A type club for type clubs

Need some information about an SX300? Thinking of buying a Sonex or a Sportsman?

You can find a wealth of information on all these types — plus a whole lot more — through the Type Club Coalition.

The coalition, organized by the Experimental Aircraft Association, was created to increase the level of safety in the general aviation community, says Tom Charpentier, a government advocacy specialist with EAA.

“The idea is for the clubs to be able to share best practices and flight operations advice,” he says.

More than 30 clubs now participate in the coalition, with more expected to join.

“That’s a good start,” he says, “but we could certain use more.”

While EAA is focused on homebuilts, the coalition is for all type clubs, “whether you fly a type certificated aircraft, a warbird, a homebuilt, or anything in between, all are welcome in the TCC,” EAA officials say.

tcc-logoMany of the type clubs already in the coalition have advanced training programs, such as the American Bonanza Society, the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association and the Lancair Owners and Builders Organization, Charpentier notes.

Three of the clubs — the American Bonanza Society, the Sonex Builders and Pilots Foundation and the Twin Cessna Flyers — have put training materials, including syllabi, online at the coalition’s webpage.

“That’s precisely what we want,” he says. “We’d love to see more of that.”

EAA officials envision the coalition as a place where type club officials and aircraft owners can not only share information, but also work together to further develop resources, including training materials.

“If the community can work together to eliminate the common mistakes of aircraft operation, type-specific or otherwise, the overall safety of GA will increase substantially,” EAA officials say.

The coalition also is working to create a sense of community. For example, it holds an annual meeting every year at Oshkosh and a newsletter is in the works.

EAA officials hope to increase participation by both pilots and type clubs.

Charpentier notes that membership is a way “to be part of the community, but also a way to be part of the solution when it comes to flight safety.”

“We’re looking for strength and breadth of experience,” he continues. “Everybody has something to bring to the table.”

He notes that not only does EAA view the coalition as an important initiative, but the FAA also views it as an important initiative.

While not a direct outgrowth of a National Transportation Safety Board study on homebuilt accidents, the coalition is part of the effort to improve the accident rate.

The NTSB study, conducted with EAA’s participation, reached several conclusions about how to improve safety, with many point to improved pilot training, particularly transition training.

At the conclusion of the study, the NTSB made several recommendations to the EAA, including helping to develop flight manuals and flight-test standards for experimental aircraft, creating a repository of information about flight instructors for experimental aircraft, and help create transition-training resources.

That’s where the coalition comes in.

“The mission of the Type Club Coalition is to leverage the knowledge and resources of the coalition to better prepare general aviation pilots for flight risks associated with known accident ‘hot spots,’” EAA officials said.

But Charpentier sees the coalition becoming much more.

“We can make this more than about safety,” he says. “We could provide information on how to run a strong type club and ways to keep your community strong. We could also build relationships between the type clubs. This is a place where we can share all those ideas.”

If you or your club is interested in joining the coalition, send an e-mail to typeclubs@eaa.org or call 920-426-6522.

For more information: EAA.org

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