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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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,
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/.