May 2020

10th May 2020

Hopefully we get back to meetings starting in June. In the mean time I hope you are able to go flying or work on your project more than you did in the past. As you may have heard Air Venture is cancelled this year. There was just too much grounds preparation to be done now that could not be done safely.

Every year EAA conducts chapter surveys. A summary and some of my thoughts on the results are on the following pages. Overall, we seem to be doing well. I have always sensed a healthy atmosphere in our chapter. The results indicate that.

Members are highly recommending our chapters to others. That is very important for recruiting new members. The fact that most people heard about our chapter through word of mouth shows that. However, that also shows we should probably advertise ourselves a bit better to the aviation minded community. Our “Learn to fly” and “Learn about EAA” seminar was an effort in that direction. Hopefully we can do that in the coming months. The monthly meetings received good ratings. I think our monthly presentations are a big part of that. The reasons for joining the chapter are somewhat varied but youth educational activities scored high. I think that is one of the best things we do. A number of respondents stated homebuilt aircraft was a high interest. That is great but as a chapter we have discussed how to get more projects going in the chapter. The RV-12 project along with being a great educational activity was aimed at possibly getting more people interested in building. Unfortunately, we only had passing interest early from potential builders and no new projects I am aware of as a direct result of the RV-12 build project. If that is not the case let me know. The “Why did you give that score” section has a lot of nice comments. Let’s all keep that going!

The recommended improvements section is interesting. We can talk about these at our next meeting. I offer some comments here. We seriously looked into getting one of the new hangars. In the end the financial exposure to the chapter looked too large. To break even we would have to guarantee at least an 80% occupancy rate in a large hangar costing $900/mo, and short term rates at least 20% more per month per spot to tenants to cover that. Furthermore, a new officer position would be needed to manage the hangar. Discussions with other chapters with hangars indicates most if not all own their hangar having built it from donations over many previous years. That makes the annual fixed costs very low and reduces chapter financial exposure considerably. This could be a long-term effort if we could get a favorable land lease agreement from Meriden.

As mentioned earlier we have been trying to get more projects going. New ideas are welcome.

Historically flyouts have not been well attended. But that does not mean we can’t try again. I encourage members to contact other members about rides. I flew half a dozen homebuilts before deciding on my Bearhawk. All I did was ask and everyone was more than happy to oblige.

I’m not sure if more training is related to meeting presentations or actual training. We could sponsor a small workshop on the basics of riveting and maybe some other construction. More recruiting was mentioned earlier. Our seminars are aimed in that direction. The remaining comments kind of go together. We can reach out to other chapters and ask for a visit to talk about what they are doing as well as inviting their members to give a talk about their build experiences.

Teens to Flight RV-12 Build Program

Big news, we got our Airworthiness Certificate on May 3rd and completed taxi test on May 6th! Everything went well. I need to become more familiar with the Dynon EFIS system and prepare for first flight. At the moment I’m writing this on the 6th and the weather does not look good for the following five days. We’ll see how it goes. We accomplished more with the New York based DAR than we did with the Connecticut office in a year. Because we certified it as an E-LSA we only need a five hour phase 1 fly off period. We are beginning to advertise the Spirit of Meriden Flight Club. By taking prospective members for rides we think we can generate much more interest. We will give it a few months and see if we can get enough people to join.

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May 2020