When did the EAA become money grubbing bullies?

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by radfordc, Nov 30, 2019.

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  1. Dec 11, 2019 #121

    crusty old aviator

    crusty old aviator

    crusty old aviator

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    Remember Marc Brown’s Star*Lite? That came out in the early 80’s as a result of an EAA facilitated design competition, but yes, it has been a while. EAA under Tom bought into the legal liability paranoia and that hamstrung future design contests. Also, EAA felt they didn’t need to have more contests, because the kit industry was building its own momentum in the market and Tom P was more comfortable dealing with corporate types than the grassroots plans-builders that were drawn to his dad.
    Recently, however, EAA has held annual competitions for best ideas and hardware/software that will save your butt in a loss of control situation, or prevent it from getting in one, and other low cost safety enhancements. EAA feels that’s where they need to put their efforts, as the engine & airframe folks seem to now have plenty of money and incentive to develop new hardware on their own.
     
  2. Dec 11, 2019 #122

    BBerson

    BBerson

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    EAA was promoting the "idea" of the ARV (air recreation vehicle) early 80‘s, but there was no competition for the "Starlite", that I know of.
    EAA did do the auto fuel experiments early 80's, big success.
     
  3. Dec 11, 2019 #123

    Vigilant1

    Vigilant1

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    I did that on purpose--I figured EAA probably has a copyright on the correct spelling. I'd hate to wind up in court along with the SOS Brothers.:)
     
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  4. Dec 11, 2019 #124

    Dillpickle

    Dillpickle

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    In the 90's, Aircraft spruce had a design contest where the winners were announced at Oshkosh. IF I recall correctly, the Acrolite biplane and the Howland H-2 aircraft were winners. Its been a few decades...the remembry might not be working so well. I DO remember that both aircraft were innovative and cute!
     
  5. Dec 11, 2019 #125

    Wanttaja

    Wanttaja

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    The last official EAA design contest was announced in 1958.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  6. Dec 11, 2019 #126

    Aviacs

    Aviacs

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    The beer/light wine only lasts a month or so during winter after left-overs from our annual spaghetti dinner; but other than that, we have all of this. Even some of what choppergurl mentions. $35 yr membership dues, $45 family membership. Remains surprising how many parents, late teen kids, etc, "are looking for a place" and are "fascinated by aviation", communicate a few times, but somehow never make the time to come out or join after (maybe/rarely) a tour. We've got cnc mill, other machine tools, airplanes, social/hospitality area and do routine community connection efforts. We are currently building a hovercraft (Navy says its an aircraft :) ) initiated so people including kids could participate in regular weekly work sessions or personal time in between, without the constraints/personal concern ("I might not be good enough")/FAR issues of an airplane like our previous projects. It turns out most people done't have time in their busy lives to actually make the effort.

    Yes/no/maybeso.
    In keeping with this thread, the way they handled it was like many other bullying tactics they started to employ in those years a couple decades ago. As the original *homebuilders organization they should have worked with insurers and come up with a prepackaged plan, especially for those chapters who have been flying club airplanes since inception, and being very successful initially in using it as a recruiting tool. I did set up a non-profit, Elmira Aeronautical Associates, Inc. It was strongly considered, but decided to not support member initiative to add our chapter # as part of the incorporation name. :) We operate a C140 as since near beginning, and a pre-war J3.

    We used to offer flight time for $15/month dues, $30/hr wet + reduced block time (11 hours for 10 prepaid). Group paid liability insurance only, members were required to keep their own renter's hull insurance in effect. This was useful because many of us had other airplanes and were covered, so didn't need to have extra expense. I understand many of the sides and concerns of the organizational discussion in these posts from multiple levels: about 10 years ago the C140 was ground looped & totaled by the club insurance compliance officer - who knew his insurance was lapsed at time of flight. It could happen to any of us, but it shows how an organization with expensive or difficult to replace property that is enjoyed by the community, can't just be overlooked, or brushed off "until something happens". Now we have group insurance, and dues have gone up considerably to cover the annual insurance on 2 airplanes that are used routinely for training. This tends to be limiting for people to join. Hourly costs have doubled, but most people find that to be really cheap.

    * this gets to the heart of the question that has evolved in this thread: Should EAA have continued as an entity to expand and serve builder/flyer/grass roots type members & their local based recruiting & organizational initiatives; or should it have gone the way it has; national members are a revenue, IRS compliance, & political base to serve the parent organization's unlimited facilities expansion efforts? We all benefit either way, but in very different ways.

    smt
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
  7. Dec 11, 2019 #127

    BJC

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    I was a non-voting associate member (i.e., I did not own a share of the physical assets) of a flying club that owned an airport, clubhouse and fuel tanks/pumps for 100LL and MoGas. Cheapest LL in the area. Two open house BBQ’s per year with all neighbors invited, fed for free, and given airplane rides. The simple clubhouse was always a good place to visit to watch sports on TV or just to BS, especially on rainy, overcast days. One owner with a Stearman (300 HP) would give a ride to anyone who stopped by.

    However, there were issues. The airport property was perceived to be very valuable for housing development. Because of that, the older members always voted against any development; they expected to shut down and make a tidy profit from selling the real estate.

    Overall, I thought that the club was a good thing, and about as close to living on an air park as there is. Just keep in mind that it does take up front money to have decent assets, and on-going costs to cover operations and maintenance. That also applies to clubs that operate on publicly owned airports.

    BJC
     
  8. Dec 11, 2019 #128

    Vigilant1

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    I have trouble seeing that it needs to be either/or. If EAA gets big, snuggles up to corporations, courts the big-money warbirds, etc, and this results in more revenue, that's no skin off my nose. If that makes some additional funds available to support EAA chapters, to make some good homebuilder how-to videos, to publish a worthwhile homebuilder's magazine/newsletter, to discourage the do-gooders in DC from passing laws that would criple homebulders, etc--that's GREAT as far as I'm concerned. As I've said before, I don't care if EAA wants to run a brothel--that's fine with me if they use the proceeds to benefit the design, construction, and operation of homebuilt aircraft.

    OTOH, if "growth" is a goal in itself and resources sent to homebuilders are seen as a waste of funds that could instead be used to woo even more dough, then we have a problem.

    IOW, I'm not reflexively opposed to the warbirds, acro, megabuck kits, etc. Whether all that is good or bad, IMO, is determined by its ultimate purpose. The SAA and other attempts to start and run a new "pure" homebuilder's organization indicate that being too "pure" and exclusive may not be a good road to success.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
  9. Dec 11, 2019 #129

    Turd Ferguson

    Turd Ferguson

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    Industry has sponsored a few contest. Aircraft Spruce sponsored a "design and build from scratch" contest in the mid '90's. In 1993 The Popular Rotorcraft Association RA sponsored a "jump takeoff gyroplane" contest in 1993-1995
     
  10. Dec 11, 2019 #130

    Wanttaja

    Wanttaja

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    The rules for the one-and-only EAA contest stirred up enough rancor that I'm not surprised that EAA hasn't tried another one.

    In the process from the initial rules stated in 1957, vs. the final rules in '58:

    1. EAA eliminated the requirement that the airplane have two or more seats.
    2. EAA required all entrants use type-certified engines.
    3. EAA added requirement for aircraft-quality materials

    EAA also got in a storm over the selection of the Fly Baby as the winner. Some thought the contest should push for modern designs, rather than '30s throwbacks.

    EAA also under-estimated the time required to prepare entrants. Originally, the contest was to be held in 1959, it was moved back to 1960. Only two entrants in 1960, and neither met the 40-hour minimum that was part of the rules. Final judging switched to 1962. Eighteen entrants, of which only six were present. One of the entrants was disqualified under the rules (no plans, did not allow judges to fly it).

    One good question from the contest...was Pete's Fly Baby actually eligible?

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  11. Dec 12, 2019 #131

    bmcj

    bmcj

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    Speaking of which, how many of you that are chapter officers filled out the chapter leader survey that was emailed to you? They ask a lot of questions pertaining to the direction of the organization and chapters, and they also provide an option to have them contact you for more feedback if you have more thoughts to share than is covered by the survey. There is still time to participate, but not much because it ends soon (Dec 15).

    If you are a chapter leader (officer), check your inbox for an email from EAA, or call them and ask for a link.
     
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  12. Dec 12, 2019 #132

    BBerson

    BBerson

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    I received a chapter survey and I am not an officer. My suggestion was to merge EAA Ultralight chapters into the regular chapters. No Ultralight chapters exist now in most states.
     
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  13. Dec 12, 2019 #133

    Turd Ferguson

    Turd Ferguson

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    Did you get any feedback on that? I think it's a great idea but based on the pulse of some of the chapters in my area that would be snubbed.
     
  14. Dec 12, 2019 #134

    Aviacs

    Aviacs

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    I agree completely. My point was that somewhere it that time frame their relationship to chapters, who actually do most of the recruiting, inspiration, and maintenance of membership; changed...at their end. And they probably don't think so.

    Of course!
    However, in retrospect, kind of wish i has particpated in this (or very similar recent conversation) just before sending. It would have helped clarify some thoughts. IOW, I've known for a couple decades that EAA national did not really do anything for us in a way that we would miss if there was not a connection. OTOH, I had not formulated what i perceive as a dichotomy in their outreach approach across multiple interest groups.

    No feedback, can't remember if i checked the box.
    In the interest (hope) of more actual flying, this year i've started to pare back some areas of participation including declining to run for another board term.

    smt

     
  15. Dec 12, 2019 #135

    BBerson

    BBerson

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    Not yet from this survey.
    My Port Townsend chapter closed 10 years ago. No ultralight chapters so I recently joined the Sequim chapter and might suggest it there at some point. I could be the ultralight Tech Counselor. I was the TC at Port Townsend, but now just want to specialize with ultralight/light sport. They have three or four RV type Tech Counselors already.
     
  16. Dec 12, 2019 #136

    bmcj

    bmcj

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    Try the link again. I only filled it out once, but my link still allows me in like a new survey, so it may take a modification or second submitted. It’s worth a try.
     
  17. Dec 16, 2019 #137

    ToddK

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    I have seen over and over organizations that cozy up to big money, start paying their leadership big money, going on spending sprees buying property, and everything thing else. The leadership starts spending a lot of time going to various events where everyone eats high dollar meals, and spend the whole time patting each other on the back and telling each other how great they are. Slowly they sacrifice their core identity and mission to keep the money rolling in. Organizations who serve a membership need to be lean, wholly dependent on membership dues, and avoid corporate money like the plague.
     

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