Why Join an EAA chapter?


July 2022

EAA chapters provide a grassroots community for pilots and aviation enthusiasts of all stripes. With almost 900 chapters around the world, these communities offer a variety of opportunities for people to engage in general aviation. From aircraft homebuilding and restoration, to youth activities such as EAA Young Eagles, as well as pilot proficiency programs, fly-ins, and other social gatherings, chapters have something for everybody to enjoy.

Of the more than 250,000 members of EAA, only around 37,000 are currently members of EAA chapters. This means that most of our organization’s members are missing out on the experiences they can get from chapters. They may not be aware that a chapter already exists in their local area! It also means that chapters have a massive pool to recruit new members from, and they do not have to look outside of the EAA membership to bring in new people.

To help make the case why people should join an EAA chapter, we will let some of our chapter leaders explain what their chapters do, and why you should join a chapter like theirs.

EAA Chapter 23, Salt Lake City, Utah
By Shawn Crosgrove, EAA 614266, EAA Chapter 23 Membership Coordinator/Past President

I’m a member of Salt Lake City Chapter 23. We are an active chapter with multiple events every month such as chapter meetings, Young Eagles rallies (April through October), weekly hangar-flying lunch and dinner, VMC and IMC Club, fly-outs, and airplane camping. The key to having an active chapter is promoting, inviting, and welcoming everyone from newcomers to lifetime members, connecting people with others who have common interests and making assignments so everyone feels needed and valued.

I’ve been a pilot for 34 years, an EAA member for 24 years, and a chapter member for 14 years. My biggest regret is not finding and joining the local EAA chapter 34 years ago when I first became involved in aviation; those are 20 years I will never get back. My involvement in the chapter has introduced me to my closest friends and the best people I know.

To any EAA member not currently involved in your local chapter, you are missing out on the most valuable aspect of EAA (the secret sauce): It’s the people and lifetime friends you will meet. It’s easy to get involved. Contact your local chapter president and volunteer to be on the Young Eagles ground crew or cook at the next pancake breakfast or barbecue. Your aviation experience will be enhanced in ways you can’t even imagine and you will forever be grateful for.

EAA Chapter 35, San Antonio, Texas
By Chuck Fisher, EAA 1030744, EAA Chapter 35 President

It’s a sunny morning (as most are in San Antonio), and two dozen chapter members work to carefully disassemble and load a member’s airplane after an off-field landing. Stuff happens. A few days later, under that same morning sun, amid the buzz of excited chatter, dozens of members corral a swarm of youths and parents into airplanes, simulators, and activities for a Young Eagles rally. This morning we’ll make a bunch of lifetime memories. In another few days members and guests crowd into the chapter clubhouse to discuss safety scenarios in the chapter VMC Club. Out on the ramp, the chapter welcomes its newest young pilots and student pilots courtesy of chapter scholarships and coordinators, and in the builders facility another team labors to build and rebuild aircraft. Yes, these are all in the month of a chapter — our chapter.

An EAA chapter provides an aviation family of pilots, builders, restorers, and aviation enthusiasts. Ours, for more than six decades, has provided a venue for learning — and teaching; a place to show off successes and to get help if needed. It has never mattered what anyone’s background is: rich, poor, famous — or infamous; here we are all aviators who love our hobby (or profession) and want to share it with each other. This chapter welcomes any aviator or those who just love the wonder of flight. Welcome to our family.

EAA Chapter 846, Wadsworth, Ohio
By Gary Baker, EAA Lifetime 251742, EAA Chapter 846 Treasurer/Past President

Our chapter, 846 in Wadsworth, Ohio, is one of the larger EAA chapters in Ohio, with more than 100 members. We offer diverse programs during our monthly gatherings and have many events throughout the year. We are a homebuilding chapter with about 20 projects currently underway. Over the life of the chapter (36 years), members have built or restored 55 aircraft. We are active in the Young Eagles program and are working on getting other youth programs operating. Each of our monthly gatherings from April through October begin in our chapter hangar with a cookout and potluck dinner.

Presentations in our gatherings are oriented toward four general subjects: flight safety, homebuilding, aviation history, and flight training. The Cleveland area has always been part of aviation, with the Cleveland Air Races and the National Air Show taking place since the 1930s, as well as NASA Glenn Research Center located at KCLE. Some of our members have been NASA engineers and pilots and have given presentations to the chapter. We have members who are flight instructors and professional pilots, who have also been willing to give presentations. We are close to Akron where the Goodyear Blimp is hangared and have toured its facilities.

Our chapter offers something for everyone with an interest in aviation. We schedule fly-outs to other airports, and seats are offered to members who do not have their own aircraft to whet their aviation appetite. Our members go out of their way to make our guests welcome and to get them more involved. Some individuals might leave aviation if they do not have a support group like an EAA chapter such as ours. We need EAA chapters to help sustain aviation.

EAA Chapter 1093, Midland, Michigan
By Sarah Pagano, EAA 1098308, EAA Chapter 1093 Chapter President

EAA chapters play an essential role in aviation today. They provide a place for those interested in aviation to begin their journey and they provide support, encouragement, and resources to those who are already in aviation. Every day EAA chapters create new aviators around the world.

The number one reason to join a chapter is for the camaraderie. Whether you are new to aviation or have had your heads in the clouds for ages, being a part of a chapter provides new people to talk to and learn from. As we all know, a pilot’s certificate is a license to keep learning, and there is no better place to learn than in a group setting of people with different backgrounds and experiences that a chapter provides.

Chapter 1093 provides a great deal of youth education, including a high school summer camp and a build of an RV-12. These allow us to engage our more experienced pilots in sharing their knowledge and experience while encouraging aviation in our community and gaining new, younger members to the chapter. These younger members bring a breath of fresh air to our group, new ideas, and new energy. Many experienced members have found that sharing their love of aviation through these youth programs is both fun and rewarding. We have even seen members who were inactive become active again to participate in these youth events. By providing flight training scholarships we also help people’s dreams take flight and help create more pilots and aviation professionals.

I wouldn’t be where I am today, an airport manager, without my local EAA chapter. I met people who are now like family to me, I’ve learned so much from fellow members, and most of all I gained support in my endeavors and scholarships to help me reach my goal. EAA chapters are where aviators become family and lift each other up. Because the sky isn’t the limit; it’s our playground.

EAA Chapter 1612, Goldsby, Oklahoma — “Central Oklahoma Sport Flyers”
By Eric Muehlberg, EAA 288312, EAA Chapter 1612 President

If you want to be where the action is in sport aviation, you’ll need to join a chapter like ours. Chapter 1612 is a passionate group of builders, restorers, aircraft owners, pilots, and non-pilots drawn together by their common love of all things aviation. Chapter members vary from teenagers to retirees, and some of our activities include our monthly chapter gatherings, Young Eagles rallies, VMC Club, member project visits, “How To” presentations, and Young Eagles Workshops. The opportunities to network, learn new skills, meet interesting people with diverse aviation backgrounds, and most of all make new friends abound in our chapter. Our members, EAA technical counselors, and EAA flight advisors support and mentor each other in reaching our varied aviation goals.

Possibly unique to our area is the way the three Oklahoma City EAA chapters (24, 1098, and 1612) work together to host joint events like the Ford Tri-Motor and B-17 stops, Young Eagles rallies, a Chapter Leadership Boot Camp, chapter build projects, and our annual June and December tri-chapter fly-in/drive-in dinners. In fact, most of the area chapter members belong to more than one of the local chapters so they don’t miss out on any of the great things going on in the area. Our belief is “We’re stronger together.” In our opinion, you are really missing out on a lot of the fun and fellowship if you’re not in an EAA chapter.

To join an EAA chapter near you, go to EAA.org/FindaChapter. Or, if there is not a chapter in your area, go to EAA.org/Chapters and click on “Start a Chapter” to begin creating one!

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