Feedback from SIG Chair meeting held at 4 September 2007

Other than awesome competitions & events, another of the MGA's responsibilities is representing RC Gliding within SAMAA. The forum for this is the SIG Chair meeting which is held every two months & is generally attended by all SIGs. If nothing else, I have learnt that the MGA is not so unique - all the SIGs are grappling with very similar challenges.

The following is a summary of the SIG Chair meeting, with the principle focus on our RC gliding. These are my views (& occasionally opinions), although I do try to limit this to the facts only.

  • A copy of the FAI F3B/J Sporting Code, MGA rules & team selection process, was handed over to SAMAA for the purpose of updating the Manual of Procedures.
  • Feedback from numerous World Championships attended by SA teams were discussed. In general all teams represented SA with considerable pride, but winning still eludes us & a common factor appears to be vastly differing climatic conditions. SAMAA have requested team manager reports for the F3B (and other WC teams), as well as the request for nominatioin of AeroClub awards & colours.
  • The MGA will be discussing the draft 2008 calendar at the meeting scheduled for 17 Sep 2007. The draft calendar is available as link through the MGA BLOG for comment purposes.
  • Nominations for CIAM sub-committees was requested for 15 Oct. This to be discussed at the next MGA meeting.
  • It is noted that SAMAA's new IT system will be available shortly. Clubs & SIGs may be able to access this for a monthly fee. I understood that SAMAA members would be able to access this for free via the web?
  • Considerable (!) discussion was raised regarding the matter of member discipline following the drinking & flying incident at Tamatieberg on 12 August 2007. It is important to note that the matter was not considered to be specific to RC gliding nor the MGA, as parallels were considered with all RC disciplines, and similarly with clubs. I noted that very few SIG’s have disciplinary codes, and that this governance matter would be addressed by the SIG’s separately. It was agreed that the SIG cannot be responsible for a flying site, and especially not slope sites that are also not owned/leased by RC flying clubs, irrespective of who registered the site with SAMAA . It was agreed that it was not possible for the SIG to control individuals during informal flying, IMHO the MGA instructions guiidelines & proficiency system provides sufficient guidance to mature individuals who do wish to fly RC gliders safely. It was generally agreed that all sites (including slopes) should be registered with SAMAA to indicate potential RC flying activities - the MGA will forward a list of commonly used slope sites to SAMAA for this purpose. It was also requested that any club/group/individual wishing to use a slope, send a notice to SAMAA in advance, noting the contact person, site & dates – I understood that this was necessary for insurance purposes, but (IMHO) as with all RC insurance matters this is such a grey area what is said today changes 100 times before tomorrow! It was noted that the group requesting this will be responsible for safety & discipline at the slope during this period. Further, all SAMAA members were requested to keep an eye out for unsafe practices & it was reiterated that any SAMAA member is permitted (and expected) to stop such activities if they witness them. A formal report of the drinking incident was forwarded to the club concerned, as well as to SAMAA’s safety & disciplinary committees. The MGA will also consider action at its next meeting.