Around the Airport

Sunday, November 25, 2012

EAA's Next President?

Will the next EAA President look like this, or...

You’re sitting at your workbench staring out the open hangar door, deep in contemplation about the cracked piston in your hand.  In the background a siren wails from the classic rock station which was tuned, and the knob removed, years ago.  A display on the wall tells the story of you and your machine.  Memorabilia, posters, and pages from magazines all bear witness to the great times this machine has given you.  Through issue after issue, you’ve done your best to keep her flying.  Now though you’re worn down.  Aviation has taken its toll on you.

The feds become more illogical every year, fanatics want to remove you from the sky via bans on gas or outright flight restrictions, and the aviation lobbies have consistently failed you. What’s an aviator to do?

Should you spend two months looking for that part or have it made?  And if you find one, are you willing to pay twenty times what an ordinary piston would cost, for a serviceable unit that will likely fail you at the most inopportune time?  Silently the thought “If only this was still fun” crosses your mind just as one of your airport buddies pulls up in his modified golf cart.  By the look on his face, he has something to share and his appearance lightens to the mood.

Walking over to your bench with his trademark limp, you think of the modified motorized bicycle which gave him that hobble.  Always building something and often falling off it, he is the most resilient aviator you know and yet lately even he has grown tired of it all.  Today though he is smiling.

“I was over there machining a part for my sterling powered lawn mower when Fred called and said he’d sent me this podcast.  I started listening to it and half way through I had to come share it with you; listen”, he said as he held out his jail broken iphone with an amped up sound system. “It’s a podcast from the new president of EAA”..  Starting from where he left off, this is what you hear.

"…and so today I would also like to announce that EAA will no longer be chasing the pipe dream of improved safety.   Aviation is and will continue to be safe and our groups will continue to promote low risk practices.   We will though no longer accept the notion that aviation can be made appreciably safer than it already is.  We will also not be supporting any notions such as the FAA Chairman’s stated need to improve aviation safety by 10%.  Such a goal is impossible to meet without removing the very thing that is aviation and thus it sets everyone up for failure.   Without doubt, for anything to make aviation appreciably safer at this time you would have to perform the equivalent of adding four wheels to motorcycles.  Chasing these fantasies doesn’t make sense, it isn’t economical, and we are no longer going to participate in the fraud.  Yet, let me be clear.  EAA is not shunning safety or safe practices.  We are merely putting a halt to the wild goose chase which has evolved into an ever variable line in the sand.  Real improvements to safety are not statistical and fractional in size.  Real improvements are obvious and in the interest of safety, should such a breakthrough happen which could quantifiably and unequivocally decrease annual fatalities by a minimum of 15%, with a cost of less than 1% of the value of any airplane in which it could be installed, and yet also be implemented on strictly volunteer basis, EAA will be willing to come to the table to discuss it.  Until then, those of us forced with heading the charge of saving aviation must focus on the real world and the removal of obstacles that continue to hamper innovation and the progress of aviation.  Put simply, our goal is the survival of aviation, not bureaucrats.
As for innovation and progress…”

Can you imagine hearing anything at all like this, even remotely like this, from a leader of an aviation group?   No?  Why not?  Can you imagine what a boost to the moral of aviation this would be?  What if someone who understood reality and possessed a heartfelt interest in the survival of the sport of aviation actually became president of EAA?  Just think of what such a person could do for the organization?   The big question though is this; “Do you believe anyone like that will be the next president of EAA?”
...will that next president look more like this? 

1 comment:

Michael Smith said...

FYI my bike when I finish the motor issue and install a rear brake on it will be for sale so look for it on Craig's list. auckland electric bikes