Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oi! Oi! 'ere we go again

The club at which I fly received a request from the SAMAA management committee for a list of its "solo pilots". The ostensible reason is so that this info may be put on the SAMAA membership cards.

Call me paranoid but to me it looks like spurious (perhaps well intentioned), red tape or else conceals another motive. Apart from that, I would have thought that the last thing the SAMAA general manager, or the clubs need, is more admin.

The request is motivated by a suggestion that there are advantages to members:

" reply to the question asked by your members as to "what value" is the proficiency? We would put forward a few possibilities:

a) That a Solo proficiency issued by SAMAA, who are (sic) accepted by both the Aero Club and the Civil Aviation authority as the Sole Co-ordinator of Model Flying in South Africa, must have some influence should there be a dispute or litigation of any kind.

b) Any Club member visiting another club or visitor to Club who has a rating on his card will be accepted and allowed to fly without the embarrassment of proving himself.

c) The value to SAMAA of knowing that its members are rated and competent to fly is immeasurable in the light of its position in the sport in South Africa...."

This doesn't convince me.

What kind of dispute or litigation is envisaged? Both the general manager and the then chairman of the committee have declared that the SAMAA insurance cover does not depend on solo status. In any other matter surely the testimony of fellow pilots and/or club members will carry more weight than an entry on a membership card.

Suppose a member wished to fly at a club where he is not known. Common courtesy indicates that he will approach a responsible person and talk to them. A flight test may or may not then be done. Equally, if an unknown person appears at a club, common sense, rather than an entry on a card should prevail. The card gives no indication of when the person last flew. It could have been years ago.

As for point (c), I don't understand what it means. It is certainly not of benefit to members.

Clubs are the backbone of model flying in SA. For years they have judged whether or not their pilots are safe to fly. The club record here is good. Why change a successful formula? Let clubs get on with it. Even if many do provide the current status of their members will they keep the records up to date? There's no benefit for the club in so doing, it's just a nuisance. What's the point?

I'm in favour of Achievement Schemes. Individual pilots can test their skill against objective criteria. Members view with pride the passing of a test, the badge that follows and the endorsement of their membership card. But it's an individual matter. I'm sure any club would be happy to support a member's application for solo achievement rating. But don't lumber the club with meaningless admin.

As I said, there may be an ulterior motive behind this. If this is so we should be told about it.


Tigger said...

Very interesting view of this: that SAMAA has some "Big Brother" motive. Perhaps your club does not wish to know the ratings of its members, but I know that we have generally always taken an active interest in our members RC activities.

All conspiracy theories aside, have you ever considered the notion that SAMAA would sincerely like to better understand its members to simply provide a better service to them?

Secondly, I might be naive, but I fail to see any possible harm that could be caused by SAMAA trying to keep record of its members RC qualifications?


John said...

Quite so, but not one of those reasons was put forward -- see the post.

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