'NWEAA' No More, But Will Continue To Support Event Through
It will still be the same fly-in as before -- one of the most
enjoyable recreational aviation events in country -- but it now has
a new name. In keeping with its new policy shunning implied
sponsorship of regional fly-ins, the Experimental Aircraft
Association announced this week it has signed a new working
agreement with the Arlington Fly-In.
The new agreement means the event will no longer include "EAA"
in its name (the show's former, formal name was the Northwest EAA
Fly-In, though nearly everybody referred to it as 'Arlington')...
but for all intents and purposes, EAA will continue to maintain
most of its support for the show. Under the agreement, EAA will
provide extensive promotion and coverage of the Arlington Fly-In,
and also serve as a major sponsor of aviation educational
activities such as forums and workshops during the event, among
"This agreement provides an outstanding framework to ensure the
future success of the Arlington Fly-In, confirms its organizational
independence and highlights EAA's support for grassroots aviation
events throughout the country," said Adam Smith, EAA's vice
president of membership. "We have set the stage for success
in our shared missions, which is to promote recreational aviation
in all its forms."
The two organizations had operated under a more informal
agreement over the past 20 years, which did not provide specific
definitions of each group's commitments and responsibilities. The
EAA says the new agreement -- which is in place for Arlington's
upcoming 40th Anniversary fly-in, on July 9-13 -- "reflects the
evolving aviation community in the 21st century."
That statement carries with it both positive and negative
undertones. As ANN reported, the EAA
announced in December 2007 a significant change to its policies
regarding the organization's support -- whether direct, or implied
-- of regional events, many of which freely used 'EAA' in their
names. The change came following a $10.5 million judgment against
EAA, the fly-in, and the city of Arlington, regarding a July 1999
takeoff accident at the event.
The EAA was hit with the bulk of that amount, despite seemingly
overwhelming evidence -- including eyewitness accounts, and the
NTSB's Probable Cause report -- the accident was the result of a
departure stall, and was in no way due to any actions on the part
of EAA... fly-in organizers... city or county personnel... in
essence, no one but the pilot of the RV-6A, who, sadly, was lost in
In the past, EAA arranged for insurance coverage for regional
fly-ins as part of its overall av-insurance plan. Regional
organizers would then reimburse EAA for their portion of insurance
costs -- meaning, in essence, fly-ins benefited from paying the
Under the new agreement, Arlington -- and other regional fly-in
events -- must secure their own insurance. EAA also takes pains to
note the event is owned and operated by Arlington Fly-In, an
organization that is independent of EAA. The organization does not
own or control any part of the event or organizing body.
Despite the legalistic maneuvering, Barbara Tolbert, executive
director of the Arlington Fly-In, says the new agreement's benefits
will likely outweigh the minuses in the end.
"This agreement offers the Arlington Fly-In a new, higher level
of support from EAA in areas that reflect our mutual goals,"
Tolbert said. "This is a clear indication of EAA's support for
these major fly-in events and gives each of our organizations the
direction to make this event even better for those who have a
passion for flight."
One of the benefits of the new agreement involves the use of EAA
Judging Standards in Arlington's aircraft awards program. The group
will also host two EAA SportAir Workshops on the fly-in grounds at
other times of the year.
Along with the increased visibility and promotion of the
Arlington Fly-In, EAA will have a major presence at the event to
provide member services, host forums, and encourage its members to
serve as volunteers at the fly-in.