Regarding your "Question of the Week": I am a longtime, active EAA member, a technical counselor, a flight advisor, and a member of Chapter 691 (The Green Chile Chapter) here in New Mexico. I have flown my homebuilt to Oshkosh several times.
I have been hearing a fair amount of negative feedback from EAA members about EAA losing its way. I also sensed a mood change this year at AirVenture that wasn't good. Many feel that EAA has forgotten its roots.
I also sensed a mood at the show this year that's hard to express, but it seemed as though folks who flew their own homebuilt aircraft to the show were sort of taken for granted. There seemed to be a reduced level of enthusiasm from homebuilders. Some got the message that EAA did not really care about "little guys."
I have to admit, though, that the mood in the ultralight area was much more positive. I see that EAA recently took the step of reinvigorating the Homebuilders Aircraft Council; maybe this is a step in the right direction. The resigning of Hightower could also be a step in the right direction if a suitable person replaces him. Moving Jeff Skiles to a VP position seems positive to me. I also think the Hints for Homebuilders is an excellent educational program.
I have a few suggestions:
Refocus on the homebuilder, kit, and scratch. Homebuilders are innovators going where certifieds can't afford to go until the ground has already been broken and plowed.
Go back to concentrating on experimental aircraft. We need more building articles and less of the mancave B.S. Get rid of all the touchy-feely columnists and replace them with tech-based writers.
One thing I would do is stop the morph of the EAA magazine Sport Aircraft into one that looks like it is put out by the AOPA. The idea that the EAA should be a broad-based organization to serve the whole aviation world is not viable and is leading to failure.
Merge EAA and AOPA.
Don't do what Fuller did at AOPA. It seems that Fuller wants AOPA to be a millionaires' club. Every time I receive a message, Craig wants money from me.
BBB: Bring Back Boyer.
So remember all the "little guys" who make up the lion's share of EAA's membership, and don't alienate them by pricing them out of the organization.
Wow! Redbird is going to treat CFIs like real employees! Maybe the rest of the industry will come on board instead of treating CFIs like flight-time whores. Too much to ask.
Regarding the NBAA photo gallery: Your caption for the Staggerwing is incorrect. While Mid Continent may very well own a beauty, this is not their aircraft.
Jim Hawkes of Jupiter, Florida owns Staggerwing NC67555 and attended NBAA as a representative of the Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tullahoma, Tennessee.
For more information, visit BeechcraftHeritageMuseum.org or phone (931) 455-1974.
Mid Continent also has a Staggerwing with a very similar paint scheme. The easy way to tell the difference is the logo on the side.
I saw Mid Continent's at AOPA in Palm Springs (right) and got them confused. Thanks for setting us straight.