Flying Sites - Grants vs. AMA EC Travel - RC Groups
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Apr 07, 2017, 09:13 AM
Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
franklin_m's Avatar
Discussion

Flying Sites - Grants vs. AMA EC Travel


Given that we're now focused on the importance of flying sites, I've always subscribed to the premise that the way an organization spends its scarce resources, money, is a direct and accurate measure of its priorities. I thought I'd share what I've recently learned with respect to the AMA's relative prioritization of EC meetings vs. Flying Site Grants. Looking at the November 2016 EC minutes as an example, here's who attended and where they came from:

President Bob Brown, Bradford, PA
Executive Vice President Gary Fitch, Delevan, NY
Chief Financial Officer Keith Sessions, Burlington, KY
I-Andy Argenio, Smithfield, RI
II-Eric Williams, Schenectady, NY
III-Mark Radcliff, St. Marys, WV
IV-Jay Marsh, High Point, NC
Interim VP District V-Andy Griffith, Jacksonville, FL
VI-Randy Cameron, Springfield, MO
VII-Tim Jesky, Monroe, MI
AVP District VIII-Tony Breyen, Wichita Falls, TX
AVP District IX-Paul Frankum, Lenexa, KS
X-Lawrence Tougas, Fairfield, CA
XI-Chuck Bower, Langley, WA

Let's assume the guys from Kansas, Missouri, and even Michigan drove. That leaves eleven guys that had to fly at, say $750 a ticket on average (most appear to be going small airport to small airport vs. major hub to major hub which is cheaper). Letís assume a two full days of meetings, which means three nights in a hotel (arrive night before) at $75 a night per person per room. Then assume four days per diem at $35 a day per person (travel day, meeting day x 2, and travel day). Throw in one rental car for every other person at $50 a day for two full days in Muncie. And throw in four days parking at home airport at $10 a day per person per day.

Airfare: 11 x 1 x $7500 = $8250
Hotels: 14 x 3 x $75 = $3150
Per Diem: 14 x 4 x $35 = $1960
Rental Cars: 7 x 2 x $50 = $700
Parking: 14 x 4 x $10 = $560

So thatís $14,620 a meeting, four times a year, or $58,480 for a year (conservatively) ...just in travel for EC members to attend EC meetings. During 2017, the EC is allocating just $23,000 for flying site grants (note 1). If flying sites are so important, why is the EC spending twice as much on their own travel as they are on grants for the rest of us to acquire and improve flying sites?

Given that "Open adult membership renewals are on the decline" ... "There was a decline in the Senior adult membership 2015 to 2016" ... and "The conversion rate on youth members is extremely low" (note 2), I don't see how membership revenue can't fall. So maybe it's past time for the EC to use GoToMeeting or similar 20th century technology to reduce costs? Not only would that free up more scare resources for flying sites, it would also allow rank and file members to "tune in" to EC meetings, thus allowing much greater transparency on how they're deciding to spend our money.

Note 1: http://www.modelaircraft.org/members...itegrants.aspx
Note 2: http://www.modelaircraft.org/aboutam...ecminutes.aspx
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Apr 07, 2017, 05:50 PM
Capitalist
fnlrun's Avatar
Commander, I am impressed with the amount of legwork you've done! Seriously, most people whine and complain, you brought up facts and stated them damn well!!! Bravo Sir. Unfortunately, the EC will never give up their Golden Castle and meal ticket
Apr 07, 2017, 07:25 PM
Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
franklin_m's Avatar
Quote:
(fnlrun) Commander, I am impressed with the amount of legwork you've done! Seriously, most people whine and complain, you brought up facts and stated them damn well!!! Bravo Sir. Unfortunately, the EC will never give up their Golden Castle and meal ticket
Thanks. I've done a lot of travel in my career, and been accountable for travel expenses for my staff. So coming up with some numbers was easy. Unfortunately, those numbers for travel costs are probably 10-20% conservative. Some of those tickets could easily be $1000 or more.
Apr 07, 2017, 08:09 PM
Capitalist
fnlrun's Avatar
I think all the numbers were conservative. You would probably do a backflip if you saw the actual numbers
Apr 10, 2017, 10:17 PM
Registered User
Do you work for the AMA or know the numbers? I'm curious as to what they are.
Apr 12, 2017, 12:53 AM
Registered User
wingtips's Avatar

meeting


Perhaps the AMA could use video conferencing for EC meetings, and put the saved funds into the field grants column? Just a thought!
Apr 12, 2017, 01:31 AM
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9XTremist's Avatar
Just as an "FYI" the SOP on most any questions concerning Financial Expenditures, Accounting or Internal Policy, even questions about current membership numbers is usually answered with "according to our policy that information is not for Public Disclosure." Two maybe 3 years ago a couple of members in the Advocacy forum stated they could not get any information on membership numbers even when giving their names and AMA numbers. I actually lied on the phone and said I was doing a promotional piece in an effort to bolster public sentiment and possibly enhance membership numbers in the process and luckily was handed to the President/big cheese who had just shown up for work and wasn't doing anything yet and fed him my line of Bovinal Excrement or I would not have gotten any info out of anyone in that office concerning something as trivial as current membership numbers. (which IIRC, didn't jive with either the previous released numbers or the ones released after that) The unwillingness to release any information is not to protect themselves from the competition or business rivalries. Whatever the reason is it's not the way a non profit organization that gets it's only income from representing and acting on behalf of it's membership should conduct itself. I think the Commander (damn Navy, all they do is screw up the Marine life) has pulled a tiny little piece off of a big old scab. (keep pulling)

pensioner USAF
Last edited by 9XTremist; Apr 12, 2017 at 02:10 AM. Reason: thank you for your continued support, please pull up to the 2nd window
Apr 12, 2017, 12:18 PM
Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
franklin_m's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9XTremist
Just as an "FYI" the SOP on most any questions concerning Financial Expenditures, Accounting or Internal Policy, even questions about current membership numbers is usually answered with "according to our policy that information is not for Public Disclosure." Two maybe 3 years ago a couple of members in the Advocacy forum stated they could not get any information on membership numbers even when giving their names and AMA numbers. I actually lied on the phone and said I was doing a promotional piece in an effort to bolster public sentiment and possibly enhance membership numbers in the process and luckily was handed to the President/big cheese who had just shown up for work and wasn't doing anything yet and fed him my line of Bovinal Excrement or I would not have gotten any info out of anyone in that office concerning something as trivial as current membership numbers. (which IIRC, didn't jive with either the previous released numbers or the ones released after that) The unwillingness to release any information is not to protect themselves from the competition or business rivalries. Whatever the reason is it's not the way a non profit organization that gets it's only income from representing and acting on behalf of it's membership should conduct itself. I think the Commander (damn Navy, all they do is screw up the Marine life) has pulled a tiny little piece off of a big old scab. (keep pulling)

pensioner USAF

Thanks man...though I disagree that all Navy does is screw up marine life!

I learned a long time ago, from one of my superb SJAs, was to ask "Cui Bono" (roughly "Who benefits?") from such actions - in this case lack of transparency. As shown above, they spend considerable money traveling for their own benefit, much more than they spend on things that help the rest of us (flying fields where we actually fly). I suspect the benefit is to the EC, who really don't want a lot of attention on how they spend our money.

As I said, how an organization spends money is a direct and very reliable indication of their priorities. And it's clear that EC travel is much more important than flying site grants and much more important than scholarships - just to name two.
Apr 13, 2017, 03:46 AM
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9XTremist's Avatar
I was hoping to get a response/explanation from an official AMA "voice" but no response is better than an "According to our policy that information is not for Public Disclosure" rhetoric.

As to my remark, it should have read "Naval Aviators", but to honest, anyone who can fly the old ball (or the new one) especially at night, deserves admiration no matter how much Marine Life he they screws up.

Post-Post afterglow thought:
I mean, there's not much point in having a sharp stick if you can't poke someone with it.
Apr 13, 2017, 08:51 AM
Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
franklin_m's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9XTremist
I was hoping to get a response/explanation from an official AMA "voice" but no response is better than an "According to our policy that information is not for Public Disclosure" rhetoric.

As to my remark, it should have read "Naval Aviators", but to honest, anyone who can fly the old ball (or the new one) especially at night, deserves admiration no matter how much Marine Life he they screws up.

Post-Post afterglow thought:
I mean, there's not much point in having a sharp stick if you can't poke someone with it.
Thanks.... had the privilege of flying aboard USS Ranger (CV-61 for Desert Shield/Desert Storm), and USS JOHN F KENNEDY (CV-67 for Bosnia stuff, Iraq no fly zone, etc.)

As for AMA, another problem is that they've demonstrated that the aren't able to attract MR members. Yet the EVP, Fitch, wants to spend more money to do what they've demonstrated they can't do. I think they call that putting good money after bad.
Apr 13, 2017, 08:41 PM
Capitalist
fnlrun's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by wingtips
Perhaps the AMA could use video conferencing for EC meetings, and put the saved funds into the field grants column? Just a thought!
That's like asking a politician to live by the laws they make lol
Apr 17, 2017, 09:22 AM
Registered User
sgtmonte's Avatar
Commander,

As the President of a small club that requested a flying site grant this year, your figures are both impressive and shocking!!! My club can only get "up to" 10% of the cost of field upgrade, yet the AMA pays out that much in travel expenses???? IMHO the AMA should be much more transparent about their membership and financial activities.

More and more people are joining our hobby, but they're doing it from their backyards, playgrounds or parking lots. Those of us who fly larger aircraft and actually follow the rules and fly at approved sites, are struggling to keep and gain membership. We made some improvements to our field to increase parking and make our pit area safer. The cost was just as much as we bring in for membership dues. We're not asking for the AMA to pay for the entire thing but a little more than 10% would be nice.

AMA, please listen to your members.


BTW, everyone knows that the Navy is just their to support the Marines and the Air Force's main mission is to fly us Army guys around
Apr 17, 2017, 10:33 AM
Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
franklin_m's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgtmonte
Commander,

As the President of a small club that requested a flying site grant this year, your figures are both impressive and shocking!!! My club can only get "up to" 10% of the cost of field upgrade, yet the AMA pays out that much in travel expenses???? IMHO the AMA should be much more transparent about their membership and financial activities.

More and more people are joining our hobby, but they're doing it from their backyards, playgrounds or parking lots. Those of us who fly larger aircraft and actually follow the rules and fly at approved sites, are struggling to keep and gain membership. We made some improvements to our field to increase parking and make our pit area safer. The cost was just as much as we bring in for membership dues. We're not asking for the AMA to pay for the entire thing but a little more than 10% would be nice.

AMA, please listen to your members.


BTW, everyone knows that the Navy is just their to support the Marines and the Air Force's main mission is to fly us Army guys around

You can start by getting your members to copy my financial analysis, heck even include a link, and send it to your AMA regional VP. Say that you found my analysis and make me the "bad guy" if you need to. Ask them to provide to members a public accounting of ALL travel expenses by EC. That's our money, we deserve to know how much they're spending on themselves. I think we have to put pressure on the council of nobles and DEMAND they change.

They say they want members to be involved, but apparently only to a point. Under their current way of doing things, the only way someone can attend an EC meeting is to travel to Munice - at considerable cost. Using GoToMeeting or similar technology would allow more rank and file members to "attend" EC meetings ... but I suspect they're reject that idea, because the EC benefits from the lack of transparency. Fewer questions about how they spend their money.

Flying sites outside "Taj-Muncie" are where the VAST MAJORITY of AMA members fly, if they fly at a club. The money given to them should be an order of magnitude more than what gets spent at HQ's personal flying site.

I'd encourage all others on this thread who think AMA should spend more on flying site grants than on AMA funded travel should also engage their VP and demand an immediate change.
Last edited by franklin_m; Apr 17, 2017 at 11:48 AM.
Apr 18, 2017, 10:46 AM
Capitalist
fnlrun's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgtmonte
Commander,



More and more people are joining our hobby, but they're doing it from their backyards, playgrounds or parking lots. Those of us who fly larger aircraft and actually follow the rules and fly at approved sites
There is noting wrong with flying in the backyard, approved or not.....Approved site varies by city to city. Hell on Fathers day on of the airports is closing the runway (except for IFE) so my club can put on a RC demo.
May 05, 2017, 08:23 AM
Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
franklin_m's Avatar
I see that AMA still believes EC travel is more important than flying site grants, they've allocated just $30,000 for 2017 grants (note 1). Yet they're still expected to spend almost double that on EC travel just to attend EC meetings (per above detailed estimate).

Note 1: http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/fly...017/05/03/464/