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EAA should stay out of non-aviation politics

Posted By:
Mike Edwards
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
130
Posts
30
#1 Posted: 6/17/2010 16:34:42

The schedule just released says Burt Rutan is again this year presenting his talk on "climate science" at AirVenture.  I'm sure his views were popular among the membership.  However, I think this subject is so non-aviation related, and so politically charged, that it has no business at an EAA venue.  I wrote Tom Poberezny about this last year and received a very considerate email in return.  He did not promise anything, but he used the term "stepped over the line" related to Mr. Rutan's presentation.

Now before you all start blasting me with the "no credible evidence" argument, I assure you that I would have exactly the same reaction to a presentation at Oshkosh on how our health care system is supposedly broken and needs the government to fix it.

EAA should stay out of non-aviation politics, all sides, all flavors, all inflections, period.

I've written Mr. Poberezny again expressing my disappointment.  I said, "apparently either your most popular presenter can do anything he wants with EAA, or else EAA chooses to embrace and disseminate his political views under their label.  I find either unacceptable."

I have canceled my trip to Oshkosh this year and have notified the membership department to terminate my EAA membership.  I cannot sit still and let what used to be my association become a vehicle for volatile political argument.

 

 



Ralph King
437
Posts
50
#2 Posted: 6/17/2010 19:33:35 Modified: 6/17/2010 19:36:29

Mike: 

I appreciate people that stand up for what they feel is wrong or right because about 85% of the United States population have their head in the sand, and really are not aware of current events or the motivation behind current events.

Your better served to remain a member if for no other reason than to be able to see down the road that what you object to becomes a negative for all people.

If I canceled my membership, it would not have any more impact than if I died and ceased to be a member from having died in my opinion.

People that love aviation need to stay a part of EAA, please think it over.

You can help by being a member on the inside rather than looking in from the outside.

Ralph

 

 



Louis Knapp
Vintage Aircraft Association Member
23
Posts
16
#3 Posted: 6/18/2010 02:01:48

I agree with both posts.  Mike, please stay with us.  If everyone with your perception drops out, the EAA will only slide faster in the direction you fear. 

I've seen this happen in another orginization I'm in.  I support the orginization  because I believe strongly in it's principles, , but I have very strong disagreements with some of their spokesmen on matters which have nothing to do with  what the orginization itself stands for.  I think that issue alienates and repulses a great many potential supporters.  I will remain a member and hope I can do something, even if very small, to return the focus to where it belongs.

I'm sure the EAA recognizes that big names, like Burt Rutan, are a big draw, which can mean big money.  Perhaps there's a fear of them being offended and going away if they're told we're not so interested in hearing their views on controversial non-aviation matters.  I'm sure other big names in the EAA like Harrison Ford and Captain Sullenburger have political views  and I appreciate that they focus on promoting aviation and leave their other  politics out of it. 

It is inevidable that private sport flying, as we know it, is in for a fight for existance.  We must all hang together, or hang seperately, as a great man stated.  Most  times the only way to prevail in a struggle is to ally oneself with those who you may agree with on very few other issues.

I imagine we've all been to EAA chapter meetings when someone had to spout out their political views.  I don't quite understand why they feel that would add anything of value to the meeting.   I guess maybe it's just human nature to assume that those who agree with them on one thing near and dear to them would agree on everything else as well.  It happens but I'd  rather not  see that  sort of thinking become national EAA policy....Louis



Bill Berson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
106
Posts
19
#4 Posted: 6/18/2010 19:41:15

I try to read everything I can about the climate change issue and have my opinions like everyone else. Just a few days ago I was listening to Dr. Peter Ward talking on National Public Radio about his new book about climate change called "The Flooded Earth".  Peter Ward commented on the radio: " aviation has got to go". 

So I think this is a topic for us. EAA's government affairs division should follow this issue as closely as any other political issue that effects private aviation. 

Bill



Peter Humby
4
Posts
4
#5 Posted: 6/19/2010 11:26:54

Judge for yourself, Burt's presentation at Oshkosh is posted on YouTube, embedding part 1 here and you can click through for the rest.   Burt is not claiming to be a politician or a climatologist, he is saying "here's what an aeronautical engineer thinks when he looks at the data being presented about global warming."




Pierre D'Entremont
Homebuilder or Craftsman
131
Posts
37
#6 Posted: 6/19/2010 17:53:39

While It is a subject that has a political component...it is presented by Burt about how and what he thinks about it...and is not MANDATORY VEIWING...but just more of how Burt is wired ...and his thoughts and conclusions in many ways are a departure from my own...

No reason for you to Yosemittty Sam yourself outta here though... there might be some thing to come from it that otherwise would not develop....

I thought when Burt announced that eaa would be going to space ... well that was just absolutely perposterous... 

So I just want to see whats going to happen next while I continue to muddle through my own passion project .




Tooky or Pierre
Thomas Steber
125
Posts
55
#7 Posted: 6/20/2010 19:38:59
Bill Berson wrote:

 

I try to read everything I can about the climate change issue and have my opinions like everyone else. Just a few days ago I was listening to Dr. Peter Ward talking on National Public Radio about his new book about climate change called "The Flooded Earth".  Peter Ward commented on the radio: " aviation has got to go". 

So I think this is a topic for us. EAA's government affairs division should follow this issue as closely as any other political issue that effects private aviation. 

Bill

 

Just my humble opinion here, but I would expect to hear nothing less on NPR.

I may agree totally with Mr. Rutan also, but I also feel I can learn that stuff elsewhere other than at Oshkosh.

For me Oshkosh is a one week escape from all that.



Waiting on the Powerball!
Joe LaMantia
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
175
Posts
69
#8 Posted: 6/21/2010 09:25:26

I don't think anything can be accomplished by leaving EAA.  I don't think EAA HQ would try and censor their speakers, but I'm sure if something said were really off the wall the speaker wouldn't be invited back.  Having viewed the video, I think what we're hearing is Burt's opinion.  The whole global warming/energy discussion is in fact a major political discussion that can and will affect aviation, so we need to at least carry our concerns into whatever policy takes shape.  AOPA is really on the point here but EAA is coordinating their efforts with AOPA in order to take a single and consistent message to congress.  We had a big push on user fees and that seems to have worked out pretty well, lets hope we can find a replacement fuel for 100LL that will make everyone happy.


Joe



Jake Bristol
AirVenture Volunteer
16
Posts
6
#9 Posted: 6/21/2010 18:04:33

Leaving the EAA won't really accomplish much...with that said, remember...all of the forums at Airventure are very optional to attend. Not going to Oshkosh and pulling your membership because of one forum would only be making yourself miss out on the best week of the year. Personally I cant wait to hear Mr. Rutan talk about the issue. Its a great interest of mine and i'd love to hear his prospective on it. Like it or not..when you have an organization, there is bound to be politics...and i don't believe this is topic is too far off from aviation. Regardless...every one loves Burt. lol



Burt Rutan
Homebuilder or Craftsman
2
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12
#10 Posted: 6/23/2010 18:59:20

Thanks to all you posters, you have brought me out of hiding.  I have just sent the following letter to EAA and others.  I hope this helps focus the debate going on in this thread.

Burt Rutan


This was sentThe link below includes blog discussion about the plan for me to include a forum titled "Engineer's Critique on Climate Science", among the seven talks I am giving at AirVenture 2010.  The blog discussion ranges from someone who calls it "politics" and because of that he plans to not go to AirVenture this year, to another that believes proposed climate legislation is important to our future freedoms to fly.


I requested the titles this year knowing that some may not be happy to see me using the EAA event to discuss a 'non-aviation' subject.  I was indeed prepared to accept an EAA request to not present the Climate talk.  I myself have commented at length in the past that political statements, given to the public during a public forum, should be left to the politicians, since making them will likely make more than 1/3rd of any audience hate you.  I like to think that my EAA forum audiences are more than 85% supportive and have always been since my first Oshkosh talk in 1972.  Why would I risk ruining a very positive popularity statistic?

Back to the blog; I need to be honest and say that I agree with every person that posted his comment.  Oshkosh is not unique in being totally apolitical.  In the past I have enjoyed the lectures of those I knew I would agree with, and have avoided attending lectures by those I felt would not share my passion and deep beliefs.  Real political discussion like you find at Tea Party events and TED conferences have no place at the EAA convention.  Comments made that resemble party political TV ads should not be heard in any Oshkosh forum.

I would certainly agree that a convention that included only 3 or 4 keynotes; all of them attended by most of the attendees, should be carefully focused for on-topic content.  However, each of my Oshkosh talks is attended by a small fraction of 1% of the attendees, and the crowd has many diverse choices of forum topic during each time slot.

While a few hard-political folk may disagree, I believe that a very large majority will view my Engineer Critique for what it is: the findings of an engineer who has spent the last 45 years processing measured data and honestly presenting it so it can be understood and used by those that need it.  A great deal of my data analysis and presentation efforts has been for things that have real consequences; Military aircraft development, civil aircraft certification or validation of safety for manned aircraft allowed to fly without a Type Certificate.  I understand better than most the importance to present data in a way to inform, not to deceive or to scare.  When I see clear overwhelming evidence that data are not being processed and presented with those ethics, I am surprised.  When I see that that behavior might indeed threaten our freedoms to enjoy flying by making it more expensive and viewed as less acceptable to the non-flying public, I am angered.

That is why I have, for years researched the climate alarmism debate as a hobby and why it holds my interest today.  Like the many hobbies I have had in the past (several were outlined in two talks at AirVenture2009), this one will likely hold my interest for only a short time.  Real political activists hold lifetime passions and will always seek venues that provide a soapbox.  My interest here is more focused - getting some light shed on the ethics of science v. engineering presentation of data.  It has held my interest longer than most, because of the significant consequences of validation of the climate theories.

My 'recommendations' slide is very different from all those who make their living on either side of the global warming debate.  I point to the need to treat the data as you must when you are certifying an aircraft that flies the public. I do think that that will resonate with everyone who knows and appreciates the importance of handling the data from aircraft flight testing, and that is a large segment of the EAA population.

While my Oshkosh talks have never been short of controversy,  I absolutely do not want to expand the extent of those who may think I should not be there.  I will listen carefully to you and will change my subjects as needed in the future.

Lookin up........ way up,
Burt Rutan 


Andy Gamache
Homebuilder or Craftsman
122
Posts
28
#11 Posted: 6/24/2010 06:37:46

Great to see you here Burt!!

I've been a fan of yours since I got a ride in a Vari-Eze way back in 1980. Unfortunately, I've only been able to attend a handful of your talks at Airventure, but those that I have attended have been eye-opening. I find that when you make controversial remarks, that you tend to be correct and have had that track record for decades.

I expect nothing less if your climate presentation goes on as scheduled.

Later!!

Andy



Thomas Steber
125
Posts
55
#12 Posted: 6/24/2010 07:27:39 Modified: 6/24/2010 07:30:43

Thanks for chiming in Burt.  Also a big fan here.  Thanks for posting your feelings on this thread and the feelings of the thoughts there in.  If it's still on, I'll be there. 

Take care,

Tom

 



Waiting on the Powerball!
Eric Marsh
Homebuilder or Craftsman
49
Posts
7
#13 Posted: 6/24/2010 08:31:27

IMHO, discussion of climate science should, by definition, deal with the science. Climate change is a subject of legitimate research and should be of interest to us all.

Having said that, yes, it has been politicized. Now why would that be?

As they say, follow the money. Where does it lead?

'nuff said.



Joe LaMantia
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
175
Posts
69
#14 Posted: 6/24/2010 08:40:33

Burt,

Thanks for your thoughtful response and participation in this blog!  It seems clear to me that energy policy is and will continue to be a major political issue in the public forum.  We need to understand the impacts of policy changes on aviation in order to address our concerns in an intelligent manner.  I believe your inputs will help present facts that cannot be denied.  In the end, congress cannot repeal the laws of physics anymore then they can repeal the laws of economics.  That doesn't mean some won't try, that's all about being re-elected in the end.  Your taking on a tiger of an issue but we in the aviation community have to have a clear vision that will help us survive whatever changes to energy policy come to pass.  I for one have always enjoyed your forums along with those of Dick and many other greats within the aviation community.  Your doing us a great service, by sticking your neck out and trying to keep the discussion factual rather then emotional.


Best Regards,


Joe




Ryan Lunde
32
Posts
44
#15 Posted: 6/24/2010 09:21:22

Thank you, Burt.  I'm glad somebody is looking at this matter objectively.  People on both sides tend to manipulate data in unethical ways, even if they mean well (yes, I see it as possible to mean well and be unethical).  My freedom to fly is one of the things I hold dearest and I do feel supremely threatened by carbon regulation.  I'm also a geologist and work in coal mining, so I feel professionally threatened as well.  Geologists are often more qualified than politicos to discuss the merits of climate change research, but one you've worked for a coal, oil, or gas company, you're black-balled from ever having any scientific credibility in this arena.  It's good to see an engineer outside the energy industry presenting such presentations.  I wish I was going to be at Oshkosh this year.  Keep up the good work.



Burt Rutan
Homebuilder or Craftsman
2
Posts
12
#16 Posted: 6/24/2010 11:27:45

It makes no sense that the subject of my presentation be viewed in a party-political way.  Looking at the strength of the proof for the theory of catastrophic warming caused by human co2 emissions has no reason to be viewed differently through a R, D or I lens. 

My study of the subject is a hobby; using my 45 years of professional data analysis and presentation skills to access how the climate data is being used to prove a theory.  My interest in the debate has nothing to do with politics.  Those that view the technical theory proof as politics, have only to answer to themselves as to why.

I have not written my 31 July talk yet, but it will likely cover what I have learned by discussions with alarmist scientists, some of them very well known.  I got really interested in the subject after being challenged by a CNN anchor and by a customer.  My research to answer the challenge has led me to some unbelievable examples of data presentation, so I will likely share that at Oshkosh.

Not the Oshkosh talk, but a summary of some findings can be found at:

http://rps3.com/


burt




Shannon Coleman
Homebuilder or Craftsman
69
Posts
27
#17 Posted: 6/24/2010 11:47:38

Burt,

Thanks for posting on this blog and informing all of us of the content of your talk.  I won't be able to make Airventure, but I would love to hear the talk.  Please post up links to it afterwards.

I also want to say that I support your veiw of science vs. engineering viewpoints of data.  The most important thing I learned as a mathematics major in college is that ALL data can be manipulated.  Even the exact same data can be presented to support opposing views.  Is the glass half full or half empty?  It depends on which side of the debate you are arguing for.

Thanks again for posting.



Ried Jacobsen
194
Posts
26
#18 Posted: 6/24/2010 12:16:36

EAA should stay out of political discussions?  I disagree.

Politics and politicians come after aviation in many ways, most of them un-educated.

Until the politicians agree to stay out of our playing field, we should (and probably will) stray into their playground.

An uninformed and uneducated public get the bad government they try to NOT pay attention to.

On one hand, I do not think we know enough to know whether mankind is affecting the global temperatures.  On the other hand, I do not think we have the right to live irresponsibly, wasting resources.  We need to live and fly attempting to maintain a sense of balance.

I shall get off my soapbox now!



Ralph King
437
Posts
50
#19 Posted: 6/24/2010 16:39:05 Modified: 6/24/2010 17:03:52

Its hard if not impossible to decide on politics in these times if the news media is controlled or are promoting anti constitutional agendas and or anti constitutional people that are running for office.

In other words if people do not get the truth about people running for a major office for the mass of voters, then its all a joke.

 

Ralph

 

P.S. In my opinion the world of politics need more farmers and less attorneys

 



Ron Wanttaja
246
Posts
98
#20 Posted: 6/26/2010 02:52:12
Ralph King wrote:

 

Its hard if not impossible to decide on politics in these times if the news media is controlled or are promoting anti constitutional agendas and or anti constitutional people that are running for office.

In other words if people do not get the truth about people running for a major office for the mass of voters, then its all a joke.

The trouble comes in trying to separate truth from lies.  I agree that the news media can distort.  But does that mean the guy standing in front of Costco *doesn't* distort?  Should I trust the mass emails people send me, slamming a particular candidate or philosophy, and mistrust CNN, Fox News, and the rest?

The fundamental solution:  Get involved with local politics.  If you think things should be done differently, then gather your friends and get the right candidates elected.  Kvetching on bulletin boards accomplishes nothing.

As far as political/controversial subjects at AirVenture are concerned, the plain truth is that *any* political or non-aviation controversies distract from the purpose of the event.  Give the choice, should the AirVenture staff schedule a forum with Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken, or give the time to a guy talking about how he converted a Honda engine for his RV-12?

A LOT more people will come to hear Limbaugh or Franken...but that isn't the point of AirVenture, is it?  Should the AirVenture staff spend their time trying to arrange technical speakers...or engage in internal debates as to how to give both sides of political controversies equal time?

As far as Mr. Rutan's Global Warming talk, the fact is that he is one of the legends of the homebuilding world.  He could give a talk on toe fungus and people would be elbowing each other trying to get into the forum tent.  I think we're all adult enough to realize that just because someone is a famous aviator doesn't make them right about everything (Lindberg comes to mind...).  AirVenture is the richer in that he's speaking there, but I don't really see this as a precursor to a lot of political content at the show. 



Ron Wanttaja
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