Presidents Report May 2024

Around the Patch
As I sat down to write this it is April 8 and not long after the eclipse of 2024. I waited to write this just in case the world ended! But it looks like it was just another Y2K and we must press on. In all seriousness, we do have a lot happening and you will see more from me on other topics in this issue. One thing you will notice is my email change! Please start using [email protected] if you need to contact me. I will explain this a little bit later.
You should have seen in the last issue of the News: Kate Zimmer has stepped up to take over advertising for the club. Eleanor has been overloaded for a very long time and we need to spread the wealth around a little bit. So, Kate has been working behind the scenes trying to make the changeover from Eleanor and meet all our advertisers, and she has done an excellent job! Let us help make her job easier, when you order from any of our advertisers, make sure you let them know you saw their ad with the Short Wing Piper Club! If you have a choice when you order things, we ask that you use our advertisers first.
Another area that we have overloaded Eleanor is in membership. Currently, we are in the process of bringing Reggie Ballard onboard to take over membership. We will also be setting up a [email protected] email for Reggie. Have no fear, the mailing address will not change. We will have the mail forwarded from Springfield, MO to Reggie, so you will not have to change anything! We are also going to start issuing membership cards
once again, and hopefully people will not only know their membership number, but will also have other valuable information available to them as well.
Earlier I told you I would explain the email change. Well, I have been using my personal email since I have taken office back in 2019. Needless to say, I have a lot of club email mixed in with my personal email, and that is not only making it difficult for me to sometimes find things, but it will also make
transition difficult when I am replaced. I will have to export old emails for my successor and this will be time consuming and tedious, so making this change will allow me to simply pass along my password and they will have everything. That is the same reason we will be using this club email for all the officers in the near future.
This was a lesson learned as we made the transition from Claire to Paul as Treasurer. There were boxes and boxes of paper documents that has taken
Paul months to go through and make heads or tails out of. We want to make things better and easier going forward. Several of us also have portable hard drives, so once again, just pass it along to the next person and hopefully make their life easier.
We need nominations! We have not received any and this is a scary situation for the club. The position of Vice President and Treasurer are both up for election at the convention this year. Those are two-year terms, so please, we need people to step up and keep the club moving forward. I have been saying for two years now, that I need to be replaced. I am only in this position right now because there were no nominations for President last year.
Well folks, this is my third consecutive term and not only am I burnt out, but my health is not getting better. So, look around and see who you believe would do a good job steering this club into the future, and ask them if they would consider throwing their hat in the ring. This club has so much information and we need to make sure we continue to preserve these planes for future generations. We are also looking for Hall of Honor nominations. If you know of someone that has gone above and beyond for the club, please nominate them, so they can be properly recognized by the club.
Happy landings,
Rudder NPRM update
As I hope everyone is now aware the public comment period for the Piper Rudder NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) has closed. If you were at the convention at Lake of the Ozarks in 2021, I made a promise to you, and I am working my hardest to keep that promise to you!
In 2020 a PA-12 with a larger engine and prop and no seaplane fin installed had the rudder fail just after takeoff from the water. The pane was able to return to the lake and land safely with no further damage to the plane and no injuries to the people in the plane. The following year, also in Alaska, a PA-14 on floats with a larger engine and prop had a rudder fail shortly after takeoff. That plane also landed safely with no further damage to the plane or injuries to the occupants! Once again missing the seaplane fin.
What has happened here is that two planes were returned to service in an unairworthy condition and had a structural failure as a result. The FAA in their investigation failed on many fronts and decided the best course of action would be to condemn every fabric covered rudder on Piper aircraft. They failed to recognize these planes were not in an airworthy condition at the time of the failures. They did not take into account that these planes are flying all around the world and the only documented failures occurred in Alaska!
Because of the failure of the FAA the NTSB never accurately analyzed the rudder structures. When the NTSB looked at what was provided by the FAA,
they looked at the structure of the rudder. Their analysis was contradictory at best. First, they claimed the aircraft were never intended to be built from 1025 carbon steel, but the manufacturer of 1025 steel tubing classified it as “Aircraft tubing”. Next, they said that 1025 steel was not strong enough, but then proved that 1025 steel met or exceeded the design load standard. So, the NTSB report is not only confusing, but contradicts itself.
Why are we telling you this? Well, a couple of reasons. We will go much deeper into this at the convention in June, and we want you to understand what happened and what your club has done on your behalf. The leadership of this club traveled to Oshkosh, Wisconsin last November to address the EAA and VAA Board of Directors. We were able to secure support from both organizations, and on the very same day we were notified that the FAA had granted our 90-day extension for the public comment period. We also worked with the Type Club Coalition, but that turned out to net zero results. So, we contacted other Type clubs directly and gained their support as well. We continued to work tirelessly on this to make sure we stopped a gross overreach by the FAA.
Tom Anderson spent countless hours on this effort and my hat is off to him.
David Schober, also a club member and a very knowledgeable guy in the regulations and pretty much everything else aviation was a very valuable asset. He also pulled in Sarah MacLeod, an attorney from Washington DC. This is nowhere near the list of contributions, but these people along with CJ Stumpf are vital to the success we have had to this point.
Our final comment was only 18 pages and thanks to these people very professional and on point.
So, on February 20, 2024 the comment period closed and what happens next? Well, most people would say, now we wait to see what the FAA does with the 351 comments they now must read and make a final ruling. Not so fast, your club leadership once again, representing you, stepped up the game a little further. Letters were written and sent to Congressmen and Senators! Some fell on deaf ears while others responded, and JD Vance from Ohio responded and asked how he could help. Once again Tom Anderson sprung into action and corresponded with him. That resulted in a dialogue and a request for a meeting.
The request for the meeting came from the office of Senator Vance! Tom was unable to travel to Washington, DC to meet with them in person. But not to let this opportunity slip away, I made the trip to Washington to meet with them. I was able to have my phone in the Russell building, so Tom was on speaker with us. It was a very good and I feel productive meeting and they were left with a very thick folder of documentation. They told us they will use their contacts with the FAA and NTSB to do the two specific things we requested. They are for the FAA to complete the Docket per their own rules, and to have the NTSB analyze the aircraft in the proper configuration per the TCDS and STC.
This information has been presented to you, so you can see just how important your club is and what an asset it is. Remember, this NPRM affects all fabric Piper models, yet the Short Wing Piper Club is the only Type club to stand up and fight for you and your wonderful airplanes. So, if you are reading this you are a member in good standing with the club. If you know anyone that has a fabric covered Piper and they are not members of this club, encourage them to join! Strength is in numbers and we need to increase our numbers!
In closing, I just want you to know that none of the people involved in this are paid! We all volunteered our time and resources to do this for free. We do not have an expense account, so the travel, hotels and food were all done for you! Please join me in saying a great big thank you to this club and the individuals involved in working so hard for you!
Introducing Kate Zimmer
Editing, producing, and mailing our official publication, The News, costs us more than the total amount of dues we receive from our members. We’re
going to try to sell advertising to help pay for The News. To that end, we’re going to add advertising to the Supplement. We’ll do it softly, just as we do in the News.
We have a new advertising manager, Kate Zimmer, who lives in San Antonio, Texas. Kate will coordinate with our current advertisers to be sure that we’re doing what they want. And, she’ll seek additional advertisers for the News. As a bonus for our advertisers, we’ll also include their ads in the Supplement, giving them exposure to you/us-all eight times per year instead of four times in the News.