Picture the perfect setting for RC gliding - a grass farm, with a soft breeze & endless thermals, or a slippery smooth slope that disappears in both directions & endless vertical liiiiiiiiiift! Unfortunately, geography & the climate are very difficult to control, although South Africa does seem to have more than its fair share of really great conditions for RC flying.
Previously I posted a poll that requested an assessment of "what adds value to your RC experience", and the results received from 28 participants were not surprising (except for one, perhaps):
93% Frequency control
50% 3rd party insurance
32% National team
17% Achievement badges
In terms of frequency control, I am amazed that this was not a 100% vote - we seem to be experiencing so many problems with this lately & it is fundemental to the safety of our hobby/sport! Perhaps the frustration of not being able to do anything about rogue transmissions reduced the score, or perhaps hope that the emerging 2.4 Ghz technology will reduce this risk?
By now most people understand that the SAMAA 3rd party insurance does not extend to replacing a wrecked model & that this is the only insurance anyone is SA was previously prepared to provide - for anything else, you will need to consider your own insurer (& plenty deep pockets too). It is still interesting that only half of the respondees felt that this was still important - a message that will be conveyed to the special SAMAA Insurance committee.
Regular competitions & national teams are one of the roles of the MGA - which is essentially the sporting representation for RC gliding within (slope, electric assist & thermal). It is no surprise then that this recieves less priority from the hobbiest.
My biggest surprise was the lack of interest in the achievement scheme - very few glider pilots are really "badge hunters", but by far the majority that I know are always keen on improving their skills. I probably associate too much with the sporting side though, so I find it an interesting challenge identify what will make our hobbiests more interested in RC gliding - send your suggestions to the MGASA forum.
Thanks to all those that participated in this poll, whilst the MGA strives to represent all RC gliding in SA, we clearly need to attract hobbiests or the more social/sunday type flyers to gliding. Frequency control & 3rd party insurance is currently being reviewed by SAMAA - if you have constructive suggestions, why not contact the relevant sub-connittees?