Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chasing Kangaroos -- Piet le Roux (or perhaps Piet le Kangaroux)

In the last issue of SAMAA news we were treated with a report back of the editor’s visit to Australia. He went to one local club, met with the president of the MAAA, Mike Close, and gathered an astounding amount of information about model flying clubs in the whole of Australia. He mentions the "30 meter rule" and that alcohol are not allowed at any of their clubs. These must be "unwritten rules" because in their Manual of Procedures no mention is made of any "30 meter rule" and as far as alcohol goes it just states that you may not operate a model aircraft while under the influence. It does not prohibit alcohol at any club. I don’t know in what they were partaking while having this conversation or maybe it’s just a case of hearing what you want to hear. He attempts to give the impression that the Aussies have a "no drinking" culture and any misconduct is severely punished by law. The fact of the matter is that the Aussies have always had a culture of heavy drinking and it is because of this that they have very strict anti drinking laws. They have recently admitted that the country is currently experiencing an unprecedented wave of drug and alcohol abuse and even more severe laws were needed. So if Mr. Ruzzier ,or anyone else, thinks that by immigrating to Australia he and his family is going to have less exposure to the evils of alcohol they would be sadly mistaken.

But there are certainly a few things that we can learn from the Aussies. As mentioned by the editor their insurance policy is something that we can only dream about at this stage. I am sure that we can afford such a policy if we utilize our available funds in a more responsible manner and make service to our members a priority. Their Manual of Procedures is made up of different chapters which consist of individual PDF files. So if you are looking for information on a particular subject it is easy to find. Presently I do not want to consult our manual because it is simply too laborious. Theirs is also easy to update or to change any of the different chapters. They emphasize the fact that their Manual of Procedures is a "live" document and is continuously being updated. Members are made aware of updates via their newsletter and their website. This insures that the document is always current and correct. Some of the contents of our manual were copied from the MAAA manual but some of the contents in our manual were already outdated when it was written. So we must take good look at the MAAA manual and adapt ours in such a manner that it becomes a current, meaningful and a user-friendly document. At this stage it is just a white elephant.

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