Value of EAA
We've had an unusually cold, snowy winter in Wisconsin, so I've had time to reflect on the great value of our parent organization, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). They promote education and recreation , essential components for the safe enjoyment of a sport as challenging as building and flying homebuilt aircraft.
The EAA knows that education means not only helping us to learn new skills, but also how to judge our own workmanship . For that reason they hold workshops in Oshkosh and elsewhere across USA to help us evaluate our own skills. There's no point in spending thousands of hours building our pride and joy, only to have the FAA inspector declare that it's not airworthy. Sometimes our technique is good, but we make wrong assumptions as we build Coot parts. The aileron torque tube bearings are a classic example. When Molt wrote: HELI-ARC WELD part # 420-2 to 420-4 he didn't mean for it to be brazed with silver-solder, for the latter technique doesn't penetrate the aluminum tube well. It's crucial for that outboard aileron bearing to be built properly, if you want to fly a safe Coot. If you don't have the skills and equipment for heli-arc welding, it's not very difficult to find (through your local EAA chapter) someone who can help you. You paid for Molt's knowledge when you bought the plans, so be sure to follow his good advice.
The second part of EAA's theme is recreation . Let's have fun! Some people can do this in isolation, but most of us have more fun when we exchange ideas, often in an atmosphere of comradeship and good-natured support. Part of the group fun is pride of accomplishment, as in a grown-up version of “show-and-tell” from school days. Many of us do this when we host local meetings of Coot-builders around our projects. It can be very instructive to have other builders evaluate our workmanship. Bill Schmidt has taken this idea a step further by suggesting that some of us might like to organize ourselves into cooperative builder/financier groups so we can resurrect some old Coot projects and complete them.
Built into the idea of accomplishment is the element of TIME. While our quest shouldn't become a race to the finish, it loses some of its fun if it's allowed to become an albatross. I've collected over 700 address cards of inactive Coot-builders, most of whom allowed their dreams to wither and fade. Let Coot-building become a passion that overtakes you, and gives you pleasure as you tick off each step along your list.