31, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin - Lots of work groups, councils,
type clubs, and other aviation groups annually meet at EAA AirVenture
Oshkosh, the epicenter of sport aviation.
AirVenture provides a unique opportunity for
grassroots aviators, manufacturers, and local, state, and federal
officials to meet, exchange views and ideas, and work together to find
Sometimes these meetings involve large—and
very diverse—groups of people. But EAA’s government advocacy is also
at work here in smaller ways, often on a one-to-one basis. And while these
seemingly small issues might not be critical to general aviation as a
whole, they can be very important indeed to the aircraft builders,
restorers, owners, and pilots involved.
Early Wednesday morning, in the conference
room in the new Vintage Hangar, a few members of the International
Comanche Society met with EAA Vintage Aircraft Association Executive
Director H.G. Frautschy and several folks from the FAA.
At issue was a proposed Airworthiness Alert
for the old Pipers calling for disassembly and inspection of a key
elevator torque tube fitting at every 100- hour inspection, after cracks
had been found in few aircraft.
The ICS presented a thick folder of data to
the FAA. They pointed out that the part in question was only used by the
manufacturer for a few model years, that disassembly of the fitting for
the inspection could cause additional cracks and scoring, and that there
were other, less intrusive ways of adequately inspecting the fitting.
They outlined the data they had brought and
the solution they were seeking.
FAA officials indicated that the owners’
data and conclusions seemed to make sense and that what the officials had
learned at this meeting would be an important factor in their decision
“We have a mandate for safety,” said Kim
Smith, manager of the FAA Small Airplane Directorate, “and sometimes we
have to make hard, unpopular decisions that affect aircraft owners.
“But it’s a two-way street and we really
appreciate the type clubs working with us on issues like this. It helps us
to make better decisions.”
One of the Comanche owners told her, “I tell
the [ICS] members that the FAA is not the bad guys.”
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh provides a unique
opportunity for dozens of similar meetings large and small.
It’s a place—the only place—where
members from all sectors of the general aviation community can meet face-toface
with manufactures, type club members, government officials, and EAA staff
to identify issues, explore possible solutions, and get to know one
another not as adversaries but as partners, working for the good of
We need everyone to be an advocate for general
aviation. Visit the EAA Welcome Center at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh or go
online to www.eaa.org to find easy and
effective ways that you can Stand Up for GA.