The 2017 MAAA Annual Council Conference was held in Launceston on the weekend of May 20th and 21st. This important meeting offers an opportunity for club executives to get together and address issues facing the MAAA for the benefit of its members and the sport.
This year’s conference also incorporated the Competition Rules Conference which takes place every four years, and all the competition rule changes proposed this year were accepted.
Day one of the conference was dedicated to the discussion and adoption of a series of administrative issues and changes. Day two was a chance for the executive to plan the future direction of the MAAA, and consider the challenges faced by both the MAAA and its member clubs.
A summary of the important decisions made during the conference is outlined below.
70th MAAA Nationals in 2018
New South Wales Free Flight submitted a proposal to conduct the 70th MAAA Nationals at West Wyalong, New South Wales from the 23rd to the 30th of April 2018. NSWFF proposes to offer events for all disciplines including F3U FPV racing. More information will be available as plans progress.
Amendments to the MAAA Statement of Rules (Constitution)
Some minor amendments were made that bring the rules up to date with current practices. A full copy of the amendments will be available on the MAAA webpage when registered. A full review of the constitution is also planned for the upcoming year.
Amendments were approved to two MOPs, MOP 065 – Policy on UAVs and MOP 006 – Appointment and reappointment of Inspectors; the three-yearly renewal period was removed.
Appointment of a Bookkeeper
On the recommendation of the MAAA auditor, Council approved the appointment of a bookkeeper to manage the day to day financial records. This does not reduce the responsibilities of the MAAA Treasurer.
MAAA Executive Appointments
Mr Carl Bizon was re-elected as Vice President; the outgoing Treasurer, Mr. Brian Dowie withdrew his application and in accordance with the Statement of Rules Mr. Arthur Bablis was appointed as Treasurer. Council decided since a bookkeeper will be appointed to assist the Treasurer, no honorarium would be paid.
Hall of Fame
The Council approved five new inductees to the Hall of Fame.
Barry Robert Lee for his many years’ dedication to the New South Wales Free Flight Society. Barry was introduced to aeromodelling in 1950 and has been an active member ever since. He has been instrumental in producing the Free Flight Down Under magazine since 1969.
Robert Fitzgerald and Mark Ellins for gaining first place and setting a new world F2C record at the Australian World Championships in 2016.
Murray Wilson and Mark Poschkens for gaining second place at the F2C Australian World Championship.
MAAA Service Medal
Three members were awarded the MAAA service medal
Iain McLeay for his service over many years to aeromodelling. His efforts include assisting in the establishment of large scale racing in Australia, assisting and participating in the Adelaide Golden Era Racing events and the heavy model certification process. Iain has also been an active member of the Model Aero Sports South Australia (MASA) committee for many years.
Malcolm Campbell for his efforts in showcasing aeromodelling both nationally and internationally. His superb photographs have featured in various on line and print publications including Aeromodeller, Free Flight Down Under.
Stephen Vickers in recognition of over 26 years’ assistance to RCAS and the MAAA as CFI. He travelled around Australia assisting and guiding countless members in this role. He is the forefather of the current Instructor Training program. He also helped set up and run the MAAA Bankstown Museum.
I’d like to offer my congratulations to all recipients.
Council approved an insurance proposal which resulted in a $10,000 saving on last year’s policy. The package also includes an automatic $10,000 property/burglary cover for all clubs with a subsidised excess of $1,000 per claim, and the general insurance excess a nil excess payment for the first claim.
The 2017/18 budget was reviewed in detail and Council decided to half the amount available for overseas competitors’ support. Overseas competition is a vital part of the sport for Australia but Council considered the amounts offered previously were too high compared to the total budget, and the return for the general membership.
Lastly but to most members the most important budget decision related to the setting of membership fees for 2017 – 2018. Council agreed the fees would remain the same, i.e. Seniors $60.00 and Juniors $30.00
Future Direction Planning
Day two of the conference was dedicated to discussion and resolutions for the future direction of the MAAA. Topics included recruitment, retention and club participation. The following key decisions were taken.
New Working Parties Established
A working party was established with a Council approved remit to examine and recommend how the MAAA could adopt and implement an electronic membership self/individual renewal system.
A second working party was established to examine the pros and cons of creating a “Direct Membership” category to sit alongside the current structure. Whilst it was acknowledged that the current structure is one that best serves the needs of members, it was noted some circumstances have arisen in the past where direct membership is the appropriate form of membership.
In the interim period, Council has authorised the Secretary to accept direct membership under defined circumstances.
Both working groups will report back within a determined period of time.
Recruitment and retention of members
Council acknowledged that the MAAA has an aging membership base and that a majority of clubs have an issue with the recruitment and retention of members. A range of ideas were put forward and it was accepted that all members must help to recruit younger members and to support the “Towards 11000” initiative. Other ideas included combining the Australian Model Flying Day with national come and try days. Progress on turning ideas into actions will be communicated as it arises.
A New National Training Standard
In accordance with the MAAA’s strategy for continuous improvement, Council adopted a version of Model Aero Sports South Australia, MASA, one day Instructor Training System as the National Standard. This course is a modification of the original and focusses on train the trainer techniques. Funding was also approved for a national Chief Flying Instructors meeting in Adelaide to brief all CFI’s.
A Final Word
In closing, I would like to thank Mr. Brian Dowie for his contributions to the MAAA Council and members in the position of Treasurer. Brian held this position for the past six years but has decided to not stand for re-election so he can spend more time flying and competing in Old Timer events. I wish Brian all the best for the future.