Please note that this is not with malicious intent - we really need to be proactive in bringing about positive change for the good of the member base!
We welcome all comments and criticism as we need to address these issues at the next AeroclubSA Board Meeting 12 July 2011!
Chairman’s Report Aug/Sept 2011
I often start the report with a comment on the magazine. Well, the last one was once again a cracker with the cover adorned by a Sling piloted by Charmaine Blyth and Lisa King. May Mike and James, SA’s traveling duo, enjoy the continuing success of their company…………Rumour has it that the Sling is selling… better than hot cakes. Need to get myself a ride in one! I wish them well in their planning for their next round the world trip that is scheduled to begin in about six weeks or so.
The Unfortunate Truth
It is an unfortunate reality that I have to devote a fair part of this report to the negative feedback on Aero Club service delivery, that I am sent by members, as it seems that this matter continues to dog our daily aviation lives. It is my intention to take the subject matter of this report, together with your continued feedback, to the next Aero Club Meeting. It seems, the more we complain the less that happens. Please do not misunderstand me, I am convinced that much of what they do is important. I however feel that the Aero Club work at their own pace and to their own agenda and that they could give more attention to servicing the needs of our members. So, what is it that I raise as matters that I believe they could enhance their performance upon?
Every business relationship operates in a “customer / supplier” environment. The customer base is consulted and their needs are serviced. I do not believe that the Aero Club understands their role to fall within this framework and if they do they do not prioritise our needs. In our relationship with the Aero Club we will contribute something like R20,000 to R30,000 per month to their coffers this year. Each of the sub-sections make a contribution to the Aero Club and the Aero Club Financial Statements are a matter of public record. I am of the opinion that we do not get value for the fees that we pay them. Yes, we must pay for overheads but these overheads must support and enable measurable outputs that add visible value. I am of the opinion that there are other sub-sections that feel the way that I do about the value for money that we get from them. I am absolutely certain that we need the Aero Club and that what is needed is a clear determination of what is right, wrong and what it is that is broken. In addition, to be constructive, we must table what exact measurable deliverables we want them to provide.
Your continued feedback is important. Please send your positive and negative opinions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Donald… thus I fall in the category of the 4th letter in the alphabet. My surname is Hicks….8th in the alphabet. It is now well past mid year and I paid in December 2010. Our Editor too paid in December 2010 and both of us and many of you also still do not have your Aero Club cards. By the time we in fact get the cards, most of the year will have passed and new ones will be due. I have been told of the benefits of the card which are supposed to include supplier discounts etc. What exactly are these benefits? Is there a website, for instance, somewhere where we can access this information? If this added benefit to members is true then we have missed the opportunity of this benefit for most of the year! This position is not unique to MISASA members as many of my friends within the EAA also have not been issued with their cards.
Aero Club Financial Management
As you well know, part of our income, (fees) comes directly from the deposits made by yourselves into our account. Some of our members pay into the Aero Club account. I would have no problem with this except that the indications are that their financial management is less than acceptable. On a monthly basis, the money should be paid from them to us, after they have taken their dues, (and visa versa). This issue continues to be a problem with both unpaid and unallocated funds not being reconciled. Let me explain. For those of you that have paid the Aero Club, your money goes into their account and our portion awaits transfer, to us. As you know the bulk of our funding goes to a very visible deliverable in the form of the magazine. There are MANY people that pay their fees to Aero Club with little or no information sent by them in the form of an online listing, faxed or e-mailed payment confirmation etc. This money sits in their account as unallocated, so it does not get to MISASA, but remains in suspense in the Aero Club account. That is why, when you ask where your magazine has got to (as you assure us you have paid), it is due to the Aero Club not paying our fees to us and as a result of this you are not listed as a paid up member. Better to simply pay us directly, confirm all your details with MISASA and you will get your magazine each quarter. To be clear, when a payment is in suspense it means that you are not on the listing of paid up members and your address details may be old and incorrect or if you are a new member you will not be listed at all. We receive the membership list from the Aero Club and thus we have had to issue the magazine for the whole of this year to members that were on the list in 2010 as well as those that we know about who were added to the list for 2011. This position is just unacceptable. If you are a new member please e-mail our Editor at email@example.com and provide us with your postal address and we will send the magazine even if you are not on the list.
Folks, please pay directly to MISASA by way of our bank account. The details are on page 3. Just to conclude this point, we have not had a transfer of funds from the Aero Club since March and the debt to MISASA (at the end of June) cannot be accurately established. It has been estimated (on the basis of Aero Club supplied info) at numbers ranging from over R100,000 to over R200,000. Their financial reporting is, at best, bad! Whatever the amount may eventually turn out to be , it is no small number!
Information from the Aero Club:
Names & Address Lists
Unfortunately the info forwarded to MISASA for interacting with the membership varies from being accurate to reasonably accurate to garbage, thus rendering the content of the document unreliable. It all talks to incompetence and a general lack of care and focus. For us to be able to service your needs, we have to be able to contact you. Internet and e-mail is fine for those that use it, but there are many (hundreds of members ) that do not have a listed e-mail address and for these members the magazine is our only form of communication. We, also do not have tel no’s for some members. It is for these reasons that the address list needs to be accurate.
The Aero Club Website
This is outdated and the information is unreliable. In this day and age where information is best gleaned from the internet, it would be prudent to believe that the information on the Aero Club’s website is accurate and up to date. Sadly, this is not the case…. The website suggests that Neil de Lange is the GM and that Stan Oliver is the Chairman. If I were them I would be unhappy as matters were never this bad under their watch. The MISASA report on the Aero Club’s website was written by my predecessor, Alex Rudd, from whom I took over as your Chairman some two years ago. Enough said about that.
In conclusion, I do believe that the Aero Club is badly in need of an injection of dynamic support. Please remember, unlike the sections under the Aero Club, they are run by full time staff employed for no other purpose than to tend to the needs of the sections that pay them for services that are needed. Please don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that all that they do is with fault. I do however, as a layman and pilot believe that we, as members, have much to complain about. This I will be doing at the next meeting. The results of this will be fed back to all for comment via our website.
ICASA continue to delay and confuse. I have reported their inadequacies to the Aero Club many times and have requested that the issue receive follow-up. I thus continue to suggest that you use the services of Peter or Petra at ICASA in Durban. You can contact them on: Telephone 031 334 9515 Fax 031 334 9518 PC Fax 011 566 4042 and finally you can mail Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can mail Petra email@example.com My thanks to them for their excellent service.
General Aviation Events Website
The website http://www.funflying.info has been a great success. You may recall in the last magazine that I chatted about the plot to come up with a new website to get all sections working together.
Well, I am happy to say that it is in place and that it is working wonderfully. Please go and have a look at the site. As an aside, is this perhaps an example of what the Aero Club should be doing for us? The site does not need you to log in, that is just for the administrators to work behind the scenes. Have a look at the link to “EVENTS AND FLYAWAYS” it is duplicated from the MISASA site. You will see many of the events that are both KZN based as well as a few that are national. So far I have worked with only the EAA locally as they, (locally that is), are thinking along the same lines as what I am. All aviation meetings/activities are open to all to attend. We see that flying enthusiasts need not be put into specific disciplines, (EAA / MISASA etc). What a great way to have fun…. with pilots and others that enjoy the same stuff. By the way, we have not confined our chatter to the “private sector” either. As an example we had a get together this past week at the SAAF 15th Squadron at the old Durban Airport. This has been the second get together organized by them, and it was most pleasant. We have introduced them to our various forms of flying and they are fascinated. It would appear that the microlight is not as commonly understood within the air force's aviation circles as one would imagine. We will be inviting them to come flying with us in the not too distant future.
Well, that’s it chaps for another quarter. I hope that you will respond to my call for information so that we are better able to present the facts at Aero Club meetings. Given the feedback that I have at present, it seems that the challenge is to try and move their thinking to be less bureaucratic and more membership focused. I have just returned from my Namibian trip, and what a trip it was. It is all in the magazine so page forward and read.
Cheers for now.
Fly Safe, enjoy and please do e-mail your pros & cons to me - it is important that we get more examples to add to what is currently being reported.