For all the moaning about the direction of the EAA at the national level I figure I'd throw in my experience with what I consider the EAA - the guys and gals of my local chapter.
I suppose they were desperate for a topic, so the last meeting I was asked to give a presentation on my Nieuport 11 build. I brought along the two rudders I built - my first effort (marginal quality) and the second (suitable) for comparison of skills gained and to show tangible proof that I'm not building a deathtrap.
Naturally everyone was courteous and let me talk until it was question time - and then the advice, queries, and critiques came flowing out of the assembly. Lots of lightbulbs and "aha" moments going off in my head - including problems and solutions I hadn't even considered yet.
Lots of my build process is To Be Determined (TBD), as I have studiously avoided worrying about step 985 when I'm still back at 342 and they graciously let me slide on areas that I had no answer to (like mounting the gas tank) with a rain check on help and advice when they came up.
I also got plenty of offers of help when I get lost or just need help.
One of the cool things is that somebody gave a heads up to our DAR what was going on and he had snuck into the back to hear what I've done so far and how I did it. He gave me some great pointers on quality assurance and the things he looks for at inspection time afterwards.
So what's the direction of the EAA? It's towards completion of my very own airplane as well as those being built and maintained by my fellow members.