Russ Erb, Newsletter Editor and Webmeister
EAA Chapter 1000 is chartered at Edwards Air Force Base, California, home of the Air Force Flight Test Center. It was formed in late 1991, when three EAAers working at the B-2 Combined Test Force foresaw in a vision Bob Mackey's future promotional campaign to encourage EAAers to join a chapter or start one, and decided to take him up on it before he could claim credit for it. It was either that, or they were discussing the large number of homebuilts under construction in base housing at the time and determined they had a critical mass to start a chapter. No one is sure now what they envisioned the future to be like. What is known is that even if they could foresee Bob Mackey's campaign, they couldn't have possibly foreseen what their little lunchtime discussion would lead to.
Since Chapter 1000 was chartered at the center of U.S. Air Force flight testing, you would expect that a large percentage of the membership would be Test Pilots, Flight Test Engineers, and people working in the allied disciplines. Essentially, you would be correct. However, you would probably not guess that the chapter would take on a personality so infectious (contagious?) that it would draw in EAAers from all walks of life. A quick review of the chapter roster shows, amongst others, members in such non-flight test related occupations as a bail bond agent, a professional musician, and a retired firefighter. This is a chapter open to all EAAers!
Unlike some chapters that are formed mostly of EAAers building similar types of aircraft, or at least of similar types of construction, Chapter 1000 is as diverse as they come. Our roster shows representatives of each of the major forms of construction: Wood (Boredom Fighter, Excalibur (a heavily modified Corby Starlet)); Sheet Aluminum (RV series, Mustang II); Tube and Fabric (Bearhawk, RANS S-10); and Composites (EZs, Berkut, Glasairs). Of course, not everyone is building. Our members also own many fine production aircraft, including antique/classics (Cessna 140, 170, Navion) and at least one warbird (Irska TS-11). We don't have any ultralights in the chapter yet, but they'll be welcome when they come.
Find some EAAers familiar with but not members of Chapter 1000 and give them a free association test. Mention "EAA Chapter 1000" and the first words out of their mouths will be "Project Police"! The Project Police was formed by Chapter 1000 to encourage progress in construction, ensure high quality workmanship, promote flight test safety, and, mostly, as an excuse to have fun!
Here you see three Project Police heavies arriving at Flabob International Airport for our annual inspection of EAA Chapter 1. Unlike city or state police, the Project Police can be bought off with high-fructose snacks and chocolate chip cookies. In keeping with the great American principle of checks and balances, the activities of the Project Police must be reported in the chapter newsletter. In these reports, accuracy of reporting is considered secondary to the need to be humorous. Writing the reports of the events as they might have happened is almost as much fun as participating in the events themselves. Watch Sport Aviation for an upcoming complete report on the Project Police.
Chapter 1000 has been an avid supporter of the Young Eagles program since the program began in 1992. Chapter 1000 and Chapter 49 (in Lancaster CA, about 30 minutes south) decided in 1992 to accomplish the Young Eagles program as a joint effort. We typically hold a rally each month, except for August and December. Currently, Chapters 1000 and 49 have flown approximately 2000 Young Eagles.
As an outgrowth of these rallies and their resultant paperwork burden, Russ Erb, based on an idea from Bob Waldmiller, developed the computer program WinYEFC, which runs under Windows and prints high quality text on the EAA supplied Young Eagle Certificates. It also maintains a database of pilots and their aircraft and a database of Young Eagles flown. This program has been made available free of charge to all EAAers, and was largely responsible for Russ being named the 1997 Young Eagles Outstanding Ground Volunteer.
Besides the Young Eagles program, Chapter 1000 and Chapter 49 participate jointly in many activities. As you may not know, there is no limit on how many chapters an EAAer can belong to. Many of our members are also members of Chapter 49. These joint efforts result in a benefit for both chapters. For instance, Chapter 1000 has no certified Technical Counselors, but Chapter 49 has four. The two chapters have unique but complementary personalities.
With all of these technical people in our chapter, you would expect that our meeting programs would lean toward the technical side. In some respect, you'd be correct. We still have the usual round of building techniques, historical, and general interest programs as well. The technical bent of the chapter, however, is much more evident in the chapter newsletter. Almost every issue, along with the usual round of meeting announcement, review of the last meeting, event reports, Young Eagle Report, etc, will contain one or more technical articles. These are not limited to any one subject, but have covered the gamut of all areas. Does this mean your chapter should do the same? No, (although you might try it) but we find it matches our audience very well.
Flight testers like to do flight tests, and our folks have done quite a bit of it. We have published many flight reports of one to five flight evaluations of all types of airplanes, including sailplanes, RANS S-6S, and even a MiG-25! Additionally, Brian Martinez (pictured here) has submitted for publication a very detailed report of the flight test program of his Q-200. Chapter 1000 was also at the lead of determining the need for a larger horizontal tail for the Lancair 360 a few years back.
Chapter 1000 never had any intention of keeping all of this expertise to themselves. After all, flight testers, more than anyone else, encourage flight test safety. As such, it would not be too much of a stretch to say that Chapter 1000 is the home of the Flight Advisor program. Most of the Flight Advisor's handbook was written by Norm Howell, who lifted most of it part and parcel from a Test Pilot School Test Management Report written by Russ Erb, Harry Whiting, and other members of TPS Class 89B. This project was the result of far-sighted EAAers Rich Runyon and Harry Walker on the TPS staff who saw the need for this type of information to get out to EAAers. It was either that, or they were just too lazy to write the test plans for their own homebuilts and decided to get the students to write it for them.
Currently Chapter 1000 recognizes four major events on our annual calendar, along with all of the usual meetings, fly-ins, and stuff. The first major event of the calendar year is our annual pilgramage to the Mother of all EAA chapters, EAA Chapter 1 at Flabob International Airport near Riverside California. This inspection trip for the Project Police is accomplished under the code name Operation Rubidoux Sundown (read about them on the Project Police Blotter). It is cleverly scheduled to coincide with the annual Chapter 1 Open House.
Here you see the victorious end of Operation Rubidoux Sundown V. So far, each year we have found everything to be in good order, and have left the diplomatic power of Chapter 1 intact. This all started because President Jan Johnson and Ray Stits of Chapter 1 came to our first chapter event (see below). We just keep repaying the favor. Chapter 1000 feels something of a special kinship with Chapter 1, since the only difference between the two chapters are a bunch of zeros. We also find that all of the hype about this fly-in gives not just our chapter a way to have fun with the event, but also another way for Chapter 1 to enjoy their own event as well. Of course, the Project Police are trained to deal with such defiance as shown in the photo above. What a great party!
Next on the calendar is the "Scotty Horowitz Going Away Fly-In" held each May. This event started in 1992 as an airport barbecue. Since Chapter 1000 was not officially chartered yet, we couldn't call it a fly-in. About the same time, Scott Horowitz (shown here with wife Lisa at the prop of his Tri-Q-200), six months out of Test Pilot School, was leaving for Texas to start Astronaut training. Therefore, the barbecue became his going away party. We all had so much fun, we decided to have a going-away fly-in in his honor each year. The Seventh Annual Scotty Horowitz Going Away Fly-In was held on 16 May 1998. This fly-in is our annual monument to the six F's of EAA (Flyin' Friends Feedin' Face Fer Fun). (Note: Bob Mackey still hasn't seen it our way that there are six F's, not four.)
Each October, Edwards Air Force Base holds its annual Open House and Airshow. Part of this event is an invitational fly-in of homebuilts on display in the BIG maintenance hangar (this last year we stuffed 80 of 'em in there). Since the organizers want this display done right, they come to the acknowledged local experts, EAA Chapter 1000. Think of it as our payback for using base facilities for our meetings. Of course, our good buddies from Chapter 49 come out and help us too (and get those preferred parking places). Shown here is a picture of the project display at the 1997 Open House, which included Bearhawk ribs and spars, a Pedal Pitts, and an RV-6/6A display, consisting of a tail section, wing, instrument panel, fuselage, and the Copperstate Grand Champion as an example of the final product. In the rear, you can see the nose of Nemesis.
Yes, Chapter 1000 is the home of Formula 1 mega-champ Nemesis and her owners/operators/pilots Jon and Tricia Sharp. The Project Police give them lots of advice, which they wisely ignore. I mention this here, because it leads in the the next event...
...the Fox Field National Air Races. While Jon and Tricia plan the air races, for the last two years Chapters 1000 and 49 have been responsible for planning the accompanying fly-in. Here you see the 1997 Chapter 1000 booth at the air races. This booth has been referred to as "the most over-engineered piece of plywood on the planet," and is reportedly stressed for +9/-6 g's. It has already reaffirmed the wisdom of building it several times, as it gives us an outstanding operating base at chapter events.
Recently, Chapter 1000 has stopped talking about having technical workshops and started doing them. As mentioned before, Chapter 1000 has no certified Technical Counselors, but we certainly have a lot of technical people who really know their area of expertise. Shown here is a recent electrical workshop sponsored by the chapter. Here Charlie Wagner, 40-year master of NASA airborne and spaceborne electrons, shows Harmon Rocket II builder Miles Bowen and Pulsar builder George Gennuso the proper technique for stripping battery cable. Also planned for later this year is a sheet metal workshop.
A unique hazard that most other chapters don't have to deal with is the problem of having a large military membership, who tend to disappear after three or four years at the request of the government. However, we have seen that although many of our members move away, they continue to send in their dues and remain chapter members. The primary membership benefit that these members get is monthly receipt of our McKillop Award winning newsletter, The Leading Edge. Approximately 25 per cent of our chapter membership do not live in the area around Edwards Air Force Base. In an effort to accommodate this wide ranging membership, our chapter has adopted a system of Chapter Detachments (Dets). Shown here are the currently recognized Dets. Additionally, we have members across the country and in such places as Brazil and Germany. Some members have never been here to attend a chapter meeting! They just enjoy the newsletter that much.
In order to qualify for Det status, a detached member of Chapter 1000 must submit an article of suitable quality for publication in The Leading Edge. Management of the Det structure is wholly controlled by the Newsletter Editor, who has the sole authority to grant or revoke Det status.
If you've gotten this far in the 25 cent tour of Chapter 1000, you've probably already clicked at least one of the links to the Chapter 1000 Web Site (http://www.eaa1000.av.org). Without a doubt, Chapter 1000 is leading the charge of EAA Chapters into Cyberspace with the largest Chapter Web Site in EAA. (Go ahead--try to make one bigger--it'll give our webmeister something to surf!) Launched on 20 February 1997, the site has continued to grow. In our first year, we recorded over 11,000 hits.
The Chapter 1000 Web Site finally answered the question of how to make all of the great content of six years of newsletters available to folks who were not lucky enough to have been a member of the chapter since its beginning. Specifically, it was started by a question about worktable design on the Bearhawk e-mail list. I presented the Chapter 1000 Standardized Work Tables, shown here at the left, as an ideal solution. Having no way at the time to e-mail the plans, the Bearhawk webmaster suggested that he could put it on the Bearhawk web site. That sparked the idea and resulted in what you see today.
We encourage you to visit our site early and often. All sorts of little tidbits are hidden there, like the running joke about sprinkler heads. Newsletter Editors are encouraged to find material to supplement their chapter newsletters. Interested in starting your own chapter web site? Check out the information and hints on how to do it.
In early February, Chapter 1000 was in the overwhelming majority of those in attendance at Bob Mackey's Southern California Chapter Leadership Workshop. Here we are seen recruiting Bob Mackey and Bob Warner into the Project Police as official headquarters "inside" men.
You may have noticed that Chapter 1000 doesn't conform to any of your preconceived ideas of what an EAA Chapter is like. We actually enjoy that reputation. If you have no preconceived ideas of what an EAA Chapter is like, that's probably because you don't belong to an EAA chapter. AND WHY NOT?! Go ahead...the Project Police are standing by, waiting for your weak excuse...
Hopefully you have also noted that EAA Chapters are not just for people currently building homebuilts or who have completed homebuilts. There's plenty of room for builder wannabees and for people who just have an interest in aviation. Put bluntly, THERE'S ROOM FOR YOU! So hop to it! Join an EAA Chapter! Don't know where one is near you? Contact the friendly folks in the EAA Chapter Office. They'll be happy to tell you where the closest one is. Of course, you could check for yourself on the National EAA Web Site Chapter Directory.
You say there's not a chapter near you? Again, this is a problem you can fix. Simply start your own! The nice folks in the EAA Chapter Office can tell you how to do it. If you don't know any other EAA members near you, contact the Chapter Office and ask them to send you the list of all EAA members with the same first three digits of your zip code. (This is also a great way for established chapters to find new members!) Who knows? You might end up with a chapter as zany as ours!
And finally, would you like to see your chapter featured here? Don't wait for EAA to call you--execute a pre-emptive strike. Put together some photos of your chapter doing stuff, add a writeup telling us about your chapter, and send it in to the Chapter Office. I'm sure they'd love to hear from you.
Visitors Since 15 August, 1998:
Contents of The Leading Edge and these web pages are the viewpoints of the authors. No claim is made and no liability is assumed, expressed or implied as to the technical accuracy or safety of the material presented. The viewpoints expressed are not necessarily those of Chapter 1000 or the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Revised -- 25 February 1999