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By Coyle Schwab, TCC Chairman and Past Cessna 190/195 Club President
December 2019 -
Those of us who could attend had a most productive TCC meeting earlier this year during AirVenture. A highlight for me was a presentation by Robbie Culver, founding member of the Sonex Builders and Pilots Foundation, titled "How to Start a Type Club." Robbie has led a work group of type club leaders to create a very good white paper that describes the processes of developing a vision and mission and to begin the steps of formalizing a new type club. Prior to this paper, nothing existed to help a fledgling group take the steps to move beyond the enthusiast phase toward the goal of becoming a mature and effective organization. Robbie presented at a live forum during AirVenture and in a webinar that preceded that. Thanks, Robbie — this adds valuable collateral to our files, which hopefully will be of help to those faced with the opportunity to grow.
Defining Next Steps for TCC
A major benefit for Kyle Ludwick and me was the opportunity to brainstorm with attendees. We were delighted that you affirmed a desire to improve communications among all TCC members. After a fair amount of discussion, I think we arrived at consensus on several points:
- Webinars can be effective, but it's difficult to hit the sweet spot of overviews versus details.
- We need more effective mechanisms to real-time query TCC members about the myriad of topics that concern us (e.g., What are good fly-in destinations? Does anyone have examples of good topics to be presented at meetings? Who has experience with insurance needs for a club?)
- There's little enthusiasm for "yet another website" to provide connectivity.
We received the message loud and clear that TCC members want to be in the information stream so that they can be aware and weigh in on topics of interest. However, to be effective, the stream has to be brought to them without needing to log in from time to time and search for items of interest.
Kyle and I collaborated with several technology-savvy organizations. We're particularly intrigued with a program that Keith and Debbie Peterson have introduced for the Cardinal Flyers Online. It seems to us this package is more effective than some other approaches we discussed. After sampling the CFO community for a while, we believe this tool may be a close fit for TCC's needs, too. We want to get TCC members' input before deciding whether to proceed or consider a different avenue. Please check it out and offer your suggestions.
Safety, Regulators, and Type Clubs
Our annual TCC meeting has regularly been attended by NTSB and FAA representatives. A reoccurring theme is finding more effective ways to engage with each other, proactively to promote safety of operations and reactively when an emergency safety issue arises. Efficiency and proactivity are especially important when a significant problem appears but has not yet been fully characterized. Regulators often find themselves in a position where answers are immediately needed, but facts are fuzzy and expert sources aren't available on staff. It's a no-brainer that type clubs may hold some of the keys to finding the answers, but finding the right steps for engagement have always been fleeting.
At AirVenture, FAA deputy director of policy and innovation Mel Johnson asked for type clubs to take advantage of airworthiness concern sheets (ACS) for items that owners discover pertaining to their own type. The ACS is a big part of the process of determining whether a discovered problem is a "one-off" or if it may be the tip of an iceberg for a much larger problem — one that may warrant an airworthiness directive. That notion is easy to understand in the abstract, but how would your type club leverage this process to collaborate with FAA and jointly figure out which it is and what is the appropriate action?
It turns out that one TCC member organization lived out just such a scenario this year. Here's a thumbnail debrief to spur your thoughts.
Tom Turner is the executive director for the American Bonanza Society Air Safety Foundation. He also was a founding member of TCC and its second chairman. ABS is a world-class type club with many well-developed programs to serve its members in safely and efficiently flying, maintaining, and otherwise enjoying their airplanes. Tom has always been very generous in sharing methodologies, procedures, and other information with similar groups. (Thank you, Tom!) I'm delighted that he has offered us a firsthand insider's view of the interaction between ABS and FAA as they worked over several months to arrive at a solution for a critical safety item. This is almost breaking news, because it was finalized just a week ago. Please read his recap below.