We are meeting at the EAA 105 clubhouse, Twin Oaks Airpark, hangar G1. Tonight’s speaker is Dewey Conroy Vice President and COO of Pacific Coast Avionics. Dewey’s presentation is titled: Risk Mitigation Through Modern Avionics. Dewey will provide an overview and answer questions about Pacific Coast Avionics’ products and services. Arrive by 6:30 pm for some food and socializing. The presentation begins at 7 pm. We’ll ask for donations to cover the cost of food.
Dear EAA Chapter 105 members,
I’d like to share the Participation Survey results as well as my interpretation of the responses. The survey was conducted from Sep 25th to Oct 8th, 2022.
The survey was a great opportunity for me to “listen” to fifty-seven different chapter members. I assume this is a representative sample. I learned a lot. Thank you. MailChimp shows me that more than 200 of the 335 emails were opened. The response rate was better than I expected. I received many insights, some humbling.
I’ve summarized the results for you below. I won’t share all of the write-in answers. But, I read every word. I spent extra time on the outliers and tried to understand those perspectives.
I feel I should shed some light on a few areas. I’ll address many of your questions/ideas. And, I’ll highlight some of the opportunities that exist in our chapter.
The good news is your interests are well aligned with what EAA Chapters are designed to offer:
- Socializing – meetings, camaraderie, etc.
- Learning – projects
- Sharing – tools, ideas, and opportunities
In some cases, the responses reinforced my assumptions, in others – disproved them. No survey is perfect or asks all the right questions. There are many possible ways to interpret the responses. Perhaps the results will influence your perspective too.
Some of the numbers speak for themselves. The write-in answers, however, are more nuanced. If I combine the responses with my own perceptions, and the many conversations that I’ve had with members over the years – I get a deeper understanding.
Our chapter is geographically distributed, and we have a variety of aviation interests. About 75% of you participate and many of you volunteer. We have a broad range of experience levels – some of you have already done it all, and others are just beginning your aviation journey.
The primary questions that this survey tried to answer were: How do we increase participation? Participation and volunteering are often synonymous. Also: Are the current programs relevant and are you aware of the resources that EAA provides to chapters? Presumably, we can leverage those resources.
I see some contradictions between some of the wants and actions. I’ll explain below. I’m going to argue that some of the things that you suggested are already happening or would be very easy to implement. Awareness seems to be an issue.
Questions #5 and #10, the write-in questions, produced lots of great ideas. Experience has taught me the difference between an idea and an action. Actions require ownership and effort. I believe that everything in life that’s worth doing requires effort.
My favorite advice from EAA national, for building a successful chapter is to: do something! Chapters must have activities. It follows that somebody has to make those activities happen. We need volunteers to do this. The number and types of activities and programs that we currently have is directly proportional to the volunteerism that we currently have.
The Young Eagle and Flying Start programs, and especially the Cessna 120 (C-120) project have been very educational for me. For example, I’ve been experimenting with mentoring – both technical and flying. I feel mentoring has potential, but I’m undecided about who benefits more. The mentee has to initiate it. Bear in mind – a mentor’s time is valuable, and the opportunity cost is high if the mentee isn’t committed.
There was a range of suggestions. Some interpolation is necessary. For example, suggestions to implement opposing ideas. We obviously can’t implement both. One example is separating the breakfast and Young Eagle events. While the idea of combing them is mostly seen as a success.
The results of #7, and #9 reinforced some of my suspicions. Few people are interested in running the organization, and organizing events and you’re especially not interested in working on chapter media. Paradoxically, most of you also value these things.
In the past, I made the error of thinking that other chapter members or officers would organize events, provide mentoring or create opportunities for me, e.g. fly-ins/outs. I can tell you, other than our breakfast, the YE events, the Poker Run, and the C-120 project, which are well organized, there is no centralized planning. Any chapter member can be the catalyst.
Re: projects – there is no bias towards any one aircraft type, construction method, or genre. We built a state-of-the-art, E-LSA kit. Now we’re restoring a certified airplane, built in 1946. It has fabric wings and very basic systems.
I believe in informal leadership. To me, that means: every individual is empowered to be a leader. If you have an idea – go for it. Others will follow you. You don’t need permission to promote your idea.
It’s true that the more you give – the more you get. I’ve come to realize that volunteering/giving might be more satisfying than indulging my own personal agenda. It’s counterintuitive, but even giving takes effort and the offer is sometimes ignored.
I feel we have latent resources that aren’t being used to their full potential. There’s low awareness of the programs that are offered to the chapter by the EAA. Only 9 people are aware of Flight Plan, and the Young Eagle follow-on program. Yet our chapter has an excellent Young Eagle program. In fact, our chapter was commended in 2022. This year we earned a plaque for 30 years of participation in that program.
It’s important for every club to attract the next generation. It’s also easy to forget the challenge less experienced people face when trying to break into aviation. EAA national and the chapter each have youth scholarships. Our members have ties to Airway Science for Kids and Teen Flight. I see no reason why we don’t leverage those programs.
We should make the Build and Fly Program happen. There was a lot of interest in 2020 (COVID derailed our plans). The Board has approved funds twice. We have the Kadet RC model kit now. This should be easy to do.
There’s a lot of interest in having technical presentations, projects, and learning. I consider the Cessna project to be both a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) project and a way to meet, socialize and develop camaraderie. The majority of you value breakfast and chapter meetings. Yet only 21% say you participate in the C-120 project. Of the 45 people that have signed up for the project, many said they were keen to get experience, and less than 1/3 show up on a regular basis, i.e. show up enough to achieve their goal. I’ll address this below.
After some thought, I realized that many of the write-in comments had just a few common denominators. I’ll spend a little more time on each of them below. Communication/awareness may be the most common issue. If members are aware of opportunities, they might participate.
I see some things that I want to focus on, but I’m just one person. I need your help. I plan to focus on communication/awareness, beginning with this email. I’d also like to focus on marketing the chapter. I feel this is important for our survival. For example, connecting students from the FBO/flight school to the chapter. EAA national provides promotional material to chapters.
Communication and awareness
Many suggestions were for things that we’re already doing. There were several questions about meetings, event dates/times, and the chapter calendar. There appears to be a communication/awareness issue. Communication requires both the sender and the receiver to be tuned in.
I made an effort this year to keep the chapter website calendar up to date, and Cliff Gerber updated the home page, including the Latest News column, on a regular basis. I get the impression that the chapter website may not be effective.
I created an opt-in email forum for chapter members. More than 60 people have joined. It can be used to have multi-way conversations with other chapter members. However, it seems to be underutilized. Similar forums for the RV-12 owners, chapter directors/officers, and the C-120 project have been successful. We may need to find a different method to communicate and increase awareness among the general membership.
We’ve been conservative with the MailChimp broadcasts (entire roster). However, it does seem to be effective. I apologize if you feel that you’re getting too many emails.
Lack of communication/awareness goes both ways – I rarely get feedback. So, I don’t know what’s working and what’s not working. There were some very nice comments in the survey – thank you.
Lastly, several members mentioned the old newsletter. Yes, that was a lot of work. BTW social media, E-mail, and forums have largely replaced newsletters. Word processors and the internet have made it relatively easy to create news. Do we have a volunteer?
Meetings, projects, and learning
Many of you said that you aren’t aware of our meetings or that you had schedule conflicts. Awareness goes back to communication. We actually have three types of meetings, on different days and at different times of the week: the first Saturday breakfast, chapter meetings on the second Thursday, and the project/hangar G1 is active on the weekends.
The monthly breakfast is very popular – I knew that. BTW it’s our primary source of income and it is vital to the chapter’s survival. As are our dues. In my opinion, breakfast is a valuable opportunity to meet, socialize and network with a broad spectrum of both chapter membership and the local aviation community.
Chapter meetings are also important – we should be consistent. Finding, booking, and managing presenters takes time/effort. I could use some help here. Many members are limited by distance or other obligations during the week. This is a narrower/smaller audience and time is limited.
There’s a lot of interest in learning. Again, only 20% said they participate in the C-120 project. It was suggested that we tear a motor down. In fact, we’ve disassembled three aircraft motors this year. Many would like to learn technical skills. Note: we plan to re-build a Continental C85-12 and re-cover a set of fabric wings this year and next.
If you’re interested in technical topics, or building techniques – I suggest making the C-120 an alternative to the chapter meetings. Visitors and newcomers are always welcome. You don’t have to be present to contribute. Researching and ordering parts require a lot of time/effort and it must be done during the week, outside the workshop. A lot of learning has come from understanding what needs to be done and how to do it, and not necessarily doing it.
Contact me if you’d like to be added to the C-120 email forum. You will get weekly updates and plans for the upcoming weekend. You can also follow along by using the photo album.
If you want to learn, you will have to make an effort. I think the two most important skills for building an airplane are: persistence and curiosity. Learning is a lifelong process. You won’t learn these skills in a single session or day.
I’ve been part of the regional flying community since 2014. I discover or learn something new every week. I attribute this to trying new things, having goals, prioritizing those goals, and most importantly, acting on them.
The regular volunteers at G1 have technical experience and/or are active pilots themselves. We have access to tools, and a network of EAA Technical Counselors and A&Ps. The purpose of the project is to create opportunities to learn.
While 2022 was about disassembling, cleaning and assessing the C-120 – I expect 2023 to be about re-building the airplane. We have the fabric kit now and should have refurbished engine parts back from Divco/Aircraft Specialties before the end of 2022.
About 37% of you value G1 and the shared tools, yet the tools are underutilized. We could use help maintaining, inventorying, and promoting our tool crib. Several tools were donated in 2022. There are other opportunities in G1 besides the C-120 project, e.g. improving the tools and the workshop. The EAA has grants to help subsidize chapter tool cribs.
Comments were made about the cost/complexity of modern kit airplanes. This is part of the motivation behind the C-120 project. Building the RV-12 taught me that a group can not only pool their finances but their talents too. Everyone wants a unicorn pony, but do you really need one? I have just as much fun flying my 1941 Interstate Cadet, a basic tube and fabric airplane, as I do my RV-12iS (shared by 11 owners).
Our vision for the Cessna is to enable a low-cost, simple, conventional-gear airplane. It would be great to see a flying club form. We estimate the FMV of this airplane to be $25K. It will burn 4-5 gal/hour. These airplanes are cherished by the C-120/140 type clubs and provide tailwheel experience. Ours has a long history in Oregon and the chapter. It would be great to continue that legacy.
Several people mentioned projects. A future project is a possibility. In fact, we should be thinking ahead. It all begins with a group of members and an idea. Two projects have been proposed since I joined the chapter, and both have happened.
There are many things that can be done, that don’t require volunteering or going to an in-person meeting.
If you’re new to aviation – I encourage you to join the EAA, some or you haven’t, and read Sport Aviation. It’s technical and informative. EAA webinars and the webinar library are excellent (you must be an EAA member). The EAA does important advocacy work at the national level, think MOSAIC. You may already be a beneficiary of EAA’s efforts. You can join the EAA here:
There are currently two ways to pay chapter dues – you can pay the cashier during the breakfast, or use the PayPal link on our website:
Our chapter website – news, calendar, etc. can be found here:
We also have a Facebook page. I periodically post organized events on the Facebook groups: Oregon Aviators and FATPNW
The EAA has anticipated chapter needs and provides several “pre-packaged” programs. Awareness of these programs is low. If you’re looking for a way to make a difference at the chapter level – please have a look at these programs.
EAA Flight Plan:
EAA Build and Fly:
EAA Flying Start program:
Summary of the Participation Survey Responses
I’ve sorted some responses by percentage, high to low.
1. Programs enjoyed – choose several
- 90% breakfast
- 53% meetings
- 40% Young Eagle program
- 37% G1, shared tools
- 21% Cessna 120 project
2. Are chapter programs relevant
- 78% yes
- 22% no – too far from home. See #6
3. Do you participate
- 77% yes
- 23% no– too far from home. See #6
4. Do you volunteer
- 72% yes
- 28% no
5. What would motivate you to participate more?
- Another build project
- Mentorship – for beginners. Structured activities
- Welcome newcomers
- Separate breakfast and YE events, e.g. diff day/time
- Clear communication re: meetings
- Lower COVID risk, indoors noted (2)
6. What prevents participating
- 33% distance
- 32% no spare time
- 26% time/day
- 5% been there/done that
- 4% nobody asked me
7. I would like to:
- 72% just participate
- 17% be a master chef
- 4% become an officer
- 4% organize events
- 0% manage the chapter’s social media
8. National/chapter engagement
- 70% paid up – both national and chapter
- 26% forgot to pay…
- 2% (1) don’t know how
- 2% (1) no reason to pay
9. Familiarity w/ EAA programs
- 58% tech counselors
- 32% Build and Fly
- 16% Flight Plan
- 14% Flying Start
- 12% no awareness
10. Suggestions (some from question #5, random order)
- Kid-friendly events
- Keep chapter officers involved
- Technical meetings
- Newsletter – tips, fly-out reports, etc. (3)
- Chapter meetings. Interesting guest speakers. Different schedules. Non-repetitive. Programs for rusty pilots topics/talks. Basic construction topics. Engine tear down/rebuild. Flight instruction lectures. Tower ops. Field trips. Camping gear. Local airport history.
- Discounts on flying lessons
- Fly-outs/airshows (2)
- Connect w/ Twin Oaks students, mentorship, flying buddy
- Better (more inspiring) communication about programs and benefits. What’s the chapter up to?
- Fly-in prizes, competitions.
- Chapter bulletin board at Twin Oaks w/ calendar
- Exclusive events for members
- Project(s) – inexpensive flying/airplanes, variety of makes/models. Ditto for tech counselors
- Sell tickets for b-fast (from Q #5). Pay for service vs. cooking. No KP! Especially during the flying season
- Tools for project completions
- Keep Facebook up to date (social media)
- Discounted dues for volunteers visa/versa
- Remind attendees of EAA local and national activities and programs.