|Rod Hightower addresses members at the EAA annual meeting. (photo by Jason Toney)
A large turnout of EAA members appeared for the annual meeting of the Experimental Aircraft Association Saturday morning at Theater in the Woods.
Five current EAA directors were re-elected to Class 1 (three-year) terms on the board by wide margins, including Barry E. David, Jack Harrington, David C. Lau, Dan Schwinn, and Alan Shackleton.
The treasurer's report showed generally flat results for the fiscal year that closed on February 29, 2012 - generally a break-even year - according to Treasurer Eric Gurley.
An approximate 3 percent decline in revenues was largely caused by a decrease in investment income, he said. But the association is in a sound fiscal position to ensure the long-term health and viability of the association.
EAA President Rod Hightower remarked on a "great AirVenture so far," noting positive feedback received on the air show and amenities.
"We've created a tremendous feature well for the attendees, and we're getting positive feedback," he said. More improvements will take place for coming conventions, led by a newly formed master site plan committee that will develop an actual site plan for the entire grounds.
"You wouldn't think we'd have problems with 1,400 acres, but we're still running into some space issues," he said.
Hightower also highlighted initiatives done this past year at EAA, including:
- New member services contact staff at the home office are all pilots with at least bachelor's degrees.
- Young Eagles Flight Plan has expanded to include service to aspiring pilots, with Sporty's ground school.
- Sport Aviation can now be found in FBOs, telling the EAA story to all pilots out there.
- e-Experimenter, an e-zine for the homebuilding community, will be launched soon.
- In 2011-12, Hightower attended 47 Grassroots Pilot Tour stops and shook hands with more than 6,000 EAA members.
- EAA's focus is to grow the pilot population.
- EAA's website is being redesigned to make it easier to navigate.
Near the end of the annual meeting, a number of EAA members spoke during a question and answer period. Speakers were all longtime and dedicated volunteers at Oshkosh.
Earlier Hightower stressed that volunteers are "the lifeblood" of EAA not only during AirVenture but always.