Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Stick; or the Carrot?

There are many advantages of the SAMAA membership for Aeromodellers. I find it strange that the latest issue of the News persists with a heavy-handed approach. I'm not sure if comes from the editor or from the committee. I suspect the latter. Have a look at the insert on the last page. It's called "Why all Aeromodellers MUST belong to SAMAA". There are two statements that are patently wrong.

The first; "SAMAA membership is a requirement for YOU to legally participate in any aeromodelling flying activities (in terns of site, height and weight) which falls under the legal mandate of the CIVIL AVIATION ACT".
I don't know from where this extraordinary statement comes. I've asked the question but no one seems to be able to answer.
Here's my understanding of the matter, (and you can find the documents on the SAMAA web site here ).
The CAA has devolved certain of its administrative processes to the Aero Club. In turn the Aero Club has passed onto the SAMAA duties to administer all aeromodelling in SA. The SAMAA must do this for members and non-members alike. The difference being that non-members may be charged for service on a cost recovery basis. Nowhere is there any suggestion that it is illegal to fly if you are not a SAMAA member.
I suspect that the Big Stick approach is driven by the laudable objective of increasing SAMAA membership. There is evidence that it has the opposite effect.
Surely the best way to get more members is to show the benefit. It's the old story of Selling. To sell, you must expose your product to the risk of being sold. Show non-members benefit, help them, encourage them, and they will join. But whatever else you do, don't bully them.

The second; "SAMAA is responsible for the regulation and control of all RC radio frequencies, used for model flying purposes". The latest uproar over interference on the 35MHz band gives the lie to this. The SAMAA has no power to regulate and control frequencies.
What it does, and it is a vital role, is to act as liaison between Aeromodellers and ICASA.
Let's stop the wild talk of licensing, restrictions on who may buy radios and so on. What's needed is a helpful constructive approach. (And in this regard you may like to read again Piet le Roux's note).

For the SAMAA to deliver fully on the promise of its ARO status I suggest a little less hubris and a little more empathy.


Piet le Roux said...

Ditto, I am a paid up member and I do enjoy this hobby, but I would be a happy paid up member if SAMAA changed its attitude and remove those irritating statements on the back page of SAMAA News!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for representing the sane point view John. I'm not a SAMAA member cause of 'thou shalt' attitude.

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