Sunday, November 06, 2005

2005 Aero Club Awards Ceremony

On Saturday evening were attended the Aero Club Awards Ceremony. This was an uncompromising affair held at Skyraiders at Rand Airport. Over half the Colours awards went to Aeromodellers - not too bad.

At our table the talk turned towards Aero Club affiliation fees. SAMAA's fees have gone up considerably in the past year.

So; Is this fair? Does SAMAA get value for money? What does the Aero Club do for SAMAA?

In my view, these questions miss the boat.

Our Aero Club affiliation fees are the cost of getting into the Game. The Game of participation in International events; The Game of affiliation to the FAI; the Game of using Aero Club muscle in dealing with the authorities. If we want to play, we must pay.

The published accounts of the Aero Club show that it is run as a tight ship. There is no apparent extravagance in expenditure.

There was also a suggestion at one time that the Aero Club saw SAMAA as a cash cow. However, the same accounts show that SAMAA affiliation fees are only some 8,5% of the total Aero Club income.

I think there are things the Aero Club could do for SAMAA. It could handle membership administration for example. This would give the SAMAA General Manager a lot more time to look after the interests of our members. For good historical reasons there is opposition to this. But we should not be held hostage by the past.

Let's not be victims of the situation. Let's see how we can use the Aero Club to our advantage.

During the evening, to my surprise and delight, I was awarded Hon. Life Membership of SAMAA. Smokin' Joe said some generous and complimentary words. This was all the more surprising, as I had sent him some candid email earlier in the week. Thank you everyone who supported this gesture.

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