Only in Oshkosh
EARL LAWRENCE, EAA 265455
EAA Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs
Those of you who tune into my weekly Ultraflight Radio broadcast are aware that I stress the impor- tance of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and participation in general aviation events everywhere. This year’s
convention was my 23rd and by far the best I have experienced. The magic of EAA and Oshkosh was demonstrated throughout the week. For government advocacy
efforts, as with many other activities, nothing compares
to the Oshkosh environment. At AirVenture, government and industry come together to collaborate in a
manner for the good of general aviation. The passion for
general aviation cannot be lost on the government and
industry leaders attending the event.
For years I have witnessed as guests marveled at
the collective display of general aviation at Oshkosh.
Members of Congress and FAA
employees, whose only experience is often limited to military
and airline aviation, leave with
a new appreciation of general
aviation. Many are in awe of the
innovation and craftsmanship
displayed in homebuilt and restoration projects. A few years ago, I
hosted one congressman who was
amazed to learn that middle class
people owned and flew aircraft.
Even more amazing was the possibility that new light-sport aircraft
could be purchased for less than a
luxury car. But most importantly,
these leaders make a connection with EAA members.
As our founder, Paul Poberezny, has often said, it’s the
aircraft that bring us together, but it is the people who
keep us coming back.
Your government advocacy team hosted more government officials than ever before at AirVenture 2009.
It is clear that the FAA and even the Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) believe Oshkosh is the
place to gauge the pulse of the general aviation community and to receive a firsthand view of issues, aircraft,
and people. The recently confirmed FAA Administrator,
Randy Babbitt, an EAA member, demonstrated how the
spirit of Oshkosh infects all who attend AirVenture. He
added his own signature to the thousands of others who
“stand up for GA.” By joining others in support of general aviation, Administrator Babbitt showed he’s part of
One experience from this past convention highlighted how the Oshkosh environment affects both
government and aviation enthusiasts. Brian Delauter,
the newly appointed head of the TSA general aviation
office, who was visiting Oshkosh for the first time,
contacted me regarding several “EarthRounders” who
landed at Wittman Regional Airport (OSH). He was not
calling because of a violation, but rather to assist with
the completion of the around-the-world trip free of any
TSA issues. When was the last time TSA contacted you
to ensure border crossing ease? Only in Oshkosh does
Another milestone reached at AirVenture Oshkosh
2009 was the signing of a memorandum of understanding between EAA and the Aircraft Owners and
Pilots Association (AOPA). EAA
and AOPA have often worked the
same advocacy issues; this memorandum is meant to demonstrate
that together we are dedicated to
advancing the general aviation
community, and when possible,
we will combine the resources
of both organizations to ensure
that members receive the best
advocacy that our joint efforts
can produce. Numerous members
have already expressed their support for this partnership.
EAA is privileged to host
The World’s Greatest Aviation
Celebration. Our event attracts aviation officials and
enthusiasts from around the globe. This opportunity
allows us to educate them about the needs and wants of
the recreational flying community. Throughout the week
your government advocacy team worked issues from
ultralights to warbirds, and everything in between, from
what fuel you use to what pilot certificate you need.
Thank you for visiting Oshkosh and once again showing the world the wonderful attributes of EAA members.
And most importantly, thank you for reinforcing why I
am privileged to advocate on your behalf.
To learn more about EAA’s advocacy efforts,