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Victor Bravo

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EAA Chapter 40 is finally making the jump to lightspeed...

Six or seven years ago we got a 2/3 built airplane project (Cygnet SF-2A) donated to our EAA chapter, using an outside charitable organization as a "fiscal sponsor".

Over a year ago, the guys finally finished it and got it ready to fly.

The smarmy loudmouth in the chapter (guess who?) volunteered to do the first flight.

Over the last year or so, many Young Eagles flights were done using this airplane, as promised to the original donor.

The sleazy salesman in the chapter (guess who?) postulated that after a while it should be sold, and the money used for the next chapter build project.

The sneaky promoter in the chapter (uhhh...) convinced everyone that a Zenith 750 would be easier to insure and more appropriate as a chapter airplane.

One of the retired guys in the chapter took on the task of finally getting the 501 (c) 3 done, working with EAA HQ's attorney as an advisor.

Saturday we just got notice that our 501 (c) 3 non-profit charity status has been approved by the feds!

Monday the chapter "project airplane" was sold by the two guys who were in charge of it, and it flew away leaving money behind !

Zenith Aircraft has generously expressed interest in supporting our chapter build project, once we got the non-profit status done.

So as of this week, we have most of the pieces in place, and will be making our final plans to move forward on beginning the chapter Cruzer project!

If there is interest from others on HBA, I can share the details, brainstorming, ideas, triumphs and tragedies of getting this project funded, built, and operational.
 

narfi

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yes! share it all :)
are you scratch building or kit?
 

Victor Bravo

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First one will be a kit, we need faster success and the soonest opportunity to have the big news article photo with the old guys and the young kids holding up a wing. Long-term plan is to be able to scratchbuild the second and later airplanes.

The chapter transferred the Cygnet ownership to a private partnership (2 guys who happened to also be members). EAA HQ was very adamant about wanting it to be transferred out of chapter ownership... at any time before it became a fying airplane. So we complied with that. The two guys who did most of the work and put in the most money took ownership of it, with the agreement that they would eventually buy us out (or when it sold we'd split the revenue), and use our half to start the next project. The two guys recovered most of the money they put in, and we got paid for what we provided (finished airframe, engine, prop, etc.) The dollars didn't work out exactly like you'd want if it was done as a business investment, but in this case it was worth it to just git'r'done.

We would have done a pancake breakfast but I'm too )#*$ fat already. So I steered them toward something that would shake the dust off of a bunch of old tired guys, in the hopes that it would put some voltage into a chapter that had been slowing down too much. We suffer the same 'tired old guy syndrome' as many other EAA chapters. Trying to deal with that. We need new blood and new activities. If I was retired or wealthy I'd volunteer as Ayatollah, but I'm treading water in too many other areas to make that time commitment.
 

pwood66889

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It's an interesting ride, VB! My chapter (445) has a project, and a flying club to go with.
"...something that would shake the dust off of a bunch of old tired guys..." happens every Friday Morning at 2J0.
 

cblink.007

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K2W6, Maryland, USA
EAA Chapter 40 is finally making the jump to lightspeed...

Six or seven years ago we got a 2/3 built airplane project (Cygnet SF-2A) donated to our EAA chapter, using an outside charitable organization as a "fiscal sponsor".

Over a year ago, the guys finally finished it and got it ready to fly.

The smarmy loudmouth in the chapter (guess who?) volunteered to do the first flight.

Over the last year or so, many Young Eagles flights were done using this airplane, as promised to the original donor.

The sleazy salesman in the chapter (guess who?) postulated that after a while it should be sold, and the money used for the next chapter build project.

The sneaky promoter in the chapter (uhhh...) convinced everyone that a Zenith 750 would be easier to insure and more appropriate as a chapter airplane.

One of the retired guys in the chapter took on the task of finally getting the 501 (c) 3 done, working with EAA HQ's attorney as an advisor.

Saturday we just got notice that our 501 (c) 3 non-profit charity status has been approved by the feds!

Monday the chapter "project airplane" was sold by the two guys who were in charge of it, and it flew away leaving money behind !

Zenith Aircraft has generously expressed interest in supporting our chapter build project, once we got the non-profit status done.

So as of this week, we have most of the pieces in place, and will be making our final plans to move forward on beginning the chapter Cruzer project!

If there is interest from others on HBA, I can share the details, brainstorming, ideas, triumphs and tragedies of getting this project funded, built, and operational.
Yeah, I know I am supposed to be honeymooning right now but wanted to say congrats on the transaction! I will have to PM you sometime about what happened with a build my former chapter in TN attempted!

My future chapter up in MD is wrenching away on a donated Lancair Legacy, which is good...my project shares some design commonality with it!!

But I agree with your earlier statement. The EAA needs more younger blood in the ranks. I am 42, and, upon my arrival to MD, will take the claim to fame as the chapter's second youngest member (the new wife will be the youngest)! That, in my opinion, is a no-go. At my current chapter, we have done a share of Young Eagle flights, but not a single person joined the chapter or returned to take more lessons as a result; I am of the camp that is convinced they only came for a free airplane ride. It does not help that COVID killed our STEM workshop idea for the kids.

I know it might sound corny, but I think the EAA would do well by joining forces with a group called the "Academy of Model Aeronautics". My future chapter is starting to work with a local RC club up there. It makes logical sense; models can give you the itch, and you learn skills that translate up into full scale aircraft. Not the ultimate solution by any means, but a part of a solution that might work. Plus the kids can get exposed to something other than quadracopter drones.

But, all that said, we have challenges: 1. Getting new members, 2. Getting younger members, 3. Getting both those groups to show at meetings. I can go out on a limb and say that younger members need to get into chapter leadership positions. I was a chapter VP when I was 35, and according to an EAA BoD member I met a couple years ago, that was 'unprecedented'!

Like I said, we have work to do!

Just a thought.
 
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CRG

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Kids in aviation, be it full-scale or model form, is a tough sell and doesn't result in short-term growth. Great for seed planting, but it's a long game.

The EAA and the AMA do have a partnerships in place, though it's relatively new. I don't know the full scope of the program.

But I agree with your earlier statement. The EAA needs more younger blood in the ranks. I am 42, and, upon my arrival to MD, will take the claim to fame as the chapter's second youngest member (the new wife will be the youngest)! That, in my opinion, is a no-go. At my current chapter, we have done a share of Young Eagle flights, but not a single person joined the chapter or returned to take more lessons as a result; I am of the camp that is convinced they only came for a free airplane ride. It does not help that COVID killed our STEM workshop idea for the kids.

I know it might sound corny, but I think the EAA would do well by joining forces with a group called the "Academy of Model Aeronautics". My future chapter is starting to work with a local RC club up there. It makes logical sense; models can give you the itch, and you learn skills that translate up into full scale aircraft. Not the ultimate solution by any means, but a part of a solution that might work. Plus the kids can get exposed to something other than quadracopter drones.
 

cblink.007

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Great for seed planting, but it's a long game.
Seed planting, be it Young Eagle flights, chapter builds, STEM programs et al is precisely how you play the long game. It's called investment. And like any investment, it comes with risk.

We need to get the younger crowd in, some way some how. My wife and I should not be the the youngest ones in the chapter, with a sizeable age gap to the next older folks (no offense intended at all). Now I will say on the record that the EAA is not the only organization having this problem. My Marine Corps League Detachment is having the exact same problem!

It is difficult to get the younger ones involved in flying. In the last 20 years, the cost of learning to fly has nearly tripled. Yes, some new training aircraft have come about, but are still expensive enough to keep the hourly rates out of reach for the next generation. As an independent CFI, I have only had two students since I picked up my ticket a year ago, and only flew a grand total of ten hours between them before they either lost interest or ran out of funds. It also does not help that prospective pilots have seen the commercial pilot market completely vaporize in the last few months. The COVID lockdowns all but killed our after school STEM initiatives, but we have been making do with smaller workshops, thanks to one of our local RC flying clubs. Club build projects, in my opinion, are a great way to get the youth involved!

Like I said, we have a challenge, and we need to meet it now!
 
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Victor Bravo

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Kids in aviation, be it full-scale or model form, is a tough sell and doesn't result in short-term growth. Great for seed planting, but it's a long game.

The EAA and the AMA do have a partnerships in place, though it's relatively new. I don't know the full scope of the program.
100% agreed, a tough sell compared to other things. But it's a sale that has to be made so the sport survives, and I can't think of any other short-term or long-term play that has the potential to do any better.

The Young Eagles program has been the biggest success of any post-war aviation endeavor. Whether perfect, imperfect, ideal or otherwise, they've flown 2 million kids. Some number of them kept going in aviation; we have a lot of career pilots who started as Young Eagles.

The question is whether there are any better approaches (now, not 30 years ago, 20/20 hindsight and all that) that would yield better results.

Reducing the cost of flying is entirely possible, but it would take re-thinking everything and full support from the FAA. They are actually trying to be supportive, but move slowly because it's the government. We're also hampered by the fact that theFAA's primary mandate was changed at some point, and no longer requires them to promote or grow aviation. There's no direct incentive or order for the FAA to act in the best interest of growing the sport, only to make it safe for the public. The federal government would not make a good sporting activity promoter anyway, it's not what they're good at.

So all we can do on our end, in my opinion, is to find ways to make flying interesting to kids. We've had that sub-splinter conversation before on other threads... pass the hat and PAY a million dollars to Taylor swift or Gigi Hadid or some present-day celebrity influencer to take flying lessons. Pass the hat and PAY part of the cost of making a mainstream movie where the nerdy kid saves the whole world (and gets the blonde) because he knew how to fly Grandpa's biplane. Get with the school districts and fight the battle to get approval for an off-campus airplane-building project to count toward high school graduation credits. Get the state or federal governments to offer a tax credit for parents whose kids successfully complete their student pilot license. Treat pilot training the way they treat putting solar panels on your house, wi th some kind of rebate or partial cost offset. A case can be made that the short/long benefits to society and the long-term increase in tax revenue (from higher ahcieving and higher skills taxpayers) is well worth it. Same as solar panels and insulated windows.
 

addicted2climbing

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Need to get Charlie on board to let the build happen at his hangar and he can still keep his Lotus in there. Chapter 40 pays for a portion of the hangar. Or we kick Drew or Deso out of the EAA hangar.. :) Also one time chapter 40 kick in extra $50 for everyone to get a backlog of money to help. With C19 bake sales and fundraisers will need to wait.

My future solidworks classes just went from free to $25 a session to add to the kitty...
 

D_limiter

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VB, I admire your never ending enthusiasm and energy. Glad you are with us!
 

Direct C51

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My opinion might not be favorable, but I don’t think Young Eagles is really having any effect. First, the kids flying young eagles flights are already interested in aviation. Also, they are a long ways from being pilots. What EAA needs to focus on is young active pilots. All EAA chapters ever do is pancake breakfasts and young eagles flights. That is no fun to anyone 20-45 years old. What’s the point of getting young eagles interested in aviation, then ignoring them once they become pilots.

I’m 34, not that young anymore, but comparably an infant at any EAA chapter. What fun is a pancake breakfast when no one there flys-in, and no one is building an airplane. Worse yet, the EAA hangars are full of half built garbage projects from 30 years ago with 2 inches of dust and will never fly.

Here is what needs to happen:

1: Scrap all non-active and non-flying airplanes from the chapter hangar immediately.
2: Free hangar space to anyone actively building an airplane.
3: Cheap hangar space to active flying experimentals if there is room.
4: Fill the hangar with tools.
5: Forget the pancake breakfast. Schedule monthly fly-outs for breakfast.
6: Twice a year host a fly-in event. Food, aircraft display, etc.
7: Create a system where people can schedule fly-outs and others can join.
8: Acquire a chapter project.
9: Schedule building nights when everyone can work on the chapter project.
10: Have a system where people can annotate when they will be working in the hangar and others can observe, help, etc.
11: Completed chapter project go in a chapter flying club. Goal is a fleet of 3+ aircraft. Discounts given to those who volunteer when maintenance is required.

Every time I visit an EAA chapter, it is full of a bunch of old guys who have never built an airplane, fly certified planes, or maybe built something 20 years ago. Where is the chapter full of a bunch of active pilots who take their experimental planes out every weekend? Or the chapter that has a couple active projects going on in the hangar? My local EAA chapter hangar (KSDM, Brown Field, San Diego) is an embarrassment. Not a single flying plane. It’s full of JUNK! I flew my plane there for a pancake breakfast and I’m pretty sure I was the only one there with a flying experimental, and no one seemed to be working on one. Sad.
 
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BJC

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Every time I visit an EAA chapter, it is full of a bunch of old guys who have never built an airplane, fly certified planes, or maybe built something 20 years ago. Where is the chapter full of a bunch of active pilots who take their experimental planes out every weekend?
I agree with most of what you wrote, but I encourage you to be more accepting of members who never built an E-AB, don’t currently fly but might have soloed years ago and amasses less than 100 hours, or perhaps never soloed, but have a love of aviation. Individual circumstances can dictate different degrees of building / flying; we should be accepting of every enthusiast. One of the biggest supporters of a former chapter was neither a homebuilder, nor a pilot, but had spent a career building TC aircraft for a major manufacturer.

I did quit going to meetings at a different former chapter because it was full of “has beens” who insisted on lecturing those of us who were building and flying to the point that the meetings were not fun.

Our chapter meets in a privately owned hangar on a private airpark. We have the full range of members, some are nationally known. A few people fly to our meetings, but the majority live here and arrive on golf carts. Some drive in from The Villages. We are closer than their airplanes at public airports. We had two fly-ins per year for a decade or so, but now have one per year that draws 120 to140 airplanes. A fly-in of more than a handful of airplanes takes lots of work as well as insurance. Some of us have grown weary of doing all the work, but that is our fault; we have been reluctant to turn over our tasks to others. Most members are not homebuilders; if being a homebuilder were a requirement, the chapter would not continue to exist.

Billy Hinderson built Sun n Fun from a small local gathering into a national event. (When he retired, SnS quickly morphed into a money-grubbing event run by a bunch of jerks. They still are struggling to overcome their reputation.) Billy must have told me 100 times (no exaggeration) that “This [SnF] is a gathering of people who just happen to have a common interest in aviation.” There are several paths to an active chapter. Just remember that chapters are people, not airplanes. Take care of the people first.


Wrt Young Eagles: I quit flying them. I’m sure that some good has come from the program, but focus seems to be more on headcount that on a quality experience. I admire the student build programs that some HBAers run.

Agree that EAA needs to encourage flying clubs more. Also agree with EAA that chapters not be allowed to operate any aircraft in our litigious society.


BJC

Edit. Perhaps we would benefit from a thread of “Interesting / successful EAA chapter activities / practices.”
 

cblink.007

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Perhaps we would benefit from a thread of “Interesting / successful EAA chapter activities / practices.”
I am going to start a thread a little later today when I have a few minutes. I agree with both you and @Direct C51 with respect to known issues, and open the floor to reasonable debate on a good way forward for the EAA, both at the chapter and national level. I expect some serious crossfire, lord knows my artillery battery is standing by (as others will undoubtedly be), so the moderators will be in the loop!
 
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Direct C51

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I understand that EAA is being treated like a social club for the older members. But younger members have enough social clubs on their phones alone (I am not one of them, I am social media free). An EAA chapter that is just a social club isn’t going to attract young pilots. Young pilots want to go out and do fun flying trips. Young builders want to actually see some building happening, and participate. The fact is, the old guys can’t let go of their EAA social clubs, and it will be the end of many EAA chapters who refuse to do anything about it. VBs chapter is doing something about it. That is rare, at least amongst the chapters I have visited.
 

BJC

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There are several paths to an active chapter. Just remember that chapters are people, not airplanes. Take care of the people first.
I understand that EAA is being treated like a social club for the older members.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that “Take care of the people first” equates to running a social club. Just remember that the people designing, building, flying and working on fly-ins and other activities are people, not inanimate machines.
Young builders want to actually see some building happening, and participate.
I’m currently making some FWF mods on a E-AB that I regularly fly. I’m slow building a Glasair Super II - FT. I’m an old guy, EAA #36XXX. Been around sport aviation my whole life. I’m looking for some young, energetic youngster to take over some of the events that I organize. Most are just whining about the cost.

Stop by some time and tell me about your designing, building, flying and the chapter activities that you organize or sponsor.


BJC
 

addicted2climbing

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I am a member of Chapter 40 with VB where this project will happen. Until recently I was one of the youngest and im 48. Chapter 40 was always very involved in Young Eagles but we have a few projects going on. Even a few gyro based Flying motorcycles, an electric flying car (yah I know why electric). The previous Cygnet project was a huge success and I mentored 4 young eagle kids on the build and really looked forward to our buld day with the kids. However, a plans built airplane has dead spots in development so its not such a great choice for a build to keep everyone engaged. Yet on the flipside it was good to teach scratch building and fabrication and all the tools needed to do that. The Cruzer will do better keeping everyone engaged since its mostly easy to continue where you left off each build day.

I am in the process of kitting the Skylite and have built myself a makerspace of sorts at KWHP and when I have slow periods and C19 slows down, I want to open it up to young eagle kids for special projects. Maybe even recruit a few to help make parts or sub assemblies for the kit. I currently have a 600x900 100W laser, Tormach PC1100 with lathe attachment and I am about to build a 5' x 12' CNC router with an automatic tool changing spindle. Also have various power tools. Chapter 40 hangar has sheet metal brakes and such I can use as well. Also will start giving aviation slanted solidworks lessons to builders here at KWHP and anyone who wants to learn. Was going to be free, but now may charge a nominal fee to help with the Cruzer project.

Should be a fun 2021 fingers crossed...
 
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