Wednesday, January 31, 2007

MGA special general meeting -- Lionel Brink

Due to work & family commitments, Evan Shaw, Izak Theron, Malcolm Siebert & Piet Rheeders felt that they were no longer able to fulfil their MGA roles. I’d like to thank them for their support & also for all their efforts in assisting the gliding community. I’d also like to thank those individuals who have agreed to fill these roles & wish you all success with the task(s) ahead.

It has been mentioned in the past that the MGA has the potential of being one of the largest SIGs within SAMAA and is certainly the oldest SIG (not necessarily due to the average age of its pilots J). Unfortunately the actual membership is virtually unknown & contact details are sparse/incorrect. We are appealing to all glider pilots (part-time, social, sport or competitive) or clubs that have an interest in gliding or existing glider pilots to have their contact details updated at the MGA, so that appropriate communication channels can be built.

We realise that not everyone has access to the internet/email, but given the extremely limited resources/budget it is virtually impossible for the MGA to use anything other than email, MGASA forum and the South Easter. If you are aware of anyone who is not e-connected, and who might be interested in MGA news, please contact me directly.

1. The Treasurers 2007 budget proposal was unanimously approved & has been submitted to SAMAA.

2. An acting committee was appointed until the AGM scheduled for the Nationals in Natal this year. For the record, all the changed positions where nominated & seconded as per accepted democratic election processes (details in the minutes to follow):

Acting Chairperson
Lionel Brink (replacing Evan Shaw)
Ilma Stockton
Volney Klintworth
Acting Secretary
Gordon Prahm (replacing Izak Theron)

Mark Stockton (replaced Piet Rheeders)
Mark Stockton (replacing Malcolm Siebert)
Charles Flee
Stephance du Ponsel

Regional representatives remain unchanged at this time. An updated MGA structure will be circulated shortly.

Kind regards,

Lionel Brink

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Piet Le Roux takes up the wooden spoon again

I must congratulate the editor of SAMAA News on the last issue, it was excellent. The only thing that bothers me is the back page, the twelve points on the back page to be exact. I doubt that this was written by him because the author obviously did not check the information.

No. 1 states that the SAMAA is the "legal authority", well apart from a copy of a some what vague letter form the CAA, we have seen nothing concrete. I can not think what could be so great about doing a government department’s dirty work for free when our members have already paid for their services in tax rands.

No.2 states that membership is a "legal requirement": this is not reflected in the CAA regulations at this stage.

No.3 states that SAMAA is responsible for the "regulation and control "of all RC radio frequencies. I suppose that ICASA has now also delegated SAMAA to do their dirty work for free, but I don’t think so because they have already suckered the SARL into doing some of it. The 53 to 54MHZ frequencies maybe jointly controlled by the South Africa Radio League, but the rest is fully controlled by ICASA.

No.6 states: "transforming aero modelling in order to comply with the constitution". This depends how you interpret the Constitution and to which parts you give preference. The previous government did the same with the Bible as the present government is doing with the Constitution. Let’s rather stay away from political issues. If you want to stuff-up any good hobby all have to do is bring politics and religion into it.

No.11 states that we receive funding from the lottery board have, have we actually received anything to date?

And last but not least: the "WARNING". Had the author now forgotten about the constitution?

Piet Le Roux

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Oops, seems I jumped the gun. Here's an ex cathedra statement on insurance cover from Bob Skinner

I can categorically confirm, that every SAMAA member, irrespective of membership category, skill or proficiency level, or type of activity, is covered for insurance purposes. Trying to enforce a solo rating on all SAMAA members is probably like saying: “You can’t go into the pool unless you’ve learned to swim”!

The literature that was circulated in the last few months mentions that those members who are not yet solo, ought to be assisted by a more experienced flier when flying in the presence of spectators. It makes no mention of how experienced the assistant has to be, and gives no definition of a spectator. Steve Filby, the broker of the SAMAA insurance Policy with Admiral (re-insured with Lloyds) has on many occasions confirmed that no minimum proficiency level is required for a member to be covered by insurance.

Johan Sieling did ask in a previous communication for club administrators to advise which of their members are considered to be solo status, so that they can be recognised without having to formally go through a testing procedure. The response has been very poor.


SAMAA insurance

It's now official. The SAMAA insurance covers only those members who have a "solo" grading.
I know the members of the management committee. Some are simply acquaintances, others friends of long standing. Their hearts are in the right place. But this "solo" ruling makes me wonder if they have lost the plot. After all, they should act in the best interests of the members.
The need for solo is not set by the underwriters but by the SAMAA MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE.
Why on earth make this ruling? How does it help the members? There's no suggestion that it will keep premiums down.
Think about what it means.
There's no agreed process laid down for members to become graded. Is Dave Armitage going to test all three thousand? I don't think so. In the mean time will the management committee dismiss claims from members without a solo grade? If not, how will it decide? Has it asked Clubs for their views?
I had a look at the BMFA members' insurance scheme, (more info here). It has no such restriction. In fact the BMFA scheme says nothing about legal frequencies or registered flying fields either.
I have a copy of the SAMAA policy in 2003 so it may not be the latest version. In it though there is also no mention of legal frequencies of registered fields. Whence came this restriction?
I must assume that the committee feels that it must protect us from ourselves. This is the paternalistic "Old South African" view. The Groot Krokodil, may he rest in peace, must be smiling in his grave.
Surely we should work to reduce insurance restrictions? Lift the embargo on legal frequencies and registered fields. It's not an underwriters' exclusion. Cover members wherever they fly. This would be greatly in their interest and a valuable benefit of membership.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2006 Limpopo Aerobatic Champs -- Chris Theron

Report here (420k pdf)

Budget Blues -- Piet Le Roux

Like most modelers I try to avoid budget issues because at the end of the day it's your budget that will decide the when and what of your next plane. After reading the letter of Vic de Vries in the November issue of SAMAA News, while on holiday, I dug out my September issue and had a look at it again...

Read more

For info, here's the BMFA cost break-down for 2005 / 2006. Of course, the BMFA has ten times the number of members as the SAMAA. So there are differences in scale.

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