Wrong impression of the EAA?

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

1Bad88

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
638
I am a national EAA member and a local chapter EAA member. I have attended several meetings and I am starting to think that my impression of the EAA is incorrect and that I am not utilizing the EAA as it is meant to be used.

When I joined the EAA I believed that the local meetings would be discussions about building methods, projects, issues regarding home building, issues regarding experimental aviation, and a general hangar attitude. The meetings have been discussions about fly in breakfasts, fund raising, airport politics, and getting young people into aviation; with some members giving status updates about their projects. It seems that it is more of a club for general aviation than experimental aviation.
 

bmcj

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
13,946
Location
Fresno, California
Your impression is shared by many here. In fact, some discussion along this line can be found in other threads. It is one reason that many have espoused the SAA as an alternative (or at least as a supplement), though the rebirth of SAA seems to be off to a slow start. (Sport Aviation Association - Home)

We have the same situation here in my hometown (I should say "here in Fresno"... I still consider Riverside my hometown). With the decline in designer and builder populations, many of the EAA Chapters have slowly morphed into social clubs. Some have pointed to the fast-build kit makers and the EAA's focal shift from homebuilt to kitbuilt as a contributer to this. Additionally, while Young Eagles is a worthwhile endeavor, some feel that it has taken center stage in many chapters, derailing the focus on building.

Here in my hometown, we have two chapters. One is mostly a social group with very few active builders. The other is more focused on building, with most of the members being more experienced and actively involved in kit building, plans building, restoring, and designing, but most of these members are in their 60's and 70's with little new blood to take their place.

Who is to say what the real reason for the shift is. Perhaps it's just the modern demand for instant gratification, the increase in costs, the preoccupation with video games and personal electronics, etc.

Bruce :)
 
Last edited:

PTAirco

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2003
Messages
3,661
Location
Corona CA
I have seen examples of chapters that have little to do with building anything and others that are all about building. Our (small) Corona Chapter for example is building a Pietenpol and there is little 'politicking' and extraneous nonsense. Others - more of a social club. But the only way to change that is from within; have builders meetings within a chapter or get speakers on design and structures or whatever you'd like to see more of. Simply poking your head inside and saying "this is not for me" doesn't help much.
 

Pops

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
9,892
Location
USA.
Member since the early 70's. No so the last 8 years. Dan
 

Mark Schoening

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Aug 2, 2012
Messages
124
Location
KRHI
Been a member for upteen years.....not everything I want it to be, however it still is the best game in town. I go every year and camp at the convention, and utilize the tremendous pool of knowledge available to everyone--at least to those who wish to absorb it. Fund raising and other mundane chores are necessary in the running any club/business--gotta pay the bills. The forums are available to all, vendors will talk to anyone, and campground sessions abound everywhere. Those who do not want to buy the high $$$$ prefab kits (they are selling--demand ya know) can purchase plans, materials, and any sort of "how to" materials. I sense that most of the anti EAA people are interested in less expensive aircraft, cheaper engines, and more basic aircraft to build. Be a leader, and design a viable aircraft, and the world will reward you. Complaining and not participating will get you nowhere ----(will save ya a few bucks, though.)
 

1Bad88

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
638
I apologize for being unclear, is the EAA truly meant for builders or a GA social club? If it is meant for builders then I have no issue rolling up my sleeves and fighting for that direction; I just didn't want to go against the core values of the EAA as that would be a waste of energy.
 

bmcj

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
13,946
Location
Fresno, California
Been a member for upteen years.....not everything I want it to be, however it still is the best game in town. I go every year and camp at the convention, and utilize the tremendous pool of knowledge available to everyone--at least to those who wish to absorb it. Fund raising and other mundane chores are necessary in the running any club/business--gotta pay the bills. The forums are available to all, vendors will talk to anyone, and campground sessions abound everywhere. Those who do not want to buy the high $$$$ prefab kits (they are selling--demand ya know) can purchase plans, materials, and any sort of "how to" materials. I sense that most of the anti EAA people are interested in less expensive aircraft, cheaper engines, and more basic aircraft to build. Be a leader, and design a viable aircraft, and the world will reward you. Complaining and not participating will get you nowhere ----(will save ya a few bucks, though.)
I apologize for being unclear, is the EAA truly meant for builders or a GA social club? If it is meant for builders then I have no issue rolling up my sleeves and fighting for that direction; I just didn't want to go against the core values of the EAA as that would be a waste of energy.
EAA is still a good thing, just not quite on the same tack as it used to be. By all means join, participate, and try to guide it back to its homebuilding roots.
 

1Bad88

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
638
Well, I reached out to the chapter. I hope that I can make a positive impact in my small corner of the world. Thank you all for your encouragement.
 

rheuschele

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2010
Messages
533
Location
Chicago Il. USA.
My chapter membership lasted only one year. It was mostly a social club with those that did build only
built kits. I'm doing the plans built route and found no information or help, so I didn't want to waste my time.
ron
 

Kyle Boatright

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Nov 11, 2012
Messages
1,292
Location
Marietta, GA
I apologize for being unclear, is the EAA truly meant for builders or a GA social club? If it is meant for builders then I have no issue rolling up my sleeves and fighting for that direction; I just didn't want to go against the core values of the EAA as that would be a waste of energy.
EAA chapters are what you make them. Some are builder's groups, some are social clubs, some are young eagles centric. It only takes one or two high energy people to totally transform a chapter. Also, depending on where you live, there may be multiple chapters conveniently located so you can pick the one that best matches your wants.
 

Pops

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
9,892
Location
USA.
One chapter in my area and its a social club that will not accept new members. Who would want to join? Dan
 

Toobuilder

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Messages
5,316
Location
Mojave, Ca
I apologize for being unclear, is the EAA truly meant for builders or a GA social club? If it is meant for builders then I have no issue rolling up my sleeves and fighting for that direction; I just didn't want to go against the core values of the EAA as that would be a waste of energy.
My Dad started the chapter in my hometown long before I was born. Back in the 60's, it was certainly a "builder centric" chapter and organization. Recent chapters that I have visited are a social club. And while it's true that the members can significantly influence the direction a group takes, most of us get enough of that nonsense at work. I want to build airplanes - not run for office. On top of that, it appears that the "Mother Ship" (EAA HQ) has shifted focus away from a "building organization" in favor of a "membership club". So while I applaud the die hards that pine for the good old days (and DO hope they can turn it around), I feel the momentum is just too great, and the "true builders" just too small to matter.

I'm OK with being in a club with a membership of "1".
 

Pops

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
9,892
Location
USA.
My Dad started the chapter in my hometown long before I was born. Back in the 60's, it was certainly a "builder centric" chapter and organization. Recent chapters that I have visited are a social club. And while it's true that the members can significantly influence the direction a group takes, most of us get enough of that nonsense at work. I want to build airplanes - not run for office. On top of that, it appears that the "Mother Ship" (EAA HQ) has shifted focus away from a "building organization" in favor of a "membership club". So while I applaud the die hards that pine for the good old days (and DO hope they can turn it around), I feel the momentum is just too great, and the "true builders" just too small to matter.

I'm OK with being in a club with a membership of "1".
I tried to start an EAA chapter a few years ago. Had 32 people to start. Could not get a lawyer anywhere to do the nonprofit organization status in this state. They all said that its almost an impossible task because the state is trying to get every dollar they can. The few chapters that are in this state was started a long time ago when it was possible. The EAA still has the chapter number reserved.
Dan
 

bmcj

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
13,946
Location
Fresno, California
Well, I reached out to the chapter. I hope that I can make a positive impact in my small corner of the world. Thank you all for your encouragement.
I recommend finding other builders in the area and talk them into joining the chapter with you in order to start a shift toward building, or you can start your own chapter with a small group that is focused more on building. You can do other activities within a chapter structure like Young Eagles, guest speakers, and field trips if you'd like, but make sure the focus stays on your primary objective as builders. If your group falls into the trap of wanting to be entertained each month with speakers and field trips, then you get stuck trying to arrange the entertainment and they drift away if the entertainment value drops.

One chapter in my area and its a social club that will not accept new members. Who would want to join? Dan
That's just not right. I would contact EAA chapter division and ask them about this exclusionary practice. I'm sure they will probably frown on it and they may even contact the chapter about it.
 

bmcj

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
13,946
Location
Fresno, California
On top of that, it appears that the "Mother Ship" (EAA HQ) has shifted focus away from a "building organization" in favor of a "membership club". So while I applaud the die hards that pine for the good old days (and DO hope they can turn it around), I feel the momentum is just too great, and the "true builders" just too small to matter.
I had high hopes with Jack Pelton in a leadership role since Jack grew up with EAA Chapter One the same time I did, but I hear now that he may be stepping down from EAA. Very disheartening if he does leave.
 

addicted2climbing

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
1,223
Location
Glendale, CA
Hey All,

I have only been a member of my chapter (#40) for just over a year now. Chapter 40 is made up of mostly order members so there had not been much building going on. Yet there are many members who want to build but for some its more talk; for others it's not. Our meetings do hinge around young eagles and the occasional fund raising but by and large I would say for the majority it is a social group. The reason I joined is I am a student pilot who had a lot of skills from scratch building all composite R/C competition sailplanes and always hoped to build a plane one day. I have always been the tinkerer and have to always be building something. I was forced to sell my home through a divorce so I lost my ability to have a place to tinker. Chapter 40 gives me that place and I now have access to a nice hanger with some tools and such. Also shortly before I joined, the chapter inherited a project (Cygnet SF2a) from a widow where the builder passed away before completion. They hoped by having a project that was essentially owned by the chapter that it would bring in new people and get the armchair people up and into the hanger. Its working.. We also have some of the young eagle kids involved. For me it was a big reason I got involved and I have been building the last year with hardly any investment in money and I am learning a ton of new skills and really enjoy my one to two days a week where we all get together to work on it. We also have an Rv9 in process and it gets worked on 2 to 3 times a week and a half built Sonex hanging in the rafters. Also a Cessna tailwheel mod STC is being redesigned in a members hanger and I am helping on that as well. Living in Los Angeles, I would never be able to afford a hanger of my own let alone any place large enough to have a place to tinker or work. My measly $20 to the chapter a year plus my EAA membership gives me that. Sure at times it may be more of a social thing, but I still have the plane I am working on and now I own a set of Bearhawk LSA plans and plan to start it this summer once the Cygnet is done and there is space for me to build.

What the EAA, its magazine or my chapter lacks in building advice can all be answered here for the most part. Or yahoo groups of builders communities of each design. I would like to see more designs be developed that cater to the plans builder as it seems everyone is either building a Sonex, RV or a Zenair. But then again, its still an experimental being built and a huge investment in time so in the end it helps our group as a whole. Also I have to say I do like some of the social aspects of the group as it gets a student pilot involved and in and out of various airplanes and that is all good in my opinion. 2 weeks ago I flew to a small RV fly-in (my 1st) in a Vari-Eze and home in a Cirrus VK30 which was quite an experience over my typical C172 I am training in. Two pushers in one day...:gig: Were it not for my involvement in the EAA and chapter #40 I would have never had these opportunities.

Best regards,

Marc
 

PTAirco

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2003
Messages
3,661
Location
Corona CA
I do believe the EAA on the whole is almost an essential organization to our hobby - without something like it we'd never have any political clout whatsoever. It's for this reason alone that I would support it. I do want to throw the magazine at the wall when I see articles about production turboprops, but I try to ignore that mostly. I think the EAA knows what most of us want and it's hard to please everyone.

And as much as I like the guys at the local chapter and feel kind of guilty for not really supporting them; chapters are a social group and require time and effort to make them something worthwhile. You can't get something out if you're not willing to put in some effort yourself and my time is just too limited.

My EAA membership renewal came came up a while ago. But I needed the half gallon of Poly Brush more ....
 
Top