The Good and the Bad
Good Arrival: The Fisk Controller knew we were flying in a Fairchild. The Tower Controller asked what we were and said the Beautiful Fairchild is cleared to land.
Bad Arrival: We were warned about all the Bonana's coming in, but only saw a couple dozen. Thanks for getting me up so early.
Good Idea: Driving around in a gator selling ice to the fly-ins.
Bad Idea: Having to drive around the fly-in selling ice. It only took EAA 37 Fly-Ins to figure this out. Iceman can only carry a few bags before he has to go back and get more or they all would melt. With only 1 iceman for all of Vintage Parking, we only saw him once. EAA, why don't you spend some of those millions you make every Convention and put a full-time ice store down in Vintage? I talked to Geoff Robinson about it and he said it was a "Power Problem". Ok, use a couple less outlets at the Theater in the Woods and fire up the ice coolers. Pay to have some more power lines put in.
Good Idea: Having Camp Stores.
Bad Idea: The EAA's handling of this. I don't think they've added a store since the '70's. If a guy flies in in a J-3/Champ/Taylorcraft/Ercoupe, he can't bring much with him. He has to depend upon the stores and EAA and the lousy Zaug's Cafeterias to eat. The store is about a mile away from anyone but those in Camp Scholler. Build another store just East of the Theater or further south, down in the treeline for those camping.
Good Idea: Restaurants that open early.
Bad Idea: If you say you're going to be open by a certain time, then be open. We had to wait 30 minutes one day for a restaurant to open. The manager was bitching we were there so early.
Another Bad Idea: Having half the food court close at 3:30 PM. What, do they turn into pumpkins?
Great Idea: Having the Ace's Cafe serve real food.
Several Bad Ideas: Having all the other Cafe's serve garbage. You get tired of burgers and hot dogs after one day. $2.50 for a cup of coffee?? You'd think that EAA would have more pull with it's vendors than that!
At 6 PM Thursday evening, we walked into the BBQ place just west of the Tower. There was hardly anyone there. They were out of most everything, including common stuff such as corn on the cob and bbq chicken breast. Zaug's drops the ball again. This is not good---out of food at the dinner hour.
An Outstanding Idea: Convert the Hangar Cafe to a store and build another restaurant that serves real food ala Aces behind it.
Great Idea: Antique/Classic aka Vintage Parking south of the Theater.
Terrible Idea: Allowing Bonana's and Sky Chickens to park there. We were camped out 3 rows south of the Theater and most of the airplanes south of us were Bonana's and Sky Chickens. People want to see older airplanes before they want to see those. Put only aircraft built say, before 1950 south of the Theater. If it was produced after 1950, it goes east of the road. All of Contemporary goes east of the road. That field should have been full of Cubs/Champs/Ercoupes/Wacos/Swifts etc. You can see just how "Vintage" it was by looking at Avweb's Coverage. They didn't even make it south of AeroShell Square.
I'm tired of Parking in the Bonana Club Parking....
Another Bad Idea: Stearmans were produced as primary trainers for the military. They should be parked down in Warbirds. Certainly, they should not be available for awards in military schemes. Only civilian paint-schemed ones outfitted as sprayers or pre-wars ones should be in Vintage. I think next year, I'll join Warbirds and park my UC-61 aka Fairchild 24 down there. I bet they have ice handy!
Questions: What happened to all the Ultralight guys? All I ever saw was four powered-parachutes.
Who is this mysterious Iceman?
Where were all the Monocoupes/Fairchilds/Culvers/Birds/Eaglerocks/Robins etc?
I can answer this one. Without a grass runway, they ain't comin'. C'mon EAA, flex your muscles with the city and plant some nice grass east of 18/36 that we can use as a runway.
The EAA has finally done it...pissed enough people off with all the BS that goes on at this so-called Fly-In Convention. The old guys have died or had their fill. They won't be back.
The EAA is constantly asking us members to do things: Save the Red Barn! Fly Young Eagles! Have your Chapter host a Fly-In! Donate your time at the Convention!
It's time that they start giving something other than a monthly magazine to their members. It's time the organization realizes its strength comes from its members and it needs to do something for them instead of just taking their dues money (ala some other aviation organization we all know.)
Here's my list:
Ice and Good Food available on the field located in convenient places all day.
Segregate Vintage Parking by Antique/Classic/Contemporary.
Homebuilts back were they used to be. The EAA is about homebuilding, isn't it?
If you don't get away from this Commercial Mentality, Vintage Membership as well as overall Membership will continue to decline. There was a very noticeable drop in attendance this year. Even drive-ins were way down.
I would guess maybe 100 members will ever fly in an Eclipse Jet. How many members, key word-members-flew in a Cub or Champ? All these VLJ's are neat to see, but they are not the core of the organization.
I think the membership needs to realize that this is their organization and not the Poberezeny's Personal Party Pals. I don't think Tom ever leaves his office/Aeroshell Square or the Press Headquarters.
Ok EAA, the ball's in your court. I'll come next year, but if I don't see some significant changes, I won't be back........