The Technical Counselor Visit: Reporting

By Lisa Turner, EAA Lifetime 509911

In the last article we talked about the Builder’s Log. Maintaining a good record of the build and the associated documents can make the process much smoother and faster. This month let’s review what the technical counselor should be doing in the way of reporting.

When we hear the words “reporting,” we tend to close it off and put it off. Who wants to write a report? Just hearing the words, “Please write a report on…” sends stabs of anxiety into most of us. But there’s good news here. The reporting that the TC has to do is minimal, and there’s a form and a method already designated and designed just for you. And, you might not know that you can actually fill out your report online with a tablet with the builder during your visit. No paperwork to file, or send in.

Now that we have the fear of reporting dispensed with, let’s talk about why you should do reports and what you should put in them.

There are two good reasons for reporting on each visit. The first is that you want a record of your volunteer work. It’s not so much that you need accolade, but you definitely want to have a record of who you visited, the time you spent, and the project progress that you facilitated. The second reason is to help the builder understand where they are in the process and what the future plan is. A record of TC visits is also likely to aid the builder when it comes time to insure the project, and when they get their airworthiness review.

Keep a folder for every builder you visit. Take this with you to the visits, since your builder may not keep records in order. This way you can see what you accomplished in the last visit, and what the follow-up actions are. If you decide to file your reports online, print these out for your folder. Yes – I know – the point of filing the reports online is to minimize paperwork, but trust me, you’ll want to refer to the reports at some point for reference.

In the early days of technical counselor visits, there was a requirement for every technical counselor to submit an overall summary report of their activity for the year. In fact, this yearly report was required to maintain the technical counselor designation. This was a report I dreaded every year, because I knew I’d have to drag out all my folders and summarize my activity. But, after I’d done the report and sent it in, I was glad to have that record. This requirement was dropped, and with it the impetus to keep good visit records. I have mixed feelings on the simplification, and fear that the TCs may not be reporting builder visits.

My advice on the annual report is to do one even though it’s not required. Unless the guidelines change, you do not have to send it to EAA since they already have your individual visit reports. Make it super simple by just listing the visits on a file folder for the year, drop your visits in, and put it in your cabinet.

The forms — either the PDF, the hardcopy, or the online version — are all self-explanatory. In the freeform text section, I’d find something to praise, an area for work, and an area for follow-up. With all the discussion about communication that we have had in this series of TC articles, you already know that positive reinforcement along with structured assistance on the issues the builder is wrestling with will work the best.

Be disciplined and don’t let the reporting slip. You’ll be glad later, and so will the builder.

Here’s a page with info on where and how you can file reports, and here’s a place to file them online.

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