Friday, November 28, 2008

What's up at EAA?

I have absolutely no knowledge but if I had to guess, I'd guess there's a little bit of turmoil going on at the publications division of the Experimental Aircraft Assocation. Dave Hirschman Hipschman, left as the editor in chief a few months ago after just two years on the job. And he had replaced Scott Spangler, who I think did a fantastic job with Sport Aviation. That, too, came without much explanation.

Today, the December issue arrived (with a great article on J.W. French). But the EAA Web site has been stuck on October's issue for several months now. That never used to happen.

What it tells me I'm not sure, but it at least tells me that something is going on in Oshkosh that makes me a bit uncomfortable.


  1. Thats a very good observation. There are some "things" up in Oshkosh that leave a lot of questions unanswered. Why can't they hold onto their staff? Why can't they impliment things when they say they are going to? Who is really running that place?

    All very good questions... I have some fairly good guesses for each of them and I can say without much doubt that it all leads back to the Exec VP not being able to play nice with others... the President being very detached from the company... a couple of execs clawing their way up,and a revolving door in the membership, IT, accounting, and editorial departments. Oh and last but definitely not least, investing in consultants instead of real staff that become invested in the company rather than just walking away at the end of the day.

    It will take a fair bit of work to fix the place, but for starters, eliminate the high ticket consultants, can the non-aviation centric vp's, and give Tom some authority back and lastly, foster the relationships with employees who are passionate about their work in aviation.

    I've been around the organization for most of my life in one way or another and it sickens me to see it going down the path it currently is. The membership is dwindling, they can't admit it to themselves, I don't know how they are going to tell the world... instead of looking for new ways to recruit, they waste resources trying to spin the numbers and weave stories to make themselves feel better. It's a sad day and soon, they will be forced to deal with it. I hope they can find some semblance of reality and formulate a team and a plan to recover from the spin they are in cause they are losing altitude at an alarming rate.

  2. There is a lot going on in Oshkosh that should make you uncomfortable.

    I could go on and on...

  3. "I have absolutely no knowledge"... that's obvious as Dave Hirschman writes for AOPA magazine!

  4. I don't pretend to be an EAA insider. The only folks I know at EAA headquarters are ones I had alot of contact with this past summer. Mary Jones is the new editor of Sport Aviation and a real winner in my book. She is a long time staffer at EAA and goes back to the days of Dick Cavin and Norm Peterson. When Paul Poberezny and Steve Buss asked Mary to get involved in raising EAA member and Chapter support for the Sam Burgess Memorial Junket last spring she really produced. I was really proud of the support that Paul, Steve, and Mary gave the Junket. Sam Burgess was not a glass panel superslick gofast let's do IFR far above the landacape kind of aviator, the kind that
    seems to get so much of the attention from EAA today. It was great to get support from EAA for honoring one of the greats of stick and rudder, tailwheel, open cockpit cross country flying. Believe me this kind of flying isn't dead. I met scores of EAAers this summer who opened their homes and hangars and came out to chapter gatherings on short notice to let me share with them the story of the only person to build a homebuilt airplane and fly it in all 50 states. I have alot of heartburn about the direction EAA has taken in recent years, but I can tell you that Paul, Steve, and Mary are not part of the problem, they're the "good guys."

    J. W. French
    EAA 226844