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From the Archives: EAA Name Change Suggested!

From the Archives

By Ian Brown, Editor - Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159

Fifty years ago in an interesting article by Pete Bowers, designer of the Fly Baby, he suggested we should "lose no time" in changing the name of the Experimental Aircraft Association to the Sport Aviation Association. He made a couple of valid points. First, he said that the word "experimental" had negative connotations when dealing with people and organizations outside our own. He also suggested that since our monthly magazine name had recently been changed from Experimenter to Sport Aviation, the name change would make sense and that the new acronym would only change in one letter.

What do you think? Does our "Recreational Aviation Association" in Canada make more sense? How about the "Popular Flying Association" in the UK? Did you know the group changed its name to the Light Aircraft Association? Would "Sport Aviation Association" have a more global sound to it, since "experimental" refers to an amateur-built aircraft in the United States? Does the word "experimental" distinguish us from Just Another Aircraft Association (JAAA)? How representative is the idea that EAA'ers are people who build their own aircraft? There seem to be lots of certified aircraft at EAA fly-ins, including EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, but there are other associations such as AOPA and COPA representing general aviation.

For more information and to read the complete article, go to page 46 of the October 1962 issue of Sport Aviation.

LAA, RAA, COPA, AOPA - they've all been taken. Maybe since the UK no longer uses PFA we should consider picking that one up! Seriously though, we've been the EAA for a very long time, so we're probably going to see a proud continuance of the tradition.

As an interesting factoid, we weren't always the EAA. The first issue of the magazine in February 1953, then called The Experimenter, stated that it would be sent to all members of The Experimental Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (EAOPA). Sort of an amalgam of EAA and AOPA, don't you think? Is there an EAA historian out there that knows when the name changed? All the copies are online. It just takes a patient soul to try to find when it changed.


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