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ChapterGram: October 2013

So You Want to Be a Flightline Greeter?

 






By Paul D. Fiebich, EAA 577724, Flightline Greeter Chairman - EAA Chapter 88

One of the neat things about attending a fly-in in your own plane is that someone on the ground at your destination welcomes your presence. Fly-ins exist because people bring their planes for display, then others drive to the airport to enjoy seeing them. Planes are the draw at such an event in a manner similar to cars at a car show.

Consequently, aircraft are highly valued at a fly-in because that is why people attend the event. Without planes, there is little incentive for the nonflying public to arrive. Attending pilots should be treated with great appreciation and their presence recognized by the host organization.

I have attended fly-ins where the host chapter did not even notice my arrival nor seem to care if I was there or not. Consequently, I never stayed very long and flew away to something else that was more appealing. Worse yet, I never returned to its next fly-in. Pilots are an investment in an organization's future; they are money in the bank and will draw continuing "interest" if treated properly.

EAA Chapter 88 of Wichita, Kansas, has been holding its annual event for the past 50 years. One of the reasons for its longevity is the way we treat the arriving pilots and their crews.

It started with longtime members Beth Rodriguez her late husband Mike, who served as greeters at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. It seemed like a good idea and they enjoyed the activity. At their suggestion several decades or so ago, we decided we should have greeters at our annual Air Capital Fly-In.

Eventually I took over the responsibility of flightline greeter chairman at our chapter's annual fly-in and developed the following guidelines that other chapters might find useful either in part or in total. After reading the following information, you may want to contribute to this column by identifying the process your chapter uses to welcome fly-in guests to your event.

The method we find successful is to have pairs of greeters ride in ATVs and travel about the airplane parking areas. Once a plane is parked in position, they serve as the welcoming committee expressing our appreciation for their participation. Greeters carry with them a registration sheet (for future contact) and provide participants with some freebies and necessary information.

Typically the pilot and crew receive a prop card (indicating their willingness to be judged for an award); free admission wristband; a pocket program of the day's events; a keepsake such as a plaque, special glass, or coffee mug; vouchers for water; and encouragement to enter the performance contests for financial awards and to attend our evening banquet.

The list below provides the expected duties of each greeter pair; thus we maintain consistency. The goal is to make the pilot and crew feel welcome and have the materials for an enjoyable experience during our event.

Flightline Greeter
2013 Information and Duties

Thank you for agreeing to be a greeter! You are the first contact and the best initial impression for our fly-in visitors. Be pleasant, smile, and sincerely welcome pilots and crews to our event. Two people will ride on each ATV. At your shift's end, turn the Greeter Box in to the flightline greeter coordinator or the next shift team. It is vital you read the following and understand now what you are to do.

(Note: All fly-in pilots and their crews are admitted free.)

Welcoming Visitors

  • Say, "Welcome to the Air Capital Fly-In sponsored by EAA Chapter 88!"
  • Identify yourself by name and state that you are a greeter. Wear your EAA name tag.
  • Make a positive statement about their aircraft and show appreciation for their participation.
  • Record data requested on the registration sheet.
  • Hand each pilot the following items:
    • wristband
    • bottle of water or voucher to be redeemed at the Operations Table
    • pocket program
    • appropriate voting ballot
    • participation gift or voucher to be redeemed at the Operations Table
    • prop card; original or Young Eagle, necessary to be judged
    • Remind pilots fuel discount is today only
  • Hand each crew member the following items:
    • wristband
    • bottle of water or voucher to be redeemed at the Operations Table
    • pocket program (optional for children)
    • appropriate ballot
  • Direct pilot and crew to the Operations Table to:
    • purchase banquet tickets
    • purchase additional participation gifts
    • cast their ballot

Encourage guests to observe the pocket program for scheduled events of 1) candy drops, 2) flying contests, and 3) activities and vendors in and around the hangar.

Say, "Thank you for coming."

ATV Information
These vehicles are donated to us free of charge. Please observe the following:

  • Limit your speed to that of a fast walk; operate in a very safe manner.
  • Observe ramp markings, obstacles, and other moving vehicles. "See and avoid."
  • ATV drivers must be 18 years old or older.
  • One person per ATV seating area, no tailgaters or standers.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way.
  • Do not approach aircraft moving toward you; move off to the pilot's side.
  • Approach arriving aircraft after its engine has stopped and passengers have deplaned.
  • Do not exit ATV until its engine has stopped; put machine in park.
  • Do not drive under the aircraft wings. Use good judgment all the time.

To keep the activity organized and self-running, a schedule is created prior to the event. The schedule and list of duties accompany each Greeter Box that resides in each ATV. The heavy work is in advance of the event; good planning, adequate volunteers, and ATVs with full gas tanks make my job easy on fly-in day.

Greeter Schedule
Newton, Kansas

50th annual Air Capital Fly-In, October 5, 2013 Please arrive about 15 minutes early for your shift and wait by the hangar door for the return of an ATV. If necessary, go out to the people in the ATV you are replacing if they haven't returned at the designated time. All materials for greeter duties are located in the ATVs.

Note: At the end of the 11-to-1 shift, move the pilot Greeter Boxes back to the Operations Desk where all greeter functions will continue until 3. Park the ATVs next to north hangar door opening near airport light beacon tower.

There you have it: EAA Chapter 88 of Wichita, Kansas' process for welcoming pilots and crew to our fly-ins.

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