Friday, December 15, 2006

Resolving problems with non-SAMAA flyers -- Piet Le Roux

The chairman has said a few unfortunate things this year. In the September issue of SAMAA News he used the term “FREE LOADERS” and went on and said they were “breaking the law” and that they will be “dealt with by the SAP”. Maybe if the” SAP” still existed and a law had been published in the government gazette, but the SAPS definitely does not have the time, will or resources. In the November issue he happily reported that the commissioner of Civil Aviation formally delegated his authority over model aircraft operations to SAMAA. I do not whish to debate the pros and cons of this but the fact is we have seen nothing on paper. I do not for a moment believe that in this day and age, with our present constitution, one can even consider to force someone to belong to an organization and pay them money. If we really want to resolve this matter I think a formal apology would be a good start.

Excepting that there will be SAMAA and non-SAMAA flyers would be step two, finding a way that we can co-exist would be the third and final step.

Although SAMAA never formally acknowledged that there can be serious consequences if we were to use the top six channels in conjunction with the bottom six channels of the 35MHz band, on the same field, I see that the top six channels had been left out on the suggested frequency board advertised in the November issue of SAMAA News. If we were to, with the cooperation of ICASA and the Dealer SIG, hand these six channels (105 to 110) over for the exclusive use by park flyers we can solve this problem.

The six channels in question will then be illegal to use at any registered field which will make these fields safer. I can see no problem if they were to be used a few kilometers away from a registered site by park flyers. The criteria for a park flyer craft would have to be established, let’s say anything that weighs les than 1Kg would be classified as a park flyer. If someone whish to buy a park flyer and he or she does not have a valid SAMAA card only the top six channels may be sold with the craft. If any crystals or equipment is sold that uses the lower channels (60 to 104) a valid SAMAA card must be produced. The SAMAA number must be recorded by the dealer to enable ICASA to follow up any complaints if necessary.

Piet Le Roux



Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What authority does SAMAA have?

This came from Piet le Roux in Bloem. It shows the difficulty some of our members have with the direction of the SAMAA
Any comments from the management committee?

What authority does SAMAA have?

To establish this we first have to analyze the application made by SAMAA to the CAA dated 15/11/2005.
In this the following is stated: “SAMAA’s control function is linked to the operational requirements referred to in regulation 94.06.11 (b) of the civil aviation regulations.”
The commissioner then just states: “Having gone through your comprehensive submission on the above request for recognition. I would to confirm that the CAA is satisfied with your presentation.” (Not a typo on my part)

Ok let’s look at regulation 94 and see what is relevant to model aircraft:

(This part has not yet been promulgated)
Part 94



Conditions for Flight
94.05.1 Except when stated otherwise on the Authority to Fly, a non-type certificated aircraft may not be flown –

(a)(a) by night;

(b)(b) in meteorological conditions less than those prescribed as suitable for flight under VFR;

(c)(c) within controlled airspace, unless cleared by and on conditions prescribed by ATC; or

(d)(d) Within 5 NM from the aerodrome reference point of an aerodrome, licensed or approved in terms of Part 139 of these Regulations and situated in Class G airspace, unless established unmanned aerodrome procedures for the particular aerodrome can be adhered to.

Operation of model aircraft
94.06.11 Exemptions

Model aircraft are exempted from these Regulations –

(a) Except from regulation 94.05.1; and

(b) provided that no model aircraft shall be flown –

(i) Higher than 150 feet above the surface; or
(ii) From or above a public road;

Unless –

(iii) With the prior approval of the Commissioner and on conditions determined by him or her; or
(iv) In airspace specifically approved for the purpose by the Commissioner and on conditions set by him or her for the use of such airspace.

It says more or les what part 101said. Now let’s look at SAMAA’s Manual of procedures dated February 2001:
“2. Operating procedures
No model aircraft may be flown from any site or location other than a S.A.M.A.A. approved and registered model flying site. Model aircraft may only be flown at public displays/functions with the specific permission of the S.A.M.A.A. Flying from such an approved and registered flying site is also subject to any specific or local provisions that have been imposed on such a site by the S.A.M.A.A., the Civil Aviation Authority, or municipal authorities.”
It also states:
“Operation of powered model aircraft at all S.A.M.A.A./CAA-approved and registered model flying sites:
Should not exceed an altitude (above ground level) of 350m. Operation of soaring model aircraft should not exceed 1 500m.”

SAMAA absolutely jump the gun then they wrote these procedures! We did not have the authority then nor do we have it now. SAMAA’s control function is linked to the operational requirements referred to in regulation 94.06.11 (b), so if anyone flies below 150 feet, not Within 5 NM from an aerodrome or registered site, not from or above a public road, in the day time and he or she is not contravening any municipal by-laws this person is doing nothing wrong. The 350m and 1500m altitude limits may be applicable to registered sites but I can not find any CAA documents to verify this.

Piet Le Roux

Monday, December 04, 2006

2006 aerobatic Masters -- Andre Stockwell

Report is here, complete with pictures (1,7 meg pdf)

Friday, December 01, 2006


2008 F3J qualifying procedures are here.

Where is the SAMAA going?

The November issue of SAMAA News arrived the other day. Peter Joffe has done an amazing job; it really is a first class magazine. The contents show that there is good work being done by the SIGs and others. We are better organized and have greater energy than ever before.

So why do I have these nagging feelings of unease? Why do the hairs on the back of my neck sometimes prickle? Do we sometimes lose sight of our original purpose, to act in the interest of the members? I hope not, but I wonder. I don't want to take away from the excellent work being done. But I think some things may need to be re-examined.

There have been straws in the wind. Here are two:

Straw number 1. One of the great strengths of SAMAA is that membership is voluntary. Members join because there are benefits in joining. I made a comment on some of these. There are other benefits for those interested in international competition. If you don't want or need the benefits you don't have to join.

Our chairman has made much of the idea that it is illegal to fly model aircraft if you are not a SAMAA member. (I have doubts about the legal soundness of this view, but that's another matter). Assume for a moment that it is true. It would mean that Aeromodellers must join the SAMAA whether they like it or not. Some members would then be reluctant, resentful and grudging. This must increase the potential for internal strife. How can this be in the interest of members?

The response may be that it will increase our size. How will being bigger benefit members? We are already the largest sub-section of the Aero Club. At over three thousand members we are a powerful lobby group. What effect will there be on the average club pilot if we grow to five thousand? I suggest very little if any.

If there is any merit in growth we might do a lot worse than follow the "Skinner Doctrine". A few years ago Bob Skinner almost doubled our size by the simple expedient of face-to-face contact. He visited clubs and talked to people. Surely this is better than heavy-handed prescription?

Straw number 2. The MGA has said that SAMAA insurance will not cover pilots who have not achieved a SAMAA solo rating. Insurance is one of the key benefits of membership. It is low cost, simple and effective. I'm not aware of any changes to the policy. (There may have been changes but Johan Sieling's club rep. report suggests not). There was no solo restriction in the original policy. Also, we have been warned against making a link between insurance and proficiency. It might lead to the repudiation of a claim on technical grounds.

Where did the idea of restricting cover arise? How is this in the interest of members? (Unless it leads to lower premiums, but this doesn't seem to be the case).

Is anyone else worried, or am I the only man in the army marching in step?

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