Posted: 1/4/2011 09:59:16
One of our members brought up the idea of setting up an exhibit at a county fair to attract members and send the message that flying is within reach of an average person. To minimize reinventing the wheel, I was wondering if other chapters have done this.
A few questions that immediately came up to address were:
- What will be the primary purpose?
- Attract new members
- Attract new pilots
- What fair to go to?
- Smaller fair closer to our chapter
- Larger fair that attracts a wider audience
In small Connecticut, we have nine chapters so members usually don't have to travel very far. The past two years our chapter had a display at a moderate sized fly-in near us (~10K people, 160 planes), but we didn't solicit members since we were on another chapter's home turf.
The member that brought this up has an HVAC business, so he's been exhibiting at these fairs for years, and has a lot of experience knowing the type of people that attend. He's recommending going to a larger fair that is further away from us.
Anyone have any suggestions?
Posted: 1/4/2011 11:24:49
Interesting! Please keep us posted!
Do you have any CFI's in your chapter?
I would think your primary purpose would be both.
Would you have a display?
"Rotors, the only way to FLY" Commercial Rotorcraft Pilot, CFI, AGI, SP-FW
Posted: 1/4/2011 12:14:18
Last September at that fly-in I mentioned we had the Hot Seat simulator and a station where kids could rivet together a name tag. Link That was more a community outreach day.
We do have a couple CFI's and several others who could talk about flying. Unfortunately the guy running the flight school at our home airport doesn't seem to want to follow up when we ask if he wants to participate, or even just supply brochures, at displays we've put on.
We're thinking of having a partial airplane there, and the main message would be that some type of flying is within reach of almost everyone. The guy who came up with the idea feels we should be able to sign up new members on site too. (Which I agree with.)
Posted: 1/4/2011 21:09:35
For the last 4 years at the local fair, several groups have come together to have an aviation booth at the Champaign County Fair. Most of the people who visit the booth are kids, which isn't too bad. Always have fun and hope that people of all ages get the flying bug.
Posted: 1/6/2011 21:30:31
Our EAA Chapter 405 did this very thing about 1980. The Washington Parish Fair in Franklinton, LA is advertised as the largest FREE COUNTY FAIR in the U.S. Thousands of people, not just from around the local area, but from around the country come to the fair with name brand free entertainment nightly at the larfge open air stage, with performers like Terry Fator, Loretta Lynn, etc. doing performances. Information about the fair is at http://www.freefair.com/about/about.htm We had a fairly good size part of a building there for our display.. One of the guys had an Ercoupe, so we took the wings off and taxied it to the fair grounds from the airport with a police escort and put the wings back on when we got it there. It was displayed just outside the building. I was in the process of building my Kingfisher Amphib at the time and put the fuselage on display with one side still open so folks could see the construction. We had a lot of pictures of homebuilts and classic/antiques on the display tables along with some homebuilt wing ribs. A few plans were also displayed along with a lot of pamphlets about EAA that we got from headquarters. We had a lot of visitors. Most wanted to know how that airplane(Ercoupe) was able to land amongst all of the big pine trees. If my memory serves me right, we picked up a couple of new chapter members and there were probably a couple or so that joined EAA without joining our chapter. It was fun and we got to talk aviation with quite a few folks. It was also a big undertaking and a whole lot of work. If you want to do it, I highly recommend it. I'm sure you will enjoy it.
Posted: 1/7/2011 06:15:42
I was involved with an R/C club booth at the Durham fair some years ago. During the time I was there (we all took turns), there seemed to be a deafening lack of interest. Oh, the usual "how fast, how high, how much?" questions, mostly from kids, then on to the next exhibit.
If you're going to do it, I think having an actual airplane there is almost a must, to attract attention. Two would be even better, one flying plane and one under construction. If you're really lucky and the fairgrounds are big enough, you might even get permission to fly one in before the event starts, which would save a lot of transportation work.
Where in CT? I'm in Clinton, fly out of a private strip in Chester.
Posted: 1/7/2011 07:00:26
Dana, Paul is out of Skylark in East Windsor. Do you all meet as a group in Chester?
Posted: 1/7/2011 07:44:17
What would be super cool is if somebody in the chapter had a section of aircraft (rudder or elevator) done but uncovered to use as a display.
Posted: 1/7/2011 17:42:06
Chuck, we usually get together (just a bunch of guys, not an EAA chapter) Saturday mornings at the field. I've been meaning to fly up to Skylark for one of the pancake breakfasts one of these days.