Event Celebrates Its 44th Anniversary On September 6-7
The Experimental Aircraft
Association announced Thursday it has signed an agreement with the
Mid-Eastern Regional Fly-In (MERFI), one of the nation's oldest
recreational aviation events, intended to bring higher visibility
to the MERFI event.. while also clearly defining EAA's role in the
EAA tells ANN the agreement underscores the shared missions of
MERFI, which is celebrating its 44th anniversary in 2008, and the
170,000-member international organization. Under the agreement, EAA
will provide extensive promotion and coverage of MERFI, and also
serve as a major sponsor of aviation educational activities such as
forums and workshops during the event, among other
EAA has signed a number of similar agreements with other fly-ins
this year, following 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
As ANN reported, the change came following a
$10.5 million judgment against EAA and the Arlington Fly-In,
regarding a July 1999 takeoff accident at the event. The EAA was
hit with the bulk of that amount... despite seemingly overwhelming
evidence, including the NTSB's Probable Cause report, that the
accident was the result of a departure stall, and was in no way due
to any actions on the part of EAA or fly-in organizers.
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, 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.
"This agreement provides an
outstanding framework to ensure the future success of MERFI,
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 new agreement will be in place just in time for this year's
MERFI on September 6-7 at Urbana, OH.
"We very much appreciate that EAA is continuing to support our
event through its sponsorship," said Pam Fonseca of the Mid-Eastern
Fly-In Corporation, which organizes and administers the
MERFI's organizers moved the fly-in to Grimes Field (I74) at
Urbana this year, near both Columbus and Dayton, and the new
location features plenty of room for aircraft camping and parking.
Other features include a B-17 restoration shop, the Grimes Flying
Lab Museum, youth activities, a morning pancake breakfast each day
and an on-field café and restaurant.