Membership in the Experimental Aircraft Association now exceeds 250,000, a record for the organization that was established in 1953 to represent recreational aviation.
“EAA’s founder, Paul Poberezny, created a culture nearly 70 years ago where anyone who wished to enjoy the freedom of flight was welcome to participate, and our mission of growing participation in aviation has thrived under that vision,” said EAA chairman and CEO Jack Pelton. “The dedication of EAA’s members, chapters, and staff have made it possible to grow the organization to new levels.”
The group has seen its membership increase 25 percent over the past five years, including through the pandemic when some people turned to flight training and aircraft building. Numbers of individual and lifetime members reached new highs during that period, EAA said, adding that this growth came as EAA and its chapter network worked to expand its services and programming, as well as to entice more youth into aviation. EAA now has 900 local chapters.
This growth also comes as the association's annual AirVenture in Oshkosh fly-in came roaring back this year, with attendance surpassing 600,000 for only the third time in its history and some 10,000 aircraft arriving for the event.
“General aviation has grown increasingly complex over the past 70 years, but EAA’s goal has been to find ways to break down the hurdles in as many places as possible to nurture that dream that has been always been a part of human imagination—the desire to fly,” Pelton said.