Jump starting local aviation association

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Huckster79, May 10, 2019.

  1. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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    I was elected president of our local aviation association- at first begrudgingly, but now After a moment I want to do something good with it. The group is not tremendously active though it it puts on a banner Young Eagles event once a year averaging 125 kids...

    Looking for input from successful association of what they do to create value so new folks want to join, and that we can do more than just that event and a pancake breakfast yearly.

    It’s been floated we would like to provide a courtesy car to local airport, I would like to think about a flying club to get more people into aviation, etc. maybe offer some scholarships for some intro lessons, etc.

    Also working on easy way to communicate with members things like “hey i want to grab a burger on Saturday-who wants to go? “. Easily accessible to all members- any ideas there? Apps? Group text? Twitter groups? Etc???

    None of that happens without active, engaged membership. So how do other folks do it and what does your association do?
     
  2. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    When you say association, are you really saying EAA Chapter?
     
  3. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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    No, we do the Young Eagles program but the association is independent. It is just the Greenville Area Aviation Association...
     
  4. Aviatorbrew

    Aviatorbrew Filing Flight Plan

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    thats an honorable thing to do but Good Luck with that. we have tried that at our local airport.
    we started out with a decent group in the EAA, we routinly have 125 kids for the young eagles. but the EAA meetings just became a gripefest and a total waste of time.
    there wasnt an airplane rental on the field, everybody complained about it, so a group of us started a flying club. the plane sat so we closed it down, they didnt support us.
    among many other things the guys griped about, nothing ever materialized, nobody put any effort into it.

    sour grapes with me? oh yeah,
    i just keep to myself out there. they can live in there fantasy land and complain about everything
     
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  5. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    I have another thread going here on the forum about organizing a flying group. I think it has been a great success so far! We have now flown 5 different events since March and that is pretty darned good considering our winter up here in the MSP area. The best event was 8 planes ranging from a beautifully restored Luscombe to a gorgeous Chancellor. I try to find places that have a restaurant within walking distance.

    In the other thread I indicated a lot of frustration with email and social media. In general, the older pilots (oldest is 82) seem to prefer email and the younger pilots (youngest is 35) want texts. Also, it is not viable to convince someone to join Twitter or Facebook or whatever just to be aware of flying. I sure as heck wouldn't. I recently dumped the social media.

    So our solution has been Evite's. The default backgrounds are kinda lame but I always upload a low resolution screen shot of the flight track for the next fly in along with written details. At first I had just under 20 people. Right now I think I am well over 30 people. The nice thing about the evite is you can use email or text. So I just ask each person which they prefer. So the event is "pushed" vs having to check in. What I think it really nice is that I can see who has read it. There are a few I will "nudge" as we get near. So far I have never had to manage email mess or anything.

    Our little airport already does Young Eagles and summer end corn feed. But all the pilots indicated a frustration with never flying together so I think this evite based system has really worked. It bridges the bit gaps between sponsored events.

    In my evites I always make sure to indicate it is not sponsored in any way. It also avoids just what @Aviatorbrew just mentioned - lots of talk, complaining, etc. So in our case, even though we have about 30 local chapter EAA members, these are not EAA events. I also like to call out that pilots should not feel obligated to take passengers. And passengers wanting to ride with should make it very clear in the evite, early on, that they would like to ride along.

    I make sure and invite the airport management/maintenance people that actually take the airport serious (2 of the 3). They actually get to see planes flying and can join along on actual flights to other places.

    When you get to the root of it, 97% of the pilots want someone to pick a date, time and destination. It gives them a purpose, which is great if flying is getting a bit too mechanical or mundane. I am impressed at how many actually want to fly...and take passengers.

    Get them flying.

    Once you are flying with them you will learn everything about the airport, FAA plans, which hangars are opening up, who's looking for planes, etc. My wife laughs, after starting this I helped one guy find a partner for his plane which secured the 2nd guy's hangar. I then found the 1st guy the very airplane he has been looking for...sitting in a hangar in the next block down. People talk. Even our most "challenging" fun flight last weekend resulted in lots of smiles and stories being told vs the same old complaining and negative chat. Of course I'll be catching flak for that last one for months to come...that's okay with me :)

    Good luck. Don't wait for it to happen....
     
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  6. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Being a member of both an EAA chapter, and a local flying group. A good e mail list is a must. In the local group we usually meet on Friday afternoons, and set a plan for weekend breakfast runs. We also have two cook outs a year. We also plan an evening social event around the Christmas holidays.
     
  7. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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    Thank you, thank you thank you!!!! I will go look your thread up, I searched a few ways before creating this thread but found nothing, but that can be one key word difference.

    I will go check out Evites, that makes all sense in the world that one tool can text or email. I agree that a specific app or social media site doesn't work well...

    I really thank you for your advice and excitement! I hope I am able to replicate it!
     
  8. PaulMillner

    PaulMillner Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Young Eagles brings out a few dedicated folks that are so motivated. The courtesy car at your airport doesn't seem to offer any benefit to your membership... perhaps courtesy cars at popular fly-in destinations that folks use for the $200 hamburger?

    I've been looking at four local groups, trying to understand what works and what doesn't... the most successful, arguably, has a monthly breakfast + safety session + flyout for lunch, all on the first Saturday. But the president tells me what doubled the membership was offering discounted oil by the case, delivered to the clubhouse in advance of that first Saturday breakfast.

    The two EAA chapters in this group of four are middle of the road... one has a great deal of technical content which seems to bring the guys out. The other has a monthly dinner, and an every Wednesday fly-out for lunch. Surprisingly to me, the Wednesday lunch flyout can be a younger group than the other group's every-Sunday fly-out. On Wednesday, a couple of home-schooled guys/gals show up to cadge a ride to the lunch destination, plus an off duty air traffic controller, when not working shift, plus a couple of work-from-home folks that can negotiate a long lunch every other Wednesday or so...

    FWIW. The group I'm president of has 100 members, but the primary interest is in fighting battles against our GA-unfriendly airport operator. A dozen folks out of 100 members show up for once-a-month Dutch treat lunches. About 40 folks show up for the free holiday party once a year. :)

    Paul
     
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  9. PaulMillner

    PaulMillner Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Brad, can you point me at that thread? I wasn't able to locate it under your name...

    Thanks in advance! Paul
     
  10. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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  11. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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    Yea I think I’ll just start planning once a month fly outs and do evites...

    Yea courtesy car doesn’t really benefit membership at all really... if some folks wanna work on it that’s dandy But I think I’ll focus on the fly outs first for my personal energies...
     
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  12. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    If you find something that works better than evites please let me know. Its klunky, but works.

    Here's another thing to consider regarding scheduling events. Monthly events could have a high rate of success or a low rate of success and will probably depend somewhat on your location. Today is a case in point. I had scheduled a POA get together in WI about one month out and couldn't even make my own event today due to wx...totally sucked. I don't think I will ever schedule another event that far out. Here the winds can get howling and I only have one runway option. Now down in AZ or California I can see it being far easier to have a regularly scheduled weekend event.

    For our local group I watch the wx (Windy.com) and when the European model looks good about 1wk out I then send out the evite. In other words I have been trying to cherry pick the wx. So there isn't an exact cadence. Then again, its about the time everyone is itching to fly again :)

    In another 3wks or so with sunset going towards 9pm I will probably start some weeknight early evening fun flights too when it will be nice and smooth. Another reason to switch to early evenings here is that the winds can really come up around 10am-4pm. So if you do any type of lunch run you can be coming back to 15G20 pretty easily. My strategy for this summer will be to find more breakfasts where we can be out and back by 1030am which should keep up the highest participation rate.

    I also recon a lot. Just found another airport Friday night. 5 blocks walk from airport to a ice cream place and pizza shop. Even the older guys didn't know about it. So that is on the list. And I've been thinking up a way to get some early evening air-to-air aviation photos as another event (but not all planes, just coordinated limited invites first come first served).
     
  13. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    We have a pancake breakfast every month followed by a program. We serve at least 100 each month. Fly-outs are more on the spur of the moment type of thing. We use Slack as a communications app. We use Sign-up Genius for RSVP stuff.
     
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  14. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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  15. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    Cool, I will definitely look into that. If they reply does everyone see it (or do they get a choice)?
     
  16. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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    In the in office test I did here with mine and my coworkers phone, our replies just went back to my email and not back to each other and my email like a typical group text... So in my mind that is an advantage in that someone in the group text doesn't start a side conversation and everyones phone blows up for an hour. It would be slick if it was an option you could select one or the other for a reply, but it just came through as a plain text... If I had to choose just one way to have the replies this would be it, then as organizer you could always send out follow ups based on replies... On my iphone it did show"Two People" on the message and I could go into info and send a message her by selecting her number, after hitting info, but if you just hit reply like normal I got an email back to my inbox...
     
  17. wilkersk

    wilkersk Cleared for Takeoff

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    Do burger runs. Find the most active pilots in the association and try and get a couple of them to fly out and meet up at an on-field or nearby restaurant a couple of times a month. Try to use these informal meetups to conduct some minor association business. But, try to keep it short. And, don't do anything that'll cause controversy with the members at large.

    Look into hosting an AOPA ASI seminar.

    Look into establishing an online presence with one of the "Flights Above" regional groups on Facebook.
     
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  18. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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    I joined my areas flights above, thank you!!!!
     
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