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Strengthening & Saving EAA Chapters and Investing in the Future: Making the Case

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cblink.007

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@Dana @BJC @Direct C51 @CRG @Victor Bravo @wsimpso1

Okay folks, a couple remarks and some ground rules before I get into my opening statement…



I am sure there are plenty of related threads to this topic, and I apologize accordingly, but I elected to start a new one, because I think we need a focused discussion regarding this all-important matter at hand. I want to be explicitly clear that while I will tell of my experiences, viewpoint and ideas to kick this off, I do not claim to have the answers, nor will I ever. All I can do is call the problems out for how I see them, offer solutions & courses of action, and go execute the best way I know how. However, this is a subject I am very passionate about…about a community that has a lot of history, a lot of tradition, and limitless potential, but yet is struggling in a way I thought I would never see, and I strongly believe that it is long past time to have a serious discussion regarding current issues, and more importantly, the way ahead.

That being said, I expect this thread to get testy, even borderline nasty. Let us avoid personal attacks and slights. This is not about who has the better ideas, or who has the magic solution to make the EAA or its many affiliate chapters work perfectly, because that magic, one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t exist. This discussion is all about putting problems out in the open, discussing lessons learned, and laying out solutions and courses of action. That said, keep in mind that what may work great for your chapter may not work at all for the next chapter. This thread is intended for those who are active members of the EAA and their affiliated chapters, but not limited to them. You do not need to identify yourself by name and or by chapter. However, if you are not a member of the EAA and wish to chime in, all I ask is that you identify yourself as such. This is a serious discussion, trolls need not apply. I have absolutely no issue flagging troll or otherwise incendiary posts. Be civil, be respectful. We are all adults here.



The Opening Statement…



I am a 42 year old aerospace industry professional, with aviation, epoxy, JP-8, caffeine, and the occasional pinch of Copenhagen coursing throughout my bloodstream. Since I saw the space shuttle Columbia fly for the first time in 1981, despite the fact that I was just three years old, I knew what I wanted to do. I had fallen in love with aviation, and anything else that was mechanical. I lived in southern California, then the honeypot of aerospace development. My very first airplane ride was in Mojave with a gentleman named Burt in a Buck Rogers-looking thing called a "Long EZ". I remember hearing engine run-ups from the nearby Skunk Works plant in Burbank almost nightly, and not a one of us had a clue that the noise emanated from production variants of a Top Secret aircraft called “Nighthawk”. Our next door neighbor was an engineer at Lockheed and worked nights at the time. We still had no clue! In the meantime, space shuttle launches & landings (and their characteristic double sonic boom upon arrival at Edwards), Knight Rider and Airwolf were mandatory viewing on TV, and fueled my inspiration. Later in life, I attended Space Camp (twice) and, after losing motivation during my engineering studies at Cal Poly, I enlisted into the Marine Corps as a helicopter mechanic. In the 21 years that defined my military career, I completed my engineering undergraduate studies, was on the development team of a then-revolutionary vertical lift assault platform, became an Officer and pilot, commanded an aviation company, became a developmental test pilot, and ultimately concluded my service as an operations officer for an aviation battalion. Although I entered into a business partnership for an aerospace startup, I became an airline pilot as well. I was extremely happy doing both until the effects of a global pandemic hit me and my family from both sides. Not only did I have to deal with a flu virus diagnosed as something called “SARS-CoV-2”, but shortly after, I was released from my fun “day job” as an airline pilot. Fortunately, I took advantage of a well-timed opportunity to return to the flight test community in a type of aircraft where I saw immense success while in the military. It involves a move from the Great State of Texas to semi-rural southern Maryland, but my business partners are taking a leap of faith and moving the activity up there as well. I’m blessed that I was able to lessen the blow, unlike so, so many of my peers in the Part 121 world who, as of today, are now stuck with looking for work, with nothing to fall back on.



In 2002, I joined the AOPA, and was a loyal dues-paying member until 2016. Although they have a great magazine in Flight Training and AOPA Pilot, I became disenfranchised by the organization, as I was frequently solicited for donations to their PAC by way of regular and electronic mail, as well as by phone. Although they had some decent pilot resources, it became more and more rare that I ran into a fellow AOPA member. It seemed to me that the AOPA had evolved into a PAC in its own right, with my dues going towards their activities. Despite the fact that I had a big part in the construction and testing of a Cozy IV and Velocity XL-RG in the past, I had yet to join EAA. I decided that I had enough of the AOPA, and switched my allegiance to the EAA in late 2016.



My First EAA Chapter Experiences…



Before I left my final duty station, a new EAA Chapter formed at the local airfield. At the first meeting, there were a bunch of people. Most of them were not EAA members, but were mostly military pilots stationed at the nearby installation. It was a good event, and I was happy to be there. We had two members who had successfully completed their aircraft projects, while a couple others were actively working on theirs. The oldest member in attendance was a few months shy of 78, while the youngest EAA member present was 36. In all, 45 people attended the event. The next month, however, only ten of us showed, and would ultimately become the ‘core’ of the new chapter. I jumped onboard as the new VP. We hosted the EAA’s Ford Tri-Motor, and its pilot for this stop was a BoD member of the EAA. It was great, because he offered some great mentorship. He was surprised that every single one of us (that showed to support the event) was under 40. We also had a massively successful fundraising event, where we raised $5,000 in a single day. During all this time, we secured our IRS tax status, composed and ratified our by-laws.



It was shortly after this, that our chapter began to experience problems. Chapter meeting attendance was never more than eight. On one month, it was literally just us on the executive board. We were in a pickle, as they say. We had some reasonable odds against us. Plussing up numbers was not going to be easy, as the few who were legitimately interested we also active duty military pilots who were going to leave the area for their next assignment sooner or later. So, the question was asked. How can we increase our numbers? Naturally, one of the chapter members immediately said the inevitable; “Why don’t we do a pancake breakfast like the other chapters?”. Ultimately, we agreed that doing Young Eagle flights could be a good idea, as a few members had aircraft. So, we organized and held the event. At the single-day event, we flew a total of 16 kids and a couple adults. We also displayed a members completed aircraft, as well as one that was under construction, and while inside the FBO, we had aviation-themed material showing on the TV screen; I showed drawings of my design, and a couple composite structural test articles, as did another chapter member. We did everything we could to promote both the EAA and our chapter. However, at the end of the day, of all the people who showed to the event, not a one returned our follow-up phone calls or emails, nor did they show up at any follow-on events or meetings. Two numbers actually did not even work. Almost the exact same thing happened with the Ford Tri-Motor event we did. Of the people who showed up at the Tri-Motor event, 89% of them ended up leaving when they found out that you had to pay to ride on the aircraft, but of those 89% who left from the Tri-Motor event, almost all of them showed up for the Young Eagle event to go fly. Again, telling the adults that this was intended to be a children’s event, they left. As part of the club leadership, I was pretty infuriated, as were the others, as it was stunningly evident that for the most part, the people who came simply showed up with the expectation to take a free airplane ride with no strings attached. Joining the EAA, let alone the chapter, was the last thing on their minds.



It was at this point that the chapter President brought up the idea of doing a chapter aircraft build. At this one meeting (where again, there were only five of us total in attendance), he pitched the idea, telling us that there is a seller he knew who was offloading a project for $5,000. His biggest selling point was that doing a build will draw more membership, as the chapter would have, in his words, “something of substance”. While we were open-minded to the idea, we were quick to remind him that some significant logistical and financial problems would need to be solved before we as a chapter were to commit to such a venture. We had no permanent place to do the project; we had no hangar. Indeed, the airport manager was hesitant enough to allow us the use of a conference room for a once-a-month hour-long meeting. We had no tools. We did not have enough members to support such a project. Furthermore, the copy of the build log he presented to us indicated that the project was in relatively poor condition, as it had been outside in the elements for the last four years, and several entries were very inconclusive, which threw up red flags to those of us who had done a build in the past. We strongly recommended against this particular project as a chapter build, and also reminded the President that even if we were on board with the idea, that per the bylaws we created and ratified, the $5,000 selling price of the project mandated that a chapter vote would need to take place before any further action is taken.



Less than three weeks later, our chapter Treasurer went into a panic, as when he was doing the monthly financials, he discovered that our bank account had been completely depleted. He immediately informed the rest of us in the leadership of what had happened and the actions he was taking. It was at that point that the chapter President informed us that he pulled the funds to purchase the project…and to pay for the vehicle he rented to pick it up, as well as the storage place he rented to store it. None of us were in the loop. The chapter President refused to take any of our phone calls or reply to any messages we sent. The next meeting was a complete disaster. We had 12 members present. The President was conveniently absent, leaving me to preside over it. We had to tell the news. Nobody was happy about the situation. Four of these people quoted the bylaws, and demanded to know why they were not sought for a vote, and demanded to know what right we think we had to spend their dues money so recklessly. Six walked out, telling us that they were done with the chapter.



One such member, a senior officer at the installation, put me on report with the Staff Judge Advocate, demanding that I be investigated for fraud (I was still in the military at the time). It was a nightmare and long drawn-out legal mess, and although I was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing, you all now know why I did 21 years, instead of just 20. My Commanding General even went so far as to write me a letter of apology for what I had to go through when it was all done!



In the meantime, while I was dealing with the said legal tangle, we finally got the chapter President back in the communication loop, and it got dirty...fast. He claimed that as President, he can “do whatever he wants”, and “did not need anybody’s consent to his actions”. When we pressed him more, with me ultimately placing an officer challenge with the demand that he step down, he declared that the three of us were not only no longer on the board, but expelled from the chapter…in complete contravention to the very bylaws that he ratified. After careful consultation with EAA national HQ, where we were told that they do not have the authority to remove this toxic individual, we reluctantly walked away from this particular chapter.



So, I looked for other chapters to join. One such chapter was in an area up in the NW Florida panhandle, where I contemplated moving to when I started the airline job. When I was exploring the area, I was invited to a meeting. It was a pancake breakfast-style meeting, and while the surroundings were nice, due partly to its proximity to a prominent military installation in the area, the membership was much older than me, which was not so much the issue, neither really was the fact that they were the older generation of Naval Aviators who preceded me. Where I took issue was when, after I was introduced to the chapter, I was having trouble getting the time of day from most of them. Many of these guys were tantamount to a “Naval Aviation Royalty”. None of them were rotary wing guys; several of them were retired Blue Angel pilots and Annapolis alumni, and in the finest of Naval Aviation tradition, addressed each other solely by their call signs…especially if they were prior Blue Angels. One member (who I later learned was a retired Navy Rear Admiral), condescendingly suggested I look to other chapters in the region. Needless to say, they seemingly made sure that, as a blue-collared, prior-enlisted Officer, that I was not really all that welcomed in their circle.



In a timespan of two months, I literally went from bailing out of a broken chapter led by an extraordinarily toxic individual to being introduced at another chapter just to be shown the door by some overtly smug members. All this said, I am wholly convinced that these two bad experiences of mine are mere anomalies; freaks of nature that, if truly representative of the EAA and its values, the EAA would have ceased to exist long ago.



Now that I know that I will be returning to southern Maryland, I have reached out to the chapter up in that area. Fortunately, the membership is comprised of a significant number of people I worked with during my first stint in military flight testing, and is apparently partnered up with a local RC flying club. Now that I have seen both extreme ends of the spectrum, I am looking forward to being part of something a bit more normal!



Please see the continuation on the next thread post!
 
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cblink.007

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What to do…



In the light aviation community, we are at the cusp of a generational crisis. Although advocacy groups such as the EAA and AOPA routinely boast of youth initiatives as seen in any given edition of AOPA Pilot and Sport Aviation, I personally have not seen much of it. Yes, I have taken part in Young Eagles events. Yes, some chapters are allying with AMA-affiliated RC flying clubs. But we have to do much more, especially that, at least in my case, these initiatives have not resulted in any sizeable increase in numbers. Also, some chapters and this pandemic notwithstanding, is it fair to say that many chapters are having trouble getting people in the seats at meetings?



Learning to fly, and figuring out how to lower its exorbitant cost, as much as I want to discuss it here now, will be for a later thread.



No, I am not saying that we need to try to flood our chapters with teenage members. While nice, and certainly an investment in future leadership, they are simply not in a position to solve the problems we are currently facing. I am particularly talking about the 25-35 demographic, because this segment is what makes a sizeable number of your engineers, mechanics, pilots and instructors. This is the demographic that should have adequate representation within as many chapters as possible.



So, the questions facing us are simple. How do we attract new members in this demographic? How to we retain them? How do we get people in the seats at meetings? Is the answer at a higher level? Let me address these one by one.



Attract & retain new members in the 25-35 demographic: This is probably our biggest hurdle. This challenge very much depends on location. For example, when I was living in Tennessee, we had people (some of which were in fact EAA members) in this very demographic interested in joining the chapter, but given that they were in the military, the chapter was going to lose them sooner or later. Some chapters might not have that problem, such as the chapters out by the flight test areas in southern California. Some may be near universities or other places of aviation-related industry, while others are out in God’s country. However, it is seemingly obvious that for the most part that people in my age group (under 45) are indeed a rarity at several EAA chapters across the country.



So how do we attract members? Make aviation a community worth joining, period! @Direct C51 is spot-on- pancake breakfasts are not the answer, and if I ever hear that term again at the next chapter meeting I attend, someone is getting smacked! Yes, there is a time and place for it, but the front lines of membership recruitment & retention are not it. Rather, for those who have a particular affinity for this, allow it to be supplementary or complimentary to the business at hand, and not the focus. A chapter build is a great idea…if the chapter has the infrastructure and resources to support it. It gets people exposed & involved without having to pay money (relatively speaking). As far as ideas in lieu of a chapter build, I personally have pitched the idea of doing technical training with composites and metals, in addition to technical drawing skills instruction. As a Test Pilot School graduate, I proposed the idea of creating an E-AB test pilot “school” that involves ground and flight training based on AC 90-89A, setting a builder up for success when the time comes to fly. If a chapter has a hangar, they need to use it wisely. @Direct C51 again had some great ideas, such as clearing out your chapters hangar if you have one; remove non-flying aircraft or those projects that have been collecting dust for years on end. Portion out space at low cost to members. Stock up on tools and other important infrastructure. Instead of just doing Young Eagle flights, do a fly-out to somewhere, bringing along someone new. Conversely, host a fly-in event. If the airport manager is not on board with it, find an alternate airfield and strike a deal with its manager to make it mutually advantageous. This particular demographic is the next generation in aviation and aerospace leadership, and the EAA would be smart to realize we are the next generation of its leadership, and the investment begins now. If you are in the 25-35 group and a member of an EAA chapter, run for a leadership position when elections take place. If there is any kind of toxicity in the chapter leadership, study your by-laws and place an appropriate challenge, prepared to assume that position on the spot. Also, unlike that chapter down in NW Florida, do not, EVER, turn away any prospective member, regardless.



Get people to Meetings: With things going on in a chapter that are worth taking part in, a member will be more inclined to attend meetings. Calendar reminders are not enough. Find a good time of the week or weekend to do meetings. The EAA has recommended that chapter meetings be done on weekdays, lest you take away weekend time from those who work their tails off during the week. At each meeting, get through the formalities (old business, new business, etc) quickly, and get on to something interesting. Yes, VMC/IMC Club stuff is important, but have other things. Perhaps some of that technical training, discussing a lesson learned, a shop technique, an adventure, etc. Talk about something significant in aviation history, have a guest speaker, or discuss new developments in the community of aviation. Let Sport Aviation et al be a good guide for topic ideas. Make it different every month. Then afterwards, do the social function or whatever. Keep it unpredictable and interesting. Have members who don’t re-up their dues? Drop them from the distro. The chapter I helped run in TN had over 100 people on its e-mail distro, and only 13 were current dues-paying members; the chapter President refused to take them off, as he felt that if those people stayed informed, they would be incentivized to come back. Yeah, right. Bottom line- It will take work and commitment from all involved.



Build Local Relationships, and Leverage Them: This, I cannot say enough about, and explains itself. It goes without saying to get on good grounds with the Airport Manager (or Managers if more than one airfield in your chapter’s footprint) and other key people at those airfields. However, do more. Get to city council meetings and let your local leadership know that your chapter exists, and get them onboard with your mission! Let the local board of education and first responder agencies know as well. I’m not too sure about the local Tax Assessor’s office, though. Keep in mind, hooking up with the board of education can help connect chapters with schools doing STEM programs. A close friend's wife is a school teacher, and would love to expose kids to aviation, and is convinced a chapter can make an excellent experience, showing kids first hand, an aircraft under construction, as well as completed aircraft...and the chapter SMEs who are building them! I know I might catch some serious flack about it, but reach out to longtime staples in your community, such as the Lion’s Club, Kiwanis, Odd Fellows, maybe even the local Freemasons Lodge. Yes, I know they won’t be a source of youth at all, but they have existed in several communities for a very long time for a reason. If you at least get the word out to them, they might be able to help pass the word about your chapter’s existence. They may also be in a crucial position to offer advice about how to keep a chapter going!



Get the Word Out: As much as I like the magazine Sport Aviation, the EAA pretty much only highlights the big things going on at the national level, and understandably so, but with respect to social media such as Facebook or Instagram, my business partners and I can personally attest that unless you are Wasabi (no offense intended, gents!), the EAA will not follow, like or re-post anything you, your business or your chapters are doing, no matter how many times you tag them. I cannot completely fault the EAA on this; their social media people merely gravitate to those who have a big social media presence…like Wasabi. However, if that standard was truly applied, you would think that the Raptor thing would be the only aircraft being developed/built besides the countless Van RV aircraft that flock the Completions section of Sport Aviation on any given month. My side business, L-V Aeronautics, recently consulted with some PR people who know the game. We had no idea that social media like Facebook and Instagram, where we advertise what we do, are effectively pay to play schemes. Granted, we have no choice but to have a business profile (as would a chapter), but that means that if you are not paying in, whenever you post anything, it only goes out to a fraction of your followers at any given time, unless you not only pay in, but pay more. So, what they actually suggested, in addition to maintaining the social media, is to get to know reporters and media outlets within the local community and around the industry. How does a local EAA chapter fit in to this? Reach out to local outlets. Many communities have free circulars distributed at your local businesses, newsletters and newspapers. Get to know them well. Invite them to your meetings. And yes, unlike delinquent non-dues paying members, keep these reporters and outlets on your chapter’s email distro.



My Final Thought…



Thank you so much for taking the time to read what I have to say. Over the years, if there is anything that I have learned, it is that every problem has a solution, and what fuels the journey is the will to get to the destination. The issues and solutions I placed forth are merely based on my experiences; individual experiences & results may vary. I look forward to you all telling of your problems (past or present), and how you went about solving them, Some of us have had great experiences, some of us have had bad ones, and many of us have had neither. Some of you may be lucky enough to be part of a chapter that is alive and well, convinced nothing is wrong anywhere else within the EAA, and that is fine. Some of us have been, or are currently members of chapters so messed up that the only reasonable solution would be to let the chapter die while forming a new one in its wake. The EAA, whether we like it or not, is a deflective shield against overzealous and ill-informed lawmakers who think that we have no business flying anything other than a certified aircraft, let alone building one, and remains a staunch advocate for our right to do what we do. We and our chapters are the face of the EAA, and international ambassadors to this sport, hobby and lifestyle, and will only be as good as what we allow it to become.



We are not perfect, and, while we are facing several problems within and outside of the scope of this particular topic, there are several solutions...more than I can think of! We can solve these problems, as long as we have the will to do so.



I’ve elected to get up off the bench and tell the coach that I am going in, whether he likes it or not…



What are you planning to do? It's time to talk, and more importantly, time to act!
 
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Victor Bravo

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Going to City Council and other public meetings is a very good idea. No cost, and creating a chance to leverage new relationships. Excellent idea. Same with local Scouting org's, service clubs (Rotary, Moose, Elks, etc.)

Another related idea could be to get blurbs put into the newsletters of those service clubs, veterans groups, First Responder groups, etc. If the local police/fire station has a bulletin board or newsletter or monthly announcement board, an EAA chapter can probably put somethi ng there along the lines of:

"Did you know you can build and learn to fly your own airplane? did you know that building an airplane is a priceless educational experience for the whole family? Take your kids out on a fishing trip in the plane they helped you build!" Join EAA Chapter XYZ and see how you can start this adventure today!"
 

BBerson

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The local EAA Chapter shut down 15 years ago. I have been with the local RC club ever since then.
My EAA National membership has expired.
I would like to be in a EAA Ultralight Chapter. Almost none exist.
EAA National leaders couldn't care less.
 

Kyle Boatright

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The chapter thing is tough unless you find the right group of people and the right conditions (finances, meeting location, personalities) to grow the chapter. If you don't have those things, it can become drudgery. In addition, I think the internet and the availability of "how to" information has greatly diminished the value of the chapter system. You don't need to go to a meeting or meet an expert to learn how to do something now, you can watch a youtube video or check out a builders group that's gonna provide excellent information.

Because of this, I think the best path (IMO) to a successful chapter today is to make it more of a social group than a hardcore builder's group. It should be more about having fly-out and other activities that engage a number of people. Having a permanent hangar or clubhouse on the field really helps.
 

kent Ashton

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There are incremental steps that can be taken to promote EAA-type aviation. Many federally-assisted airports do not comply with the FAA policy on the use of T-hangars (which allows maintenance, repair, refurbishment and some level of construction in federally-assisted airport hangars). I have a Part 13 complaint about that right now. I invited EAA to support me. They declined. Every hangar lessee that leases a hangar where he is not permitted to construct/maintain his airplane should complain under 14 CFR Part 16 14 CFR Part 16 - RULES OF PRACTICE FOR FEDERALLY-ASSISTED AIRPORT ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDINGS

Federally-assisted airports generally require 25-year reversion clauses on hangars; if you build a hangar, it become sponsor property in 25 years or so. That makes a hangar a bad investment and it doesn't have to be that way. The life of a T-hangar structure is 75 years or more. Again, complain under Part 16.

Federally-assisted airports generally require $1M liability policies if you lease a hangar. It is a significant expense to the owner of a small EAB airplane who may have few assets to attract a lawsuit and believes he can avoid causing $1M in damages to his leased hangar, to a hangar complex, or to a sponsor's airport. Complain.

Anyone SHOULD be able to conduct an annual condition inspection on his own EAB airplane. Right now, only the builder with a Repairman Certicicate can do that. It should be left to the judgement of the owner. It would save significant costs. Test it. If the accident rate for EAB aircraft increases, go back to the old rule. I bought my first EAB. After a while I was just as competent to maintain and inspect it as the original builder yet I would never be granted a repairman's certificate on that airplane. File a petition with the Adminstrator to change the FAA regs at www.regulations.gov . I do. Petition for Exemption or Rulemaking
 

cblink.007

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Having a permanent hangar or clubhouse on the field really helps.
Spot on. When I got to know Cody Welch and Paul Schafer, when I was part of the leadership in my former chapter, one of their biggest mentorship suggestions was for a chapter to have a permanent venue, preferably a hangar, with a dedicated part portioned off to conduct chapter business.

And yes, while I support the idea of a build, you are correct that a chapter does not necessarily need to be a building group. In either case, it must be social, because I am of the mindset that the most fundamental function of any association is socializing and networking!
 

cblink.007

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Many federally-assisted airports do not comply with the FAA policy on the use of T-hangars (which allows maintenance, repair, refurbishment and some level of construction in federally-assisted airport hangars). I have a Part 13 complaint about that right now. I invited EAA to support me. They declined.
This is a massive problem IMHO. At my previous location, there were five hangars (at least) that were not being used for aviation purposes. Two were just giant household goods storage units, two were openly being used to store part of a car collection belonging to a local car dealer magnate & major benefactor of the local university, and another had an aircraft that was damaged from a hard landing years and years ago.

When we were lobbying the airport manager to get one of these hangars opened up for us (quoting federal regulations),the manager snapped back, and said directly to my face: "Absolutely not. Don't you know who [name redacted] is? He is a well-respected member of the community, and always pay the rent, so what the hell do you want me to do?"

I directly appealed to the EAA for some advocacy, and although they responded, our chapter was told by national that they felt that the matter was better served being handled at the city council level... despite the airport being a recipient of federal funds.

This is why I advocate for involving the city council in a chapter. To educate them, and acquire more firepower in dealing with wayward airport managers.
 

cblink.007

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Federally-assisted airports generally require $1M liability policies if you lease a hangar. It is a significant expense to the owner of a small EAB airplane who may have few assets to attract a lawsuit and believes he can avoid causing $1M in damages to his leased hangar, to a hangar complex, or to a sponsor's airport. Complain.
This is a great talking point that I was completely unaware of. Thank you for bringing this up. I am working on a new thread, focused on the exorbitant costs of flying, and ideas on how to curb it... this is some good ammunition, and I will include it!
 

Kyle Boatright

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I directly appealed to the EAA for some advocacy, and although they responded, our chapter was told by national that they felt that the matter was better served being handled at the city council level... despite the airport being a recipient of federal funds.

This is why I advocate for involving the city council in a chapter. To educate them, and acquire more firepower in dealing with wayward airport managers.
You might get AOPA involved. This is more aligned with what they do, and I have seen them pursue this issue before.
 

cblink.007

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You might get AOPA involved. This is more aligned with what they do, and I have seen them pursue this issue before.
Very true. The chapter I was in at the time is the one I used to be a VP in, and had to part ways with. If anything the AOPA has over EAA, it is their legal advocacy.
 

BBerson

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If you know other ultralight fliers in your area, I would suggest forming a chapter, or starting a FB group at a minimum.
I don't know any in the area. I talked to EAA about solving that with some sort of EAA Virtual Ultralight club. No interest.
They wanted me to form a chapter and find five club officers. No thanks.
 

cblink.007

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I don't know any in the area. I talked to EAA about solving that with some sort of EAA Virtual Ultralight club. No interest.
They wanted me to form a chapter and find five club officers. No thanks.
Wow. I am sorry to hear about that. Perhaps forming a FB group and continuing to interact here might be the best alternatives, brother!

Its a good thing that HBA exists!
 

BBerson

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Dec 16, 2007
Messages
14,330
Location
Port Townsend WA
I meet with RC guys twice a week and we fly and talk about Raptor and whatever. None are interested in FB.
 

cblink.007

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
573
Location
Maryland, USA
I meet with RC guys twice a week and we fly and talk about Raptor and whatever. None are interested in FB.
All good. I personally despise FB. My business partners insisted on using it for outreach, advertising, news, etc, only to find out precisely why most call it "FakeBook", let alone it being a pay to play. I was appalled when I found out that our posts only reached a fraction of all those who 'follow' us.

At least we leveraged it enough to link up with some Yamaha Apex SMEs...
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
14,000
Location
Memphis, TN
I think the hardest thing needs to be done, you need to talk to real regular people and ask them if they ever thought about flying. Most think it’s magic or requires military service. Expensive is always hard to beat, but a lot of people don’t think it’s an option to even try. You need a data base of real excuses. You have to get away from your love love of aviation, and see why others don’t love it.
 

cblink.007

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
573
Location
Maryland, USA
I think the hardest thing needs to be done, you need to talk to real regular people and ask them if they ever thought about flying. Most think it’s magic or requires military service. Expensive is always hard to beat, but a lot of people don’t think it’s an option to even try. You need a data base of real excuses. You have to get away from your love love of aviation, and see why others don’t love it.
This is another great point; my last chapter never reached out to the community at all; all they used was contact information from National composed of current members who lived in the region. Getting 'outsiders' involved is important!

So, with respect to recruitment, aside from direct face to face and some fly outs/ins do you think local media involvement and favorable media coverage can help?

I am composing another post addressing the costs of going flying, which is, by far, the elephant in the room. Not to get too into it, but a friend recently expressed interest in learning to fly. After he looked at the local FBO, he was aghast, asking me: "Brian, who can afford to learn to fly wjen it costs over $175 per hour...with $65 an hour for an instructor on top of that?". When I told him that this particular C172 was built in 1976, he was even more blown away. "That thing is a damned antique...but in worse shape, and they expect me to pay all that money for that? I'll take a hard pass for now!" Yeap, I got a serious bone to pick on this issue.

Thanks for chiming in!
 
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pwood66889

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
1,778
Location
Sopchoppy, Florida, USA
Thanks, cblink, for saying what needed to be said. I'm kinda fighting the same battles.
My EAA Chapter started a "build group" because one guy said "We need a project" last March. I said "Pick me, pick me!" So we got my plane (see avatar) imported to NW FL. See: Chapters | Chapter Project Move
Then he said "let's meet once a week to work on it," and suggested a day in May. I said "That sounds like a good one, let's do it!" We been at it 6 months, once a week, and have actually accomplished something!
It is the "Journey of a thousand miles that begins with a single step." Some of those steps may hit a banana peel though. So far, ours hasn't. 2J0, Friday morning, Ten o'clock.
Two points:
* Try it, it may happen.
* Every body is a recruiter and cheerleader.
 
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Twodeaddogs

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
1,044
Location
Dunlavin, County Wicklow,Ireland
I can tell you for nothing that, when it comes to homebuilt aviation, it all comes down to a core of older men with a few dollars/pounds/euros to spare , to build and buy aircraft and the parts needed to get the things off the ground. Kids who get into aviation tend to have family in the industry, no more than doctors generate more doctors or architects generate more architects. Kids are more interested in drones and the genuine kid interested in aviation is few and far between. Most school leavers these days want to be commercial pilots thru the cadet system and they dont want to be washing aeroplanes to make money. Most of the young people that are involved in light aircraft are there cos Dad has an aircraft and the number of women involved is pitiful. I once set up a Men's Shed in our village and it lasted a year, exactly to the day and it was like pulling teeth to get people involved. It is so hard to fight against apathy and lack of interest.Just plough your own track.Those who want to be invovled will find a way to get involved.
 
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