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Renewing Our Passion for Flight

by Christine Pulliam, President of EAA Chapter 673

Hello friends and thank you for electing me as your chapter president! Beverly Lieberman has left some big shoes to fill. I appreciate your vote of confidence, and welcome your suggestions as we begin a new year and a new page in this chapter's history.

Most of you already know my background from chatting with me or reading Deb Cahill's interview in the September 2007 issue of the Marlboro Antiquer. To sum it up briefly, my father and grandfather inspired me to fly. With the help of Texas's pleasant weather and long runways, I went from first lesson to final checkride in seven months, earning my certificate as a college freshman. I continued flying for a few years before life obligations intervened.

I moved to Marlborough in late 2001, joined the chapter a few months later, and became newsletter editor in 2003. I started up lessons again at that time, and now fly as often as possible (although still not nearly often enough for my taste).

EAA Chapter 673 was crucial in getting me back into aviation and keeping me involved. I hope to ensure that it plays a similar role for other aviation enthusiasts, including all of you.

The chapter bylaws state that our primary mission is "to promote and encourage the sport and hobby of recreational aviation." I would go further and say our mission is to share our passion for flight with each other and the community. That's the key: passion.

We all face many demands on our time and money. If we are passionate about an activity - if something is important to us - we make the time and money for it.

In difficult economic periods, our aviation pursuits may seem like a luxury best deferred. But I would argue that an occasional indulgence, especially if it involves time in the air, feeds the spirit and soul to an extent far beyond the monetary cost.

Especially in times like these, we seek value in return for the resources that we devote to any one activity. For me, the value of our chapter is the chance to be immersed in all things aviation - to hang out with aviation-minded people, to participate in events like fly-outs and Young Eagles, to learn new things via articles, seminars & speakers, and to talk flying even when we can't fly for reasons of weather, funds, personal or business.

To recruit new members and keep existing members engaged, we need to provide value. I will work with the chapter officers and board to strive for a mix of activities that appeal to all members.

To this end, I have committed myself to three goals that I believe will best enrich the chapter experience:

  1. Re-energizing the chapter through improved meetings, programs, fly-outs, and other social activities
  2. Boosting membership to gain more of the resources and fresh ideas we need to succeed
  3. Increasing ties to the surrounding community in order to benefit both the chapter and the airport

Some of these areas can be addressed right away, and some are more long-term, but all will require your support. I'll discuss them in more detail at our January meeting.

As I said up front, I also welcome your input in the direction of our chapter. Ultimately, this chapter is what we all make of it. Now is an ideal time to give some thought to who we are and where we're headed. So please let me or the other chapter officers know: What do you like about the chapter? What are you looking for? Are there areas that could be improved? We want to hear from you.

Along that vein, later this month I plan to distribute a brief e-mail survey to all members who have e-mail addresses on file with our membership secretary. I ask that you take a few minutes to respond to that survey. The answers will help guide your leaders as we move forward.

We are fortunate to belong to a national organization with a wide variety of resources-resources that can help this chapter to thrive. I intend to take full advantage of those resources.

To start this process, vice president Dudley Darling and I will travel to Oshkosh at the end of this month (using personal funds) to attend a chapter leadership academy. We expect to return with plenty of information, ideas, and enthusiasm. We look forward to implementing those ideas, but we'll need your help.

All of this may seem like a tall order, but in the seven years I've been a part of this chapter, I have learned how gifted and unique its members truly are. Some of you are new to aviation and some have been involved for decades, yet we all share a passion for flight. By harnessing that passion and working together, I believe with all my heart that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.

Thank you again for your support. Now spin the prop and let's go flying!

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