oh, no! eaa membership expiring!

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by lurker, Jan 20, 2012.

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  1. Jan 23, 2012 #41

    Toobuilder

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    Chad,

    I skipped over the bolded text above - and then it sunk in. If SA (and by default EAA) is offering MORE, GA content, you're going in the wrong direction - and by the looks of it here and on the similar VAF thread, I'm far from alone. Some of us have seen you toe the company line both on the VAF forum and here, but it should be quite clear that EAA should be about homebuilts and homebuilding. JMHO, but anything short of a radical overhaul is going to fall short.

    I wish you the best of luck (and more than a little sympathy), because you have a tough time ahead.
     
  2. Jan 23, 2012 #42

    autoreply

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    Let's look whether that's correct. Nov '11 issue:
    *Bell 47, a certified helicopter
    *Pilot report on the Socata 850, a certified turboprop. Yes, there is a single sentence about sub 3 million aircraft (Tampico and so on)
    *An article about the different meaning of heading. Mentions nothing but a Baron, certified
    *An article about how to operate an autopilot. Uses a certified Cirrus SR22
    *Altimeters that kill you, tells about his experiences in a Turbo Arrow with it's faulty altimeter system

    So nothing about any of the shared interests we have with the certified world. Nothing about the many regulatory issues I mentioned. But all kinds of AOPA 2.0 stuff. All kinds of Beech owners club 2.0 stuff. I briefly checked the 2 following issues. Doesn't seem to be anything there either from his hand, covering the "big airplane" stuff that's relevant for homebuilders.

    The whole magazine has about 15 to 20 (!) percent of it's content about actual home/kitbuilt aircraft, instruments. All the other content could just as well fit in any random pilots magazine, that's totally unaware of the mere existence of non-certified aircraft.
    But you did suggest that there was a link between Socata's sponsorship and the article right? Or did I misread/misinterpret your comment?
    Ok. Why not put a photoshoot/article from a major bikini brand in there? Or a nice article how they make those beautiful Ferrari's? That'd get very positive replies and lots of readers too.

    And there lies my problem and that of many others. You're moving to becoming just another AOPA. More members, bigger money, bigger organization. But if you get there, not only is there nobody for the homebuilders anymore. No, the real problem is that you're just competing with AOPA and since you're fishing in the same pond of potential members, the amount of members of both organizations combined won't become much larger. Thus the total effectiveness in assuring a good future for non-airliner aviation will decrease, not increase.

    There's another, at least as large a threat. Old pilots. The age of a certified aircraft owner has steadily grown over the last decades. Those under 50 are far in between. Many are in their sixties or over. Homebuilders on the other hand are a lot younger with lots of them in the thirties and fourties. True, some of those certified owners will move to LSA's temporarily. But they're a rapidly shrinking group. Homebuilders are a rapidly growing group...



    Ow and allow me to express my admiration for how you communicate and participate, both here and on other fora :)
     
  3. Jan 23, 2012 #43

    Topaz

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    Chad, I'm very glad to hear that. More than you can possibly know. EAA is the reason I have the interest I do today in airplanes. It was a sad day for me when I had to walk away from the organization.

    Okay, but for those of us not currenly EAA members, what does that mean exactly? Only kits with six- and seven-digit completion cost figures? Something you need a completion center to really do right? Or do you mean something else? I'm genuinely curious as to what "Today's homebuilder" means in this context. Especially in light of comments you make such as below:

    GA expansion effort? A major contributor that never writes about non-certified aircraft? In this light, it seems like EAA is simply trying to expand Sport Aviation still further - bring back some homebuilding "stuff" and then further expand the non-homebuilding segment. This is not the direction a focused organization takes. You can't be everything to everyone. As a homebuilder, I don't want a "Experimental Aircraft Association" magazine to include lots of material completely non-relevant to the experimental area of aviation. How can the EAA continue to justify even its name if you're going to continue to expand still more into "general" GA?

    That's wonderful - really. It's great that homebuilders again have a voice on the leadership team. It was a crime that that wasn't the case for a period of time. It's even better that that person - you - is active here on HBA. I'm really glad you're here. I hope you'll stay, and be a regular participant in our group and their discussions. [/QUOTE]
     
  4. Jan 23, 2012 #44

    Topaz

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    Well said, sir!
     
  5. Jan 23, 2012 #45

    cjensen

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    Because the magazine is intended to reflect what our members want to read, and the survey's are completely random, not pulled from new members with money.

    I don't run the survey department, but I do report what I read on the forums here. Instead of running a survey why do you write editorial with your thoughts and suggestions?

    As a side note, I just had an "older" EAA member that was not a current member call me the other day...said he LOVED what he sees in the magazine, and wished us the very best for the future, and that he wanted to be transferred over to renew his membership right away.

    We won't please everyone no matter what we do...but we are in the beginning stages of a development plan to grow aviation and make more pilots so we can continue to fly our homebuilt airplanes. That's what it's all about.
     
  6. Jan 23, 2012 #46

    cjensen

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    I don't have anything to hide here...I'm 34 years old and I've been around aviation of all sorts my entire life, including homebuilts. I've been in the aviation industry professionally for 13 years, and I was finally able to afford to build an airplane, beginning in 2005. Built two since (assisted friends on multiple builds), and building two now. Today's EAA is nothing like it was 20+ years ago because we've grown. Simple as that. Growing is healthy, and with growing comes change.

    Better than none, isn't it? There hasn't been ANY homebuilder representation at the table since Paul stepped down. None. I may be the only builder at the table, but I'm not the only pilot. That's a good thing too...
     
  7. Jan 23, 2012 #47

    Toobuilder

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    While waiting for Chad to answer, I'll go out on a limb and say that "today's" homebuilder is actually an "assembler of highly developed, comprehensive kits". One only has to look to the RV series to understand the shift from "design and fabricate" to "unpack and assemble". The funny thing is, Chad spends a bunch of time on the VAF board answering for these same complaints. So if even the RV guys think EAA has lost focus, that's very telling!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  8. Jan 23, 2012 #48

    cjensen

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    We are offering more GA content...but we are just about to expand coverage of homebuilding too. EAA is about homebuilding...I've never said it wasn't, and I'll never say it in the future . We are also about including other areas...Warbirds, Vintage, IAC, Ultralights, and yes even the North 40 crowd. If we were just about homebuilding, we would not be here. There simply isn't enough to sustain EAA if we relied on "just us".

    Every time I talk to Paul about this particular subject, you know what he says? "There's room for everyone." Those four words are something that I can rely on him saying every single time.
     
  9. Jan 23, 2012 #49

    Toobuilder

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    Perhaps I'm overly critical, but this is the closest thing to a "mission objective" that I've seen from the organization. It apears that homebuilts are playing second fiddle in the organization. It reads like we're going to grab EVERYONE, and by default we may get a few homebuilts in the mix.

    ...Not a good strategy - not at all.
     
  10. Jan 23, 2012 #50

    Toobuilder

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    Then how did we get here? EAA is an NPO, and if they are outgrowing their budget, it's time to reel it in a bunch. Does the organization exist simply to support an ever growing bureaucracy?

     
  11. Jan 23, 2012 #51

    cjensen

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    We could dissect each and every issue from January '10 on and find someone that didn't like parts of it or all of it. The magazine will continue to change and offer something for our membership, and will always include homebuilding content, whether it's a feature, or Hints for Homebuilders, or What Our Members are Building, etc.

    I wasn't on staff, so I don't know for sure, but it seems logical, doesn't it? All I know is that we don't sell article space, and it seems every month we are scrounging for stories. I'm hoping to be able to provide some for the homebuilding content, but we're serious when we ask for submissions from builders and flyers. Whether you write the article, or we send someone to cover it, we need stories.

    EAA and AOPA have completely different missions. AOPA has no advocacy for homebuilders. I'm a member of AOPA too, but it's not my voice for homebuilders.

    This is a serious problem. Our average member age is 57. Youth programs are gonna be HUGE if we are to succeed. I agree with you 100%.

    Thank you very much...I do like doing this, and I hope I am coming across as being clear, and answer questions to the best of my ability and knowledge.
     
  12. Jan 23, 2012 #52

    cjensen

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    Well...I hope we can bring you back one of these days...

    It includes everyone...the exec who wants a homebuilt, doesn't have the time to build and uses the Two Weeks To Taxi program, the guy/gal who has the time to build a kit on a budget, the guy/gal who has limited funds, but manages to create an award wining plans built. We are all today's builder, and my hope is to cover all of it in Sport Aviation or Experimenter.

    Exactly the next step...expanding homebuilt coverage. EAA as an organization has always been open to all...ask Paul.

    I'll stick around. I have pretty thick skin, as you may have been able to tell. I'm a level headed guy that doesn't take offense, and respects others thoughts and feelings. We are all entitled to voice our opinions right? Who's to judge if they are right or wrong. I'll just answer (if one is needed) as best I can, and go from there. ;)
     
  13. Jan 23, 2012 #53

    cjensen

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    That's a good thread, and one that certainly garnered attention. But, I wouldn't say that the RV community feels EAA has lost it's focus. There are about 130 people (15-20 that kept it going) that participated in that thread out of 14,000 members. I'm not saying it doesn't matter, not at all, but I hardly think that is speaks for the community. I am (was) an RV guy...I have had more feedback via PM or email from the RV community about the positive changes they are seeing than the negative views expressed in that thread. And not all of it is negative there either. It's a great discussion. I sat in Rod's office one night last week, and we went through the stacks of emails...the feedback is good. Honestly.

    I think you're reading in to it a bit too much, and perhaps, yes, being overly critical. Homebuilts are the biggest category of airplane at Oshkosh every summer, so I'd say we are trying to grow the pilot population, get them interested in homebuilts, and keep the phenomenal growth of the EAB category alive!

    Budget concerns are always going to be there with an NPO, but EAA is doing quite well financially.
     
  14. Jan 23, 2012 #54

    Toobuilder

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    Chad-

    I don't mean to try paint you into a corner - it's not fair to dump all this on you. I admire you for taking the "abuse" here and on the VAF thread.

    I am (was) a second generation EAA member (Dad was the founding chapter president in our town), and I can remember going to the meetings as a young child. I remember the content of the meetings were largely technical - demonstrating load tests of wing ribs and glue joint coupons - how to weld, scarf a spar, etc. You know... actual technical content... So it is from this perspective that my passion for the subject has its origin. I grew up with homebuilding, and I see what it has become. The Association may call it "growth", I call it something entirely different.

    When the focus of the Association returns, I'll be back.
     
  15. Jan 23, 2012 #55

    cjensen

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    No worries...I'm happy to be here to address the issues. I hear ya though, and I hope to bring some of this to the table.

    BTW, do you own/fly a Hyperbibe?

    I'll be offline for the next few hours...
     
  16. Jan 23, 2012 #56

    Aircar

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    My perspective on what 'an EAA' could or should be is somewhat different than both 'sides' of this argument I think --on one hand there seem to be builders who get most satisfaction from the physical hands on creation of a flying machine and aren't particularly interested in why it looks like it does or whether it is better than other aircraft --for them building a replica Jenny would be quite sufficient and fulfill the aim of building something as recreation (the old plans built designs in Sport Aviation seem to have gone the way of the popular Mechanics "build this bird bath for 75c" lead stories .

    Old PMs are more interesting than today's in the same way --although they always carried general articles about the latest advances in science and military aircraft as well -- the increase in sophistication of all things has tended to make "do it yourself" as a way to improve the quality of life (rather than a time consuming hobby ) a literal waste of time. Kit aircraft were the inevitable result of progress in the sophistication of aircraft and the need to keep up with the general advance or become irrelevant --I worked on the most sophisticated 'homebuilt' kit sailplane in the early 70s -the Schreder HP18 - built in a hangar annex rather than a big factory but in it's day nearly as good as the best European factory built fiberglass sailplanes (where I had also worked shortly before ) -but it was the LAST feasibly competitive kit sailplane and featured the highest possible level of prefabrication and pre molded parts, machined spars,weldments etc --and homebuilding of sailplanes had gone from a way (the only way) to get the top competition winning prototype to being a backwater for people who had a love of the nuts and bolts but didn't expect to have a winning aircraft.

    homebuilding went through a similar cycle until the inevitable march of progress made the factory aircraft once again the most sophisticated and 'desirable' product --the wave of hand built from plans foam and fiberglass designs petered out as fully molded kits of parts became available and since this saved countless hours of drudgery repeating over and over the unneccesary hand labour spent in shaping the SAME parts over and over by individual builders it was a good thing but also had the unintended side effect of making design and build from scratch considerably less attractive or competitive (as a result of the success in reducing man hours which is the primary aim of the designer )

    Schreder sailplane kits allowed homebuilders to lead the technology of the most refined type of aircraft and stood out in their day amongst the 1930's level rag and tube or wooden boxy typical homebuilts of the sixties --Jim Bede acknowledged the influence that the aerodynamically sophisticated Schreder kit sailplanes had on his thinking behind the BD5
    which itself lit the fuse on the "new direction" for EAA towards high performance and low man hours to build aircraft that Burt Rutan inroduced in sailplane materials and general aerodynamics.

    The end result of designers applying their best efforts to make better performing and easier to build aircraft for amateurs is the highly tooled kitplane designed for little more than assembly .

    Sending before time out again)
     
  17. Jan 23, 2012 #57

    Aircar

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    Continued -- so bemoaning the dissappearence of the Pietenpol type homebuilt is to me a bit too much like nostalgia for things like wind up gramophones or similar obsoleted technology -- and they were never cheap to own or build in terms of man hours invested .

    When this 'golden age' of aviation was underway almost nobody could afford to fly (the 1930s) and
    only a handful of such aircraft really got built --most homebuilts were one offs or built in tiny numbers UNTIL the tooled up kit appeared .
    John Thorp wrote that he didn't even make enough out of selling T 18 plans to pay for the effort --yet the RV series are little different but have sold in the thousands and are the most profitable and numerous homebuilts many years later. (doesn't always pay to be the first to enter a market or see a possibility --the British Comet was a victim of too much too soon in a way as well --the biggest example of this effect is the Roadable aircraft or flying car in my view --and the ONLY real area in which EAA could fulfill it's original role as the "Everyman's Aircraft Association" in truth .

    Little "experimentation" as usually understood has taken place in the EAA --nothing greatly advancing the design of aircraft in any way (the Wittman spring steel landing gear came out of air racing pre EAA although sometimes creditted to homebuilding per se ) and the real point of EAA was to make affordable and enjoyable aircraft available to the man in the street. ( homebuilding hasn't done this but neither has building antiques in Wichita -- maybe another approach is needed )

    The price of factory aircraft was so high that homebuilding represented the only way this might be feasible AT THE TIME --building as an end in itself or a "Sport" was not the real motivation --factory aircraft from Cessna or whoever were expensive because of the high costs resulting from antiquated production methods and expensive imposed certification together with a market 1/1000 th the size of the personal land vehicle.

    Almost nobody got onto the road by handbuilding their own car but because cars were reengineered to be able to be built cheaply and became affordable by mass production -- some people did lament the passing of the buggy and horses when the Model T filled the roads but most people realized that it was better to get driving an automobile than hope for a return to horses or save up for a Cadillac or Rolls Royce which were the Socata Tobago or Beech Baron equivalent in their day on the road.

    Molt Taylor was dissappointed by the failure of the EAA to grasp the opportunity to go down the Model T path and encourage the development of a flying car as the embodiment of the dream of affordable and useful flying vehicles -- sticking with handbuilt and highly restricted things like airplanes that reiterated the same operational mode as a corporate aircraft (airport to airport, rental car/limo service at arrival,hangaring and storage costs etc ) --rather than the sort of vehicle that fitted into peoples everyday lives would inevitably lead to a dead end market and even finishing up as real rich men's toys and actual copies of the gleaming corporate jet or high end turboprop --as has occurred.

    Molt described the EAA as " building a new museum while the shop burns down" (said in 1990) -Jack Cox told me that he had Molt ringing him up "every couple of weeks" trying to get the EAA to take up the only real opportunity it had to put a useful aircraft that they could afford and want to own in their garage . --the rare times when an article on roadables appeared in the EAA magazine were mostly to report an restoration for the museum or just as a novelty item.

    It would be like a watersports organization building miniature copies of the Titanic but no trailer sailers or catamarans and focussing on acting out the role of captain as the main thing -- just like personal aircraft have duplicated the flight decks and procedures of an airline captain and even fly to and from the same airports .
    Hotrodders don't build miniature Kenworth or Loisville trucks in comparison and recreational vehicles are designed to go off road and get to places having some recreational attraction (amphibians can get away from the airport 'straightjacket' and experience some real benefit in the sporting sense or recreation and a few ultralights and the like plus gliders but in general to go fast means to go to only airports and this has removed a lot of the reason for going places that the general public sees as attractive --the emphasis on the top end high speed airplane within EAA is also putting off the potential users of aircraft who don't aspire to be professional pilots or want to fly or build just for it's own sake.

    But the real missing factor is having an aircraft able to do something useful in everyday life and justify it's existence by real utility (as another pioneer in roadables -also frustrated and ignored by EAA, wrote in his book on flying cars --the late Dan Zuck of "an airplane in every garage" fame )

    Could it be that there IS an area of aviation and aircraft type that COULD vastly multiply the amount of activity in things aeronautical --recapture the interest and involvement of the public, result in millions of new flying machines using the air in NEW ways (fitting the wants of people rather than the desire to re invent the past ) and give the man in the street the original goal of a low cost airplane that he could afford to fly? --if so it will have to take notice of how this was acheived for automobiles and both 'turn away' from the shockingly over expensive factory built airplanes (eg Socata...) and the woefully inefficient handbuilding at home --although it might well start with homebuilt prototyping .

    Rutan declared (at Oshkosh in 1998)that advances in new construction and design would obsolete BOTH the overpriced factory airplane and the handbuilt 'do it yourself' kit aircraft or scratch built because once you can create a large market for an airplane and build it like a model T then there will be no reason to continue the old ways .

    Question is whether EAA will really get behind this long neglected opportunity or let the Chinese perhaps do it ....
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  18. Jan 24, 2012 #58

    BBerson

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    I am confused about this question (perhaps a typo?).
    Are you suggesting that I write an editorial for Sport Aviation?
     
  19. Jan 24, 2012 #59

    Topaz

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    Well, it may be that you do. I've laid out my criteria for that - an extensive return to homebuilding coverage at the expense of all things certified. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I get to poke my nose into issues of Sport Aviation now and again, and I have an open mind. If the organization and the publication return to emphasis and coverage that interests me, you'll see me as a member again without hesitation.


    I'm very happy to hear that. An oft-expressed concern (that I share) is the current emphasis on high-end, very expensive projects. Sure, they're spectacular, but they hardly represent what most can realistically hope to produce. It's rather like the "Best homebuilt" judging at Oshkosh back in the '80s - there was a fondness for gold-plated valve covers (actually happened - A Glasair III winner of that award) and other "bling" that had little or nothing to do with the actual quality of the build. A kit with a seven-figure completion cost will certainly have a lot of "wow" factor, but it's not reflective of the "body" of homebuilding as a whole. Coming down of my soap-box, I'll keep an eye on SA, and keep my mind open. I fervently hope that EAA and SA impress me in the near future.

    And with others, let me again commend you on your interest and participation here on HBA, and your patience with our rantings. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  20. Jan 24, 2012 #60

    lurker

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    if you all will bear with me for a minute, i'd like to share my perspective.

    "experimental aircraft" covers a broad spectrum. spaceplanes are experimental, and deserve coverage. but they are only one end of the spectrum, the high-tech, high cost end.

    i've been seeing a lot of talk about "the decline of general aviation". i'm new at this, not even long enough to know whether it's actually in decline. but because i'm trying to get in i may have a viewpoint that the seasoned veterans do not.

    for the vast majority of people, personal ownership of airplanes is an expensive luxury. we've spent most of our lives putting food on the table, raising families, putting our kids in college, and by the time we plug those holes in our leaky lifeboats, we're on a fixed income. we repeatedly put the dream on hold to get a better job or stay healthy. a six-digit flying machine is out of the question, and a high-five-digit one is improvident. add in the commitment of time and technical knowledge, and the barriers look insurmountable, and personal ownership a pipe dream. i'm not that fond of eating dogfood, and rest assured the lady of the house will be less than supportive.

    there are few ways for us to overcome the barriers to personal ownership, used aircraft and homebuilt. for those of us with the desire and time, homebuilts - whether home-designed, plans or kits, is the only way.

    like it or not, we are the "seed corn" of general aviation. despite the fact that some of us are getting long in the tooth, we are the next generation of owner-pilots, and without us the vision will die out or become the preserve of the idle rich. and we need help, and encouragement. the costs are prohibitive, our friends think we're crazy, and the learning curve is steep. if the EAA will not support us, who will?

    thanks for listening.
     

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