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EAA AirVenture Today is published by the Experimental Aircraft Association for EAA AirVenture from July 27 - August 3. It is distributed free on the convention grounds as well as other locations in Oshkosh and surrounding communities. Stories and photos are copyrighted 2008 by EAA AirVenture Today and EAA. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without written consent.

  

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The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh


Volume 9, Number 6 August 1, 2008     

EAA opens doors for grassroots groups
By David Sakrison

More than two dozen vintage aircraft type clubs are represented each year at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. "Type clubs offer the expertise, the knowledge base, and the resources to help vintage aircraft owners and restorers to keep their aircraft flying—safely, legally, and affordably," said H.G. Frautschy, executive director of EAA’s Vintage Aircraft Association (VAA). "EAA works closely with the type clubs on issues that affect a single type or a wide range of vintage aircraft," he said.

In past years at AirVenture, the VAA hosted an annual aircraft type club "summit meeting" that brought together officers and members of type clubs, EAA and VAA technical experts, and FAA officials. It gave the type clubs direct access to EAA and FAA officials, to identify problems and work on solutions. "Some very positive things came out of those meetings," said Frautschy, "but we didn’t always have time to cover everyone’s questions or concerns. So this year, the FAA asked that we try something different."

In early April, Frautschy asked each type club to submit questions or concerns, which he would then forward to the FAA. "That gave the FAA the chance, in some cases, to address issues ahead of time and even to identify solutions before everyone arrived in Oshkosh," said Frautschy.

A half dozen type clubs requested face-to-face meetings with FAA officials at AirVenture. Frautschy and FAA officials worked out a schedule of brief private meetings between type club officers and officials from the appropriate FAA offices. The American Bonanza Society, the Fairchild Club, the Short Wing Piper Club, Cessna Pilots Association, the Taylorcraft Foundation, and the Eastern Cessna 190/195 Club, each met privately with VAA and FAA officials to share their concerns and identify possible solutions.

"The response to this new approach has been very positive," said Frautschy. "For the folks from the type clubs, it has opened doors to a much closer working relationship with key FAA officials at the regional and national level." Some of the clubs assumed that all their questions and concerns had to go through their local FAA FSDO (Flight Standards District Office), he said. "They have discovered here at AirVenture that there are folks at the middle and upper levels of the FAA who are willing and able to work directly with them to help them keep their airplanes flying safely and affordably. The clubs are very excited about that." Frautschy said conversations started here between type clubs and the FAA will continue long after AirVenture 2008 is over.

The FAA officials who took part in the meetings were equally enthusiastic. Kim Smith, Small Aircraft Directorate manager, spoke for many of her FAA colleagues: "This year, each of the 15-minute conversations with the type clubs was more productive than the entire two-hour summit last year."

EAA has a strong and positive working relationship with the FAA, said Frautschy. "We don’t agree on everything but we recognize that finger-pointing and table-pounding don’t solve problems. It’s much more productive to sit down together and work cooperatively on solutions. And when EAA and VAA can use that relationship to open doors for other grassroots aviation groups, like the type clubs, that’s exciting."

To learn more about EAA’s Vintage Aircraft Association and about aircraft type clubs, visit the VAA HQ and the Type Clubs Tent, south of AeroShell Square at AirVenture, or visit online at www.EAA.org/vintage/.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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