The goal of the EAA Homebuilt Aircraft Council (HAC) is to address concerns relating to Experimental/Amateur-Built (E/AB) aircraft and those who build them. The HAC has recently found itself short on the manpower needed to deal with those concerns, so the EAA decided to expand the council from three members to seven.
The HAC will focus on several areas. Safety, especially addressing issues raised by the recent NTSB report on E-AB accidents, is one of them. So it will look at strengthening the flight advisor and technical counselor programs and addressing specific questions raised in the NTSB report. First-flight issues, both for the original builder and subsequent owners, will be examined in an effort to reduce the number of accidents during the Phase I flight-test period.
The HAC will also continue to interact with the FAA on DAR and 51%-rule issues. Besides providing input to the EAA and FAA, the council has been asked to take the lead in responding to the recommendations of the NTSB before they are turned into official FAA policy.
Communication with the EAA membership will place a larger demand on the HAC’s resources than it has in the past. Communication gaps sometimes arise between members and the EAA staff and board of directors, and the HAC hopes to take a more active role in closing those gaps. The HAC wants members to have access to the information they need to bring their projects to a safe and successful completion.
Another area concerns AirVenture. Each major constituency within EAA brings special concerns about the event, and the HAC is no different. The council wants to ensure that the original and arguably most important group, amateur builders, gets its place at the table when decisions are made. With input from many, the HAC continues to make great progress in planning the transformation of myriad buildings and activities into a cohesive venue that will enhance the homebuilder’s experience.
The New Team
The EAA has put together a dedicated group of people to meet these challenges. The HAC will retain its three incumbent members: Chairman Rick Weiss, Joe Gauthier and Fred Keip. New members are Gary Baker, Randy Hooper, Keith Phillips and myself.
Rick Weiss is the returning chairman and a member of the EAA board of directors. He lives in Spruce Creek, Florida, and is a member of the Daytona Beach chapter, where he serves as a flight advisor and technical counselor. He has a background as an A&P and a CFI in airplanes, seaplanes and helicopters. He built and flies a Kitfox V and is building a Van’s Aircraft RV-7A. He is a retired airline pilot and past Washington, D.C., representative for the EAA.
Joe Gauthier is from Connecticut, where he is a member and officer of Chapter 166 in Hartford. He has built four airplanes and is working on his fifth, a GlaStar. He is an A&P, a CFII and a DAR. He serves as a technical counselor and flight advisor.
Fred Keip lives in Racine, Wisconsin, where he is vice president of EAA Chapter 18. He is a technical counselor specializing in fabric and aluminum construction. Besides building a Sonerai IIL from scratch, he has built wings for a Sonerai IILS and an Acro Sport. He is building a scratch-built Wag-Aero Wag-A-Bond.
Gary Baker, from Medina, Ohio, is president of EAA Chapter 846 in nearby Wadsworth. He is also a flight advisor and a Young Eagles coordinator. He is a CFII and ATP and captains a 737 for United Airlines. He is finishing up an RV-6.
Randy Hooper lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is a corporate pilot and A&P/IA. He is a technical counselor for EAA Chapter 863, where he also served as president and vice president. He built and flies an RV-8 and is working on another one.
Keith Phillips is from Spruce Creek, Florida. He is a lifelong aviator and an Air Force veteran. He built his first plane, a modified Wittman Tailwind, in 1966 and has since completed a Swearingen SX300 and a Pitts Model 12. He is an A&P/IA and a technical counselor and flight advisor for Chapter 288 in Daytona Beach.
I live in Tustin, California, and am a member of EAA Chapter 92. I am also a technical counselor and Young Eagle pilot and have organized many BSA Aviation Merit Badge events. I led the GlaStar and Sportsman Association for almost eight years and have built a GlaStar, Glasair Sportsman and a Texas Sport Cub.
For more information about the EAA and the HAC, visit www.eaa.org.