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Jman

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The following is a loosely formed collection of my thoughts on EAA. It's late so forgive my lack of coherent thought.

I'm an EAA member and will continue to be one for the foreseeable future. Am I happy with the magazine? Not really. Chad is working hard to introduce some good homebuilding content, but it's not enough. The new format is visually appealing but it seems as though it just made more space for advertising. I was excited to see the article about the winner of the Green Flight Challenge in January's issue until I read it. Very little technical content and lots of fluff. Almost no article I read has any real meat I can sink my teeth into. Chad - we need you to fight the good fight!

However, EAA is more than a magazine. They have made strides in their web content with the Hints for Homebuilders video series. I haven't looked at their forum much but it's a step in the right direction. Making every issue of experimenter and sport aviation available online was a great thing.

Local EAA chapters can be a HUGE asset during a build and can actually have a positive impact on a local community. They can also be a group of grumpy old guys who don't really do anything. It'***** or miss but on the whole a very good thing.

Who can say the young eagles program was a bad idea? I still remember my first airplane ride and it changed my life. If AOPA had come up with young eagles, would they have allowed flights in homebuilts? I don't know.

Who went to bat for a homebuilder when his city zoning regulations said airplanes could not be built or worked on in a residential garage? Being able to "Phone a friend" in a situation like that could mean the world to me someday. Would AOPA of helped out? I don't know.

EAA and AOPA are both powerful lobbying forces for general aviation. The difference is that EAA acknowledges that homebuilding exists. From what I've seen, I believe that if you were to poll the AOPA membership as a whole about the legitimacy and safety of homebuilts, we would be very dismayed. EAA has brought in some "heavy hitters" to it's lobbying game such as Harrison Ford, Sullenberger and Skiles (flight 1549), Jeff Dunham, etc. It might seem like fluff, but these folks bring a lot of publicity and legitimacy to the homebuilding movement by just being associated with EAA.

Is EAA perfect? Not at all. But I personally support it anyway. If another organization came on the scene that was more focused on homebuilding I'd support that too.

Oh yeah, and before I'm accused of AOPA bashing...I'm a member of that one too!
 

Aircar

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Feb 20, 2010
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I had a relatively simple decision about membership renewal since I couldn't afford it but in Australia all the benefit you can possibly get is the actual magazine --there is no 'lobbying on behalf of' or even chapter membership etc etc (in fact I asked EAA to help intercede with getting an experimrntal design category in Australia over twenty years ago and even spoke to Paul Poberezny here in 1979 during a visit --the regulations allowed ANY foreign experimental to be built and sold but a local design homebuilt HAD to fully comply with FAR 23 PLUS A lot lot more .

I would have thought a 'fellow designer' in the form of Paul Poberezney (or later president Tom), might have seen the inequity in this and that it was counter to the "EAA ethos" --(plus plain stupid --if an untrained US or French etc designer could "safely" build and sell his uncertified design in Australia with no tests to pass at all why not an Australian?
The local homebuilders group (no designers at all) called "SAAA" -Sports Aircraft Association of Australia I re named "Supporters of Australian Aviation Apartheid " since Apartheid is by definition a LAW that denies one group of people the rights given to another --in this case the right to sell kits and plans and to register their aircraft in Australia was only granted to foreigners. (exactly as in the case of a black South African born man had far less rights than a blond Scandinavian who got off the plane the day before -- it is legislated racism in practice.)

Right now in Australia an archaic provision in the constitution that pertains to Aboriginal people is being debated in the papers and a referendum being planned because of the 'discrimination' involved even though it has absolutely no effect on anybody and this group of citizens receives enormous additional government funding over and above the run of the mill Aussie .

It opens old wounds and is simple hypocrisy -- the EAA bathes in it's 'lore' of having defended the rights of the powerless individual who wants to use his own hands to 'free himself' in a real sense but,as noted, has sold out to the millionaire set and acqiesced in a number of issues that do impact homebuilt designers and pilots which those like AOPA are taking up (the EU personal air vehicle project is one example -EAA let the NASA PAV effort in the US wither on the vine as well )

EAA was only concerned with membership and power rather than the often touted concern for grass roots aviation and protecting the right to design build and fly and yet still accepts international membership and makes claims to be representing all it's members ( I scraped up the money to renew for many years on the basis that ,even if flawed, it the "last best hope" but eventually got reform with no help from EAA and despite the quizling SAAA .

Paul Poberezny did not really design the Pixie or EAA biplane in the sense that others did all the calculations and stressing etc for him -he was contemptuous of designers who even did drawings (by hand!) and said that you only need a few chalk lines on the hangar floor to build an airplane .... and the role of George Bogardis from Oregon has been downplayed to near extinction even though HE was the one who rallied the Oregon Outlaws to resist the ending of the pre WW2 freedoms to design and build aircraft by amateurs 00and did the REAL 'flight through the lower 48 to washington that got the rules thrown out ' --Paul Poberzeny repeated this in his bitsa built (re build)'Lil Audrey' after the laws that would have killed off homebuilding were already rescinded .

There is no bronze statue of George Bogardis at Oshkosh unlikePaul and this ego thing and nepotistic dynastical succession along the same lines explains a lot of the direction it has taken --nostalgia before the future or even present.

(Steve Wittman was invited to attend the local SAAA sponsored version of Airventure (Mangalore Air show and fly in ) in the early 90s and I hapened to be standing nearby when he turned and asked one of his companions "Where are all the Aussie ships?" -- seeing only copies of American and French homebuilts but clearly expecting to have seen something unique and Australian just like tourists expect to see kangaroos and koalas --I had a couple of photos of my aircraft to show him but I had to stay out of sight in doing so .

When I found that you can read the magazine free of charge on line the deal was sealed (no point in renewing if and when I could afford to anyway )but I also found what little of any technical worth I had missed in two years.....
 
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Wagy59

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Nov 25, 2011
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Farmers Branch, Texas
Hmm...I had to quit reading and just scan thru the rest...true..Sport Aviation mag isnt for me anymore..I still like it but as usual everything has all gone to commercial bull**** buy our kit and you need half as million disposable cash on hand kind of thing and has moved away from guys like me that actually like to build things....the whole thing has moved over to the people that have more money than talent and brains, so lets give them and airplane they can build and go kill them selves in..Sorry just me..I love those planes just as much as they do I just have less money, and more brains and flying skills..
 

Tony

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Oct 28, 2011
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Location
Springfield IL
I have been watching this thread and here is my 2 cents.
I am here becuase of one thing. I like to fly. I go to my hangar becuase of one thing, my airplane. I joined the EAA and AOPA because of two things. I fly and my airplane. But because I am new to all this I wanted to soak up as much of it as I could. I have only been flying a short time, under 3 years. So I went out and joined the EAA and AOPA. After now almost 3 years I have learned a few thing not only about this great sport, hobby, what have you, we call aviation. I have learned a few things about the people who fly, or maybe just people in general.
If you are an EAA member or fly Homebuilt do not mention you do not build. And then don't mention you don't build because of health, everyone will have a way for you to build, even though not one of these people know your condition. Do not go out and buy more planes then your buds can afford. You will be marked as a drug dealing hangar stealing plane robbing sob.
What I see is none of this matters. I went to Osh-Gosh last year. I never even knew of Osh-Gosh beside my Bibs I wore. Osh-Gosh by Gosh. Thats what I new of Osh-Gosh. I was shocked when I got thier. I turned to the bud I went with and said, in twenty years this will be gone. It will still be here, but not like this, this is a dieing sport. I see this at home also.
Example, every private field owned in my area by a 20 mile radias is owned by the elderly. We just had a family take over one field. The man hangering thier got an evection notice a few weeks ago. The field is being plowed under. I only know of one field owned by someone under 60.
We can all hash out where this is going or that, but look at the big picture. Step back and look. Its all going bye-bye. You either fly out of an FAA controled field or nothing. Its getting bad here already. One year ago hangars everywhere. Today men are knocking on my hangar door wanting in. Going to the field owner and trying to get my hangar, its getting bad folks and its only going to get worse. I feel sorry for the kid in school today like 2nd or 3rd grade. Looking out the window when he hears a airplane and says, someday I will own one.
I fly alone and keep to myself
My 2 cents.
Tony
 

Monty

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Fayetteville, AR / USA
Tony,

I'm not sure I would use Illinois as an example. I've flown through there. Ugh....I can see where you get this impression. It's not like this everywhere though. Many places have a thriving aviation community with new fields and younger pilots. Whenever I have driven through Illinois I'm always struck by how everything miraculously gets better on the other side of the state line. I think you can pretty much thank your tax policy and Chicago for sucking the state dry. It's probably prohibitively expensive to build or own a private strip. I can't really blame the owners for getting rid of them.
 

Monty

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Ben,

Wow....I'd be PO'd too!

He who has the gold makes the rules. Corporate sponsors are going to do what is in their interest. The guys who were excited were most likely engineering types. Then the legal beagles got involved.....
 

skeeter_ca

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Jun 29, 2005
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Yucaipa, Ca
I also get the "KitPlanes" Magazine. It usually is only full of builder articles.
 
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dviglierchio

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Dec 2, 2006
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105
Location
Davis, CA
IMHO the EAA has drifted too far toward the commercial side and the AOPA has gone that way years ago. To survive in this day and age an organization needs to be multifaceted and cater to as many people with aviation interests, to do that is a FINE balancing act between ticking some off and growing the ranks on the other side..... I really hope the new direction Rod is taking the EAA will embrace all of us homebuilders in a positive way and still pull off the combining of the commercial side of aviation that apparently is the major funding side of things. Personally I give the AOPA little chance of regaining respect of the small guys in aviation but their entrenched lobbying position in DC is all we have so like it or not we need them. The EAA is late to the table in that regard and mostly depended on the AOPA to fight for GA. Hopefully they can make some headway in the cesspool that DC has become.... Unfortunately the 'system' works on shear dollars and not common sense. I believe the idea of making Contact magazine speak for us homebuilders is a viable option while keeping Sport Pilot the prime time magazine of the EAA to please the masses. I am sure Chad is pulled in several directions but I have faith his experience in homebuilding will be a driving force in having the "experimental" side of the EAA members stay on board for the long haul....


Ben.
www.haaspowerair.com
Ben, that is the best summary of the situation I've seen yet. Well said!
 

rheuschele

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Jan 12, 2010
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Location
Chicago Il. USA.
I also get the "KitPlanes" Magazine. I usually is only full of builder articles.
I also get Kitplanes, but there is one guy in there that writes like a high school book report. I prefer Sport Aviation, but they do need to focus more on trials and tribulations of homebuilding methods, What works, what doesn't and what will lead to certain doom.
ron
 

seerjfly

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In the early 2000's Paul P. tried to go back to the original intent of EAA with the Sport Aviation Association. The dues were whatever one felt like sending, he even put out a magazine "To Fly" that was like looking at Sport Aviation of the 60's. Top notch. He discontinued due to low membership interest in '07 or '08. I have thought of trying to start a simple homebuilders organization locally.
 

BBerson

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It's time for some bold new ideas at EAA.
For example: (Ben's comments about his Ford engine at Oshkosh at post #23 got me thinking)

What if EAA could make it possible so that Ford, Honda, John Deere (and other engine makers) could actually sell aviation engines with some sort of limited liability?
The Oshkosh event is really quite an event and these companies do participate in funding the show, I especially like the Honda Forums.
But why should they be allowed to market cars, motorcycles, generators, tractors and marine engines but never offer any aviation engines at Oshkosh?

Perhaps a major effort should be advanced to limit liability so these companies could sell these engines for experimental use. Perhaps as kits, with the liability transfered to the kit company rather than Honda or Ford. Or some sort of product liability group insurance pool such as AMA offers it's members for model airplanes.

Can you imagine what would happen if Honda made an aviation engine for Light Sport?

EAA and Airventure have the power to require this mission be completed. (something like the EAA autofuel program was a success)
 

Lucrum

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Canton, GA
That's a perfect example, Rick. A review of that Socata belongs in Flying, or AOPA Pilot. It doesn't belong in the magazine of the Experimental Aircraft Association.

If EAA had any loyalty to their mandate, Sport Aviation would be filled cover-to-cover on the stuff we discuss here in HBA: Design methods, construction techniques, tools and tool use, builder-completions, safe first-flight protocols, etc. Yes, that would mean the organization might not take in as much money. And yes, some of the top-tier execs wouldn't get such hefty salaries or be able to write off a trip to the Bahamas as "research" for a "Where-to-Fly" article. But the organization would actually mean something again, and it might just do what it was always intended to do: Promote aircraft homebuilding!
I also just last week renewed my membership in the EAA. Even though I'm not totally happy with their reduced emphasis on home building or my money funding an unnecessary bureaucracy.
 

cjensen

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Apr 21, 2005
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149
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Oshkosh, WI
...reduced emphasis on home building...
Sorry I was unable to take part in this thread while it grew over the weekend...

The quote above is something that I hope to make a thing of the past. While Sport Aviation will never go back to the way it was in the early days, the next phase (as I posted about above) is to expand coverage of homebuilding. Yes it's going to focus on "today's" homebuilder, but that's the way the organization is going. Member survey's and feedback are highly indicative of this. Folks, as the homebuidler guy at EAA, I was just promoted to the senior leadership team. This is where the direction is steered. We listen to members, and what they tell us is what we talk about at that level. To say that EAA has a reduced emphasis on homebuilding would not coincide with putting me at that table. I feel it's quite the opposite actually.

One quick note about a certain airplane that was featured in SA a few months back...If you missed the night airshow on Saturday night at AirVenture...you missed one heck of a show, and that part of the week-long show was the most talked about, most enjoyable, and one of the biggest reasons people indicate they will come back next year. You know who provided support for that? Socata. They are a HUGE supporter of EAA, and the guys that fly those airplanes have a blast coming here to see the show. Many of them are homebuilders, both kits and plans, and they love EAA. That's where they fit in.

I'm a homebuilder...I eat, drink, sleep homebuilt airplanes. Ask my wife...I'm sure she's tired of it, but she supports me. But I do see the need for broader GA coverage. As homebuilders, we can't do it and keep the homebuilt dreams alive without the buy in of the GA world.

We are ALL aviation people. We ALL love airplanes. We ALL want to succeed and see our freedom to build and fly go on forever. We need the support of ALL to continue to do so.

I've always felt that if EAA did nothing else for ME, that I would still support them because of the Young Eagles program. We simply MUST keep youth interested and invigorated about flying and building. They are the future of aviation.
 

Toobuilder

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...I can't really blame the people at the EAA or even the editor of the magazine. They are simply responding to what the majority want. I don't want it....so I'm not a member anymore. The local chapter was the only thing that I really miss, but realistically, I never had time to go the meetings anyway...
Yep... Exactly the same conclusion I came to a few years ago after a few exchanges with "EAA management". EAA had evolved into a larger, more diverse organization. Most looked to this as a triumph of marketing - but I saw it as losing focus.

It has evolved beyond my interest.

Chad and others should be commended for realizing there is a problem, but I think they still are trying to simply add "enough" homebuilding content to tip the scales back towards center. They're still trying to keep ALL the balls in the air, but if you're trying to appease the NASCAR type corporate masses and homebuilders, we lose. EAA is trying to be everything to everybody, subtly corrupting the founding vision of a HOMEBUILDERS organization that was by passion "all inclusive".

Thank goodness (and Jake) for this site... THIS is what EAA should be!
 

autoreply

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The quote above is something that I hope to make a thing of the past. While Sport Aviation will never go back to the way it was in the early days, the next phase (as I posted about above) is to expand coverage of homebuilding. Yes it's going to focus on "today's" homebuilder, but that's the way the organization is going. Member survey's and feedback are highly indicative of this. Folks, as the homebuidler guy at EAA, I was just promoted to the senior leadership team. This is where the direction is steered. We listen to members, and what they tell us is what we talk about at that level. To say that EAA has a reduced emphasis on homebuilding would not coincide with putting me at that table. I feel it's quite the opposite actually.
I don't understand Mac's appointment then. After my earlier remark, I've gone through some more of his articles. Up till now I have seen a single one that as much as mentions anything that is not certified.
One quick note about a certain airplane that was featured in SA a few months back...If you missed the night airshow on Saturday night at AirVenture...you missed one heck of a show, and that part of the week-long show was the most talked about, most enjoyable, and one of the biggest reasons people indicate they will come back next year. You know who provided support for that? Socata. They are a HUGE supporter of EAA, and the guys that fly those airplanes have a blast coming here to see the show. Many of them are homebuilders, both kits and plans, and they love EAA. That's where they fit in.
I see that rewarding a sponsor with some attention is a good thing and there's nothing wrong with giving them some free ads for example. But if your articles are "for sale", why would I have the slightest confidence in any single one of them? If you write an article, comparing different PFD's for example, is the one that comes out best simply the company that would pay most for sponsoring? If you write about the Epic LT, is that just a tad more negative that you think, simply to please Lancair and Socata?

Unless it's very clear that your writing an advertorial, this is worrysome..
But I do see the need for broader GA coverage. As homebuilders, we can't do it and keep the homebuilt dreams alive without the buy in of the GA world.
Why not? I don't see the slightest bit of relevancy in a jet or a certified turboprop pirep. Sure, we can't do it alone. But then report on the issues at hand, like the user fees, FAA's actions, ADS-B, the new broadband ruining GPS and so on. That is where the shared interests lie and that is where the attention should go to IMHO, instead of fancy planes that have zero relevancy to virtually all your members.
 

cjensen

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Oshkosh, WI
I don't understand Mac's appointment then. After my earlier remark, I've gone through some more of his articles. Up till now I have seen a single one that as much as mentions anything that is not certified.
Mac came on board as part of the second phase of the magazine development, along with Lane and Jeff. He is here to run the magazine (which he does exceedingly well) and provide insight on the things you mention below...user fees, FAA actions, ADS-B, GPS...he is not here to write about non-certified products. He is here as part of the GA expansion effort.

I see that rewarding a sponsor with some attention is a good thing and there's nothing wrong with giving them some free ads for example. But if your articles are "for sale", why would I have the slightest confidence in any single one of them? If you write an article, comparing different PFD's for example, is the one that comes out best simply the company that would pay most for sponsoring? If you write about the Epic LT, is that just a tad more negative that you think, simply to please Lancair and Socata?

Unless it's very clear that your writing an advertorial, this is worrysome..
I can't answer specifically about advertorials and Socata...that article was part of the publication can well before I came on board at EAA. I do know that we are always searching for content, so no one is coming to us to "buy" an article.

Why not? I don't see the slightest bit of relevancy in a jet or a certified turboprop pirep. Sure, we can't do it alone. But then report on the issues at hand, like the user fees, FAA's actions, ADS-B, the new broadband ruining GPS and so on. That is where the shared interests lie and that is where the attention should go to IMHO, instead of fancy planes that have zero relevancy to virtually all your members.
Maybe the TBM pirep was too far...there has been some significant push-back from it. But it was a very popular article from reader survey results. I used to fly them. Great airplane, but I'm not all that interested in it either, other than the fact that it is an airplane, and a cool one at that! I didn't read the article...easy enough to skip past it. But LOTS of people did read it and liked it. Zero relevancy is not the case here.
 

BBerson

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Maybe the TBM pirep was too far...there has been some significant push-back from it. But it was a very popular article from reader survey results.
Reader survey results are invalid now. Most of the true "EAA types" have left the organization. A friend of mine just test flew a new homebuilt and is not an EAA member. The survey results are likely from the new EAA members that apparently can afford to participate in modern general aviation like the typical AOPA member.
Why don't you poll the members on this forum about EAA Sport Aviation content.
 

Hot Wings

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To say that EAA has a reduced emphasis on homebuilding would not coincide with putting me at that table. I feel it's quite the opposite actually.

I don't know how long you have been around home built airplanes, I have to assume not all that long, or you would have a very different "feeling". Today's EAA is nothing like it was 20+ years ago. Neither is the carnival at Wittman field.

Folks, as the homebuidler guy at EAA, I was just promoted to the senior leadership team.

"THE" homebuilder guy? Only one token builder at the senior level? From the outside it looks to be little more than putting you out front to run a bit of interference while the "old boys" continue with business as it suits them.

As homebuilders, we can't do it and keep the homebuilt dreams alive without the buy in of the GA world.

For nearly 30 years the EAA grew and prospered without the buy in of the GA world.

Just for the fun of it I grabbed the copy of SA that was on the top of the pile. It's the August '75 issue. There is not a single add for anything certified in it. There are some adds from suppliers that also sell certified materials. There is an article on a complete rebuild of a PA-12. That the closest thing to GA in the issue.

There is an article on choosing an airfoil.
There is an article on homebuilding in Japan.
There is a 6 page article on a Starduster 2.
There is an article on one of a kind Hellcat look a like.
There is an article the Mohave air races. The pictures of homebuilt race planes out numbers the war birds.
There is a article on the importance of keeping your project light, by Taylor.
There is an article on a homebuilt paint booth.
There is an article on assembly considerations of a VW engine.
There is an article on how to install wheel pants by Bingelis
There is an article on a Mustang II
There is an article on flying a Sonerii II cross country.
There is an article on building your own amphibian by Thurstan
There is an article on the Pasmany efficiency contest.
There is a short article on a Mazda conversion

There is not one single article detailing the trials and tribulations of trying to move a project from one professional shop to the next to get the needed sub-assemblies installed, or how long it took for the CNC cut parts to arrive by UPS and how it messed up the schedule.

I'd love to be an EAA member again. When they get back to something resembling a homebuilt organisation, rather than an alternate spelling of AOPA I'll consider it.
 
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