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What's EAA Up To?

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How many aviation organizations should you belong to? As a member in good standing of the aviation community, must you pony up dues for both AOPA and EAA? And what other service organizations should you support in order the keep GA alive, much less vital.

EAA is in the process of testing that question. As you may have noticed—or maybe not—EAA is slowly repositioning itself to be a broader GA service, promotional and advocacy organization that also happens to champion the cause of homebuilding and experimental aviation, where its roots lie. This is going to be a tricky dance to watch because as EAA does this base broadening, doesn't it necessarily evolve itself into being more like AOPA? Won't it be going after AOPA's core constituency?

At the Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring last month, EAA's new prez Rod Hightower seemed to suggest that this isn't the case at all and that all of the alphabets are working together in a spirit of cooperation, agreeing ahead of time which one is best positioned to advocate with the government on various issues. Maybe so, but the reality is that all of us live in the Village of the Damned. Interest in GA and the ability to participate in it are eroding and the universe of likely participants isn't growing fast enough to replace attrition. Student starts and completions are in the tank, although the FAA seems to think this will bottom out and resume some growth before 2020. I hope so. But I'm also a realist.

Hightower said EAA wants to grow its ranks and is actually succeeding at that, with a membership of about 171,000. AOPA has about 400,000, but it's down from a couple of years ago. I don't know what the overlap between the two organizations is, but I suspect it's substantial. If it becomes less quirky homebuilder oriented and more of all-purpose joy-of-flight organization, EAA can likely sway quite a few of those 230,000-plus AOPA members to join. That's a good thing, because EAA—thanks to its grass roots ethos—is doing a credible job of pilot recruitment. In fact, it's about the only organization making a dent in the problem in a way that reaches the local airport. (I've personally participated in Young Eagles and plan to again.)

But as the two organizations become more alike, they risk losing their identity, especially EAA. When the new, redesigned and re-positioned SportAviation arrived this month, it struck me as a well-executed amalgam of AOPA Pilot, Air&Space and Flight Journal, with some hands-on technical meat thrown in. Nice, especially the tasty 9 by 11 format. But I already get those other magazines, for a reason. Why do I want another that may be different only by degree? I'm not sure I can answer that yet. Nor can I say if I'll remain a member of both organizations, as I have been for professional reasons for more than 20 years.

Like everyone else, I feel a certain duty to support these organizations, for I believe they perform important functions. But if they end up looking more or less the same, it's harder to justify supporting both.

Comments (114)

AOPA could use the competition.

Posted by: Frank Van Haste | February 9, 2012 7:00 AM    Report this comment

Amen to that Frank.

I feel that both organisations are not really helping the GA community. AOPA seems to be more in line with airline pilots and EAA inline with home builds. Something is missing and either EAA or AOPA need to sort themselves out. There is a vast number of normal recreation pilots that are not airline pilots or owners and they are falling through the cracks and that is why GA is failing.

You asked for my thoughts and there they are have a great day

Posted by: Bruce Savage | February 9, 2012 7:07 AM    Report this comment

I welcome EAA's efforts to return to its base - I have felt for a very long time EAA was focused as a show promotion company (AirVenture) who used grass-roots capital to produce a world-class show - to great success - but to the detriment of local chapters and especially homebuilders. I believe this will change under Mr. Hightower and I'm encouraged to see these changes.

Here's another point of discussion: Let's see EAA change its name from the Experimental Aircraft Association to just "EAA". Just as the Columbia Broadcasting System is now officially known as CBS and National Public Radio prefers to be called NPR, let's rid ourselves of the word 'Experimental' and improve the image of this organization to non-aviators who view 'experimental' as unsafe and unproven. Yes, I know WE know better - I'm thinking about parents of youngsters who say 'No kid of mine is flying in an EXPERIMENTAL airplane'.

Let's discuss.......

Posted by: Tracy Smith | February 9, 2012 7:08 AM    Report this comment

Frank: I agree AOPA needs the 'competition'.

Paul: I belong to both groups and what I have always looked forward to in the EAA publications is the grassroot information and articles about things a 'normal' pilot can use and afford and what EAA Chapters are doing. I've seen AOPA 'drifting' into some of these areas, but the tone of the magazine (in my opinion) while having a lot of good information and great articles still tends to focus on a high end market of aircraft and equipment. While interesting I do not see any way I will ever be able to afford something like that.

Like you, I have also flown a lot of teen-agers for Young Eagles and hope to continue it in the future even though the program does not seem to be able to accomplish what is was intended to do and that was get young people interested in learning to fly. From what I've heard from many of these potential aviators (and their parents) is it is just to expensive - even for a sport pilot license.

Posted by: Richard Norris | February 9, 2012 7:17 AM    Report this comment

I'm president of one of the largest and most active EAA chapters, 1114 in Apex, NC. The EAA was never an organization solely for 'quirky homebuilders' as Paul Bertorelli describes us. Paul Poberezny would be quick to agree, as he started the organization for all of 'sport aviation', which has from day one included homebuilts, vintage, aerobatics, warbirds and ultralights. The underlying theme was how to make flying affordable, safe and fun. While headquarters may have morphed into 'AirVenture Inc.' and the new leadership may be moving the EAA towards a defacto merger with AOPA (many think this happened years ago), the real EAA is to be found in local chapters, which have a great deal of independence and individuality. We do not sit around waiting for people in Oshkosh or the alphabets in D.C. to tell us what to do. As far as homebuilders being 'quirky', I suggest you have a discussion with some of the 'quirkiest' - Burt Rutan, John Monnett, the Klapmeier brothers, Dick Van Grunsven, Chris Heintz, Ivo Boscarol, Tom Peghiney etc. My guess is they will not agree with your description of homebuilders, the true heroes of sport aviation and the source of nearly all important innovations in light aircraft technology the past four decades.

Posted by: Kent Misegades | February 9, 2012 7:41 AM    Report this comment

Richard, you're right about the expense part. In that sense, Young Eagles has a certain futility to it. But it is, nonetheless, a positive forward step that involves something other than just complaining. So I support it.

As for the rebranding, Tracy, probably something like that will happen. As you observe, the word "experimental" may be too limiting. I've always thought EAA had, in AirVenture, an excellent marketing tool to bring new people into the field. But the reality may be very different. It could be those people like to go to airshows but don't want to or can't afford to participate.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | February 9, 2012 7:46 AM    Report this comment

It should be noted that many of the EAA "core" members are not happy with this move. I am an active home builder getting close to completing my plane and will not be renewing my membership with EAA when it is up next month. They are moving so far away from the experimental side of things that I no longer see a benefit to remaining a member. I suspect you will find a number of other members doing the same after the recent changes. Check out the EAA forums and you will see that there is a thread with over with over 38 pages and 23,000 views all mostly expressing this same sentiment. EAA is fooling themselves if they think the majority of their members want to read about the next multi-million dollar plane, certified aircraft accidents, or somebodys cross country trip with their step kid in a certified grumman cheetah spread across 3 issues. Except for a few technical articles that are short and so generic the same info can easily be found on the web for free, Sport Aviation has become the exact same kind of magazine as Flying.

Keith

Posted by: Keith Macht | February 9, 2012 7:49 AM    Report this comment

YE has been a success in terms of outreach and PR, but the initial idea that a bunch of 10 year old kids would start flying at age 15 was unrealistic. For most people, life's obligations do not allow flying until age 40-45. We need to wait another 20 years or more before we'll see if YE has led to an increase in new pilot starts. Our chapter has one of the most successful YE programs on the planet, averaging over 1,000 YE flights each year for 10 years. Still, I think it is time to retire the program. It costs chapters and YE pilots a small fortune and draws resources away from what we should be doing - helping chapter members build and fly airplanes. We have done enough outreach, we need to be more concerned about the slow death of EAA chapters across the country and the dramatic drop in average hours flown by our members.

Posted by: Kent Misegades | February 9, 2012 7:54 AM    Report this comment

Keith's comments mirror those I have heard from many EAA members the past few years. I personally have not read an issue of Sport Aviation in 6 months, but I do enjoy the online 'Experimenter' newsletter. Changes to EAA Publications staff, hiring 'star' writers from other magazines, has simply produced more fluff and articles on aircraft that have little to do with sport aviation. We now have a new VP for Chapters, Jeff Skiles, who admits that he has no experience with chapters. While his notoriety may help him open doors in D.C., it does little for the needs of grassroots aviation, the heart and soul of EAA. They also sacked the person most responsible for YE's success, Steve Buss. My own award-winning YE Coordinator told me 'I quit' when he got the news, and I do not blame him. As a former corporate CEO, I would give the EAA's leadership a C- on its decisions the past few years.

Posted by: Kent Misegades | February 9, 2012 8:01 AM    Report this comment

Good, valid points all 'round, and Kent is right on that "life's obligations do not allow flying until age 40-45"(+!) for many/most. On a somewhat related subject, both EAA & AOPA have failed to TRULY take on the issue of the silly 3rd class medical requirement, and their lack of related committment remains evident. There's an old Southern term for "fixin" to do something that often means it "ain't gonna get done". With similarities to our government's grand illusions of "security", this over hyped/under acted proposal is more "look what we're gonna do for you" than working hard and smart NOW to effectively make a meaningful difference. (And, yes, I realize that the Administrator resigned. The dog ate my homework, too;-) Mc

Posted by: Mc Forbes | February 9, 2012 8:36 AM    Report this comment

aopa lost its way a long time ago. left it behind, never looked back, and guess what? i'm doing just fine without them. i'm still getting junk mail from them, unfortunately. wonder how much they'd save just by cutting out all that junk mailers. maybe they'd be able to pay their executives more with all that savings! :-D

eaa seems to be more grass roots and more in touch with its membership base. and oh-my-oshkosh! :)

Posted by: Amy Zucco | February 9, 2012 8:37 AM    Report this comment

I had a good seat at Rod Hightower's presentation here in Jacksonville just after he took over the reins of EAA. He flew in in his lovely T6, spoke of numbers with a business plan sort of approach and I came away feeling like I had been at a big boardroom presentation instead of at one of the very successful Poberzny's kitchen table kinda' meetings. Good business management is required to run things at the size EAA has gotten but, like many, I am losing the grassroots feeling that EAA MUST HAVE if it is to truly represent the folks that it is SUPPOSED to be comprised of. I remember when EAA sort of 'over ran' Mr Taylor's Antique Aircraft Association and then moved to OSH and got BIG. Ultimately those all succeeded in supporting my visions of 'my kind of GA' but my faith is faltering when, as has been pointed out, EAA is losing it's foundation by wandering over to AOPA's side. I LIKE HAVING TWO DISTINCT AVIATION TEAMS, each working from their 'natural foundations'. Let's get EAA back to us 'little airplane folks', let AOPA handle the next segment and I will support both. And yeah, I too was put off by the Flying Magazine type articles taking over Sport Aviation.

Let's get EAA back to talking about the way to take care of rag and tube and what's hot in the AMATEUR BUILT with support for EAA's divisions. That will keep the true EAA chapters and supporters active in a way that seems to attract a whole unique level of pilots/builders to GA.

Posted by: Harry Williams | February 9, 2012 9:12 AM    Report this comment

This is going to come across as sounding more argumentative than I mean, but all I can say is that there are a lot of whiners in General Aviation lately, particularly among AOPA and/or EAA members. Frankly, I don't buy the argument that if people are upset with their once-favorite alphabet soup organization that they should "vote with their money" and quit. I'd wager that if most people who are upset with the way their organization is going would instead take the time to contact them--and really contact them, call them on the phone, talk to them in person, not just send an email--and provide their feedback, they could make a difference.

I've only been an active pilot since about 2007 and a member of AOPA for about just as long, but I've noticed even in that relatively small time frame that people's moods have become increasingly sour and pessimistic. Perhaps this is just a general reflection of the U.S. and world economy, but simply complaining and not seriously taking real action accomplishes nothing. After all, aren't such actions just giving in to the hazardous attitude of resignation? The same concepts that apply to flying can be equally applied to our everyday lives, and maybe we should all consider "flying" our organizations all the way into the crash if we hope to emerge with our freedom to fly comparatively unregulated (compared to other nations) intact.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 9, 2012 9:12 AM    Report this comment

Gary - the AOPA is basically a lobby and magazine full of advertising, and that's OK. The EAA, by contrast, has (or had at ome time) 1,000 local chapters full of people who give up a great deal of time and money to promote the ideas of the organization and help each other fly. I suggest you join one, or more. When you next attend AirVenture, Sun 'n Fun, Arlington, Copper State, etc. note that the vast majority of people that make these events possible are volunteers. Many members in my EAA chapter have been spending a week or more at Sun 'n Fun and AirVenture for 20+ years, never get paid a cent for it. Not being an AOPA member, I do not know to what degree they get involved in such things, but EAA rank-and-file do a great deal more than write emails.

Posted by: Kent Misegades | February 9, 2012 9:33 AM    Report this comment

I am a AOPA Member because I can always use the free information on the AOPA.org website. I enjoy downloading approach charts to various airports, the free airplane valuations and other "member only" privileges. I used to be an EAA member when I attended the EAA Airventure shows as I saved some money on admission tickets. I also know that I can get free LSA flying reports with an EAA membership. I have stopped going to the Airventure shows a few years back, and I can't afford an LSA, so I stopped being an EAA member. I also noticed that Flying magazine has gone through numerous changes. I believe each aviation group is doing what it can to try to appeal to new pilots.

Posted by: Peter Demisay | February 9, 2012 9:33 AM    Report this comment

It's TIME that both AOPA AND EAA get off their butts and start DOING something rather than talking about it and printing meaningless articles in glitzy magazines with turbine airplanes or warbirds on the cover. If they don't, it's time for someone else to start a new organization. It's TIME, as McForbes aptly points, to recognize that folks in their 40's and beyond -- with money -- are the real constituency which needs to be courted (if they don't fly) or preserved (if they are already pilots). I've been to every Sebring event and the few folks doing the buying are IN that category. They're NOT there because they love airplanes one level off of a kite but because they can COUNT on not being grounded every two years. Sadly, the price of most LSA airplanes is ridiculous. I am 64 and have been flying for 40+ years. If I thought that I could count on my medical for say 10+ more years, I'd go out and buy a new airplane and sell my used equipment to those that can't afford new. As it is, I'm patching up a 37 year old C172 and a 45 year old Cherokee. It's TIME to FORCE the FAA to drop the third class medical for day VFR recreational flying period. When that happens, the resurgence in GA will begin and AOPA and EAA will see their ranks grow. If it doesn't happen ... GA is finished. There's enough external pressure ... economy, fuel costs, lawyers ... that deter us. We don't need more stinkin' FAA "help." We need less. Lose the 3rd class.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | February 9, 2012 9:51 AM    Report this comment

I've appreciated AOPA and EAA for their contributions for 37 years. I think they need to grapple with the fuel to fly issue, taking the lesson of the revolutionary impact of the I-pad as a lead. GA suffers and pays mightily when we need to rely on a unique GA product or solution, because we are too small to reach any economy of scale. We are using a unique fuel at present which serves about 40% of us. Those of us that can use a fuel that is made in vast quantities before it is polluted with ethanol can't get the stuff anymore because of political foolishness. We need to get this sorted out. Regardless of the pain of change, the handwriting is on the wall for leaded fuel. Reliance on a unique, expensive, doomed fuel is burden on my flying, and on all of GA. We need to have a commodity mass market fuel available if weare going to grow or even stay viable at our present size.

Posted by: Jack Thompson | February 9, 2012 10:05 AM    Report this comment

If the FAA cannot present a compelling case showing that the third class medical is substantly adding to aviation safety for day VFR recreational flying then they either need to drop it OR be sued by the AOPA and EAA and pilots and airplane owners all. We all know that it isn't but some bureaucrat buried deep in the FAA is perpetuating it. It's no secret that the age of pilots is moving up exponentially. If we don't keep the pilots we have and find a way to provide a fertile field to draw in new blood, it's just a matter of waiting for the end to come. Using the data already provided by Light Sport flying over almost six years is the first smart thing I've seen coming out of AOPA and EAA and is enough for me to keep supporting them. NOW, however, it's time for them to produce. Losing Babbitt is sad but just helps the bureaucrats buried in FAA to retain their power. AOPA ... EAA ... are ya listening? DO SOMETHING!

Posted by: Larry Stencel | February 9, 2012 10:08 AM    Report this comment

Well, put, Jack! Autogas is coming, keep your eyes on California, stay tuned.... The Aviation media has ignored too the fact that the latest generation of Lycoming and Continental engines, even in the 350-HP category, are designed to run on autogas, about all you can find outside North America & Europe. Industry can not wait on the alphabets to solve this problem, free markets will though.

Posted by: Kent Misegades | February 9, 2012 10:10 AM    Report this comment

The Aviation media has ignored too the fact that the latest generation of Lycoming and Continental engines, even in the 350-HP category, are designed to run on autogas,

I have covered this extensively and last time I checked, I'm part of the aviation media. Might I caution you against too many unsubstantiated generalities while also pointing out that we have covered your mogas efforts as well?

Sheesh...

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | February 9, 2012 10:21 AM    Report this comment

Kent M.: In fact, I am getting involved with EAA local chapters. I've only been an EAA member for about the past 3 years or so, partly because of the "E" in EAA leading me to think it was only for experimental/sport aircraft people (which until recently, I had no interest in).

Also, by "getting involved", I mean actually taking to the people who can listen and make a difference in the organization. I haven't (yet) been to AirVenture, so I don't know what most EAAers are like.

Larry S.: "AOPA ... EAA ... are ya listening? DO SOMETHING!" That's exactly what I'm referring to by people not taking action. So many people complain about things, but never actually *actively* do something about it. Hoping AOPA/EAA/whoever hears you doesn't do anything, but actually reaching out to them does.

Take the recent issue in CT where a bill came up that would impose a rather hefty *annual* property tax on aircraft based in the state. I reached out to my local politicians, and actually got a response back from them. As it turns out, they really do listen to their constituency, and some of them are actually pretty good people. But it involves taking real action and talking to people and making the effort to *really* get involved. The best part is, you don't even have to be someone special or wave around a lot of money to help make a difference. You just have to be willing to take action other than complaining and walking away.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 9, 2012 10:31 AM    Report this comment

I've supported both organizations for almost 20 years as I saw them fulfilling different roles in the flying community. Recently it seems like EAA is expanding into lobbying the government and AOPA is morphing into a sales organization with all sorts of "services" for pilots including a "pilot lifestyle" wine collection. How effective can they be in trying to make our (flying) lives simpler when they are selling us services to deal with the complexity? I also feel their sales tactics are becoming more and more agressive (working on commission?) Overall, I feel like AOPA has been around Washington so long they have become a Washington "insider" accepting too many excuses about how slowly things move and the time just isn't right, etc. etc. Unless something drastic happens, in the future I'll be supporting just one organization, and it will be EAA.

Posted by: Rob Wyder | February 9, 2012 10:34 AM    Report this comment

Well, I must have missed those issues of AVWeb Flash, Paul. I recall your reporting on the Continental IO-360-AF but it continues to repeat Michael Kraft's inaccurate portrayal of 'pump gas' as not being an safe aviation fuel, far from reality. I also do not recall your reporting on the UAT-ARC admission in December 2011, as reported by the Clean 100 Coalition and Michael Kraft, that there will be no drop-in unleaded replacement for 100LL. AVweb has done a better job than the EAA though reporting on autogas in general, which was not the point I was making however. Interest and demand for autogas in the US has never been greater though, and despite many impediments and no support from any alphabet other than LAMA, the number of airports selling it continues to rise slowly. It is the only answer to the CEH and FOE lawsuits. Now though we are way off the topic of this thread....

Posted by: Kent Misegades | February 9, 2012 10:48 AM    Report this comment

Gary - good for you! EAA chapters all have their own unique character. I always suggest people try a few and see which one fits best. Do not forget the EAA divisions - vintage, warbirds, ULs, IAC. These specialized chapters can be a lot of fun too. I can not imagine being in the EAA and not being in a chapter - that's were all the fun is really. Yet only 1/3rd of all EAA members participate. You are right though that the 'E' in the EAA has given many the impression that it's only about homebuilts. This is problem the EAA has struggled with for many years; it is probably too late to change its name now. But does anyone know or care what 'IBM' stands for?

Posted by: Kent Misegades | February 9, 2012 10:53 AM    Report this comment

Kent M.: I don't think EAA does a good enough job in promoting the chapters. In fact, the only way I even really knew about or thought to look in to them was through a friend who was in one. Additionally, I think the EAA and chapters could do a better job about providing information on what each one is about. Finally, the impression I get from many of them is that they are mainly of use for those building their own airplane, rather than general aviation talk.

In any case, I am learning that the chapters are what EAA is all about, and they should both focus on promoting them more, as well as ensuring they don't drift too far from these grassroots.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 9, 2012 11:02 AM    Report this comment

Gary - it's true. Headquarters does not really promote chapters to its members. Paul Poberezny told me last year that there are few people among the current EAA leadership with much experience in chapters, so I guess we should not be too surprised. We have to request an address list of EAA members in our area each year, then print and send out mailers to them in order to recruit them. We're always amazed how many EAA members are near our airfield who know nothing about us, but are thrilled when we find them. Headquarters could easily send out targeted emails to encourage members to attend local chapter meetings, but they won't/can't despite my requests for years. Only 25% of our chapter members are builders, so we have programs that appeal to all interests. We have a separate program and a separate incorporated Aero Club that allows us to build and fly the planes outside of the EAA, something that Oshkosh does not encourage, thank you lawyers.

Posted by: Kent Misegades | February 9, 2012 11:15 AM    Report this comment

I would be willing to venture a guess that the reason there aren't more EAA members involved with local chapters is because a good chunk of their membership don't care anything about EAA. How many pilots/families/locals go to airventure each year and buy or renew their eaa membership just for the purpose of getting a discount on admission? I would be willing to bet that it is a good portion of the overall membership numbers.

Posted by: Keith Macht | February 9, 2012 11:25 AM    Report this comment

I'm not going to bother to list all I've done on this topic, Kent. Suffice to say, if you look, you'll find it. I would again humbly request you avoid complaining about lack of coverage in the very outlet that has probably done the most.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | February 9, 2012 11:41 AM    Report this comment

Been flying more than 50 years (22,000+ hours). I belong to both. If I could only belong to one it would be the EAA. Just as "Flying" magazine has grown to represent the business airplanes, so too, has AOPA. They give the impression of caring very little about the little guy (whether that is their intention or not) that's the impression they give.

Posted by: fred wilson | February 9, 2012 11:58 AM    Report this comment

One of the above writers was absolutely correct. AOPA's magazine is all about big and expensive airplanes and business use. EAA's magazine is all (mostly) about home building. The only magazine out there that truly represents the "average" pilot is "Plane and Pilot." But... it's just a magazine (although a very good one). Perhaps: let EAA go back to just representing homebuilders and AOPA go on to represent big business and the rest of us "might" get an organization the represents the vast majority in the middle. (I'm too old to start it myself). lol

Posted by: fred wilson | February 9, 2012 12:06 PM    Report this comment

In the defense of the EAA - it is making a difficult transition away from two generations of Poberezny husband/wife teams who devoted much of their lives to the organization. It will be hard to fill their large shoes, and we should except some stumbles. The fact that chapters are supposed to receive more attention with Skiles' new position sounds encouraging, and the EAA claims it will be doing more for us quirky homebuilders this year. Let's see how things pan out this year. AirVenture 2012 will be a real bellwether event I suspect.

Posted by: Kent Misegades | February 9, 2012 12:10 PM    Report this comment

EAA should stay focused on its original concept. If the EAA wants to grow its ranks, provide a path for aspiring aviators to lower the cost of becoming a pilot and continuing to fly. If they can do that, aspiring pilots will flock to their organization.

By moving away from its original concept, the EAA is saying to all its current membership, “now that you are a member you are not as important to us as all the potential members out there”. The original concept is so popular because pilots want a low cost way to fly. I don’t know a single pilot who wouldn’t like to see the cost of flying come down. By working with the local chapters, the EAA could entice wannabe pilots into joining the organization by showing them how they could build their own plane to use in learning to fly.

I would like to see Sport Aviation do more articles on the nuts and bolts of building an airplane, and less fluff pieces. Today’s magazine is far too similar to the AOPA mag.

Keep EAA as a homebuilding organization. If you must grow the membership, provide a low cost way to enter the flying fraternity and maintain a small airplane. Helping the local chapters by providing mailings list of national members would be a quick-start way to boost membership. Trying to be everything to everyone will only alienate the core membership.

Posted by: Richard Pearson | February 9, 2012 12:13 PM    Report this comment

BOTH are on the road to irrelevancy(just like their magazines). The REAL happenings are on-line. Why go to EAA if you can go straight to Vans? Why go to AOPA if you get better weather and planning elsewhere?

Posted by: Mark Fraser | February 9, 2012 12:53 PM    Report this comment

BOTH are on the road to irrelevancy(just like their magazines-

I don't think so. We're just having major changes here in the Village of the Damned and no one really knows how to make the best ones.

I'll give Paul the benefit of the doubt in that he just didn't want to type unconventional and instead used quirky 'cause it's shorter...

I agree with others that the chapters need their own magazine or group and their relevance is most important.

Anybody know how the Golden Eagles first flight program is going? I didn't have much faith in it but am first in line for self-correction if it can work.

Posted by: Dave Miller | February 9, 2012 1:06 PM    Report this comment

I agree wholeheartedly. I am a member of EAA because I support its Young Eagles program and its other outreach efforts to grow the pilot population. But the organization’s mission is clearly changing in a way that perhaps even its founder wouldn’t recognize. Sport Aviation looks great, but the content for the most part has moved away from addressing the interests of homebuilders and into areas of more general appeal. And with all due respect, an electronic version of the Experimenter, as good as it is, doesn't quite fulfill the needs of the homebuilt community. For more than a quarter century, KITPLANES has catered specifically to those who build and fly their own aircraft, and we plan on continuing to serve this important and innovative segment of aviation.

Posted by: Mary Bernard | February 9, 2012 1:13 PM    Report this comment

As a board member of EAA Chapter 96, I would say that EAA is really all about grass-roots at the chapter level. We have a big Young Eagles program along with homebuilders like myself and plenty of members who fly certified aircraft. Finally, HQ has provided a web presence for chapters, a big step forward. In the past, we had to host our own website independently. If Airventure has attracted members who are not interested in local chapters, so be it.

Posted by: Jim Lo Bue | February 9, 2012 1:21 PM    Report this comment

Keeping things honest here, Mary is editor of KITPLANES. I try to keep these relationships out in the open.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | February 9, 2012 1:26 PM    Report this comment

I have to give Mary some congratulations then. Since I am not renewing my eaa membership I took that money and bought a kitplanes subscription last month. I dare anybody to compare the latest kitplanes magazine against the latest EAA mag and tell me which company supports "experimenters". Hint hint; its not the one who calls them self the experimetnal aircraft association. As a homebuilder I got way more out of that one last issue of kitplanes than I have out of Sport Aviation over the past year.

Posted by: Keith Macht | February 9, 2012 2:25 PM    Report this comment

Okay, one thing I have to take issue here with is the notion that you have to be in your mid 40's to take up flying. If you want it badly enough, anyone can fly. I started flying when I was 19, saving up 2 weeks for a lesson while still living at home - I now have a pocketful of ratings and an airplane that I fly 150 hours a year or more. I taught a young man to fly a couple years ago, and he recently sold his airplane and has a 172XP now - how did he do it - he busted his rear and started an excavating business just out of school with old equipment.

At my home airport, we've got a group of wannabe retired guys, who have nothing better to do than polish their airplanes and tell youngsters how tough it is to be in aviation, and how those of us actually working to train and help new pilots are apparently ripping them off, and how they can remember back when avgas was $.20 a gallon and flight instruction was $10 an hour! When teenagers are buying $600 iPads and $2000 laptops and their parents are buying $50,000 SUVs - the young people can't afford to fly argument doesn't hold water.

Posted by: Josh Johnson | February 9, 2012 3:20 PM    Report this comment

This thread has morphed into the components of what we like/dislike about the two organizations. I've been a member of AOPA for 36 years, and EAA for 17.

Magazines--yes, MOST magazines have had problems--big changeovers at Flying (and not for the better)--AOPA is now the magazine with the better photos, layout, and writers. EAA magazines should stick to their brand--experimenter, vintage, etc. Mac McLelland can help there--but there are lots of ways they can be better--more "history" in Vintage when they feature an airplane--Larry Ball made entire BOOKS of the history of Bonanza's for example. More "how to" in Experimenter--even if it means dusting off and updating older articles--they will still be new to newer members.

Young Eagles--I agree that the program hasn't shown much for results--but I support it anyway in that it gives pilots an altruistic reason to GET OUT AND FLY--a sense of "doing something."

Posted by: jim hanson | February 9, 2012 3:35 PM    Report this comment

Josh J.: Your last paragraph is exactly what I meant about the pessimism going around in GA. I know these old guys mean well, but spreading their pessimism isn't helping, and only helping to perpetuate the myth that only well-to-do people can afford to fly.

I'm certainly not saying flying is cheap by any measure, and that I'm not doing financially well, but I wouldn't consider myself "rich". As you say, if you want it badly enough, you figure out ways to make it work as you and I have.

The problem is two-fold: 1) all the negative words some disgruntled guys (and it is mostly guys that are the disgruntled ones) feel the need to "volunteer" their views to others looking to the sky with wonder and trying to figure out how to get paid to work above the earth. 2) our associations really could be doing a better job at breaking down the costs to learn to fly and keep flying for those on the outside wondering what it takes to become a pilot. Truth is in the eye of the beholder, and when you have all the negativity being presented to fledgling pilots (of all ages), it's a wonder we even have ANY new starts. It does take some creativity at times to make flying affordable, but hardly anyone is out there volunteering THAT information (including out alphabet associations).

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 9, 2012 3:40 PM    Report this comment

(cont)

I'm an active pilot that wants to get more people involved in flying, and see that it can be affordable. My plan to help out is more extreme than some pilots--I plan on becoming an instructor--but the important thing is that we all do what we can to show the true side of GA.

As the saying goes, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 9, 2012 3:41 PM    Report this comment

All aviation advocacy groups need to cooperate on important issues--long-overdue FAA regulation changes--fuel, etc.

The regulatory issue is SO serious that they should consider doing what the families of the Colgan crash did--get Congress involved, instead of ASKING the FAA to change their own rules. That hasn't worked out well. The FAA will dither for years over the changes.

Much as I don't like Congress trying to legislate instead of FAA, it was able to effect change in a matter of months, not years. Have your Congressman introduce legislation to eliminate medical certificates for private pilots, for example. Even if FAA says "That's OUR business!"--they know they will be under Congressional oversight to actually DO something.

Stop lobbying, and actually DO something!

Posted by: jim hanson | February 9, 2012 3:42 PM    Report this comment

Ok Gary, the problem I have is what do you DO when you have such entrenched negativity. It's fascinating to me - we have groups of people who don't fly and who do things (intentional or not) to stop new people from trying. And these are good people - they'd give you the shirt off their backs - they just can't find something positive to say to a newcomer.

Costs and fuel matter, somewhat, but that's not the issue to reinvigorating aviation. Ever check on what it costs to run a speedboat pulling skiers all day - and our lakes are full of them!

Posted by: Josh Johnson | February 9, 2012 4:08 PM    Report this comment

Oh, and by the way, good luck with the CFI! I got mine despite all the horror stories about, oh my gosh, taking a check ride with the evil overlords at the FAA!

(For the record, 99% of my dealings with the FAA have been very positive. Can only think of one inspector that was a jerk, but the beauty of government bureaucracy is that it is easy to file a complaint with his supervisor!)

Posted by: Josh Johnson | February 9, 2012 4:17 PM    Report this comment

Seems like there have been a lot of tender feelings within this thread. Probably too many of us are way too quick to get their dander up. I am also very concerned about the direction EAA is taking, quite certainly moving away from the grassroots aviation group I joined decades ago, and served in the past as a chapter prez, etc. As much as I realize that targeting the initiated will not preserve sport aviation, I doubt that turning in the direction they are now will make any real difference anyway. Not fatalistic, probably only realistic. But, in the meantime they are certainly alienating a segment of their core members, I hear grousing often, and while I defend the EAA's rationale for the new approach, I cannot help but feel the organization is moving away from what I want it to be. What are the big stumbling blocks to aviation these days? Take your pick. But I cannot help but feel $6 a gallon avgas is #1. Unless you are amongst the very wealthy set AOPA seems to think we all are these days, you really cannot justify the expense on practical terms any longer.

Posted by: Bill Mcclure | February 9, 2012 4:18 PM    Report this comment

Gary- Thank you for clearly articulating the thoughts that have gone on in my head for a long while. I too, just started flying in 2006, am relatively young (newly 30), somewhere in the lower-middle class tier, and I do what I can to fly whenever I can. I'm absolutely privileged to have a fiancee who not only supports my flying, but actively suggests we go out. I also cannot believe how much negativity I've found in the comments sections of AOPA/Flying/Avweb forums. It genuinely is a wonder that we get any new starts at all with everyone telling us how horrible things are nowadays and how we'll never go back to the "good ol' days". I do see several aviators whose definition of doing something seems to be complaining ad nauseum about how GA is killing itself and why isn't AOPA/EAA doing something about it? I knew full well going in that flying was expensive, and there are months where I don't get as much flying done as I can.

Posted by: Brandon Freeman | February 9, 2012 4:49 PM    Report this comment

(cont) It's almost like we're shooting ourselves in the foot. If I was a little newer, and reading these forums, why would I even think about getting into aviation? I don't want to surround myself with people who can't see beyond their negativity.

Posted by: Brandon Freeman | February 9, 2012 5:00 PM    Report this comment

I have to agree with those who say we have a lot of whiners in aviation. Maybe we always did?

Having TWO organizations lobbying for us is too much? Really? And two that are trying to build GA for the future? Another ten would be even better... we face a lot of challenges out there.

AOPA's Airport Support Network (I'm a volunteer) is crucial to preserving airports. Young Eagles, and Golden Eagles, are great ideas that no one ever tried before. The more brains we have coming up with this stuff, the better the chance that some will succeed.

The combined dues for EAA and AOPA run less than an hour's rental of a 172. Are we really THAT cheap that we can't support both?

Posted by: Donald Weber | February 9, 2012 5:14 PM    Report this comment

A lot of very interesting comments. I'm a very happy 84-year old ex-aviator who's been lucky enough to stick my toe into most aviation activities over the years. Of all the comments so far, I side with Richard Pearson. I submit that EAA would do well to retreat to and enlarge homebuilding and modification, with regard to the costs of getting airborne. There are some very good pre-fab kits that offer sweat-equity flying at a fraction of commercial costs, with factory building help included. As always, ambition and desire are mandatory for would-be pilots. As to EAA, growth and expansion should not always be a sacred mantra for organizations without shareholders. Jim Patton

Posted by: James Patton | February 9, 2012 5:21 PM    Report this comment

Come on now My dad would tell me about going to the cinema this is way way way back in the mid 1920's and it cost him 5c and that included a cool drink. Compare that to today's cost where the seat will cost anything upwards of $15 and the drinks etc are additional. Now compare yesterdays cost of flying and it was very cheap to today's standard but wait a minute what is the standard based on. Usually just straight cost $ for $ which is incorrect anyway. Based on one's salary today the cost of flying is not that expensive. My dad for example earned a grand total of $2.5 per week so 5c was 2% of earnings. Today's salary is upward of $1000 per week so $15 is 1.5%. To the old toppies like myself we yearn for the old days because we understood the value of money of that time. Just as in my earlier days when a good salary was $30 per month a $1000 was a lot of money so earning that in a week today just does not compute. Shame on us for not keeping up but I do agree we have no right to put down the younger generation telling them its too costly to fly when in fact it is cheaper today than it has ever been and that is all thanks to organisations like AOPA and EAA.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | February 9, 2012 5:31 PM    Report this comment

I don't want to surround myself with people who can't see beyond their negativity. -

Then lets not complain about the complainers. For many people change is oh-so-hard and for some of these old-timers they may not only be frustrated by the changes to flying they have witnessed over the years, but I think there also might be an underlying motive by some to challenge the new starts with the harsh realities of flying to see if they really have the passion and tenacity for what it takes to pursue aviation. There also is a generational gap that illuminates different attitudes between the groups and shows what is important to one group may not be so important to another.

It's not easy or simple for anyone to learn to fly and KEEP flying today, and I think Gary's advice to keep it positive or keep silent is well given.

Posted by: Dave Miller | February 9, 2012 5:45 PM    Report this comment

Left both organizations a few years ago. Used the money I saved for avgas.

Posted by: Jay | February 9, 2012 6:45 PM    Report this comment

This generational differences conversation kind of reminds me of a conversation I overheard between a couple elders in a church wondering why young people weren't interested in attending anymore. The conversation turned towards our young people not really caring about what's important, lack of discipline, loss of moral values and such. I kept my mouth shut, but being in my early 30's, what I really wanted to say is that the real issue is that young people aren't that particularly interested in hymns from the late 1800's and endless debates about the book of Job, what they really are looking is for something that is relevant to their daily lives. And when they don't get that from their church, they go somewhere that will provide for those needs. I see the same thing happening here in Aviation - when the old timers afraid of change keep fighting progress, the youngsters just go do something else.

Posted by: Josh Johnson | February 9, 2012 7:07 PM    Report this comment

I'll continue to support both organizations. Two advocates for GA (and more: NBAA, GAMA, etc.) are better than one. One thing about the change at EAA: they have the best magazine - by far - because they have the best writers. Getting Mac M. was a great move. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Paul writing for Sport Aviation someday : )

Posted by: Bob Dinkins | February 9, 2012 7:41 PM    Report this comment

I have been a member of AOPA since 1954, EAA off and on for maybe 25 years. Thre seems to be a common thread in aviation as well as just about everything else and that is a strive for a greater MARKET SHARE. The Market is pretty much finite. Why does EAA want to get bigger? They are already the biggest. And AOPA Pilot, as well as Flying, are little more than Hangar Flying. I've read Dick Carl's hangar flying, I've read Tom Haines (Haynes?)hangar flying and Les Abend's hangar flying. I've been flying since 12 Oct. 1945 and I think I've heard just about everyone of them. Now, don't get me wrong, if your hangar flying story has something useful in it then fine. The recent article on Icing Conditions was useful. But to read about your shaky flight out to the Bahamas is not something that holds a grip on me. They all want to make flying more fun and affordable. I've made my last trip to OSH unless I have business there. My last 2-3 visits, I didn't like. I had to park in the south quarter (?) even beyond the last tram stop, walk, walk and more walking. The dang tram hardly got within a half mile of the main gate. The prices of everything is out of sight. Airshows are very nice and there is a lot of very interesting things to see. I whish you would make this block bigger, typing in this little space is like watching a porno flick through a keyhone.

Posted by: kent tarver | February 9, 2012 9:08 PM    Report this comment

Kent T.: Okay, way off topic, but Tom Haines is a writer/editor of AOPA Pilot magazine, so you had the spelling right. Capt. Al Haynes was one of the pilots on board fated flight United 232 that crashed in Sioux City, Iowa after the center engine exploded (which, by the way, is one of the greatest examples of CRM done right).

Getting back on topic, to those who say EAA moving out beyond just the experimental/kitplane/etc realm not being necessary, it's actually that move that partly got me more involved with them. I am getting more interested in experimental aircraft, but I'm primarily a "mainstream" pilot. It's the reach that initially interested me, and without that, I may not have gotten as involved with EAA as I am.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 10, 2012 8:08 AM    Report this comment

From my discussions with Paul Poberezny and others on the history of the EAA, the organization was always about sport aviation and homebuilding was only a part of the focus. Vintage, warbirds and aerobatics have received attention too for decades. Why is homebuilding important? Think of the companies that all started by a person building a plane in his garage or a shed: the Wright brothers, Clyde Cessna, C. Gilbert Taylor, John Monnett, Dick Van Grunsven, Chris Heintz, the Klapmeier brothers, Karl Bergey (Cherokee), Steve Wittman, Curtiss Pitts, Walter Extra, Burt Rutan, Lance Neibauer, Dan Wilson, Dan Rihn, the Pascale brothers (Tecnam), etc. Some call us 'quirky'. I call homebuilders 'heroes'. You can trace nearly every aircraft company back to a homebuilder; without them, there will be far less innovation and advancement in aviation.

Posted by: Kent Misegades | February 10, 2012 8:21 AM    Report this comment

at the risk of starting a big argument here goes...

I think that sooner or later (probably sooner) you will see AOPA and EAA formally merge into the largest GA organization in the world. As others have said, AOPA is for business, and EAA is for homebuilders (I'm not going to touch the 'quirky' name) but it seems like if they would join forces under a single umbrella with 2 distinct membership bases then when AOPA goes lobbying for no user fees, they can say "well our 700,000 members say 'NO'", and when EAA is trying to sell AirVenture, they can say "our 700,000 members would love to have you there".

Some say it's already happened, but I think that they are still far enough apart to consider themselves independent organizations.

If EAA can get the YE and new "Eagles" program(s) right, and AOPA can get back to telling people how to fly more cheaply then we might just have the beginnings of 1 GA organization.

Posted by: R. Doe | February 10, 2012 9:40 AM    Report this comment

$6 a gallon avgas is a factor in declining interest in becomming a pilot. But if someone could be shown how to build a small plane for around 30 to 40K, that ran on 4-5 gals of car gas/hr, I think there would be a lot more interest.

I didn't join EAA to be my advocate in DC. That is what AOPA is for.

Here is an idea I have been DOING for years. Each and every one of us can start DOING it today. The next time you are practicing T&Gs, and you see someone on the ground watching you, or you are preflighting and notice someone observing your every move, walk over and introduce yourself. Ask them if they would like to go for a short ride. It is a great way to meet new people who are interested in aviation.

Posted by: Richard Pearson | February 11, 2012 12:43 PM    Report this comment

So many insightful comments. The mag I enjoy the most, right now, is Kitplanes. Think I'm working up to a build.

Posted by: Donald H Dinwiddie | February 11, 2012 4:51 PM    Report this comment

In common with what I suspect is a huge number of pilots, I belong to both EAA & AOPA, plus subscribe to Flying.

I'm primarily a mainstream non-commercial single-engine spam can guy who will never build an airplane nor own or fly a jet, but still those things are interesting to me and collectively it takes the three sources cover it all. Obviously though, many pilots prefer not to be served anything not related to their core interest.

To remain separately viable the organizations/publications all need to walk what is, unfortunately, an ill-defined line of focus. For commercial success they must stay sufficiently relevant to a large slice of the general pilot population by avoiding over-specialization, yet do it without making their core-focus group feel they are being slighted.

A perfect example of this problem is Flying Magazine, who ran into so much backlash against their coverage of the high-end jet/turboprop world they created a “turbine-free” version of the magazine. Seems silly, because it apparently didn’t alter their low-end GA coverage one way or the other, but there you go.

Posted by: John Wilson | February 12, 2012 10:16 AM    Report this comment

I have been a member of the EAA since 1996 and AOPA since 1998. In those days the publications were very different in content and I very much enjoyed both Sport Pilot and AOPA Pilot magazines.

IMO, AOPA has been better in pilot advocacy, while the EAA catered to my interest in experimental aviation. Since I own both certified aircraft and an experimental one, both organizations filled there respective niches admirably.

Now I find the EAA and Sport Aviation magizine looking more and more like AOPA pilot with every issue. I have written my concerns to Rod Hightower about this change in direction and hope others have as well. If things continue in this direction I will drop my membership in EAA as I am satisfied with the coverage and advocacy of GA in AOPA pilot.

Posted by: Ric Lee | February 12, 2012 12:53 PM    Report this comment

Amphibib Ian: This would be the negativity that I'm seeing more and more of. Okay, you didn't like some of the things AOPA were doing, fine. What did you DO about it (other than dumping your membership)?

Random assignment of examiners wouldn't solve anything, except perhaps get some unlucky pilots stuck with an examiner that is unnecessarily harsh on the applicant. Don't think those kind of examiners exist? Good luck on your next flight exam, then. Yes, there are bad CFIs and lazy examiners out there, but there are better ways of rooting them out than random DPE assignments.

So, Boyer was trying to re-open our airspace after 9/11. If we didn't have someone like AOPA fighting to keep the skies available for private pilots, we may have been stuck with far more restrictions than we have today. How is opening the skies to light aircraft that couldn't do as much damage as a Ryder truck filled with explosives they they wanted to "unpatriotic and reckless"?

What about overlooking all of the PREVENTED airport closures that AOPA was a major factor in? Or how about their services to help pilots get their medicals back after they have been cleared by more doctors than one can count that they are completely safe?

People love to complain (and I'll admit, I've done my fair share of complaining), but rarely are they as vocal about GOOD things. Unfortunately, negativity feeds on negativity, making things often seem far worse than they actually are.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 13, 2012 8:23 AM    Report this comment

I've been with AOPA and EAA since the 1980s. I support AOPA strictly for its Washington efforts (its really all we've got), but it's always seemed strongly aimed at the fellows that drive their Porsches to the airport while sipping their latte's. And yes, I wrote and told them that. Twice. I guess that's how they live in DC.

Posted by: A Richie | February 13, 2012 9:38 AM    Report this comment

Writing, emailing, and calling have their uses, but nothing beats talking to the people who matter in person. I've been attending AOPA Expo since 2007, and I always make it a point to actually talk to AOPA (and FAA) staff while there. It's far from perfect, but I do like the way AOPA has attempted to make Expo more of an open forum, and it has changed quite a bit (for the better, in my opinion) since 2007.

I have yet to attend Air Venture (it's on my list, and I'm really trying to make it there this year), but from what I've heard, nothing beats it for running in to aviators of all sorts. AOPA has tried to do something like this with their Airport Fest, but it has yet to come anywhere near Air Venture. In this sense, I hope EAA and AOPA never merge as a single entity, because they do still have their own individual strengths and weaknesses. Phil Boyer was on the right track to work WITH EAA, and I think it's important they remain only as allies.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 13, 2012 10:07 AM    Report this comment

(cont)

All that being said, EAA does have something for all pilots, not just home-builders/sport pilots/warbird collectors. So why shouldn't they try to have articles in Sport Aviation that appeal to more than just the home-builders and collectors? I find the articles quite interesting and relevant to all types of pilots, so I'm not quite sure I agree with some people saying it's turning into AOPA Pilot. While AOPA Pilot does appeal to the more "high-end" (read "expensive") segment of GA, there are still a number of articles in each issue that appeal to me as a "low-end" (i.e. under $150,000 aircraft) pilot. And yes, I do like reading some of the articles about aircraft I'll likely never own; it's nice to dream.

You can't appeal to everyone without alienating others who would prefer just to stick with their own little segment of GA. EAA likely will lose some members by expanding to appeal to more GA pilots, but I think ultimately as long as they stick to their roots, it's better in the long run.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 13, 2012 10:08 AM    Report this comment

I've been an EAA member since 1962(life member). Without them, probably no one would be building & flying their own airplanes, no one would be able to burn auto fuel(Yes, its still available here without Ethanol) and if you hunt in your area you might be able to find it there as well, and there probably wouldn't be a Light Sport Pilot Certificate or aircraft. Those are three things that come to mind that have helped promote grassroots aviation. I've been flying for 59 years now. Did it for a living for 30 of those years. During the time I have been a member opf EAA, I have restored 8 classic airplanes, built one from scratch, and have been able to obtain my A&P certificate with Inspection Authorization. Sure, there are a lot of things that EAA does that I don't agrtee with, but then, there are a lot of things my wife and kids do that I don't agree with either. The main thing that EAA does that I don't agree with is the seemingly(to me) outlandish costs of everything at Air Venture. If it is put on using mainly VOLUNTEER workers, it seems to me the cost is out of line. I also think they should limit flight line access to those with aviation credentials and their guests, but that's just me. I will continue to support them however. To those who think they should change the name, they had talked about that years ago and had registered the name: "Sport Aviation Association" if I remember correctly. As for AOPA, I only pay dues because of their lobbying in Washington.

Posted by: Richard Warner | February 13, 2012 10:52 AM    Report this comment

Both EAA and AOPA are in the advocacy business. But make no mistake. These are businesses. If you like the product they are selling you with your membership dues, by all means pay them money to continue receiving their products - magazines and representation on issues that are of concern to you. I fly an experimental aircraft out of small GA airports, so EAA suits me fine. I took great offense when I learned (through AvWeb) how much AOPA elected to pay a former President as 'deferred compensation'. That act made it altogether clear that AOPA was far more of a 'business', serving the demands of top executives, than it was concerned about representing my interest in small aircraft and small airports.

Posted by: Moses Lonn | February 13, 2012 11:11 AM    Report this comment

I've been flying since 1966, when at the age of 9 I got my first ride in the jumpseat of the family Cessna 140, and my first stick time soon followed. We moved up from that to a Bellanca. As far back as I can remember, AOPA seemed to be the AIRLINE Owners and Pilots' Assn, and EAA were the guys with the half-done planes in their garages.

Between the two, EAA is the one which tells people "Hey, YOU can fly, and there's a lot of different ways to do it!" And, whatever our disagreements between one clique and another, we pretty much all recognize that GA will only survive as long as we can get that message out. This is especially in a day where airports are surrounded by barbed wire and electro-pass barriers -- the day when a kid could just walk up to talk to a guy at his plane or open hangar are all but gone. Even Open Hangar days have largely become nothing more than fly-ins, pilots talking to pilots, and the Young Eagles program is often the only thing that brings non-aviators to visit.

I don't like seeing the EAA trying to be the AOPA, or to become FLYING Magazine. Keep the organization at the "street level," where kids and dads and the mom with the mini-van can all dream together.

Posted by: Keith Wood | February 13, 2012 11:17 AM    Report this comment

Gary, There are not enough ears at AOPA to hear everyone. Everyone isn't a good advocate for what should change. How many hours should they waste hearing that cost of X is too high? A short email is best for informing AOPA of your gripe priorities. OTOH, new solutions should be welcome, but they are not. Voting with dollars is excellent. Send a separate email on why you are leaving though.

On overlap. I have been griping about this "everything to everyone" phenomenon for ever. It's easier, and faster, to grow by adding more demographics than growing a demographic or even attracting the last stubborn holdouts of a group. This is why HBO adds boxing and SyFy adds wrestling. Their core hates this, but they know they add more viewers than they lose.

AOPA has failed us for years, but they are actually more like a company than a club. Do you remember ever voting for the board? Local reps? What owners need is an organization devoted to protecting their interests, not growing a budget. If the EAA can add in owners by protecting GA then good for them.

I have never owned or built, but I feel closer aligned to EAA than AOPA at this point.

Posted by: Eric Warren | February 13, 2012 12:06 PM    Report this comment

The negativity I refer to is the kind like "don't go into aviation as a career, it's a horrible way to earn a living", or "I just stopped flying because it costs so much and it's no fun any more. You should stop flying too and stop wasting your money" that I've heard a thousand times during my primary training, and even still hear now. This sort of negativity serves no one, except to make the person selling that view feel a little better about themselves. It's one thing to tell people about some of the negatives in something, but to actively DISCOURAGE people from entering aviation as I have had told to me countless times is another.

Yes, I am an American, born and raised, and I recognize that this country and government was formed of, by, and FOR the people. 9/11 was an event never before seen and certainly had a huge visual and psychological impact on people, especially those who may have been directly involved in it. But shutting down the airspace to all private (i.e. non-commercial, non-military/public-service) aircraft was completely against what this nation was founded on. It was quite a while after the airspace was reopened to commercial air traffic before it was reopened to GA traffic. Perhaps Boyer was too early in trying to get it reopened, but his motive wasn't incorrect.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 13, 2012 1:51 PM    Report this comment

Do I agree with everything EAA and AOPA does? No, I don't. Do I think they do more good than harm? Yes, definitely. Plus, they do offer several services that are quite valuable to me that I wouldn't otherwise know where to go to for. As a whole, both organizations serve my needs. If they don't serve others' needs, then it's their right to not be members. But claiming it's nothing but a financial smokescreen or valuable only for rich, elitist pilots is wrong, and more of the negativity I talk about.

One thing is for sure, this topic does seem to have hit a nerve.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 13, 2012 1:51 PM    Report this comment

Gentle reminder (seeing as we're on an avweb site): the best aviation magazine is Aviation Consumer!

Posted by: Pete Kuhns | February 13, 2012 3:08 PM    Report this comment

Something that may help put these groups in clearer light: AOPA is an insurance company, with amazing lobbying talents thrown in. Just like another 'organization': AARP. AOPA has made my life very pleasant as an airplane owner. And the safety webinars/CBTs are alone worth the membership price. AOPA is great, and I'm not rich.

EAA used to be quirky, but then something unexpected seems to have happened: AirVenture turned into a huge money machine. Every summer - while there - I constantly ask myself "What is EAA doing with all this revenue". It seems they started asking themselves the same question. There is definitely soul-searching right now at EAA: I heard last summer from some that AirVenture had taken over the organization.

The experimental market remains the epicenter of sexy aviation so I will always be an EAA member. My only request is a SportAir-type class/workshop that focused on basic aerodynamic design. I really want to design my own plane, but need some hand-holding. I of course know why such a class does not exist...

Posted by: Pete Kuhns | February 13, 2012 3:26 PM    Report this comment

"Gentle reminder (seeing as we're on an avweb site): the best aviation magazine is Aviation Consumer!"

Consider your subscription extended until 2055. :)

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | February 13, 2012 6:03 PM    Report this comment

I can accept the blanket closing of all airspace for the first couple days after 9/11, that much I'm not against. And I agree, AOPA did go after opening the airspace up a little too soon, as I mentioned in a previous post.

However, when the airspace was opened up to commercial aviation (i.e. aircraft that WERE used in the attack) well before general aviation (especially in the Washington DC area), there could be no valid justification for that. Additionally, the DC airspace would probably still be closed to GA traffic if it weren't for AOPA. And let's not forget, it wasn't the FAA that was closing down that airspace, but rather some bureaucrat operating through the DoD, overstepping their boundaries. Hence why the whole airspace TFR was issued as a NOTAM for the longest time.

If EAA expanding somewhat into the area traditionally served by AOPA means a louder voice for GA in Congress, then the better off we are at keeping our freedoms to fly.

For what it's worth, I may have my opinions (as do we all), but I do learn a lot from these discussions. If nothing else, I have gained a better understanding of people's viewpoints that are counter to mine.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 13, 2012 6:06 PM    Report this comment

Amphib, As a vet whose job was defending airspace, I understood why the airspace was closed to GA when it was opened to commercial flights. I also knew it was stupid, wrong, pandering BS that was yet another example of everything wrong with our government. Leaders should have done what was right, not expedient and easy at the cost of a minority. Leaders make good PR moves so that they have public support when they do the right things. Ours blew it.

I talked to Phil Boyer after that, and he expressed amazement at the lack of understanding he found fighting that fight. I got the impression that most people in government at the time, and likely now, have little value for anything except careerism and avoiding blame. Fighting for our airspace access is AOPA mission one in my opinion.

Posted by: Eric Warren | February 13, 2012 8:32 PM    Report this comment

And fighting user fees is AOPA mission 2 in my book!

Posted by: Josh Johnson | February 13, 2012 9:42 PM    Report this comment

Ian - a couple things. How about following the posting rules and using your real name for one. Talks cheap when you're anonymous. Secondly, I'm thoroughly convinced that aopa is the only reason we can still fly VFR on the east coast or near major cities. That in and of itself is well worth the dues every year.

Posted by: Josh Johnson | February 14, 2012 6:56 AM    Report this comment

I agree Josh. Not used to seeing anonymous comments on AVweb. Easy to snipe behind the anonymous label.

Pray tell Ian, what comments did Phil Boyer make that you thought were treasonous?

Posted by: Ric Lee | February 14, 2012 9:36 AM    Report this comment

Amphib, I see you share the lack of understanding about GA. Why are you on this forum?

For the record, and then i plan to ignore you.

The truth is that light airplanes really are not dangerous things by comparison to other things in a free society. The reason airplanes are used to deliver weapons for the military is that they can penetrate defenses. A single foot soldier, car, or truck is a more effective killing machine inside our borders than a pilot with a light plane.

Anyone with much knowledge about military matters should know this, but sadly, that excludes even a large majority of our bureaucratized military.

Lastly, i didn't mean to give the impression that I was close to Mr Boyer. I don't recall reading anything treasonous on 9/12 from AOPA, but there was some crap from some of the same idiots behind user fees. However, user fees is a whole other subject.

Posted by: Eric Warren | February 14, 2012 9:54 AM    Report this comment

I wasn't going to reply, but...

Amphib, please re-read my post again. You conveniently skipped over the fact that my objections about shutting down airspace to PRIVATE aircraft was referring to the fact that it was still in effect AFTER COMMERCIAL air traffic (i.e. the exact type of air traffic USED IN THE 9/11 attacks) was lifted. This was NOT in reference to the initial blanket closure of airspace (which I also previously mentioned I AGREED that it was a good idea right after the attacks and in the couple days following).

As for only the mega-rich whining about user fees, I am not "megarich" by any means. But I'm against user fees, because it threatens to cause many GA pilots to seriously consider NOT using flight following or IFR flight plans to save a few bucks, should it inevitably spill over to all GA aircraft. It inequitably targets the lower-income GA pilots, because the fees represent a larger percentage of their total flight cost than for higher-income GA pilots flying Barons and Cirruses around.

I do what I can to promote GA, and as long as AOPA and EAA fight for my freedom to fly (such as the eventual re-opening of the Washington DC airspace - I'll tell you, all the cowboy Cherokee and 172 pilots out there are a menace to those poor DC/MD residents...), I'll stay a member.

But I've said my peace on this now.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 14, 2012 3:02 PM    Report this comment

Hey Paul - are we enforcing posting rules here or not??? I'd love to know whom this "industry professional" a.k.a Amphib Ian is!

Posted by: Josh Johnson | February 14, 2012 4:01 PM    Report this comment

As I said before, talk's cheap when you're anonymous amphib.

Posted by: Josh Johnson | February 14, 2012 4:28 PM    Report this comment

I thought I was the killjoy but I have to take my hat off to you Amphib what ever your name is as you really are the killjoy king so I'm out of here See everyone in the next blog and hopefully Amphib won't be there

Posted by: Bruce Savage | February 14, 2012 4:40 PM    Report this comment

Happy to be on the sidelines for this thread...but gotta say anyone who can use the magnificent word 'bloviating' in a sentence can't be all bad.

Posted by: Dave Miller | February 14, 2012 6:00 PM    Report this comment

Yes, forum rules being enforced, if a little late. Sorry I didn't get to it sooner.

Repeating here: Please use your real name on these posts and refrain from personal attacks or we'll delete the postings. We're tolerant of all points of view, but when the insults fly, the posts don't.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | February 15, 2012 4:24 AM    Report this comment

When I started flying in 1999 I felt I must support the AOPA and the EAA. After the reality set in that I was never going to build my own airplane I reluctantly dropped the EAA and my subscription to Kitplanes. After I was introduced to atrial fibrillation in 2008 and started receiving a string of denials from the FAA medical department I dropped the AOPA. After receiving membership enlistment forms from both organizations I wrote on those forms, "not until the third class medical goes away". Obviously I'm still not a member. In my perfect world I would like to see the annulment of the third class medical,the treatment of certified aircraft 30 years or older like kit planes, EAA classes on the maintenance of those older airplanes and a aviation organization as strong as the NRA.

Posted by: Ray Wyant | February 15, 2012 7:34 AM    Report this comment

Maybe I should spend my time writing Congressmen like Sam Graves rather than spending my time on AVwebinsider blogs. But then I like the information that is put out on this blog. Maybe the EAA or AOPA should copy it. The consensus is that everyone should write their congress people. That is great but a form letter by the AOPA or EAA with a few thousand names would be better than a few letters from individuals.

Posted by: Ray Wyant | February 15, 2012 7:53 AM    Report this comment

One of the most important events in aviation in this country is near at hand and we all as pilots need to focus on it. We can all benefit from the drivers license medical for fixed gear, fixed prop, 180 hp aircraft. Imagine the growth that would be realized from this important rule. Pilots without a medical could now purchase and fly these aircraft. Sales of these aircraft from their current owners would encourage them to move into more complex airplanes, Bonanza, Mooney, etc. Each tier or sector of private ownership would see a movement of aircraft, an increase in parts sales and training and an increase of pilots in all disciplines. AOPA and EAA benefit directly with an immediate increase in membership. All of aviation will experience an increase in fuel sales tax revenues. More people will fly. More people will share the cost. It's the one way to boost our economy without simply giving cash to the public through stimulus programs. Write, call,tell everyone you know. Make the government and the FAA work for you. AOPA and EAA need to quit focusing on which 8 million dollar airplane is the sleekest design and start building aviation at it's roots. That's where it's life blood comes from anyway. Get this done!

Posted by: Willie Sinsel | February 15, 2012 8:04 AM    Report this comment

OK -- so where are we going here? Things are not "like they were." Never are; never will be. What's the beef? We want more aviation activity -- why? So we can have more flying buddies? Well, engage your prospective buddy flying. Get him into the hangar to help with an oil change, or teach him to stitch ribs. Develop others' enthusiasm for flying, for maintaining, for building, even for designing. With old spam cans selling for $20k and younger recruits available here and there, let's get them involved! Got a half-finished airplane? Get the high schoolers to come over and help finish it -- they'll do 'most anything for pizza and something intresting to do. If they screw it up a little -- you can fix it. Hey, it wasn't doing anything anyway! Then take them flying, and set the hook! Whether you like AOPA or EAA or Kitplanes or Plane & Pilot isn't the issue; the issue is, what are you doing to promote personal flight?

Posted by: Tim Kern | February 15, 2012 8:29 AM    Report this comment

Have read most of the posts here ( during morning coffee )and have decided not to read any more, ever, on this meaningless topic. There is room and jobs for lots of people producing ALL of the magazines and the existence of the groups. Will spend more time working to afford flying than reading this stuff. There is good info from ALL of the mags. Just pick the one(s) you like. ... and just FLY ! This topic ( with all due respect )indicates a slow news week !

Posted by: Jim Vroom | February 15, 2012 8:37 AM    Report this comment

I'm afraid we have all be 'taken' with these aviation organizations. I belong to the EAA and up until last year I belonged to AOPA. You see I trusted AOPA to do the right thing to help out general aviation. But last year when the new guy came in, raised the dues and gave the AOPA people a raise while the economy is sinking opened my eyes. Then AVweb, to their credit, showed what kind of salaries our aviation representatives were being paid with our dues. It was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Do I think they are worth that kind of cash? NO! They don't do much frankly to help out the dues payer. The FAA will throw them a bone every now and then to give them something to crow about. But, remember the FAA needs them (AOPA) so that they will have someone to point to when it comes to patting themselves on the back and say 'see we are working the the aviation community'. The guy who use to run AOPA has a multi-million dollar retirement set-up compliments of AOPA member dues. Ever heard of 'deferred compensation'? This is one big retirement set-up for these folks on the backs of dues payers. If I recall the Salvation Army CEO makes a salary of about $13,000 a year. That is where you can get your money's worth and actually do some good. The EAA may be just as bad as the AOPA but I'm still wearing my blinders hoping that they are really working for their members and not making EAA into their retirement system.

Posted by: Don Stephens | February 15, 2012 10:55 AM    Report this comment

I'm a member of AOPA and EAA and get Kitplane, Flying and Plane and Pilot Mag. I read all of them for different reasons. I would not like to see EAA morph into an AOPA like organization. I belong to AOPA for them to handle that, and EAA because of the down home grass roots feeling I get when attending seminars, etc. I agree we need to do more for getting folks involved in becoming pilots and/or builders. So let's all have some cheese with the whine while looking through the keyhole at porn!!

Posted by: Steven Lambert | February 15, 2012 1:55 PM    Report this comment

I'm afraid we have all be 'taken' with these aviation organizations"

If it makes it easier to feel the victim by including others please feel free to do so. AOPA's legal department went to bat for me years ago and silenced my local FSDO that wasn't going to let me fly due to a red/green color problem. EAA has been invaluable for me while I was building my homebuilt and I hope they can remain that way for others into the future.

We have a very serious problem IMO today with losing infastructure, pilots, interest and respect for aviation and it has me unnerved to think we just may lose our precious freedom to fly one day, and my son will need to be a millionaire to afford the priviledge.

Yes, there is principal to consider when paying dues, but if I took it to a purist or absolute state when paying for anything it would stifle any good that an organization might accomplish, whether government, a charity or a local mom and pop store. Write or call whom you must with complaints, but please consider the bigger picture for aviation before you walk away from their purpose.

"Dim your lights / Behind a car / Let folks see / How bright / You are / Burma-Shave" Love those old signs...

Posted by: Dave Miller | February 15, 2012 1:58 PM    Report this comment

oops, principle, not principal.

Posted by: Dave Miller | February 15, 2012 2:02 PM    Report this comment

Well said Dave.

Posted by: Josh Johnson | February 15, 2012 7:14 PM    Report this comment

Been an AOPA member since 1967 and an EAA member almost as long. Reader/subscriner to FLYING since 1954 and dropped it a few years ago. Anout to do the same with AOPA & EAA. IMHO, both have become irrelevant to me and both have become old boy clubs benefitting the top brass to an inappropriate extent. In my 40+ years as a pilot I have grown substantially in my knowledge and skills and find that AOPA is catering to the lowest common denominator in this regard. I have moved on to magazines like Pro Pilot, Vertical, Rotor & Wing, BCA, and to organizations like HAI, FSF, etc. Just as with FLYING, getting tired of the same old same old all the time with AOPA & EAA.

Posted by: R Boswell | February 15, 2012 8:39 PM    Report this comment

I found EAA had become of no use to me 3 years ago nd dropped membership, Im about to the same with AOPa this year.

Posted by: charles heathco | February 16, 2012 5:38 AM    Report this comment

I believe both organizations have done a world of good for our aviation world. However, both organizations have a world of individuals making a lot of money from each organization. Point is , if you think they are non-profit , think again. Spend your money wisely and know where your money goes. I do believe there is power in group organization and someone has to do it to save aviation from the Left Wing Obama Group, they hate General Aviation.

Posted by: David Jaeb | February 16, 2012 7:27 AM    Report this comment

"...if most people who are upset with the way their organization is going would instead take the time to contact them--and really contact them, call them on the phone, talk to them in person, not just send an email--and provide their feedback, they could make a difference."

Tried this several months ago with AOPA President Fuller. Wrote a long thoughtful email laying out my concerns. He responded almost immediately (on a Sunday of all things) acknowledging receipt of the email and said he would discuss with his colleagues and get back to me shortly. Still waiting for a response almost a year later.

Posted by: R Boswell | February 16, 2012 7:33 AM    Report this comment

R.B.: That's great, but it was still just email. The advantage of email is that it's convenient and receipt is near-instantaneous. The disadvantage is that it's easy to just-as-instantly filter, delete, or auto-respond to it. That's why calling, speaking in person, or even sending an old-fashioned letter through the mail has more staying power than an email. In a way, the more effort it takes on our part to communicate with someone, the more the receiving end can appreciate (and less easily dismiss) our concerns.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | February 16, 2012 8:16 AM    Report this comment

Gary wrote: "But I'm against user fees, because it threatens to cause many GA pilots to seriously consider NOT using flight following or IFR flight plans to save a few bucks, should it inevitably spill over to all GA aircraft."

I agree, and I hear this valid concern talked about regularly. However, not to worry, your humble servant, the Federal Government, has the fix for that; they will just make ALL flights mandatory IFR (or mandatory flight following in VMC). Heck, that's what the public believes is the case now anyway.

If you don't beleive they will have the unmitigated gall to do that, then consider what they just did to the Catholic church; we are very, very small potatoes compared to the church. Cheers...

Posted by: A Richie | February 16, 2012 9:01 AM    Report this comment

I see value to both organizations and can appreciate the growing pains that EAA is currently experiencing. Right or wrong, Hightower is fresh blood in an organization that has a storied history and relatively small membership. I am an EAA life member purely from a long term cost savings perspective.

As an aviation journalist, I attend Airventure annually primarily to cover people and issues related to the airshow. A couple of years ago, I made the decision to have my own aircraft. An exhaustive search at Airventure 2010 covered the gamut of SLSA's and kits that met LSA standards. We made a choice and in an accelerated build schedule, we have a completed Rans S7 in about 18 months from decision to completion.

So what role did EAA play in my venture into the world of homebuilding? Well, without the aircraft displayed by manufacturers at Airventure, I'm not sure I'd be flying my new S7. Beyond Airventure, the collegiality of my local EAA chapter was kind and generous, but not very active or vibrant. AOPA came into my sights during the build when I explored insurance options and other member benefits that are not available at EAA, so I joined and find the membership fees more than fair for the use of the AOPA Internet Flight Planner which in my opinion is the finest online planner available.

Posted by: Michael Gallagher | February 16, 2012 9:15 AM    Report this comment

In the end, they both have a place in my little world. Take away my aircraft ownership, and my AOPA membership becomes pointless. While both organizations publish excellent magazines, it's clear that neither has been successful in focusing on the membership base. Flying my little Rotax powered experimental, I really don't care about new interior options or engines for a King AIr. My burning issue as a new aircraft owner is finding Mogas to power my aircraft on long cross countries. So other than Kent's voice on that issue, neither organization is speaking to me. In fact they seem to be turning the other cheek.

I learned years ago to pick an audience, focus on them, learn their needs and speak to them. When you try to speak to everyone in the pews, no one hears a message.

Posted by: Michael Gallagher | February 16, 2012 9:16 AM    Report this comment

Does anybody monitor this "AVIATION" website to keep out this rambling 'whatever it is' by somebody we can't identify??

Posted by: Don Stephens | February 16, 2012 9:48 AM    Report this comment

Does anybody monitor this "AVIATION" website to keep out this rambling 'whatever it is' by somebody we can't identify??

Posted by: Don Stephens | February 16, 2012 9:49 AM    Report this comment

Sheesh - I assumed this guy would get the hint! His (or her) banter kind of reminds me of the email I got from the White House telling us all why user fees were a good idea.

Posted by: Josh Johnson | February 16, 2012 10:06 AM    Report this comment

He'll get the hint now. My apologies for not getting to these deletions and policing sooner. I've been traveling and flying and not able to get online.

For the record, I am loathe to casually delete messages just because someone doesn't agree, including me. I exercise wide latitude. I sometimes get abuse reports that are really disagreements over opinions. I leave those alone.

The person in question has obviously been abusive and we have taken the unusual step of blocking him. I apologize for the trouble.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | February 16, 2012 10:46 AM    Report this comment

OK, user fees are in the political arena now. How much clout do we have as individuals to oppose this? Compared to how much clout we have as an organization such as AOPA.

You're not concerned as you think it doesn't apply to you? I agree with a previous poster who said all the FAA need do is require a Flight Plan for every flight and charge a fee for it.

I've seen this happen with the FDA re. Medical devices. User fees, for FDA reviews of certain device approvals, were implemented. There was not a clear definition of what did or did not need a fee charged. FDA made it simple, charge for all of them.

Posted by: Edd Weninger | February 16, 2012 1:53 PM    Report this comment

User fees have been in the arena for almost a decade and AOPA has failed to defeat them. Apparently, we aren't that well off with them either. Plane values have gone down continuously since it was proposed by the FAA. They have failed to attack the problem effectively, and mostly because they are too busy copying the AARP play book.

It's become a vicious cycle. Attack the Bizjet crowd who mostly don't care about cost and don't care about piston aviation as if they are all of GA. Legislate, regulate, or threaten to do so in a way that directly or indirectly hurts piston GA but which Bizjet users (mostly using OPM) simply absorb it as a small additional cost. AOPA asks for donations, fails to protect us. Rinse and repeat.

They gripe about fair share, never define it, and will apply it to pistons as soon as possible. The inevitability of this will destroy piston aviation except for LSA.

Posted by: Eric Warren | February 16, 2012 3:01 PM    Report this comment

And, as we all know, if they need money they can raise the fuel tax and get it without much problem. Therefore the goal is not just more revenue.

Posted by: Eric Warren | February 16, 2012 3:03 PM    Report this comment

What has fallen by the wayside, especially with AOPA, is promoting new products and services in aviation. AOPA, for example, has changed the very promotional event from AOPA EXPO to AOPA SUMMIT (snore, snore). EAA used to have a prize for the development of new products, but no longer does, In AOPAs promotions of their annual SUMMIT(ugh) NOT ONE WORD mentioned how many exhibitors, new products to see, etc. ----it was all aimed at the speakers AOPA thinks are interetsing enough to have pilots attend---AOPA Pilot has finally added a mail order type section at low cost for newcomers to advertise, but just let's it lie there with the impotent heading of "Pilot Briefing" vs. headings on all pages of "Check Out these great Offerings"---AOPA's head asked for promotional ideas. I submitted a program based on EAA's Young Eagles of "Flight Begins at 40" whereby biz men takes passengers on fuel sharing x-country biz trips, etc. Reply from AOPA head after a year is ZERO. The ONLY truly Marketing Program in GA was in the 1960's when Cessna ran a $5 coupon in general mags (e.g. TIME) for a demo flight. Reports were Cessna sold more aircraft as a result of that promo than ever sold in same time span. AVIATION has no stores like golf, tennis boating, etc, have to exhibit & sell products. Sun N Fun and Oshkosh are the only major venues. AOPA's is a 4 day anemic without even a Sunday. The GA orgs need to become the prime marketers. Aviation desparately needs it.

Posted by: Howie Keefe | February 16, 2012 9:32 PM    Report this comment

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