Members of the Aircraft Kit Industry Association (AKIA) sat down recently with senior staff at EAA headquarters in Oshkosh, WI to discuss a variety of issues affecting both organizations. With EAA planning to honor the memory of founder Paul Poberezny at next year's AirVenture, all items relating to homebuilt aircraft met with enthusiastic response.
Both organizations support the One Week Wonder project in which EAA will invite the public to experience hands on participation in the construction of a Zenith CH 750 at AirVenture 2014. Construction of the aircraft will be completed in one week, providing people with an opportunity to see how much fun and excitement is involved in building an aircraft.
EAA will be making changes to the area and activities in the north display area (where most kit makers display their aircraft) and the buildings just to the south of that area. AKIA is charged with coming up with an appropriate name for the display space.
Reflecting on a consensus of their membership, AKIA requested that EAA shorten AirVenture by one day, since the field is virtually deserted on Sunday. They also suggested having an "AKIA Day" at AirVenture, which EAA enthusiastically embraced, and will begin working on an outline for appropriate activities.
AKIA will be providing EAA with a list of manufacturers' representatives who will each spend time at Interview Circle during the week discussing the kits they have designed and are currently manufacturing. EAA was asked to provide AKIA members with a new exhibits liaison to assist with AirVenture issues before, during and after the convention. AKIA also stated concern about Sport Aviation magazine and their desire to see more articles about homebuilding which for decades was the core activity of EAA.
Dick VanGrunsven, CEO of Vans Aircraft and President of AKIA, expressed a wish for support and involvement with aircraft building projects for teens. He explained the benefits of involving young people in kit building which are extensive. There was also candid discussion about Transition Training Instructors, LODAs, the Type Club Coalition and encouraging Angle of Attack Systems for homebuilts.
"The meeting was very positive and productive," said VanGrunsven. "We covered many subjects. I found the people at EAA to be very understanding about the importance of the kit and homebuilt aircraft industry. AKIA looks forward to working closely with EAA to further our many mutual interests."