The aviation safety and proficiency club started about five years ago when founder Radek Wyrzykowski and a group of six like-minded instrument pilots gathered for a "what if" hangar session at Norwood Memorial Airport in Massachusetts. The concept grew like wildfire, he said, and IMC Club eventually established more than 120 chapters across the United States with outposts in South America, Australia, and Africa.
As a result of the merger, IMC Club's 2,350 members will be folded into the EAA’s 190,000 members and its extensive chapter network, according to a news release.
Wyrzykowski told AOPA that the club’s learning scenarios will now include VFR—in addition to—IFR discussions, something EAA chairman Jack Pelton hinted at during 2015 EAA AirVenture when initial merger talks were revealed.
“There’s something in the works called the VMC Club targeted for the middle of next year, and under the same structure,” Wyrzykowski said. “Let’s face it, we have to make decisions all the time. The thinking process and discussions of what would you do in such situations is very important for VFR pilots.”
Pelton hailed the agreement for providing additional resources to EAA's membership and strengthening the association’s commitment to safety and education.
Part of Wyrzykowski's new role will be to manage flight proficiency and help develop programs and activities that promote it, including the build-out of EAA’s Pilot Proficiency Center at AirVenture.
Now that the infrastructure is in place, Wyrzykowski said the video presentations and chat structure can be accessed by more pilots and will result in better, more inclusive discussions.
“The most important point for us is distribution to a much, much larger audience,” he said during a telephone interview. “Finally IMC programming is free to EAA members. Before there were dues on both sides so this way there’s no additional expense. EAA has a much better infrastructure so the quality for what we are doing is going to increase dramatically.”
Wyrzykowski said an important concept of the IMC Club is that it promotes aviation proficiency by leveling the playing field between low-time pilots and airline captains. The organized club format allows experienced pilots to submit instrument situations to IMC Club leadership and then a short video to promote discussion among members is produced and distributed to the clubs. Answers to the video scenario aren't provided in order to foster discussion.