Friday, December 01, 2006

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?


Anonymous said...

John, see this link on some opinions about samaa. samaa is definetly taking the wrong (strong hand) approach. I will rather sell all my stuff than being in bed with samaa.

Danie Esterhuysen said...

Pity to see the comments on some of the webpages about SAMAA. Some of the individuals admit to joining SAMAA for some purpose or another but continue to tear SAMAA apart. If they feel so strongly about SAMAA, why don't they attend SAMAA Annual General Meetings and do their talking there!! or are they afraid to be seen? mostly these comments are from anonymous people whilst others are protecting themselves with aliases (just another form to stay anonymous)and to compound things further, these people experess their opinions on "Blogs" where members have to pass selection by "Blog" owners which tend to ensure only likeminded people participate and feed another their negativity.
One even made some snide comments about SAMAA insurance. I would like to hear his mouth once he has to fork out monthly premiums for his own insurance policy with the same cover offered by SAMAA insurance.
Accept that SAMAA is there to stay and if you do not like the way it is run, or what it does, become involved and make it work instead of negative criticism or snide remarks in open forum under the disguise of an alias or anonimous

Piet Le Roux said...

This is so typical South African; if you do not have praise you are being “negative”. If the only means of conveying one's opinion is the AGM then SAAMA has a big communication problem, luckily we have the WEB. The question is if SAAMA will actively participate in this form of communication or not? But in any form of communication it is important to be honest and not to dish out a lot of BS just to keep a it “positive”

Piet Le Roux said...

It appears that there are still some people that think that if you do not praise SAMAA you are being “negative”. Just because you do not agree with some one or have a different point of view it does not mean that you are launching a personal attack. For people to communicate they must first be prepared to be honest with each other, if dishing out a lot of BS makes me look “positive”, I rather be negative. Welcome to free speech and welcome to the web, where free speech rules! If the only way that SAMAA members can air there views are at an AGM, SAAMA is in dire straits. If SAMAA wants to unite all RC pilots they will have to have dialog with all pilots and the web is an important tool in achieving this.

So if you do not like what is being said on “blogs” and forums, join them and state your point of view and yes you can stay anonymous because there are still people that will take a diferent point of view as personal. We the people do not just have to accept that some thing is” there to stay “because we the people will decide if it will stay or not. If not by dialog, by protest or else by simple lack of interest.

I have been trying to get clarity from the CAA on what rules and regulations are in place to govern model aircraft, but in two months I could not even get a reply. At present our authorities can not successfully enforce clear and tabled laws, how can you enforce something that does not exist yet. SAMAA is now officially recognized by the CAA, so I challenge them to supply us with the official rules and regulations that are applicable at this time.

Anonymous said...

Danie, are you surprised people prefer being anonymous? They're being threatened by "Join saama or else"!

As to joining saama and speaking out at agm's: most people don't have the time. Mostly the people in charge of commitees are the people that have enough time to wear the others down. Look at any body corporate agm. Good luck convincing a younger generation that they must go and spend valuable flying time sitting around in meetings.

The reason people post on blogs and in forums is that it facilitates discussion for everyone. I'd recommend that saama take notice that it is alienating new people adopting the hobby. Rather than threatening, try to doing something positive about it. Setup some decent web infrastructure so you can actively change perceptions and facilitate discussion and hear grievances and get suggestions. Saama surely has the resources. The current saama website simply has not convinced me that i should join.

Calling me a 'FREE LOADER' and 'resolving Park Flyer categories' (See Chairmans's Corner in saama Sept06 newsletter) is never going to win you my membership.

As to the insurance: I'll pay the extra for insurance than spend time trying to change what is sounding like a old inflexible structure, it would be cheaper for me.

I'd rather not join an association that offers threats and the chance to sit around in meetings, thank you.

FreeLoading Evil ParkFlyer

Anonymous said...

Rather than labeling Park Flying as a problem why not get involved in the Park Flying scene. Host a few Park Flyer days... in a Park. Talk to the people , find out how they approach the hobby and work on a solution together. I love Park Flying and I will keep doing it.
If SAMAA wants my support they wil have to convince me that they have my best interests at heart and stop the threats.

Another Evil Freeloader

Aragon said...

Well I totally agree with everything that's been said in response to Danie. Danie's opinions and views are evident of an out-of-touch dinosaur and I sincerely hope his views and opinions are NOT shared by SAMAA.

As for all this latest news regarding forced membership and alleged legality, what exactly has prompted this action by SAMAA? What is/are the problem(s) with the way it's been for the past few years?

Anonymous said...

I am also done with Samaa, and I will remain a Freeloader Parkflyer with my DX7 Tx-no interference, no bother. Cheers Samaa.

Anonymous said...


Danie is a perfect example of the animosity projected by samaa towards simple people just wanting to enjoy their hobby. And this attitude finally surfaced in the last two editions of the Samaa news letter. WHAT ARROGANCE!!!

He is still ranting about the insurance issue. It is a joke, the insurance is a myth. Santam provides far cheaper options than samaa. And they ACTUALLY PAY OUT THEIR CLAIMS.

Danie also implies some websites to be impartial regarding opinions, again the near sighted opinion of a "samaa has been". I dare Danie to partake in any of the websites he mentioned and give his opinion. happens to be a free forum for anyone to discuss anything rc related. No moderation as implied.

Danie is the perfect example of why NOT to join samaa or why NOT to renew your membership. The only reason I joined samaa was because the "club" forced me to. Since I do electrics only I quickly realised there is no need for a club. And with the huge advancements made in electric flight, it is taking over the rc scene. The old power planes are a dying breed. In fact most gas operated planes are on their way out.

And that is samaa's problem. They realize that we, the parkflyers with our lightweight electrics, are the masses, the future. And the masses is where the money is. And of course we do not NEED clubs, and that was their only way (in the past)to get people to give them money. So that they can spend a million bucks a year on stuff and food.

We do not even need insurance, what damage can a 450 gram piece of foam do? Not much more than a cricket ball or a kite.

Samaa has reached the end of it's life, the way it is currently operating.

Parkflyers does NOT NEED ANYONE to fly.

Danie Esterhuysen said...

At long last someone else decided to put his name to his comment - Hat off to you Piet le Roux. As for the rest, you are still hiding behind masks.

As for all your snide remarks, if you took the time to read my comments carefully, you would have noticed that my problem is with negativism under disguise.

For your information, this old fossil also do not agree with everythimg SAMAA stand for nor do I agree with everything currently happening at SAMAA but the difference here is that I happen to believe in order instead of chaos hence being a member of SAMAA

One anonymist mentioned something about a 450g park flyer that can do no harm. The problem here is that not everyone play with 450g foamies and there are some very real potential killers around. Another problem is that many newcomers THINK they can control their park flyers but in fact cannot. If this kind of thinking is accepted as OK, then my guess is that kids with crossbows should also be allowed to practise their hobby in "parks" as their is no more need for control.

As with everything in life, there are those that prefer the formal way and those that would like to do their own thing. Once again, If you do not agree with SAMAA and do not wish to be a SAMAA member, why join a club that adhere to SAMAA rules? No club would allow anyone to participate at their premisies if that individual does not conform to their rules. It just does not make sense that you are "forced" to join SAMAA - it is quite obvious that you do not belong there. G

As for insurance, unless one of these anonymists can come up with a copy of an existing individual insurance policy that gives the same cover as SAMAA's policy and the annual premium is R200 or less, I have no choice but to believe that the current SAMAA cover is the best.

Come on folks, put your name to your opinions and maybe someone will start taking you seriously.

Anonymous said...

Hi Danie

Asking me to put to put a name to an argument is silly, either the argument is valid or not. Names on the net mean little to nothing.

You seem to be missing the point about why people are upset about SAAMA. They're threatening people cause they don't want to join. Me as a parkflier is seen as a problem that must be dealt with.

Sure order works better than disorder, but the current SAAMA order is exclusive and threatening.

Telling people that they may not complain about it on the internet 'hiding in their shady corners behind masks' is a waste of time. Wake up. It is how the internet works.

The only reason i'm willing to post comments on this is that it might actually raise awareness in SAAMA corners that they're turning people away.
(I was kinda neutral and expected to join in a year or two since i figured I'll move on from parkflying and electric heli's to bigger stuff, not so sure anymore)

Anonymous said...


Aragon said...

Danie, your criticism of people's choice to post anonymously strikes the very essence of what makes the Internet such a powerful communications tool. While you may be comfortable posting your opinion and full name online, many are not, and in this particular case for good reason. The fact that there are people that care enough to take the time and effort to post their opinions is a positive step!

BTW, those who know me know who "Aragon" is (including SAMAA). I see no need to refer my full name to onlookers that don't already know me (and whom I don't know).

Stuart said...

Hi Guys

Funny how we get all worked up about silly issues on the net. Forgetting the park flyer/SAMAA battle for the moment. lets remember why the majority of people actually join clubs. Its not for the facilities(unless your Flying some sort of TOC model or Jet) its mostly for the comradery and the friendship of like minded people around you. I have been flying for many years and sometimes i wont even bother taking my Heli/Plane out the car, becuase im enjoying myself helping other people and chatting. So for the argument that Park flyers dont need clubs. this may well be true. but it sure does get lonely and boring flying on your own all the time...just a thought.

Johan said...


The "Park Flyer Generation" seems to be one of the "Instant Gratification" types, thinking only of themselves. Methinks most of them misses the point of this hobby...

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