Friday, August 6, 2010

FAA Administrator and EAA Out of Touch - Together Though Lots of Touching

Each year we visit Oshkosh, there is one thing that practically ruins it. That thing is the EAA’s obsession with current and past FAA Administrators. This year, EAA gave Randy Babbit the best rides to be had and a podium every thirty minutes (seemed like it) from which he could tell all facets of aviation all they are doing wrong.  To make my point clear, I guess you could say this guy was like third degree sunburn on the first day of a honeymoon.

Having studied politics and EAA for many years, I believe there is a chance EAA is trying, although in misguided fashion, to buy favors or leniency with the Administrator by making him feel important and liked. This is the same reason citizens and businesses give money to candidates from both major political parties; to pay unspoken shakedown money in hopes it will keep the FEDS off the donor’s back. I would prefer to believe this is what EAA is doing; politicking. But during the past decade, EAA has snuggled awfully close to the FAA.

Examples include EAA’s support, several years ago, for the FAA’s new restrictions on ride hopping that quickly earned EAA a waiver from the very same rules.  And then of course there was EAA’s recent support of increased restrictions on homebuilding and a crackdown on the same. This brings me to another possibility, EAA is complicit to the FAA. And you know what, I’m ok with that.

Growing close to your captors is so common there’s a name for it.  Yet we, as members, do have the ability to rectify the situation if we really want to. Dropping our memberships or actively voting for board members comes to mind.

What I cannot stand for though is EAA continually and repeatedly, throughout the week of Airventure, giving the administrator a bully pulpit from which to spread his anti-general aviation agenda and to promote a his horribly flawed organization that is killing aviation. This to me is outright offensive. Meanwhile, Senator Inhofe, currently one of aviation’s best supporters, was given a microphone to a loud-system early on Saturday morning that allowed him to be heard by the three people paying attention. There was no pomp and circumstance around the Senator’s sound system update nor was there an EAA response to the sometimes laughable notions expressed by the administrator.

Friends, this leaves us with one of two situations; EAA is complicit to the FAA or the staff at EAA HQ is incredibly spineless and thus a poor choice for anyone in aviation when looking for support.

I understand you, the reader, may be one of those people that say you don’t like anything that sounds the least bit political but don’t fool yourself.  If this describes you you have your head in the sand and playing the neutrality game is no help to anyone. Our sport is in great trouble folks and if we don’t collectively shove a large, sharp, cold, steel bar under Washington and pry it out of our of lives by the roots, I can assure you it will leave aviation to die in the hands of our wealthiest citizens, locked away in collections, and experienced only through books.

If you don’t believe me, ask Adam Smith of EAA. This is what happened in his homeland and I was hoping his placement within EAA would bring with it a warning that would ring throughout the halls of Oshkosh. Or maybe he just brought the mentality of European aviation organizations with him, a mentality that is terrible by the way.  Or maybe he's always working up hill.  I don’t know.  Maybe Adam himself or someone who knows the answer to this could clear that up for me.  For now though I’ll assume the best and send a suggestion his way. Adam, since you are now a major player in membership department of EAA, I would like, with great sincerity, to offer one suggestion.   If you claim this as your own, pass along to the aging lifetime appointees on the board, and manage to sell them on this idea, I promise it will make you the first person to increase the EAA membership roster in ages. Here it is, ready? START PLAYING FOR OUR TEAM.


skippert6 said...

You are so right! Not only EAA, but all the alphabet soup and Congress. Captain Babbitt has sold more than one group down the drain and he has no idea nor care that the FAA is mostly moronic idiots that couldn't make it on the outside (there are pointed exceptions).

Anonymous said...

I was a performer at Oshkosh for about 9 years (as I remember).
After being a part of it all I haven't gone back or renewed my EAA membership for about 25 years. I am free and independant, not judging others. I have never had regrets for my decision.

Lardo said...

I hear ya. I spent the whole week searchin' for the "E" in EAA. Never did find much of it.

Anonymous said...