Mentone 2015

GyroRon

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First off, Gabor, I am NOT suggesting sunstate move Bensen Days around to different locations or even different states. It is where it is, because it is where the club wants it to be.

Of course part of why it is where it is, is because Wauchula is a small town, off the beaten path, low amount of air traffic which makes for safer flying operations during the event, and..... Also.... The club has heavily invested into the site, with power and water and all the things needed to hold a event. Not many other airports around here have what is basically a campground, on the field

Bensen Days is successful, because it IS in florida and it is held just as spring is beginning. People are tired of the cold of winter and they are ready to gather and fly, and what better place to do that than warm sunny florida? Make sense?

Mentone is held in the heat of summer, and although for me I enjoy the less hot and less humid summer air there, for most people its just another hot summer week-weekend.

Anyway, no I am not saying Bensen Days should be moved, Im just saying why should Mentone move.... and saying asking for mentone to be moved for reasons of distance as Gabor mentioned, would be like asking for Bensen Days to move for the same reasons.

I am lucky enough to live about halfway between Mentone and Wauchula. And yeah, for someone who is based at Wauchula, to go to Mentone would be dam near 22-24 hours of driving. It is a big commitment for someone to drive that far to attend a event. But at the same time, its just as much of a commitment for people to drive from the north or even places such as Texas or Kansas or even Washington State to attend either fly-in.

Do I really care where these events are held? No. But they are held where they are held and it is what it is. Either you want to go and to do what you have to do to get there, or don't go. No matter where you hold the event, its going to be a long drive for most people to get there. Think of all the people who live on the west coast, or in the rockies or plains.... They got a 2-4 day drive to go to either event. What would us east coaster's think if they wanted to have the event in Denver?

I personally don't think location is a factor in this. It would be nice to think that if it was further south it would have alot more people from Florida or the carolinas and Georgia in attendance..... But thats hogwash, as we already have a event here.... ROC / Wrens every fall and hardly anyone from Florida attends, and a good chunk of the Carolina and Georgia people don't hardly attend no more.

The turn out is small, because people just aren't as interested in going. In comparison to Bensen Days, Mentone is held in the middle of summer. People have a ton of choices in what to spend their time doing. All kinds of stuff going on and to do. People have NOT been couped up in the house all winter and are itching to get out and fly in the warm florida spring time air.

Thats my take on the subject.

As to the PRA, I support the PRA and believe it is a good thing. I support the idea of the PRA owning the airport, I believe that is also a good thing. But truthfully, I no longer pay my dues and I am not a current member. I probably won't renew either, not until I see something wildly different from the PRA. Im at the point now, where I believe although it doesn't hurt to have a " PRA " I also believe its not doing us any real good to have a " PRA ". Im not seeing a current value or pressing need for the PRA to exist. And I certainly do not see a need to send in 50 bucks.... It would be alot different if it was 15 or 20$.

The PRA needs to find itself, decide on a mission and get it done. What I have noticed is the PRA is full of ideas, and full of talk, but other than one or two individuals ( like Tim Oconner ) who do what they say they will do, nothing ever gets implimented or done.

I believe the idea of folding, and coming in as a chapter of the EAA would be the smartest thing the gyro world could do at this point.

I also thing the Manufactors and gyro parts people, and gyro instructors would be crazy if they didn't also want to do the same.

For the gyro community to rebound, and the events to rebound... for the manufactors to start selling more machines and the instructors to stay busy instructing, the gyro community is going to have to stop being a "gyro exclusive doing its own thing" Organization to one that is just a lily pad on a pond full of different flavors of aviation.

I think the idea of having the events the week before or a week after the big EAA events should be rethinked... WE should be at these big events. Not at our own the week before or week after. We can have our own events a month or two later or before.... but we should be at Sun-n-fun and Oshkosh.

We shouldn't be expected to send in 50$ a year for a membership thats doing really nothing, when we could be sending in 42$ a year for membership to EAA that really is making differences and positive things happen, and getting great magazines in the mailbox once a month again.

Anyway, I gotta get to work.... debate away.
 

SandL

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seems to be 2 issues
1. drawing people to an event
2. giving value at the event

1. drawing people is basic define a target market then market to it.
twatter, facebook, print, TV, radio, stands at other shows, and fly ins, press stunts , mag articles etc give the prospects an overwhelming sense of desire to attend or miss the best opportunity to find out what the buzz is about.
2. giving value to the new faces, "stop me and fly one" 3 CFIs giving trial flights in 3 different gyro types. 3 half hour newbie seminars per day with a line of maybe 6, 8, or 10 mentors introduced and available at the end of each seminar. with Mentors T-Shirts and a name badge. Gyro flight demonstration talked through on the PA, a Roy Davis show, a formation of 3 with smoke and an egg drop, and pylon trial and spot landing twice per day. And a build tent, with 3 or 4 build mentors, set up a pillar drill and show how to drill a hole, strength test an aircraft bolt and a non aircraft bolt to destruction.
(maybe kit manufacturers would help with some of this after all it's a sales opportunity through education.) Maybe each chapter could have a small manned visitor desk.

item 2 has little value unless you create the foot traffic by item 1.

So why don't people want to fly gyros ? , ... Many believe they are dangerous, so face it head on with safety proof how about an article in a mag showing an aerial photo of unfriendly forced landing terrain for a fixed wing yet loads of gyro landing spots. start the article with "you are cruising along at 100kts in your warm cosy environment and the engine quits where will you land ?" then in the next photo red circle all the many gyro landing spots. then ... on the next page show a photo and spec of a Calidus, explain that it is the fastest growing light aviation market in Europe. Mention accidents and some real facts, the distorted accident figures by people teaching them selves. the fact that the military tested gyros, considered them safe but did not progress due to other reasons, that the police use them and the reasons, they would not put their employees in harms way in a dangerous machine and they can perform many functions a helicopter can . then talk of the reliability of the modern 4 stroke rotax and you really start to build a case especially with a photo of a modern sleek gyro. In the same mag place a mentone advert. Marketing wise, best to put three articles in, one could be a focused at the modern slick euro gyro, one could be focussed at the single seat open fram , very low cost of ownership of your own flying machine that can fly when ultrlights, felx-wings, trikes and PPGs are grounded by strong winds. get some stooges to write to the mag in the letters column to create a buzz. kit manufacturers may well share the costs, give the magazine editor a flight. run a press day and so much more. it takes a group of volunteers, or a paid contract person, or some organisation that will financially gain by the marketing selling more (eg a kit supplier)
You need a sales and marketing person to create a hot industry and sport pilot buzz

we have an incredible flying machine, we just need other aviators to know what a gyro can do, at very low cost flying in winds that ground many other aircraft, it is great fun to fly open cockpit, turn on a dime, land in a baseball square and totally trust it's safety.
 
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Brent Drake

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I think we can have a great 2015. A little planning and volunteers is all we need. I use to be good a planning parties.

Ideas-- plenty.

Volunteers-- many needed.
 

ultracruiser41

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It's not just drawing people to an event....expecially new comers.....it's seeking them out and make them feel welcomed.

At our fly ins......we seek out the new faces.....introduce ourselves......answer questions.....offer rides. It's that simple. (a little food helps too) I get many emails afterwards thanking me and how welcomed they felt. It's all the gratification I need.....makes it all worth while.

It's not magic.....it's common sense and passion that's contagious and gets people to come back next time ......with friends.
 

GyroDoug

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I think this thread can be good for the PRA if the board and influential members listen and go in the direction or directions that the PRA customers want. (the members)

I know Stan and Roundtree and others put in time to try to make the convention interesting and progress.

I also know some clubs are growing, look at Sunstate, look at Peach State. Looks like the PRA could do whatever they are doing.

I think there isn't enough advertising, no one knows it exists outside of gyro world.

One way to get exposure, I have mentioned before, get a booth or space at airventure. 600,000 to 700,000 folks going to that convention, some of those will notice the presence and ask questions.

More than one on this tread have mentioned the unapproachable feel that they get at fly ins. Perception rules, whether it is true or not.

Barry spends hours giving free rides anytime he goes somewhere gyro related. I am sure others do as well. That is part of what is needed. And no, I have never seen him take money for it. Not even a portion of the gas cost. Now that is doing something for the sport as an individual. i know others do the same and more of that is needed.

Club CFIs at the local level would be a big shot in the arm or at least a CFI at the local fly ins that are held.

Unfortunately, in this sport, the customer has to be created so there is a customer to serve. There aren't existing customers that you have to win over to be in the PRA. They have to be created at the local level to become members. And if the PRA doesn't do anything for that customer as he is created, what value does the PRA have to the newly created potential customer(potential member)? It is kind of a catch 22. But the growth has to start at the local levels. And some are doing quite well at it.

We intend to try here in NC.

Scott,

I can assure you that the PRA Board members do read the forum and are paying attention to what our members think.

I think you have identified a great idea to get the word out to more people. Having a booth at Air Venture is a great idea and something that has been done many times in the past. However the people that ran that project finally got burned out from doing it year after year and weren't able to find people willing to replace them, so that project quit happening. We just need someone else who cares enough about our sport to be willing to step forward and take on that project again.

While it will cost money to get a booth and to come up with a banner or other materials to make that happen, (and money is always in tight supply) I will commit right now to finding the funds to make that happen, if we can find at least 2 people who will commit to attending AirVenture that would be willing to man the booth. The more people we can get to commit to being involved the less time any single individual would have to spend manning the booth. We need someone to chair this project and put together a group of volunteers to make it happen. Would you be willing to take on this project?

Would anyone else be interested in being involved in this? If you have the time and are willing to help us, this would be a great opportunity to serve the PRA and have some fun at the same time. Let's here it! Who wants to be a part of it?

Doug Barker
PRA Pres.
 

AirScooter

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I am not a member of PRA, but I would kick in a little money towards the booth if it gains momentum. I would give a day of my time while I am there to help man it. I however am not the type of personality to meet new folks, furthermore I am a newbie and don't have the knowledge required either, but maybe I can help some way while I am there. It can't hurt the sport, has to help, so I will help.
 

GyroDoug

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Dates for Mentone 2015

Dates for Mentone 2015

Have the dates for Mentone 2015 been set yet?

Yes, the dates for the Mentone 2015 Convention have already been set. Since AirVenture has changed the rules they use to determine when they will hold their Convention and are essentially moving their dates up a little, we discussed the issue at the Board meeting and decided to move in concert with AirVenture, (following the precedent that has already been established).

AirVenture will now be scheduled so that the last day of their convention will fall on the last Sunday in July. (July 20th - 26th) We will continue to to hold our convention the following week which means for 2015, our Event will be held July 28th - Aug. 1st. This will mean we will typically be meeting about a week earlier than we have in the past.

We are still looking for an Event Chairman that is willing to start planning and working on making next years Convention the best it can be. Is there anyone out there that is willing to step up and take on this project? Please let me know. You can PM me if you would like to discuss it and would rather not have that conversation on the open forum. But we need someone that will take this project on. We have lots of people that are willing to offer suggestions on things they think should be done differently, but what we really need is someone who is willing to take on some responsibility and be willing to give of their time and experience to work towards making it better.

Doug Barker
PRA Pres.
 

GyroDoug

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You can make a difference

You can make a difference

I am not a member of PRA, but I would kick in a little money towards the booth if it gains momentum. I would give a day of my time while I am there to help man it. I however am not the type of personality to meet new folks, furthermore I am a newbie and don't have the knowledge required either, but maybe I can help some way while I am there. It can't hurt the sport, has to help, so I will help.

Scott,

I appreciate your willingness to get involved on a limited basis. I can also appreciate the feelings of inadequacy that you might be feeling as a newbie to the Gyro world. I felt exactly the same way several years ago when I was looking for a local PRA chapter that I could plug into and learn from. However, there wasn't a chapter within 500 miles of where I lived, so I just had to buck up and become a leader and form a chapter. I certainly wasn't the most qualified person for the job. I didn't own a Gyro, I wasn't even a Pilot. And many people will tell you that I am not much of a people person. I wasn't the best person for the job, but I was the only person willing to do something about the problem, so I just did the best I could do, and today we have a pretty great local chapter, and even though I have been the leader of that chapter for 6 years now, I am still not the most qualified or knowledgeable person in our group. The people that make the biggest difference often aren't.

Things don't get done by the most qualified people, or by people who have the most time available to donate to a project. They get done by the people who care enough to be willing to give what they have and do the best they can do. I presented the Forum Presentation this year at the convention on Ultralight Gyros, not because I have any personal experience flying an Ultralight Gyro, but because I know a little about the subject and I felt it was an important topic that needed to be discussed and no one else would step up and do the presentation.

Since you obviously care enough about the PRA to take your time to participate in this thread and share your ideas with us, I have a challenge for you. First, become a member of the PRA and financially support the organization you are trying to change. Second, take a big step and get outside of your comfort zone and take on a challenge that you may feel is beyond your capability, but really isn't. Accept the Leadership role in this project and work to recruit some other people that will be able to attend AirVenture next year, and help us promote the sport we all love and recruit more members. It all starts with caring enough to get involved and giving whatever you have to give. We need you and I am asking you to get involved and help us.

Doug Barker
PRA Pres.
 

loftus

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Data on gyro concentrations

Data on gyro concentrations

Is it possible to create some type of cluster map as to where most gyro owners today are located from the PRA membership data? Also possibly gyros, experimental rotorcraft maybe not on the forum. I think it makes sense to locate the main PRA event somewhere in the middle. My guess is the middle would land up somewhere in Texas.
Maybe do it then a little later in the year somewhere there, autumn after the heat has lifted a little
 
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j bird

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If Mentone can be profitable without with out the convention, keep it, otherwise sell it. Have a convention in Georgia, another one in the west, Denver or Salt Lake.
 

groundhog

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little jab @ Ron ; You know I know you do as much or more than most for this sport so please don't be too offended at my comment.
You say that what the pra does is worth 20 or 25 bucks ? to all that say this or similar,send it in,talk is cheap.
to those that say they'd like to help,but are unsure of thier qualifications, you could sell ice cream apparently
 

groundhog

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i believe as ron says it is just the slow down in aviation being demonstrated by the slow down in mentone. tough to beat.I should have come this year but got side tracked with other stuff.
If birdy were to announce he was coming i suspect attendance would be up.
 

PW_Plack

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How about this...

If we're nopt getting vendors anyway, and people complain that they're burned out after Oshkosh, why not hold them the same week? I can't devote two weeks of vacation to attend both shows, so making Mentone a side trip would work better for me. I can't afford to stay at Oshkosh all week anyway.

What about doing an event at Appleton, Fon du Lac, or some other asirport closer to Oshkosh the week of EAA? RAF for years did their Oshkosh sales flights at Fon du Lac, because it was a place where they were allowed to fly all day, yet close enough for AirVenture attendees to drop by on a whim. There's even a shuttle to AirVenture from there.

The vendor fee at Mentone is not the issue for commercial vendors. It's dwarfed by the expenses of traveling there and the hassle of closing their shop at home for another week.

Like it or not, putting PRA the week after or the week before Oshkosh makes them competitors for people's time and money. No question who wins that one.

But the convention is the biggest revenue source PRA as right now, so changes to increase visibility and public outreach will be a hard sell if they might adversely impact convention revenue.
 

AirScooter

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Doug,

I will help the one day while I am there, however I am committed to helping in another booth while I am there otherwise. I will also chip in for the PRA booth costs if you do it. I will join the PRA when I see actuall forward motion and change. I think I speak for others who do not voice their opinion as well.

Paul,

Excellent idea on Fon du Lac, just an awesome idea. I hope the board listens, members and potential members are speaking. I think the PRA will listen, if not I fear others will fill the bill.
 

Dmorris

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I will commit now to working at least one full day, any day, next year at Mentone. Thinking a newbie booth or general information boothe/table. Can answer basic questions and help direct folks on how to obtain an instructional flight. Leave more time for the instructors to do what they do best, FLY!
 
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tadgyro

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Hi All,

Just talking about the magazine now... and a printed version, not an online version.

Why do I buy RC magazines? They have tech info, pull-out plans, sharing of designs. Look at the old PRA magazines, you had rotorheads plans that were published, drawings of technical parts, lots of good technical data to drool over.

How about someone gathers some "free to share" data, such as the Hornet plans, and starts publishing them. I have a lot of heli stuff, such as the original Weilage Boon Jr plans, Harold "Pop" Emigh booklets, and so on. One can turn old design drawings into new "typical design" drawings. I'm sure guys like Bryan could churn out a CAD drawing to go with an article. Hell, I'll be able to compile data to produce 50 articles..... Once we start sharing stuff, the printed copy circulation numbers will pick up, interest will go up, the PRA can be revived, by sharing ........ Too much advertising, not enough info for newcomers to be able to join the ranks.

Cheers,

Francois

100% agreed.
Tadgyro
 
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tadgyro

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My first fly-in and first real exposure to the Gyro community was at El Mirage, Sept 2013. When I heard the first Iron Rooster over head just as light came, I couldn't get out of my sleeping bag fast enough! To me, this is what I will always remember and cherish at fly-ins!

Hope we see you this year again.
Tadgyro
 

Brent Drake

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I will commit now to working at least one full day, any day, next year at Mentone. Thinking a newbie booth or general information boothe/table. Can answer basic questions and help direct folks on how to obtain an instructional flight. Leave more time for the instructors to do what they do best, FLY!

Thanks Dave. I will put you down for one day.
 

Gyro28866

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Doug and the other Board Members:

Jeff and I were discussing my earlier post in this thread.
The Newbies' perception about the click-ish feeling, is a reality. I had the same feelings many years ago, not until I showed up at an event and flew solo did I really become accepted as a Gyro Pilot and entered into the inner circle.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
At the National Event, immediately after the midday Pilot briefing. Offer a power point presentation and Q & A session calling it "Introduction to PRA". Have signage all over the event area advertising this "seminar", so the "Newbies" might have some of the feelings mitigated.
Maybe - those which attend the session, could be given a "special color" armband; which would indicate to the rest of us - whom they are.

This might also be a good time to give them a sales pitch to join PRA as a "Regular Member": or as a "Honorary Member with a donation" and these individuals have a "special color" armband. If the Honorary Member does not work within the guidelines of the By-Laws, then amend the By-laws adding another "type" of member within the "By-laws", so they could feel included.

Most of what I have talked about is housed within the "PRA" website. hint hint.

Just thinking of a way to capitalize on a potential member, and alternative source of income for PRA.

This could also be done at the Chapter levels, during the Regional fly-ins also.

Ok, I got the gyro rotor on the machine last night; I will shutup and go fly!
 
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