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Standing-room Only Crowd for First Grassroots Pilot Tour Event

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Over 200 area EAA chapter members and aviation enthusiasts attended the event.

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Hightower’s presentation included the many ways EAA is engaged in growing participation in aviation, how EAA works with other organizations, and key issues such as amateur-built safety and fuels.

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A social hour preceded the presentation where attendees got a chance to chat with Hightower.

View the gallery

January 12, 2011 — A standing room-only crowd of more than 200 EAA members and aviation enthusiasts greeted EAA President/CEO Rod Hightower on Tuesday, January 11, for his first Grassroots Pilot Tour event held at Poplar Grove Airport in Poplar Grove, Illinois. The enthusiastic audience enjoyed a social gathering to kick off the evening, followed by Hightower’s presentation on the many ways EAA is engaged in growing participation in aviation, how EAA works with other organizations, and the key issues of the day such as amateur-built safety and fuels. The event, hosted by EAA Chapter 1414, included plenty of time for audience questions and dialogue afterward.

Among the highlights was an outline of the FAA’s newly announced plan to lower general aviation accidents with a special focus on amateur-built aircraft. Hightower says that, as in the past, the FAA is looking for cooperative solutions in place of more regulation. Rod said EAA hopes to assist in developing some of these solutions.

Hightower also spoke specifically about how EAA does a great job of inspiring people to pursue aviation and providing first experiences in aviation. However, he also said that EAA has not done as well finding ways to help those people eventually earn their certificate.

“We have not invited adults into the flight experience. Less than 20 percent of flight training students that begin their training finish,” he said. “Those are the areas we have work to do - bringing adults in when they’re interested and ready to learn to fly and getting their certification process completed.”

View a photo gallery of the event

There was also time for some fun events that included audience participation on how much they knew about EAA and aviation, with questions ranging from “What percentage of EAA members are not pilots?” to “How many Port-O-Potties are on the AirVenture site?”

Prizes awarded included EAA gift certificates as well as one “Golden Ticket” grand prize drawing for AirVenture 2011 that included weekly passes, tickets to dinner, VIP air show seating, and use of a golf cart for a day. Chapter 1414 member Chuck Pazdzioch, EAA 811332, had his name drawn as the winner of that special package.

Look for more Grassroots Pilot Tour events throughout the nation in 2011.

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