Mon, Apr 01, 2013
Pelton: It's Time To Face Facts And Recognize Our Core Constituency
ANN April 1 Special Coverage
In a move that is being described as one that better reflects the organization, EAA is considering re-branding AirVenture from "The Worlds Greatest Aviation Celebration" to "The Worlds Largest Gathering of Old White Guys" (WLGOWG).
"The face of aviation, particularly at our end of the spectrum, is changing," said acting EAA Chairman Jack Pelton, "and rather than go for the face lift, we think it may be time to face facts and recognize our core constituency.
"While there are no statistics about the average age of an Oshkosh attendee, all one has to do is look around. Yes, a lot of guys bring their grandkids, but most of them will wind up flying sims or UAVs rather than building kits or ultralights," he said.
Pelton admits that the suggestion is not getting a lot of traction. "Nobody wants to admit that they're getting older, and this certainly doesn't mean we plan to give up on our Young Eagles program and others trying to make aviation attractive to the under-30 crowd. We're hoping we can make this something that younger people can aspire to ... show them that it's not a drag getting old."
Pelton said that the aviation celebration will always be a theme for the event, and that airplanes will always be the main focus. "We're not putting shuffleboard and bocce ball courts in AeroShell Square," he said. "Those will be out by the Theater in the Woods. It's quieter there."
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