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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedSometimes it’s the little meetings that matter
By Jack Hodgson, EAA AirVenture Today


July 31, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin  - Lots of work groups, councils, type clubs, and other aviation groups annually meet at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the epicenter of sport aviation.

AirVenture provides a unique opportunity for grassroots aviators, manufacturers, and local, state, and federal officials to meet, exchange views and ideas, and work together to find solutions.

Sometimes these meetings involve large—and very diverse—groups of people. But EAA’s government advocacy is also at work here in smaller ways, often on a one-to-one basis. And while these seemingly small issues might not be critical to general aviation as a whole, they can be very important indeed to the aircraft builders, restorers, owners, and pilots involved.

Early Wednesday morning, in the conference room in the new Vintage Hangar, a few members of the International Comanche Society met with EAA Vintage Aircraft Association Executive Director H.G. Frautschy and several folks from the FAA.

At issue was a proposed Airworthiness Alert for the old Pipers calling for disassembly and inspection of a key elevator torque tube fitting at every 100- hour inspection, after cracks had been found in few aircraft.

The ICS presented a thick folder of data to the FAA. They pointed out that the part in question was only used by the manufacturer for a few model years, that disassembly of the fitting for the inspection could cause additional cracks and scoring, and that there were other, less intrusive ways of adequately inspecting the fitting.

They outlined the data they had brought and the solution they were seeking.

FAA officials indicated that the owners’ data and conclusions seemed to make sense and that what the officials had learned at this meeting would be an important factor in their decision process.

“We have a mandate for safety,” said Kim Smith, manager of the FAA Small Airplane Directorate, “and sometimes we have to make hard, unpopular decisions that affect aircraft owners.

“But it’s a two-way street and we really appreciate the type clubs working with us on issues like this. It helps us to make better decisions.”

One of the Comanche owners told her, “I tell the [ICS] members that the FAA is not the bad guys.”

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh provides a unique opportunity for dozens of similar meetings large and small.

It’s a place—the only place—where members from all sectors of the general aviation community can meet face-toface with manufactures, type club members, government officials, and EAA staff to identify issues, explore possible solutions, and get to know one another not as adversaries but as partners, working for the good of general aviation.

We need everyone to be an advocate for general aviation. Visit the EAA Welcome Center at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh or go online to www.eaa.org to find easy and effective ways that you can Stand Up for GA.

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