes time, not renew our annual dues…with the strong possibility of washing our hands of the EAA altogether in due course.

We joined the organization back in 2017, after becoming more and more disenfranchised with the AOPA. Paying seventy-something dollars annually to an organization where we were getting absolutely nothing in return made no more sense to us. If anything, getting nonstop mailers and phone solicitations for PAC donations is what did it in for us.

The first EAA chapter we were a member of was okay for the brief time we were there. It was new, and all of us were under 45. We hosted the Tri-Motor, got great mentorship from National, started a chapter build, but unfortunately, being next to a military base made the chapter suffer, as the membership was effectively a revolving door. Most of the members were either deployed, preparing to deploy, spending time with family after deployments, or moving to the next duty station. The chapter, despite having a strong start in early 2017, became defunct after only a few years.

The second chapter (our current chapter), despite having a much older (but significantly larger) membership, is seemingly not interested in homebuilding at all. Only Young Eagles. In fact, the chapter is all-in on it. We have a VMC/IMC club, but the focus always shifts to Young Eagles. Every. Single. Time.

A few months ago, a couple engineering flight test colleagues and I, who are doing our own E-AB design & build, were invited by a chapter a five hours’ drive away up in Pennsylvania to give a presentation on our project. Given that one of my buddies came from the area, we readily accepted & made a road trip out of it.

This chapter was no different than the other two I had previous exposure to and involvement with: you had the one pompous guy who knew everybody in the world of aviation (you know, the guy that if you mentioned any given airport around the world, he knew the manager, mechanics, pilots based there, etc?), a handful of folks who were along for the ride, an old guard who had been there, done that and only wants the chapter their way as they lecture us on the good ole days, and a leadership trying to keep it all together. Did I miss anybody?

Long story short, the presentation we gave was technical in nature, but not “over the top” technical; only discussing the mostly-rewarding adventure that was the project up to that point. The old guard who attended brought their shotguns and sniper rifles with them. Interruptions from them were nonstop, unsolicited and extremely rude. One openly called our professional credentials into question, while another said that the aircraft “was the stupidest thing he ever saw”, all in front of the impressionable youth that was in attendance at this STEM-centric event. In fact, it was so bad that we almost terminated the presentation before its planned conclusion. While we kept it professional and concluded it with smiles on our faces, we left immediately after. Never once did the chapter president thank us for coming, despite the fact that it was known that we came from a significant distance away. We left convinced that the trip was a total waste of our time.

I was genuinely left disappointed by what I had just experienced. Those older chaps had, in front of a distinctly young audience at a STEM event, tried to make us credentialed engineers and test pilots look like a bunch of chumps in a very disrespectful manner...and the chapter leadership present seemed completely indifferent to it. Sorry fam, but that’s unacceptable.

I know this has been mentioned on this forum ad nauseum, but I honestly am starting to think that the EAA has lost its way. I get it that their job is to be that voice for us up on Capitol Hill, but they seem to be doing it at the expense of the core constituency its very mission is built upon. Am I wrong? Sport Aviation is a great magazine when it features actual homebuilt experimentation and innovation, but most are always centered around the latest multi-million dollar warbird restoration, back country (and Instagram photo-worthy) adventures in the latest [priced out of reach] Carbon Cub et al, but in any case, when you look in the back of any given issue, when recent completions are shown off, you’d think that the only aircraft kits out there are RV’s! I won’t lie that when I get a new issue in the mail and I see another warbird or STOL bird on it, I don’t even get to reading it. No disrespect to those communities, but those groups just don’t appeal to me as much as others that I thought the EAA was all about! I’d also go as far as saying that National simply doesn’t care about our demographic (the 30-45) either, sans the very, very, very few of us who work at Scaled Composites, but, like my current chapter, they are all-in on two things- Young Eagles and the Old Guard. For the sake of simplicity, I won’t even bring up the big aerospace industry trade show that AirVenture has evolved into....

Look, I am all about warbirds, but let’s face it, those who have them are not exactly shoestring budget tinkerers working out of a garage in their spare time anymore. Conversely, I am all about exposing kids to aviation, but having a one on one private discussion with my chapter President & VP earlier this week, I asked the basic questions: “Of all the kids that this program flies across the country, how many go on to take formal instruction? How many have done that here? Of all the ones we fly, how many are repeat visitors? How is this lowering barriers to entry? How is this truly benefitting the chapter?”. Their answers? They ranged from key phrases from “Silver Chapter status is a goal of ours” to “we make x amount for each kid flown” and they even invoked covid, but overall seemed to dodge every question I asked.

All truth being told, I already knew the answers before I asked them: In our chapter, of all kids flown, 94% have already done at least one prior YE flight with us. I guess that EAA only cares about numbers, even if it’s the same names repeatedly. None have yet to take part in any follow-on instruction. The massive investment in time and money this chapter of mine puts into Young Eagles yields absolutely zero net benefit. For anybody. Barriers aren’t being lowered at all. Hell, I am convinced that the kids only show up for the sake of getting a free airplane ride out of it, and absolutely nothing else. I took one kid up at a YE event years ago, and he was completely uninterested the entire time; I was just a glorified babysitter for 20 minutes while he was heads down on his iPhone. Our chapter YE coordinator, despite having an airplane, has yet to take part in any of the flying, because the chapter old guard demands to do all of it, leaving the coordinator (as well as the younger pilots) stuck on the ground on game day. And to make matters worse, I’ve acted as a safety officer on the ground during these events, and as predicted, the older guys never take my briefings seriously; after all, they want it their way…it’s better than anybody else’s. It’s crap. All of it.

At the end of the day, here I am as a guy who is endeavoring to put the ‘experimental’ back into the EAA, and I can’t even get the time of day. My wife was a senior pilot in the Estonian Air Force, and believe me when I say that the chapter old guard likely holds some serious contempt, based on how they talk down to her during board meetings. That's bull$**t.

What I can say is that I have gotten way more out of being a member on this forum than ever taking part in an EAA chapter. Here, we can literally discuss anything from the latest news story to intensive technical discussions. I’ve even made a few good friends here.

For those who created this site, well done, and keep it up!

For those who have yet to contribute, do it!

There is a potential relocation to the DFW region in our near future, and despite there being a massive chapter where we will be going (apparently the Arlington chapter is one of the best out there), I’m not even sure I want to at least go to a meeting as a fly on the proverbial wall, as it’s said that insanity is the act of doing the same action repeatedly while expecting different results.

Whether or not I will continue paying dues to big EAA past 2027 (when our membership comes up for renewal) remains to be seen. I don’t know what the right answer is, but I do know for fact that Dan Johnson is doing amazing things for the E-AB community; maybe one day he will open up LAMA to membership beyond kit manufacturers and suppliers!

Again, am I wrong?
oo7,

NO! You are not wrong! I have said the same thing you are saying for the past three years. Every single point you listed I feel the exact same way. Don't even get me started on the Sport Aviation Magazine.
What you said about H.B.A. speaks volumes. I value this site and the individuals that share their knowledge here immensely. In fact, I have never received as much knowledge, advice, and fellowship anywhere I have been as I do on this site.

My wife and daughter are constantly laughing at me when I mention something Pops, 007, V.B., or RV7 (just to name a few) have said on here regarding something I have learned. Just the other day I was talking about Pops and all the many miles he has driven in his life and my daughter said, "who is Pops?". I said he is a friend of mine on the HBA forum of course.

I hate that you have had a bad experience my friend. I would have driven 5 hours to come hear YOU speak and would have been so grateful to have done so. If you do move to Dallas you will be much closer to me than you are now and I would like to meet you in person someday.

Maybe all of us should start having an annual fly in!? We could even form regional posts of HBA. Hell, I'd rather give HBA what I give EAA in dues each year. That reminds me, I need to send my annual contribution to the site.

Shame on that chapter that invited two professionals to come speak and then heckle you as if you had never sat in an airplane before. The know it all's seem to be everywhere. No matter how many hours I had logged or how many type certifications I held, I know I can always learn something new and the fact is I will never know it all.

Thank you for sharing 007! You are a gentleman sir!

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Yellowhammer
 

Yellowhammer

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Lol


As a child if I got interested in a subject I had to study paper catalogs of books ,give a written request my librarians who forwarded it via mail after a few weeks they would start coming back I I could see if they had the info I needed.

now that takes seconds

smart phones and the internet will yield the most widely educated Generations in history.


Doubt it. Especially if they do not know how to type in the question on the search engine. We might have the most plagiarism taking place in the history of the world though.
I deal with it every day as an educator. If isn't on Tic-Toc or Facebook, the kids are not looking at it.
 

cblink.007

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oo7,

NO! You are not wrong! I have said the same thing you are saying for the past three years. Every single point you listed I feel the exact same way. Don't even get me started on the Sport Aviation Magazine.
What you said about H.B.A. speaks volumes. I value this site and the individuals that share their knowledge here immensely. In fact, I have never received as much knowledge, advice, and fellowship anywhere I have been as I do on this site.

My wife and daughter are constantly laughing at me when I mention something Pops, 007, V.B., or RV7 (just to name a few) have said on here regarding something I have learned. Just the other day I was talking about Pops and all the many miles he has driven in his life and my daughter said, "who is Pops?". I said he is a friend of mine on the HBA forum of course.

I hate that you have had a bad experience my friend. I would have driven 5 hours to come hear YOU speak and would have been so grateful to have done so. If you do move to Dallas you will be much closer to me than you are now and I would like to meet you in person someday.

Maybe all of us should start having an annual fly in!? We could even form regional posts of HBA. Hell, I'd rather give HBA what I give EAA in dues each year. That reminds me, I need to send my annual contribution to the site.

Shame on that chapter that invited two professionals to come speak and then heckle you as if you had never sat in an airplane before. The know it all's seem to be everywhere. No matter how many hours I had logged or how many type certifications I held, I know I can always learn something new and the fact is I will never know it all.

Thank you for sharing 007! You are a gentleman sir!

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Yellowhammer
THIS!!!

This is what I am talking about. Here we are, discussing a concern...good bad or indifferent, and we are interacting in a mature, civilized manner. This is the great thing about this site.

I would be absolutely open to meetups, even if it means we start virtually. Lowest risk, and we can start putting faces to the names!

@Yellowhammer , when that move happens, I'll let you know!
 
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Almost two years ago I became president of a very small EAA chapter in a rural area. We were, and still are in my opinion, a chapter on “life support” looking for it’s reason to be (if I wanted to sound erudite, I could have written that in French, raison d’etre, ha!) And we are still very small and are still searching.

I’ve been a member of three EAA chapters and find a common thread in some of what was written on this forum: the tribal nature of the “old guys”, the “Ace of the Base” guy that’s been everywhere and knows everyone, the “RV-vs-the-world” attitude, and all the rest. In my role as a chapter president I’ve had to confront all of this, even in a very small chapter. What I have found is that most of these folks don’t realize how they land on others. They are just as insecure as the rest of us.

Before match-drilled, self-jigging, CAD-drawn and builder-manual well documented and well supported kits were available, all a builder had for support was his or her chapter. They’d get together and look at some ambiguity on the builder’s print and make suggestions: “try this”, “I think..”, “why not…”. This camaraderie was the central glue that held a chapter together.

That is all pretty much gone now. The kit industry has matured for the most part and taken away a good portion of the need for the level of local support once needed. That raison d'etre. At the same time the few plans builders or people building something from a lesser supported kit are not always comfortable in the presence of the metal-and-rivet guys that are building stuff from the vendors that give those chicken dinners at Oshkosh. I’ve received emails from builders of wood or composite projects asking for help because they can’t get the support or acceptance they need in their chapters or communities.

At the same time, lots of chapters still struggle with why they exist all the time. But here is what you can do for your chapter or your pilots’ association:
  1. Fly. Don’t live in the past. If you haven’t flown in a while, burn 200 bucks rent a plane and get an hour with an instructor just to get the feel of it again. See if it stimulates anything in you that’s good and if it doesn’t, that should tell you something. If the former, move on to #2 below. If the latter, try fly fishing next.
  1. Pragmatic ideas. And the key word there is ‘pragmatic’. Things that you and your fellow builders and local pilots can really do with the resources you have to help your aviation community. And before you mention those ideas to anyone, think about what YOUR part in those ideas is going to be.
  1. Recruit others. If you know someone that flies in your area, promote your chapter or your pilot’s association: like-minded pilots and builders; a place to express their interests and needs; a place to meet people that can give you good advice or bounce ideas off.
The worst thing we can do for aviation and our aviation community is isolate ourselves from each other. Pilots, builders and owners that make little islands of the few folks they are comfortable around doesn’t help our community or aviation at this point. We all need each other.
 

BJC

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I would be absolutely open to meetups, even if it means we start virtually. Lowest risk, and we can start putting faces to the names!
Well, for everyone who makes it to Oshkosh, quite a few of us gather each morning for coffee. See Oshkosh 2022

Yes, it is nice to meet face to face. Satisfies curiosity, and makes for more civil postings on this forum.


BJC
 
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snip

But times have changed. Information once shared personally now is quickly found on the www. People want more advanced, proven, aircraft with fool-proof construction techniques and stereo EFIS panels. Ergo, 10,000+ flying RV’s.

snip

BJC

I know this is a minor point, but it doesn't line up with my experience. People I know from outside EAA have expressed a desire to build a Flying Flea, a Wagabond, a Weedhopper, a Pietenpol, a Sonex, and a Kitfox — and a couple RVs too. Maybe that's because they're people who haven't done it yet and may never, but it does suggest that interest in those sorts of builds still exists. (Maybe it's because my friends are poors.)
 

BJC

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I know this is a minor point, but it doesn't line up with my experience. People I know from outside EAA have expressed a desire to build a Flying Flea, a Wagabond, a Weedhopper, a Pietenpol, a Sonex, and a Kitfox — and a couple RVs too. Maybe that's because they're people who haven't done it yet and may never, but it does suggest that interest in those sorts of builds still exists. (Maybe it's because my friends are poors.)
Yup, I should have said, “Most people ... “

Certainly there remains interest in basic aircraft as well as scratch building. This forum exists in large part due to interest in designing and building unique aircraft. However, the fact remains that the vast majority of completions are well-supported kit planes. Also, there is a huge gap between expressed desire and actual completions.


BJC
 

Victor Bravo

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CAUTION - Rant Alert:

My EAA Chapter in the Los Angeles area is just about to have an insurrection of sorts. I happen to be the biggest mouth in the group (anyone who's surprised, raise your hand), but I try to only bellow and moan about stuff that is genuinely relevant, or to get people off their asses about something worthwhile. But we suffer from the same "old guys eating donuts and not doing a lot" problem, and if nobody bellows and moans then it's nothing more than a donut and chit-chat meeting. But, at the same time, we're one of the top ten chapters in terms of Young Eagles flown. We've achieved a lot in some areas, and under-achieved in other areas. We're definitely not an airplane-building-focused chapter (like the Hole-in-the-Wall guys were, or the Bakersfield Bunch), but we have a few builders and we started a Zenith Cruzer build program that is successful so far.

We also have a president who's a dear friend of mine, but he knows he's been there way too long and he admits he's run out of energy, and he finally said we have to find a new president this November (after 25 years). NOBODY has stepped up to fill this position. I'd do it but I am working too many jobs and it would be a dis-service to the group if I was unable to put in the time. One other guy would be perfect for the job but is moving away at the end of the year. Another old, experienced, but autocratic guy has been jockeying for power, pushing other members out of the way, and will likely kill the chapter if he's the only one who will step in.

BUT... the big problem that's about to happen is that our EAA chapter's Young Eagles program has been pushed toward practices and procedures that are sacrificing safety. I have no idea why, but the autocratic guy has somehow gotten a wild hare up his arse and turned our Young Eagles program into strictly a numbers game, trying to process as many kids through the program as possible. Pilots asked to fly 3X more flights in a day than they used to, kids being hustled in and out of airplanes too fast, the route of flight shortened to not much more than one trip around the pattern, and far too little attention paid to keeping the Grim Reaper from sneaking in. This is one of those situations where you watch all the risk factors and pieces start stacking up towards creating a tragedy, and you keep hearing that revolver click, and you're thinking "how many times can this trigger be pulled before there's a round in the chamber"? We've flown over 9,000 kids in 28 years, with no tragedies, but that revolver is keeping me up at night.

So I decided that I can't go back and pull my friend Ron Weiss out of that Lancair before he crashed, and I can't stop my friend Tom Hastings from getting into that VK-30 before the driveshaft took the flight controls out and killed an entire family, and I can't go back in time and stop my mother from dying of lung cancer. But I might be able to stop the tragedy that's going to happen two weeks from tomorrow at our airport open house event, where they've been plastering "free kids flights!" signs all around the neighborhood, but there's not enough ground safety volunteers to keep the kids from running on the ramp, and there's more people wanting to fly than our 60-80 year old pilots can safely fly on a hot June day. So I'm making a lot of noise in the chapter to institute better safety procedures, limiting the number of flights, and pushing back against the numbers game.
 
Last edited:

Bigshu

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Maybe all of us should start having an annual fly in!? We could even form regional posts of HBA.
It would be really cool to have the membership broken out by region, so people would know if like-minded folks were nearby. Another organization I'm in puts effort into "Regional Gatherings" in addition to the annual get together. These are usually at a hotel, with multiple presentations on different interests over the course of a weekend. CAP has an annual conference for each Wing (state) as well as an annual conference. Sometimes I think the big problem with chapters is they don't have way to be all things to all people. They either go all in on something, like YE, or they are purely a social group, with no active builders, or some other single facet. I wish chapters had separate meeting rooms for the builders, the coffee klatch, the old guard, etc. where they could all do their own thing at a meeting and not disrupt the enjoyment of the rest. I also think flying has to figure in as well. Going to other chapters' pancake breakfast could help bring fresh faces to your own chapters' events.
 

Bigshu

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BUT... the big problem that's about to happen is that our EAA chapter's Young Eagles program has been pushed toward practices and procedures that are sacrificing safety.
You'd think the national organization would have policies and procedures established for their programming. You could take a page out of CAP's regs and have Operational Risk Management assessments prior to and during the event. ORM risk ranking puts the concerns up front, and often points out simple risk mitigation options that keeps safety the primary focus while not shutting down the activity.
 
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