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Investing in the Future with EAA Chairman/President Tom Poberezny

January 21, 2010Tom Poberezny recently taped two interviews in EAA’s video studio that highlight EAA’s role and direction in today’s aviation community, and what it means for the organization and its members.  Both videos are available on the www.eaa.org website, and are the first two parts of a trilogy of interviews in which Tom discusses current events at EAA.  In this installment, Tom covers Sport Aviation’s new look, AirVenture '10 site upgrades, and the importance of chapters. (see the first interview)

EAA Sport Aviation magazine relaunch
EAA has been communicating with members for 57 years through EAA Sport Aviation magazine. Over the years, the publication has evolved both in appearance and scope. Poberezny says the latest change involved considerable membership input as part of a broader multimedia strategy.

“We’d love to see more of everything in Sport Aviation, but there are only so many pages,” Poberezny said. “We are trying to reach the broad spectrum of EAA membership through the magazine. The growing list of electronic publications can then offer greater depth, focusing on homebuilding, warbirds, vintage and antique, and light-sport. It’s a great variety. We really want to encourage members and the aviation community to take advantage of the entire spectrum of aviation publications EAA now offers.”

Members respond to EAA Sport Aviation’s new content and format
With any change, especially to a magazine well-known by the EAA membership, the final form is evolving. After receiving the January issue of EAA Sport Aviation, many members commented with their impressions. Some of that feedback is already being included in future issues.

“The initial response has been overwhelming, including hundreds of letters, e-mail, and other contacts that have been overwhelmingly positive,” Poberezny said. “One of the two key things we have learned, beyond the excitement the new look has generated, is that the type size is too small. That will be fixed by the March issue because it was too late to make the change for February. The feel of the magazine also will be changed. We are increasing the thickness of the cover to reduce the floppiness that many members noticed, and we are switching to a matte finish. The heavier cover stock will provide a better thump factor, more value, and a better feel.”

More investment to AirVenture grounds in 2010
Member suggestions were also a key part of the multiyear effort to improve the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh grounds. The site changes last year very noticeable, and more will be coming in 2010, especially to the north end of the grounds.

“We want to continue to make the AirVenture site the premier aviation site in the world,” Poberezny said. “In the warbird area, we are planning what amounts to a second AeroShell Square to increase static aircraft display space. These upgrades are in addition to continuing improvements to the camping areas and more permanent restroom facilities. There are lots of improvements that will make the experience fun and engaging, and most importantly, enhancing the value of the outstanding programs and the variety of aircraft you see in 2010.”

Investing in EAA’s chapter leaders
EAA’s periodic chapter leadership academies throughout the year assist chapter leaders in making their own chapters strong. Poberezny said EAA is devoting considerable resources toward helping chapters sustain and grow aviation participation in their local communities.

“Chapter leaders are an important part of EAA’s goal of providing pathways to participation,” he said. “We are investing in chapter leadership through these leadership academies. We bring 20 to 30 leaders to Oshkosh every few weeks to exchange ideas and to help them with programming ideas…We see further investment in our chapters over the next 12 to 24 months as an important part in EAA’s mission to create pathways for more people to enjoy aviation.”

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