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Old Nov 01, 2005, 04:12 PM
Ben Wilson
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Re: Some Thoughts on AMA

Wow. A great and well-reasoned article. I couldn't agree more.

Tim Bennett wrote:
> All the comments I have read on this exchange over the last two days bring
> to mind some ideas that have been boiling in my mind for a couple of years
> regarding the Academy of Model Aeronautics and how it is organized.
>
> Tim Bennett
>


--
Ben Wilson
Web Developer/Consultant
ben@thelocust.org
cell: 502.836.8551
home: 502.290.0624
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Old Nov 01, 2005, 04:13 PM
BrowneCG@aol.com
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Re: Some Thoughts on AMA

Very good analysis, and I agree with all.

Browne Goodwin

Old Nov 01, 2005, 04:13 PM
Jeff Steifel
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Re: Some Thoughts on AMA

Very well written. I agree with you. This would make a very good letter
to the Magazine and executive council to stir things up.
One thing; remove the part about DS removing someones head. In case you
don't remember Dave Brown almost outlawed slope combat. I talked to him
about it and he was an idiot about it. I also spoke with Dave Mathews
about it and he too was unwilling to discus it. So I don't think we want
to represent our dangerous side right now.

Tim Bennett wrote:

>All the comments I have read on this exchange over the last two days bring
>to mind some ideas that have been boiling in my mind for a couple of years
>regarding the Academy of Model Aeronautics and how it is organized.
>
>

snip

--
Jeff Steifel

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Old Nov 01, 2005, 04:13 PM
Darwin N. Barrie
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n/a Posts
Re: Some Thoughts on AMA

> Sad to see Mike Garton leave and that soaring has been significantly
> reduced
> in the magazine.
>
> The lack of coverage of the NATS is further evidence that the AMA is out
> of
> touch with what is happening within our hobby.


Ed,

The amount of soaring coverage has not changed. Mike had every other month.
I have the column now and it is still every other month. Several have
inquired to see if we could get it back to every month but I don't think
that will happen.

The AMA is not out of touch at all with Soaring. I'm sure every discipline
of modeling is having their own discussion as to how they were slighted on
the coverage.

The fact of the matter like or not, is NATS is a big event. There is simply
no way to adequately give each event proper coverage. So, a balance has to
be acheived. I think they did a pretty good job of covering everything. Was
it enough? Certainly not.

As I have noted several times in the Soaring Column, I am only the medium
to bring it to you. If anyone has input then send it to me and I will do
everything possible to report on it.

I think we are expecting too much out of the organization. Look at the EAA,
their membership is consistent with AMA and they have the same issues
regarding coverage of the various aspects of Experimental aircraft. At the
annual Oshkosh fly in, there is always one group or another that felt they
weren't placed in a good location, food was inadequate, etc......

For what we pay, I believe we get a good value. It is not perfect, never
will be and someone will always be unhappy. AMA is what we make it. If you
don't like what is happening, vote for a new President or District VP and
make you thoughts known.

Darwin N. Barrie
Chandler AZ
Soaring- Model Aviation

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Old Nov 01, 2005, 06:13 PM
Jon Stone
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Re: Some Thoughts on AMA

Tim,

Well thought out points. No flame suit necessary. I appreciate you and others sharing your insights.

One very minor correction to your note. The AMA says we should not fly over 400' AGL "within 3 miles of an airport", not just anywhere.

I would venture to guess that we in the sailplane community would have the same or less representation in the "new AMA" you envision, then we have now. Why? Sheer numbers. Only the AMA knows how many people check off "soaring" as their primary interest each year on their AMA membership renewals. My guess is that it's about 2-5% of the total membership. My guess is based on magazine ad coverage, vendor product mixes, and club availability for soaring activities.

We would have representation that understands sailplanes and who we are. After all, this rep. would be some kind of sailplane pilot, I presume. But that rep. would have a very small % of any vote. Again my guess would be 5%. The ~70% "sport power flyer", who pays his dues just to belong to a club which has a field, would dominate the AMA's agendas. Very small groups, (ala any FAI task) would have virtually no voice, unless the collective leadership thought it important that the USA have FAI teams, and fund them.

Regardless of how the AMA is governed, IMHO the "vision of the AMA" had better change fast, just to remain relevant. The fast growing segment of small electrics is creating large numbers of pilots who have no need of a large field, and frankly, no need for the AMA. Much like a lot of slope flyers, and RC car drivers. Note, I did not say these pilots are any less disciplined or frequency aware than the average AMA pilot.

I personally know of an informal group of pilots who only fly small electrics. They are more active and getting larger than the long established AMA soaring club I belong to. Many, but not all are AMA members. They are not an official AMA club. They are sport flyers, responsible, and a great bunch of guys. But they don't need the AMA, as they can fly on any 2-3 acres of open land.

I wish I could offer a "better vision" for the future of the AMA. Frankly, I cannot. There is already a pressure within the AMA for different membership fees, based on percieved liability. Think jets, vs. DLG's. Dave Brown brought this up in the magazine sometime in the past year. No way the "small electric" flyers will join the AMA if all they do is fly 10-20 oz planes in school ballfields and neighborhood parks. Yet their numbers are tremendous. Yes the existing establishment within the AMA wouldn't stand for that kind of change.

Perhaps, eventually, we may come to the state the Brits are in, as David Alchin pointed out. The BARCS, a separate umbrella organization just for soaring. But that's a "different can of worms".

I can't say wether a large umbrella (present AMA) or many small umbrellas would "better" the respective members of each.

Jon Stone
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Old Nov 01, 2005, 06:13 PM
Bob Goldsmith
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Re: Some Thoughts on AMA

My "gut" reaction to the well written suggestion is that the proposed
changes would result in the splintering of the organization and the
resultant arguments for "turf" and the dividing of the budget would result
in it's demise.

I believe that there is much greater strength as one association for all
model aircraft disciplines than there would be in multiple associations for
individual disciplines. I definitely fear that the suggested changes would
cause such a breakup.

I support the concept that the AMA is not working as well as it might
currently, but I am not sure that the geographical regions concept is at
the root of any problems. Most successful large national companies have a
"Regional" structure within them.

I think there needs to be more geographical "responsibility and
involvement" for the individual disciplines. Reporting to the Regional VP
should be small Committees (3-4 people?) for the various disciplines of the
model aircraft hobby active in that region. The committees would coordinate
activities and support the AMA members in their region involved in the
individual disciplines. In todays "wired" world, communication between
regions should be relatively effective. Members of the Regional committees
could report to a National level Committee for their discipline. National
decisions could be reached through coordination of the national committees.

I would like to see an AMA Flying Field Acquisition Program started that
would take a set amount of money from each annual dues ($5?) plus donations
and use that money to acquire land in each region. That land could be
leased to local AMA club(s) for $500 per year to cover AMA administration
costs associated with the land management. Over a few decades all regions
should have one or two flying fields that shouldn't be closed on them. I
suspect we all wish that such a program had been started 20 years ago.

Perhaps each AMA region should form an AMA Review Committee to review
regional input on organization changes and pass that up to AMA HQ for
membership vote. I do suspect that regional inputs will differ based on
local regional perceived problems... that will need to be resolved at the
national level and through voting.

As to the future of the "Nats" - I think it would be brighter if it toured
the Nation, perhaps using a future "network" of AMA flying fields. But that
is an old issue that was resolved by "centralized" AMA thinking. I can't
seem to locate a membership number in the AMA mag (I think it should be
right up front with the list of officers, but I may have missed it.) but I
suspect that the number of entrants in the Nats is a very small percentage
of the membership and that a "hard core" number of entrants come from the
AMA "center of the universe" area... year after year. If it were to move
about the country I think more total members would attend and/or participate.

My 2

Bob Goldsmith



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Old Nov 01, 2005, 06:13 PM
George L Meyers
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Re: Some Thoughts on AMA

The acquisition program was started 10-15 years ago in California but, it
never came to about. I don't know definitely why.

I wouldn't like to see a regional field paid for out of my dues.
California is a long state, even if it was set up in the center of the state
the majority of us would never use it, except for another club's contest,
due to the distrance we would have to travel. Fresno is 170 miles from
Sacramento and San Francisco and 250 miles from LA.

> I would like to see an AMA Flying Field Acquisition Program started that
> would take a set amount of money from each annual dues ($5?) plus
> donations and use that money to acquire land in each region. That land
> could be leased to local AMA club(s) for $500 per year to cover AMA
> administration costs associated with the land management. Over a few
> decades all regions should have one or two flying fields that shouldn't be
> closed on them. I suspect we all wish that such a program had been started
> 20 years ago.


> My 2


> Bob Goldsmith


George Meyers
Fresno, California

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Old Nov 01, 2005, 08:13 PM
Marc Gellart
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Re: Some Thoughts on AMA

As Tim stated, History is everything sometimes and it is here. Just take a good look at the rule book and tell me whan the last time that was really orgainzed correctly. More to come later.

Marc
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Old Nov 01, 2005, 08:13 PM
Bill's Email
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n/a Posts
Re: Some Thoughts on AMA



George L Meyers wrote:
> The acquisition program was started 10-15 years ago in California but,
> it never came to about. I don't know definitely why.



The District X Regional Flying Site proposed for Visalia, CA died due to
environmental concerns on the part of Fish and Wildlife. Seems that some
backhoe tracks formed a potential habitat for a small fish last seen 150
miles away in the Sierra. End of that story.

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