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Things that would be interesting to know - "Taj-Muncie" usage

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Things that would be interesting to know - "Taj-Muncie" usage

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Old 09-15-2018, 06:17 AM
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franklin_m
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Default Things that would be interesting to know - "Taj-Muncie" usage

As AMA grapples with spending vs. income, every organization does, it would be useful to take a hard look at some of the "sacred cows" that consume our membership dollars. Given that members' money is being used to fund the "Taj-Muncie" metroplex, I think it would be very interesting to know what the usage profile looks like. To allow members who help pay for it to know if it's actually a "benefit," I think it would be good to know:

- Total visits by AMA member per year for last ten years

- Total UNIQUE AMA numbers that visited by year for last ten years. Data above gives total usage, but would bias toward those folks who live close and get to use it a lot. This representation gets at whether it's a few people (i.e. folks who live close) that use it a lot, or a lot of folks that use it once or twice. For example, if 3 unique AMA numbers visited 9 times, the "9" bar on the x-asis would be "3." Similarly, say 8 people used it 10 times or more, then the "10" bar would be 8 units high.

- Histogram showing number of unique AMA numbers on Y-axis vs. # of visits by those numbers across X-axis. Categorize data by 10+ visits, 9 visits, 8 visits, etc. Gives profile that will show, I suspect, that there's a handful of folks (presumably folks living rather close - like staff) who use it a lot.

- Total NON-AMA visitors to the site, by year for last ten years, that PAID to use the facility.

- Total cash in vs. total cash out by year for ten years (all in numbers, paid events, rentals, farm income, etc.). Categorized by AMA direct use and all other uses.


Why? Well, I don't live that far away really, about 7 hour drive each way. But if you add up fuel costs, meals on the road, hotels, etc., it's the better part of $500 and 4 days on the calendar to attend a 2 day event. The overwhelming majority of AMA members do not live close at all. Heavily biased toward large population centers, and California and Florida. What is the "benefit" to these folks? Who see their hard earned membership dollars supporting a super-duper flying site for people who either work at AMA HQ or live a relatively much shorter distance.

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Old 09-15-2018, 11:56 AM
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Taj Muncie is the sacred cow, a monument to days gone by. The time will come when it is foolish to continue funding this outlandish benefit for the few that compete and the fewer still that live in the area. Unfortunately, I believe the AMA would rather go bankrupt than give up the “Palace”.

The AMA rose from humble beginnings, without the museum, without the national flying site, without the magazine, and without an expensive staff. Perhaps it’s time for a smaller AMA, one that better matches a declining membership and declining income.

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Old 09-15-2018, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 049flyer View Post
Taj Muncie is the sacred cow, a monument to days gone by. The time will come when it is foolish to continue funding this outlandish benefit for the few that compete and the fewer still that live in the area. Unfortunately, I believe the AMA would rather go bankrupt than give up the “Palace”.
If you're a member, log on the website and read the July EC minutes. Section 5 in particular.

Originally Posted by 049flyer View Post
The AMA rose from humble beginnings, without the museum, without the national flying site, without the magazine, and without an expensive staff. Perhaps it’s time for a smaller AMA, one that better matches a declining membership and declining income.
Might be time to start taking a hard look at "sacred cows."
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Old 09-15-2018, 12:48 PM
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Franklin:

I would read them if I could find them. Spent about 20 minutes searching around the new website without luck. I found the last EC agenda and Motions but no minutes. Got a link?
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Old 09-15-2018, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by 049flyer View Post
Franklin:

I would read them if I could find them. Spent about 20 minutes searching around the new website without luck. I found the last EC agenda and Motions but no minutes. Got a link?
1. Log in
2. Select "About AMA" ... big blue selection area opens ... select "Executive Council"
3. Click on "Executive Council Meetings"
4. Click on table entry for July minutes

This link takes me right to it and the link works. But I'm logged in. If it doesn't work for you, then login first and then try clicking the link again.
https://www.modelaircraft.org/execut...018-ec-minutes
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Old 09-15-2018, 01:08 PM
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Franklin:

I’m using my Ipad, I think the website displays differently depending on the device used. I followed your directions, didn’t see the blue section with ”EC Minutes”. Good news is your link worked. Thanks.

Nothing earth shattering there. Some discussion of financial storm clouds but no real movement from the council.


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Old 09-15-2018, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 049flyer View Post
Franklin:

I’m using my Ipad, I think the website displays differently depending on the device used. I followed your directions, didn’t see the blue section with ”EC Minutes”. Good news is your link worked. Thanks.

Nothing earth shattering there. Some discussion of financial storm clouds but no real movement from the council.
What struck me was the warnings, more blunt than I've seen in a very long time. Then immediately someone asks for money. Out of touch.
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Old 09-16-2018, 03:01 AM
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Well, not being a member I am not privy to such documents. Big Whoop! If it's important it will be slipped to the public eventually.

Something I would be curious to see with regards to Muncie would be an accurate map showing member distribution throughout the country. I know on the old web site there was an interactive map of the clubs but I would like to see the actual membership distribution.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Appowner View Post
Well, not being a member I am not privy to such documents. Big Whoop! If it's important it will be slipped to the public eventually.
Something I would be curious to see with regards to Muncie would be an accurate map showing member distribution throughout the country. I know on the old web site there was an interactive map of the clubs but I would like to see the actual membership distribution.
I think that would be interesting too. They'll never show it, because it'll reveal that "Taj-Muncie" is far from most members.
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Old 09-16-2018, 04:52 AM
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They have spent big bucks on everything they could think of but the problem in a nutshell is there is really nothing AMA can do to bring in the numbers of members which is needed. They have left that to the clubs.
Unless someone has any ideas on how to attract and retain new members, logically we are all SOL.
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Old 09-16-2018, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by fliers1 View Post
They have spent big bucks on everything they could think of but the problem in a nutshell is there is really nothing AMA can do to bring in the numbers of members which is needed. They have left that to the clubs.
Unless someone has any ideas on how to attract and retain new members, logically we are all SOL.
I maintain that it's not advocacy, not a magazine, not "Taj-Muncie," not a museum, not a foundation, not a fancy HQ building, not affinity programs, and not a glitzy website that attract and keep members, but the quality of the local flying site as compared to the distance someone has to travel to get there and the cost to join. It's about creating REAL value as perceived by the person you want to join. They see value, they'll joing. Don't see value, they won't. And based on AMA's membership revenue numbers, fewer and fewer people are seeing value.

So I guess, it's about creating value. I don't think AMA is capable of doing it, as they're unwilling to even contemplate that some of the sacred cows listed above (all of them actually) are not perceived as "benefits" by the general population. The EC sees them that way, because they eat live and breathe model planes. But for the vast majority of other folks in the world, it's just one of many hobbies / demands on our free time. And they can take it or leave it.

Simple personal example. I had a big chunk of money burning a hole in my pocket. Briefly contemplated getting into turbines. Doing so would have guaranteed my continued AMA and club membership well into the future. But then I looked at suitable fields and their proximity. I'm sorry, I'm not spending an hour or two on the road each direction to find a paved runway. I've got other interest and demands on my free time. So I bought something else that actually cost more ... but I can use it somewhere very close. And somewhere I go quite often for other reasons.

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Old 09-16-2018, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
I maintain that it's not advocacy, not a magazine, not "Taj-Muncie," not a museum, not a foundation, not a fancy HQ building, not affinity programs, and not a glitzy website that attract and keep members, but the quality of the local flying site as compared to the distance someone has to travel to get there and the cost to join. It's about creating REAL value as perceived by the person you want to join. They see value, they'll joing. Don't see value, they won't. And based on AMA's membership revenue numbers, fewer and fewer people are seeing value.

So I guess, it's about creating value. I don't think AMA is capable of doing it, as they're unwilling to even contemplate that some of the sacred cows listed above (all of them actually) are not perceived as "benefits" by the general population. The EC sees them that way, because they eat live and breathe model planes. But for the vast majority of other folks in the world, it's just one of many hobbies / demands on our free time. And they can take it or leave it.

Simple personal example. I had a big chunk of money burning a hole in my pocket. Briefly contemplated getting into turbines. Doing so would have guaranteed my continued AMA and club membership well into the future. But then I looked at suitable fields and their proximity. I'm sorry, I'm not spending an hour or two on the road each direction to find a paved runway. I've got other interest and demands on my free time. So I bought something else that actually cost more ... but I can use it somewhere very close. And somewhere I go quite often for other reasons.
Yep! All about the value to the customer! Or another way to say it, "Customer Service!"
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by fliers1 View Post
They have spent big bucks on everything they could think of but the problem in a nutshell is there is really nothing AMA can do to bring in the numbers of members which is needed. They have left that to the clubs.
Unless someone has any ideas on how to attract and retain new members, logically we are all SOL.
I agree they have basically left the task of new members to the clubs. But I disagree that the AMA itself can do nothing to bring in new members.

I do believe they don't want to be involved in that aspect. Too much work!
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Old 09-21-2018, 01:52 PM
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I think part of what it comes down to is the staff wants to get paid, keep their nice building and have a place to play. They, therefore, tell the EC about how great things are and everything stays as it is. The EC doesn't want to have to double check any of the info so they don't question anything. Assuming everything is "coming up roses", the EC thinks they can spend money on their pet projects. The problem is no one checks the books to see how much actual funding they have so they just keep trying to spend funds that aren't being replaced.
I know, this is "revisionist thinking" but it may also be part of the problem. To illustrate my point, here's a little project for those who love history . Check out any text book that is presently being used in US or World History classes in the US. For that matter, you could also read "Incredible Victory" or "Miracle and Midway". After reading them, read "Shattered Sword" by Jonathan Parshall. When you compare the two "histories", it's readily apparent that someplace the narratives seriously diverge. As implausible as this sounds, it was all due to the work of one person, trying to make himself sound like he was more involved and important than he actually was. This could be what's actually happening at "Taj Muncie"
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Old 09-22-2018, 08:23 PM
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I've probably visited Taj-Muncie more often than most here. If I'm not mistaken only one or possilby two local clubs uses the grounds on a regular basis as their local flying site. My perception over the last 20 years has been that there's hardly ever a soul around, I mean if you causally drive though the grounds when there's no contest going on. No one has ever approached me or asked for my AMA number, not unless I first stopped at the museum. So it's pretty much an open campus and with rather low security at that. I must have visited there at least 4 times back when they were still hosting the Extreme Flight Championships. Even during that event, you would scarcely ever see visiting AMA members out flying after the scheduled hours of that event. XFC was a fairly well attended RC spectator event for a few years, and then it just seemed to loose it's appeal about the same time that Youtube came on the scene. Apparently not too many folks were willing to drive across the country when they could watch most of the highlights from the comfort of their homes. In that regard I believe Franklin is correct when he says the general folks in this hobby approach it very causally today. It's simply no longer a big exciting deal to drive across the country to watch the worlds greatest RC pilots. Towards the end of the XFC run it was mostly family of the competitors along with a very small sampling of unrelated fans that would make the trip. It's sad in a way, but that's the reality of the high tech media world we live in.
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Old 09-29-2018, 05:12 AM
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I think part of the problem is Americans are more mobile than ever before. More and more people find themselves living and working away from family and where they grew up. So any vacation time is spent going either to their home to see the folks and relatives or to Disney World. Why? Because that is a vacation for the whole family. While a trip to Muncie would typically be for just one member of the family. Been there! Done it!

And that is just one factor. A lot of Americans today change companies frequently. Hence, annual vacation time tends to stay at low levels between one and two weeks. Doesn't go far when you travel across the country to see the family once a year. So again, something like Muncie just doesn't have the benefit needed for a stop.
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Old 09-30-2018, 05:35 AM
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Maybe we will someday see the building in Muncie renamed "Horizon Hobby R/C Center".
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Old 09-30-2018, 10:38 AM
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now, that is just cruel...
very funny, but still cruel.
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Old 10-01-2018, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Stickslammer View Post
Maybe we will someday see the building in Muncie renamed "Horizon Hobby R/C Center".
I was thinking the "Rich Hanson Memorial Drone Zone".
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Old 10-21-2018, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Stickslammer View Post
Maybe we will someday see the building in Muncie renamed "Horizon Hobby R/C Center".
If that ever came to pass, at least as a business, Horizon Hobby (AMA) R/C Center, would have a highly motivated profit oriented sales force for a change.
Imagine such promotion centers located in every state.

Horizon RC Fest 2018 Horizon Hobby

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Old 10-21-2018, 09:16 AM
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Hmmm, The Hallowed Halls Of Taj Muncie succumbing to Corporate Sponsorship? I don`t know, it maybe a fact already on some level as far as I know. They seem to have the facility for everything R/C. A nice lake for boats, and they could have a nice track.
Getting more people out of the house to enjoy an activity like R/C is I think a very worthwhile endeavor. It looks like Horizon had quite a hit with this one. Watching the video made me wish I had attended.
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Old Yesterday, 05:36 AM
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A thought. I'd like to see some kind of representation that shows club/member concentration in areas where the mail order shops live and work? What is the concentration where Tower is located? And Horizon, Sig, DuBro, etc. And what's it look like where these places are not located?

The LHS use to be the recruiting center for the local clubs. But the mail order stores have effectively changed that. So how has the landscape changed as a result?
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Old Yesterday, 06:33 AM
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In 1998 my wife and I attended and volunteered to help with the flight instruction portion of AMA's Grand Event. As far as the hobby's decline, I seen the writing on the wall when I visited a small hobby shop about a 1/4 mile from AMA
headquarters. Due to a lack of customers, the owner was in the process of closing shop even though they were only a short distance from the AMA facility. Interesting. Also, before the day of the Grand Event activities, I asked how many of the employees were
RC pilots?
To my surprise, very few were. So I asked if there was anyone who wanted to get in some stick time. The newsletter editor, who I don't remember his name, approached me and asked if I could give him a lesson.
Although the wind was blowing around 15-20 mph plus, I got one of the provided trainers in the air and handed him the tx. He did very well and I even assisted him in landing the trainer. BTW, one official, who was watching, said that using the buddy/box
was mandatory. I showed him a copy of the rules and it stated that the buddy/box was "recommended", not necessary.
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Old Yesterday, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Appowner View Post
A thought. I'd like to see some kind of representation that shows club/member concentration in areas where the mail order shops live and work? What is the concentration where Tower is located? And Horizon, Sig, DuBro, etc. And what's it look like where these places are not located?

The LHS use to be the recruiting center for the local clubs. But the mail order stores have effectively changed that. So how has the landscape changed as a result?
isn't there a club list page on the AMA site ?......I can't think of any other place where someone might find out if there is a local flying club in his area. .....maybe a local chamber of commerce ?. obviously,...if the club isn't affiliated with the AMA , it wouldn't be on the list. with the decline of the local hobby shop on the rise, it might be a good idea for some organization to publish a list that people can use to find clubs in their area if one doesn't already exist.
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Old Yesterday, 08:16 AM
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There's a search by state or search by zip form but it got broken when they changed web sites and is on the list to fix.
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