Committee:

Chairman - Jan Sime : Vice Chairman - Gordon Browne : Secretary -Caretaken by Jan Sime & Gordon Browne : Treasurer - Juanita Smith

Representatives:

HTL - Gordon Browne : Bill Voss - Dennis Bird : Postals - Jan Sime : F3B - Juanita Smith : F3J - Ian Sime : F3K - Juanita Smith/Shaun Mileson : F5J - Ivan Williams : 2 Meter/New Commers - Shaun Mileson : Slope - Izak Theron (Gauteng) Kevin Farr (WC) Rus Conradt (KZN) : Cross Country - Chris Adrian

Proficiency Badges: Juanita Smith

Calendar: Juanita Smith / Jan Sime & Gordon Browne


20 February 2008

2009 F3B team selection notice

The 2009 F3B team trials is open to all SAMAA members in good standing and who have a MGA Solo Glider rating or higher.

The 2009 F3B team selection follows the previous years' processes based on identified events flown during 2008. The results from the 2 qualification events; Nats on 2 May and Qualifier #2 on 17 August; will be used to invite the top 10 pilots to attend the Team Trials on 19 October.

The top 3 results will be used to identify the 2009 F3B team members (where the top 3 is a combination of the individuals' team trial results & their best of one of the qualification events). The 4th place will be 1st reserve (non-travelling), and 5th will be 2nd reserve (non-travelling).

All pilots intending to participate in the team trials are expected to sign the team undertaking (SAMAA MOP PO.8, Team Selection - Individual Undertaking) prior to the team trials.

Good luck & safe flying

Notice of 2008 HTL competition - Groen Goud

On a virtually unending horizon of green, the spec glides gracefully across the blue sky. Enjoy warm clear weather, huge thermals & the gentlest of breezes.

That's the stuff of RC dreams & the predictions for the next HTL at Groen Goud, just west of Centurion if last year was anything to go by. Please reserve Sunday, 2 March 2008 from 08h30 until 15h00 for one of the best RC thermal experiences this side of the Hennops (you need not apply for a visa, but I'd recommend not displaying any visible support for the Cheetahs - this is Bulls territory & they them grow big).

The competion format will be to the 2006/2007 F3J rules - optimise 10 minutes working time. Landings are scored to the nearest metre, with any overflights severely penalised. The SA team's will be hand towing, whilst the others are welcome to use 150m winches. Cars are permitted to drop winches off, but these must be driven sloooowly so as not to damage the grass. Also, no quad's etc. are permitted on the grass for line retrieval etc. Frequency control will be the central responsibility of the CD - only matrixed pilots may participate (entries are first-come, first-served & "sorry for you" if you did not specific an alternate frequency).

The matrix will permit 4 pilot teams, with any number of helpers / supporters / spectators are welcome. Martie will confirm catering, Malcolm will confirm entry fee per model class.

Teams to email confirmation of entries to me: please include your Team's name, pilots with their indate SAMAA # (it will be checked), primary & alternate frequencies, model class (Open, RES100, 2M). Any number of classes may be flown - but you are responsible for your full team support for each class.

Pilots briefing from 09h00, first slot 09h30.

Safe flying

2008 F3J Team news

It is with considerable sadness that I have to announce the official withdrawal of Mark & Kurt Stockton from the 2008 F3J teams due to financial & time constraints. I would like to point out that Mark has volunteered to continue to assist with the teams local training & technical advisory regarding the FAI/CIAM rules - this to emphasise that their reasons are not due to any "politik", personality clashes, etc. I would like to thank them for informing us soon enough to make alternate arrangements.

I am delighted to inform you that Ryan Nelson, selected as first reserve during 2007, has accepted his place on the Junior F3J team. I would have loved to have seen his face when his dad told him this yesterday - and just thinking about it gives me a lump in my throat. Congratulations Ryan!

Safe flying

18 February 2008

Defining your RC experience

As competitive RC flyers, it might be argued that SIG members are generally on the bleeding edge of RC flying & provide are one of the most important subsets of the overall SAMAA group. I feel that this is nowhere more true than the RC glider pilots - who are constantly improving the standards of RC gliding & equipment in SA. The MGA in turn strives to provide a basis for supporting competitive RC gliding in South Africa & to this end arranges the MGA Calendar (generally schedules competitions to ensure no regional overlaps), ensures local & National competitions are hosted in all supported RC gliding disciplines, and provides the means for selecting the National Teams representing us internationally. During 2006 we also established the instruction framework which is designed to encourage more "Sunday" flyers into the competitive circuit.

At the 2007 AGM, the MGA was tasked to identify it's "members" needs; one suggestion put forward was that a small membership fee needs to be raised - but this was balanced against the need for constructive application of all fees collected (i.e. agree what will add the most value before asking for money). To further gauge RC glider pilots needs, please have a look at the latest poll on the MGA BLOG - let us know what is most important to your RC gliding needs - if I have left something out, or you believe that MGA can do more, then please contact me directly.

You are free to nominate as many topics as you like - yes, I am aware that by changing your computer's IP address you can also vote as many times as you like - but that is really pointless.

Safe flying

07 February 2008

Slope soaring site discipline

I have to remind everyone of the "drinking & flying" debacle that unfortunately occurred at a prominent inland slope soaring site during 2007. Most of the SAMAA registered slope soaring sites are on private property & no club is responsible for these (or singularly). Since more than one person/group/club generally has unrestricted access to these sites, it was decided that the most practical approach would be to request someone assumes responsibility for the application of safety rules during events at the site.

If you want to organise an informal event at a slope, and believe that you require some level of authority, then please notify the SAMAA office (by email, post or phone) of the event & who the responsible host will be. Based on the “first-come, first-served” approach, that specific club/group/individual is permitted to dictate the rules & application thereof for the event at the site. Slope events on the MGA calendar automatically have responsible clubs/groups assigned & authorised by the SAMAA office & assume precedence over informal events.

In future, don’t be surprised if unruly behavior, at even informal club level slope events, are dealt with swiftly & possibly much more harshly than at previous events where a blind eye was turned to disrespectful or unsociable behavior.

Please, fly safely.

SAMAA Workshop feedback

The SAMAA held a management workshop on Saturday, 2 February 2008. Follows are MY interpretation of the views expressed & some of the actions being undertaken which I view as being important (again, from MY viewpoint). Please be advised that this is not comprehensive, nor does it represent the official SAMAA view.

Focus on “Service to Members”

Rightly or wrongly, we all recognize that “bad news sells” and sadly we rarely pay attention to any good that is done. Perhaps the most exciting aspect I could identify is SAMAA’s strategic focus on “providing service to the SAMAA members”. SAMAA can & does make a tremendous contribution to the average RC flyer and in future this will be the only internal measure for success. Another point made was that everyone is likely have a different viewpoint/approach to doing things – we were requested to focus on the delivery of service to the member, rather than trying to critique the process of this delivery. Through this, Percy has also required full accountability for tasks assigned & noted that he will be driving this approach from the top.

Restructuring

The current sub-committee structure was revisited. Whilst there are a large number of sub-committees these all form important aspects of the organization. The chairs of each of these are singularly accountable for delivery of these. An important aspect is that more often than not, these positions are elected by their constituencies, and logic dictates that members should exercise their voting rights in the event of service delivery failure. The chairs were requested to begin tactical planning for succession & encouraging “new blood” within the various groups. Some structural revisions were made & the re-allocation of responsibilities were generally subtle; to my mind, the most significant being the seriousness SAMAA that views the topics of Insurance, Transformation & Public Relations, as these are now the responsibility of separate groups effectively reporting directly to the SAMAA Management Committee.

Insurance

Some debate was raised regarding the Insurance Policy within South Africa. It is easy to point out SAMAA’s shortcomings using insurance as a battering ram, but it is obviously pointless as this is the only product that was ever offered to the Association. Notwithstanding this, the Insurance Group was immediately tasked with reviewing the risk cover, policy structure, excess & was requested to investigate alternates, given the changing dynamics of SAMAA, RC flying & short term insurance. A number of suggestions have been received from concerned members, and these will likely be considered when discussions are taken to the Insurers.

Transformation

One of the aspects of operating in South Africa is that any organization has to take transformation into account. Fortunately, everyone is still entitled to their own opinions – but it is incredibly destructive & discouraging when slurs are cast on the people involved who are performing this role. Secondly, we need to recognize that transformation is a long term & strategic process – instant change is not feasible, unless we want SAMAA to be dragged down to the level of the likes of SARU etc., where it appears that the people actual involved in the sport/hobby are specifically excluded from meaningful decision making? The fact of the matter is that the SAMAA program is relatively successful:

  • Based on merit, we had a junior glider pilot competing in a world championships (2006) & who has again qualified on merit to compete as a member if the SA junior team in 2008.
  • The scale team manager – from what I understand is a very competent manager as per the requirements of the specific position.
  • A lot of discussion has been made about “David at JOMAC” – and I understand that he has already flown Solo based on support from this club’s members.
  • The presentation to parliament was a success judging by the positive feedback & interest shown by a number of key parliamentary individuals.
  • I understand that SAMAA have been notified that will again be receiving the transformation grant from LOTTO in 2008.

This then is the true story of the success of SAMAA’s transformation. But it will not & cannot end at this point, with the various sub-committee chairs have been tasked to continue to address transformation within their areas too.

Public Relations

SAMAA recognizes the need for communication – a structure whereby members & the organization can share meaningful information. It was agreed that the various official channels should be consolidated under one group, whilst the autonomy of independent channels such as SARFLY, etc. should be retained to provide transparency for all members. Perhaps the biggest challenge facing this group is the requirement to encourage non-member individuals to affiliate; it is generally recognized that “forceful” methods are basically futile, & that the benefits of the association should rather be emphasized to encourage participation, irrespective of any legal aspects.

ARO responsibility

During this review, an interesting aspect emerged that I was not aware of. It appears that the ARO that requires SAMAA to “control” RC flight in shared South African airspace, was not requested by SAMAA – the alternate was that this would be given to another organization, possibly with little or no interest/understanding of RC. It emerged that even though someone can “own” a piece of property, the control of the airspace above this is generally not that of the “owners”. I am still not clear if members of the public wishing to use the “shared airspace” for RC use need to contact the CAA for special dispensation or can automatically do so through SAMAA membership? Further, the question of personal (or otherwise) liability for Management Committee & individual members was raised – it is likely that some form of legal advice will have to be procured for this.

Manual of Procedures

Another aspect that has received some negative attention is the Manual of Procedures. It is a rather “comprehensive” document, but the point is to provide the members (old, new & future) of SAMAA with the necessary guidelines to enjoy their hobby safely. It was never expected that everyone could repeat the document word for word – but it should be capable of providing adequate advice about a specific topic or enquiry when required – possibly via an index or categorization approach. Without trying to defend it, the fact remains that most professional organizations have some level of predefined procedures – which ensure consistent process & measurable outcomes. We can procrastinate all we like, but the fact of the matter remains that this is only a start – the document itself acknowledges that it will always be a work in progress & will likely grow even further. Don’t believe me – then look at the various RC organizations in the USA, Canada, UK & Australia for their MoP’s & be prepared to wait for the massive downloads. I reckon that once a start has been made such as this, if anyone feels that a process is incorrect, or that something can be done better – they need only motivate the change… Why try to kill it before it has even been started is simply beyond me – the downstream benefits, such as enabling better negotiation for insurance, air space, etc. are considerable.

Sport sponsorship

Following the delegation of national team selection to the SIG Chairs in 2007, the biggest change during the workshop was the allocation of the Team Funding responsibility to the SIG group. This provides the SIG Chairs with the mandate to begin international team sponsorship & also funding allocation. If anyone is aware of any organization or individuals that provides sport team sponsorship services, then the SIG’s will likely be very keen to receive their proposals. Preference will be given to SAMAA members.

The mandate to ensuring competitions (Nationals, Masters, etc) are organized, and that National Teams are selected continues unchanged. Some overlap with the Regional / Clubs committees will likely occur during the provincial teams & allocation of provincial colours – but that will likely be dealt with by these groups.

Conclusion

The workshop was not earth shattering – but I reckon that by focussing on "get back to the basics/fundamentals", SAMAA can provide the members with appropriate services & similarly an Association that the members will support & would be keen to encourage other people to join. A number of questions remain – but the fundamental point of any service delivery is that questions are very useful for communicating areas of interest for members. Insurance, Transformation & Communications remain hot topics, with the Association re-structuring to address these as priorities.

01 February 2008

Notice of Event: F3K league

Hi everyone,

The first 2008 F3K (hand launch glider) league event is scheduled for Saturday, 9 February from 14h00 at Silverton Gliding Club, Pretoria East. I understand that this will also be a World Air Games team qualifier.

Please send you entries to Stephane via the MGASA forum.

Safe Flying