Oshkosh Wisconsin


Experimental Aircraft Association

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The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is an international organization of aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Since its inception, it has grown internationally with over 160,000 members, and around 1,000 chapters in many countries.

The EAA was founded in 1953 by veteran aviator Paul Poberezny along with other aviation enthusiasts. The organization began as more or less a flying club. Paul Poberenzy explains the nature of the organization's name, "Because the planes we flew were modified or built from scratch, they were required to display an EXPERIMENTAL placard where it could be seen on the door or cockpit, so it was quite natural that we call ourselves the "Experimental Aircraft Association". Homebuilding is still a large part of EAA, but the organization has grown over the years to include almost every aspect of aviation and aeronautics.

AirVenture Museum

Located adjacent to EAA's headquarters in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the EAA AirVenture Museum is an extensive collection of aircraft and aviation displays. The Museum is home to EAA's collection of more than 200 aircraft, of which more than 90 are on display inside the museum at any time. The museum's Pioneer Airport is a re-creation of a vintage aerodrome, with more than 40 additional airplanes on display. From May through mid-October (daily Memorial Day through Labor Day), flights are offered in vintage aircraft.

The organization is overseen by a Chairman, a President, a CEO and a Board of Directors. Paul Poberezny assumed the duties of President and CEO at the 1953 founding. In 1989 he assumed the (newly-created) position of Chairman of the Board, and his son Tom Poberezny became President/CEO. In March 2009 Paul Poberezny resigned and the Board voted to elevate Tom Poberezny to Chairman of the Board. As of May 2009 a President/CEO had not been named to replace Tom Poberezny.

Local chapters may be formed whenever ten or more EAA members reside in a given area. Chapters are encouraged to meet monthly. The first chapter meeting occurred at Fla-Bob Airport in California, with noted aircraft designer and builder Ray Stits presiding

To help ensure that all amateur-built aircraft are well-constructed, safe aircraft, the EAA organizes a group of volunteers, known as Technical Counselors, who will visit the construction project to identify any areas of concern. Technical Counselors are EAA members who volunteer their time and who have met at least one of the following criteria:

Have built an experimental category aircraft
Have restored an antique/classic aircraft
Hold an A&P, IA, DAR, DER or Aerospace Engineer rating in the United States, an equivalent international rating or have the qualifications for those ratings.

There is no charge for this on-site review. The program is strictly voluntary. The recommendations of the Technical Counselor are advisory only. The EAA recommends a minimum of three Technical Counselor visits over the course of construction.

Each summer EAA presents the largest annual general aviation event in the world, 'EAA AirVenture Oshkosh', also commonly known as the "Oshkosh Airshow". During the event, the city's airport, Wittman Regional Airport, is the busiest airport in the world. The week-long event annually attracts around 10,000-12,000 planes and a total attendance of more than 500,000. The event also attracts more than 800 exhibitors, hosts nearly 1,000 forums, seminars and workshops, and welcomes more than 700 journalists each year.

The annual fly-in was first held at the Rockford, Illinois airport. Attendance at the fly-in continued to grow until the Rockford airport was too small to accommodate the crowds, so it was moved to Oshkosh in 1970. A 2008 study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh determined that the 500,000 annual fly-in attendance generates $110 million of tourist income for the three counties surrounding the airport

The EAA also sponsors the Young Eagles program, which was started in 1992 with the aim of giving one million children an airplane ride by 17 December 2003, the Centennial of Flight (see Wright brothers). The program reached that goal, and still continues to bring aviation to the youth of America. By mid-2007, the Young Eagles total had surpassed 1.3 million rides.

The Young Eagles program has been overseen by three nationally-famous chairmen:

Cliff Robertson - film and stage actor (1992-1994)
US Air Force General Chuck Yeager - first man to fly faster than the speed of sound (1994-2004)
Harrison Ford - film and stage actor (2004-present).

The other major yearly airshow attended by EAA members and staff is Sun 'n Fun, held every April in Lakeland, Florida. Sun 'n Fun has been an independent organization from the EAA since its first show in 1975, although the event has always involved significant EAA participation.

The two organizations signed an agreement in January 1989 recognizing their independence. On 30 March 2005 Sun 'n Fun issued a press release affirming the independence of the two organizations but assuring the aviation public that they would continue to work together. As such Sun 'n Fun remains a show with participation from EAA chapters and a presence from the national EAA staff, but it is not an EAA event.

(From Wikipedia.com)

EAA Chapters:

Each month over 1000 local EAA Chapters around the world get together to enjoy the camaraderie of a group of people that share their enthusiasm for aviation. Monthly meetings and activities contain a variety of programs that focus on sharing ideas to make aviation safer and more FUN.

Chapters are about people. They bring together a group of individuals who enjoy the friendship of others and who are interested in learning more about aviation as well as sharing their own knowledge. Chapters are involved in a large variety of social and educational activities. There is something for everyone!

Monthly meetings provide forums for guest speakers and presentations on important aviation issues. Chapter meetings are a great way to get even more value from your EAA membership. Monthly Chapter activities are truly "grass roots" recreational aviation at its best.

Click here if you would like to become a member of a local EAA Chapter.