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It’s Great to Be Here
By David Leiting Jr., EAA Lifetime 579157
January 2017 - Hello from Oshkosh — it’s great to be here! I am David Leiting Jr., the newest member of EAA’s chapter team. I have been interning with the EAA chapter office since December of 2015, but I am now beginning my full-time role with the organization. For me, it is literally a dream come true to be working for the members who devote much of their free time to continuing the legacy created by our founder, Paul Poberezny.
During July of 1994, I attended the EAA’s 42nd Fly-In and Convention at Oshkosh, at only 6 months of age. Since my attendance at that year’s convention, EAA has become a part of who I am. After my first visit, my parents continued to bring me to EAA’s annual show and we would return during the winter months to tour EAA’s AirVenture Museum. During these visits, I was always begging my parents for more toy airplanes so I could re-create “Oshkosh” on our living room floor.
I took my first airplane ride during the winter of 2001 in a Cessna 150, and in 2003 I was fortunate enough to kick off the afternoon air show when I took my first Young Eagles ride in a DC-3. After taking these rides, there was no question in my mind that I would someday earn my wings.
It wasn’t until I was 16 years old that I realized pursing aviation as a career would be an option. Ironically enough, I learned of the University of North Dakota’s (UND) Aerospace Sciences program at a Theater in the Woods presentation during AirVenture 2010. Two years later, I began attending UND to pursue a degree in airport management.
Shortly after arriving on the UND campus in fall of 2012, I became very involved with EAA Chapter 1342, which is composed almost entirely of university students. The chapter provided me an opportunity to build relationships with other UND students who shared my same passion for grassroots aviation.
I began my flight training in August of 2012 and passed my private pilot check ride on March 1, 2013. Less than two months after earning my ticket, I gave my first Young Eagles ride during the EAA Chapter 1342 Young Eagles Rally. Shortly after the rally, I was elected as Chapter 1342’s Young Eagles coordinator and treasurer. After a short time in those positions, I became president of Chapter 1342 in 2015.
When I first stepped into a leadership role with Chapter 1342, we were down to only four members. When I stepped in as president, we had grown to roughly 15 members. I held the chapter president position for two years and was able to foster some of the greatest friendships imaginable.
During my two-year span as chapter president, we gave nearly 150 Young Eagles rides, held many successful fly-ins, made an annual trek to Oshkosh for AirVenture, and watched our chapter membership rise to nearly 65 members. The rebirth of Chapter 1342 is a true testament to our amazing members and volunteers. I can truly say I was able to build relationships with the greatest individuals who are a part of the “millennial” generation.
My time with Chapter 1342 allowed me to build a relationship with the team here in Oshkosh, which eventually lead to my yearlong internship with EAA.
With graduation from UND now behind me, I am ready to start working for the organization that gave me the inspiration to chase my aviation dreams.
My role primarily will consist of supporting our chapter network with chapter promotion and membership recruitment. Whether your chapter would like to request a ChapterBlast e-mail, needs help developing new chapter programs, or has questions about restructuring chapter activities, I am here to help!
Outside of promotional and recruitment assistance that I can provide from EAA headquarters, you can expect to see me at all of our Chapter Leadership training sessions. I will be on hand to discuss issues that are relevant to membership growth, such as chapter promotion, inclusion, recruiting the next generation of aviators, and creating “can’t miss” chapter events.
I already have had the privilege to build a working relationship with many of the chapter members out there. For those whom I haven’t yet gotten to know, I cannot wait to start working with you. We are all in this together, so please do not hesitate to contact me at any time!
Blue skies and tailwinds,
David Leiting, Chapter Outreach Specialist
firstname.lastname@example.org or 920-426-6116