In my mind there's no doubt that ARO status for the SAMAA will be of great benefit to our members.
It's a chance as well to show other Aero Club sections how it's done.
We now speak for all Aeromodellers in SA. We shall deliver certain CAA services.
We shall be judged on how well we fill this mandate.
The mandate applies to all who fly models whether they are SAMAA members or not. The only difference is that members "pay" for service in a different way.
Good old-fashioned service delivery is crucial. We must not fail here.
Sadly, I have to say that our record so far is not good.
We have not gone out of our way to help people. We have not tried to make model flying easy and pleasant. At times it seems we have done the opposite.
All Aeromodellers should want to deal with us. They should say, " Thank goodness for the SAMAA. It has really helped me".
I don't think all Aeromodellers say that now. I think some would join another association if there were one. If we had to compete to give service I think we might have done some things differently.
With hindsight, here are some of the things that I think we did wrong:
We "flew a kite", (ha ha), on the idea of restricting insurance cover to pilots who were solo registered. We gave a quick denial, but the clause did appear in all the Proficiency Documents. Which group would you join? One that gave the widest insurance cover, or one that restricted it?
We said that it would be illegal to fly if you were not a SAMAA member. Again we denied this but not before raising the ire of non-members.
We used the term "freeloaders" to describe non-members. If all pay for service in some way, who's the freeloader?
We hinted that Park Flyers were outside the pale. That if unchecked they posed a safety threat. I'm all in favour of safe flying but some of the comment verged on the paranoid.
What it boils down to is that our marketing was lousy. We have a golden opportunity to help all model flyers in the country. Let's make the most of it.
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