November 14, 2013 - Transition training and support for "orphan" homebuilt designs were among the leading topics for leaders of EAA and the Aircraft Kit Industry Association (AKIA) during their meeting at the EAA Aviation Center on Tuesday, November 12.
AKIA President Dick VanGrunsven of Van's Aircraft, along with John and Jeremy Monnett of Sonex Aircraft, met with EAA Chairman of the Board Jack Pelton, Vice President of Marketing Rick Larsen, Vice President of Government and Safety Sean Elliott, and Homebuilt Community Manager Charlie Becker. Although there are continual discussions between airplane kit industry leaders and EAA officials, Tuesday's meeting was the first to formally review mutual interests and goals since AKIA was formed during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012.
"It is essential that EAA, as the organization for those who build, restore, and fly aircraft, and the homebuilt kit manufacturers represented by AKIA jointly focus on issues of importance for the homebuilt aircraft community," Pelton said. "Ultimately, protecting the freedom to build one's own aircraft and maintaining safety as top priorities will allow us to grow participation in aviation."
The importance of transition training for pilots flying homebuilt aircraft, including increasing the awareness and use of angle of attack indicators, was among the top safety issues discussed. EAA and AKIA representatives also reviewed how to support orphan designs for which the kit manufacturer no longer exists, as well as the potential available in type clubs and within "teen flight" aircraft building projects.
VanGrunsven called the meeting productive and suggested an annual meeting between the groups might be beneficial.
EAA also had the opportunity to highlight and gain AKIA support for homebuilt activities at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 and modifications/expansions of the homebuilding area on the AirVenture grounds.