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Experimental Aircraft Association
Type Not for profit
Founded 1953
Headquarters Oshkosh, Wisconsinmarker, United Statesmarker
Membership Individuals and companies
Field Aviation advocacy
Number of Members 160,000 (2007)
Key Personnel Founder: Paul Poberenzy

Chairman of the Board: Tom Poberezny

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is an international organization of aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsinmarker. Since its inception, it has grown internationally with over 160,000 members, and around 1,000 chapters in many countries.


AirVenture 2004
Eagle Hangar at the EAA Air Adventure Museum

The EAA was founded in 1953 by veteran aviator Paul Poberezny along with other aviation enthusiasts. The organization began as more or less a flying club. Paul Poberenzy explains the nature of the organization's name, "Because the planes we flew were modified or built from scratch, they were required to display an EXPERIMENTAL placard where it could be seen on the door or cockpit, so it was quite natural that we call ourselves the "Experimental Aircraft Association". Homebuilding is still a large part of EAA, but the organization has grown over the years to include almost every aspect of aviation and aeronautics.

AirVenture Museum

Located adjacent to EAA's headquarters in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the EAA AirVenture Museummarker is an extensive collection of aircraft and aviation displays. The Museum is home to EAA's collection of more than 200 aircraft, of which more than 90 are on display inside the museum at any time. The museum's Pioneer Airport is a re-creation of a vintage aerodrome, with more than 40 additional airplanes on display. From May through mid-October (daily Memorial Day through Labor Day), flights are offered in vintage aircraft.

Programs and activities

Organizational structure

The organization is overseen by a Chairman, a President, a CEO and a Board of Directors. Paul Poberezny assumed the duties of President and CEO at the 1953 founding. In 1989 he assumed the (newly-created) position of Chairman of the Board, and his son Tom Poberezny became President/CEO. In March 2009 Paul Poberezny resigned and the Board voted to elevate Tom Poberezny to Chairman of the Board. As of November 2009 a President/CEO had not been named to replace Tom Poberezny.

Local chapters may be formed whenever ten or more EAA members reside in a given area. Chapters are encouraged to meet monthly. The first chapter meeting occurred at Fla-Bob Airport in California, with noted aircraft designer and builder Ray Stits presiding.

Technical Counselor program

To help ensure that all amateur-built aircraft are well-constructed, safe aircraft, the EAA organizes a group of volunteers, known as Technical Counselors, who will visit the construction project to identify any areas of concern. Technical Counselors are EAA members who volunteer their time and who have met at least one of the following criteria:

  • Have built an experimental category aircraft
  • Have restored an antique/classic aircraft
  • Hold an A&P, IA, DAR, DER or Aerospace Engineer rating in the United States, an equivalent international rating or have the qualifications for those ratings.

There is no charge for this on-site review. The program is strictly voluntary. The recommendations of the Technical Counselor are advisory only. The EAA recommends a minimum of three Technical Counselor visits over the course of construction.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Each summer EAA presents the largest annual general aviation event in the world, 'EAA AirVenture Oshkosh', also commonly known as the "Oshkosh Airshow". During the event, the city's airport, Wittman Regional Airportmarker, is the busiest airport in the world. The week-long event annually attracts around 10,000-12,000 planes and a total attendance of more than 500,000. The event also attracts more than 800 exhibitors, hosts nearly 1,000 forums, seminars and workshops, and welcomes more than 700 journalists each year.

The annual fly-in was first held at the Rockford, Illinoismarker airport. Attendance at the fly-in continued to grow until the Rockford airport was too small to accommodate the crowds, so it was moved to Oshkosh in 1970. A 2008 study conducted by the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh determined that the 500,000 annual fly-in attendance generates $110 million of tourist income for the three counties surrounding the airport.

Young Eagles

The EAA also sponsors the Young Eagles program, which was started in 1992 with the aim of giving one million children an airplane ride by 17 December 2003, the Centennial of Flight (see Wright brothers). The program reached that goal, and has continued, approaching 1.5 million rides by late 2009.

The Young Eagles program has been overseen by a series of nationally-famous chairmen:

Sun 'N Fun Airshow

The other major yearly airshow attended by EAA members and staff is Sun 'n Fun, held every April in Lakeland, Floridamarker. Sun 'n Fun has been an independent organization from the EAA since its first show in 1975, although the event has always involved significant EAA participation.

The two organizations signed an agreement in January 1989 recognizing their independence. On 30 March 2005 Sun 'n Fun issued a press release affirming the independence of the two organizations but assuring the aviation public that they would continue to work together. As such Sun 'n Fun remains a show with participation from EAA chapters and a presence from the national EAA staff, but it is not an EAA event.


  1. Experimental Aircraft Association. "History of EAA".
  3. "EAA AirVenture takes flight for the future", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

See also

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