by J. Rion Bourgeois, chapter president
A short ride in the way back when machine. Those of you who have been following along will recall that I was elected chapter president for 2023 at the last November chapter meeting. Most of you probably know me as the guy who cooks the grits at the monthly breakfast, and who makes a fool of himself at the November pie auction. But way back when, I was chapter president. If you don’t mind, I would like to give a little history of the chapter over the last thirty years. I joined the EAA in 1989 and the chapter shortly thereafter when I began building an RV-4. I remember my first chapter meeting which was held at the PGE building in Beaverton. It was sparsely attended and dry as toast: lots· of tell but not much show. I recall my second chapter meeting which was held at Twin Oaks in what is now known as the breakfast hangar. The subject was the RV-6 project which Carl Hay was building from his wheelchair in that hangar. It was standing room only. I had to find a spot on the landing at the top of the stairs.
I was asked to serve on the board shortly thereafter and in 1994 I was asked by then-President Bill Benedict to organize the meals for the Oregon EAA Chapter’s Round Robin Flyin. I agreed as long as I was allowed to choose the menu for the breakfast. My grits were so popular that I was elected president and served for five years in 1995 and 2002-2005. Shortly after that first breakfast, we began holding the EAA Chapter 105 First Saturday of the Month Pancake and Grits breakfast and continued without missing a month until the pandemic of 2020-2021 Other than building my RV-4, introducing grits to the upper Willamette Valley is probably my greatest achievement.
Way back when, when I was president, we held a monthly board meeting on a Thursday night at Twin Oaks in the pilot’s lounge that is now the Starks’ office in the breakfast hangar. We usually had an attendance of six to twelve board members and kept current on chapter business. Randy Lervold succeeded me as president and changed the board meetings to the current format of a long planning meeting in January, and thereafter only as needed to address new business.
In 1997 George Bogardus died and left the majority of his estate to EAA Chapter 105. The Chapter allocated about $75,000, if I recall correctly, for the construction of a chapter hangar, and the remainder was used to fund the; George and Lillian Bogardus Memorial Trust Fund which is controlled by the board of directors of the chapter.
At about the time I began building my RV-4 in 1991, an RV builders’ group eventually known as the Home Wing was organized to help RV builders help each other with the construction of their aircraft. At that time, RV kits were kits and men were men, there were no quick build or pre-punched kits, and the instruction manuals were rudimentary. RV builders’ groups, whether part of an EAA chapter or a standalone organization such as the Home Wing, filled a very useful role in helping builders educate themselves in technique and finish their aircraft by sharing knowledge and a tool crib. The meetings, hosted by an RV builder in their garage or hangar, were very popular and very well attended. The Home Wing also hosted a very popular RV Flyin at the Scappoose Airport every June, and several of its members rented a home in Oshkosh during the EAA national Flyin for members to stay in during Oshkosh, aka Airventure.
Unfortunately, while the Home Wing was attracting most of the homebuilders in the area, most of them did not also attend the EAA Chapter 105 chapter meetings: one evening a month of aircraft saturation satisfied most. As chapter president in 2003, I proposed a merger of the two organizations to avoid redundancy of administration and provide insurance coverage for the leaders of the Home Wing and the Scappoose RV Flyin. Although several of the leaders of the Home Wing were stepping aside from their leadership roles, there was some reluctance by some Home Wing members who did not want to see the format of their meetings changed. The compromise was that most of the chapter meetings would continue to be held at project visits. The Home Wing voted to merge with EAA Chapter 105, and for several years thereafter, most of the chapter’s monthly meetings were held at a project and well attended.
Both EAA 105 and the Home Wing had robust newsletters with awesome graphics and text content. Benton Holzwarth labored on for several years after the merger, but eventually, the burden became too great, and the newsletter was replaced with a website, Facebook page, and e-mail blasts.
With the advent of Internet search engines like Google and Matt Dralle’s RV-List forum and Doug Reeve’s Van’s Airforce forum, there were more readily available sources of shared knowledge, and attendance at chapter meetings waned, with the exception of the yearly meeting at Van’s Aircraft. However, the breakfast became ever more popular, and the chapter built out two hangars, G1 and G3, for meetings, chapter projects, and members’ projects. Teen Flight became a huge success, and the chapter held frequent Young Eagles events. Then came the Covid pandemic which shut down the breakfast, chapter meetings, flyouts, and Young Eagles events.
Now that the pandemic has abated and Cliff Gerber has the Young Eagles program humming and the breakfast volunteer situation well in hand, I expect that our current programs will continue.
Back to the Future
In the past, it has been difficult for the chapter to accomplish all the goals set at the annual meeting in January because the president is expected to monitor and direct all the chapter activities during the course of the year by himself. This leads to presidential “burnout”. To alleviate these problems, at this year’s Chapter Board Planning meeting held January 15, 2023, the Chapter Board of Directors decided to conduct regular monthly board meetings once again, but now via zoom, in order to keep the president and the board apprised of ongoing chapter activities.
I have read immediate past president Chris Riedener’s “EAA Chapter 105 Participation Survey Results”, October 4, 2022, several times, and I recommend it to you. His insights are cogent. You can find it on the chapter website at EAA105.org, then search for “survey.” Chris found the primary question to be how do we increase participation in the chapter?
From his survey, he found that few people are interested in running the organization or organizing events. He suggested informal leadership. “Actions require ownership and effort.” He found that there is a lot of interest in technical presentations, projects, and learning. He noted a lack of awareness of chapter activities and felt that better communication about activities might increase participation. He also found the need to market the chapter. At the Chapter Board Planning meeting, the Board decided to try and increase participation by members and increase their awareness of chapter activities by forming an advisory committee for each of our chapter activities, led by one or more board members and including dues-paying chapter members, who are not board members but are interested in participating in the various Chapter activities. They would not be obligated to run the chapter, but by participating in an advisory committee would “own” the activity in which they are interested. As an example, it is no longer necessary for Cliff to call to request the participation of volunteers at the monthly breakfast and we have several regulars who come every month. The volunteers now sign up for service in response to an e-mail blast from Cliff because they like being part of the activity and accomplishing something for the chapter. They have taken “ownership” of the breakfast. It is hoped that this phenomenon will be repeated with other chapter activities by the formation of an advisory committee for each activity. The list of Advisory Committees and whom to contact if you wish to participate can be found on the chapter website at EAA105.org under the Contact tab.
There were some other notable decisions made at the Board Planning Meeting. It was noted that the chapter’s net income (sales proceeds minus cost of groceries) for the eleven breakfasts from March 2022 through January 2023 was only $340 per month. This does not take into account rent and maintenance expenses. This will not cover the Chapter’s expenses. Furthermore, the price of eggs has gone up 250 percent due to avian flu, so our net income will go down going forward. In fact, the cost of groceries exceeded proceeds at the January breakfast due to the cost of eggs. The price of the breakfast has not increased since 2014. The current price is $7 for adults and $3 for children. The board has decided to increase the price to $1O per adult, $18 per couple (spouses and dates), and $5 for children.
The Chapter’s Cessna 120 project was also a matter of discussion for the last several board meetings. Because it has been such a boon to the chapter in terms of participation, interest, and growth in Chapter membership, the Board decided to continue to allow the use of hangar G-1 rent-free at least until the end of 2023 for those interested in restoring the aircraft. However, in light of the fact that we have not yet managed to re register the aircraft, and that the repairs to date have not yet been signed off by an Al or A&P, it would be premature to try and sell shares in the project.
The Board also set dates for the Poker Run (8/27/23), Pie Auction (11/9/23), and Holiday Banquet (1/12/24).
Monthly membership meeting report
All the chairs were filled in G-1 and some were standing in the back at the monthly meeting on Thursday night, January 12, 2023, to hear local RV-8 pilot Steve Payne give a PowerPoint presentation of his organizing and leading the 50-ship RV formation flight at Airventure 2022 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of the RV-3 at Oshkosh. It was a wonderful presentation about an extraordinary feat of organization and performance and an enlightening presentation about what goes into such an event. The February 9, 2023 chapter meeting will be at hangar G-1 at Twin Oaks and will include an examination of the innards of a Continental C-85 engine. Milling around and snacks starts at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting at 7:00 p.m. Be there or be square.