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AMA Convention

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Old 01-09-2005, 11:23 AM
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J_R
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Default AMA Convention

On 1/8, I attended the AMA Convention.

When I got there, it was well before the show was due to open. I was trying to avoid standing in the rain, and fighting for a parking place. I was not the only one. As I approached, there were lines, in the rain, to purchase tickets. The lines were moving slowly, as they usually are. After purchasing a ticket, many people were already inside the building waiting in the halls for the show to open. The crowd was getting bigger, and the line was starting to extend back into the rain. Sandy Frank spotted me and we talked. He suddenly asked if I had met the new ED. When I replied no, he pointed to Don Koranda, who was moving down the hall very quickly. He introduced me, but, Koranda basically kept going. He was telling everyone involved in the show that this was unacceptable. To get the people inside and do it quickly. Within 2 or 3 minutes, the lines had disappeared, although the official opening time had not quite been reached. He returned to Sandy, and I. Sandy left and Don and I had about a 15 minute conversation. He kept impressing on me the importance of taking care of the membership. We discussed several topics. I saw Don several times latter in the day, always moving at top speed to make sure things were running smoothly. He was at most seminars to make sure they started on time and that the speakers had what they needed. He was constantly making sure that members questions and needs were being taken care of relative to the show, or the AMA exhibits. In talking with leaders and staff later, they all were extremely aware that the number one goal of the AMA is going to be customer service… period.

As usual, everyone was responsive to questions and willing to divulge information and opinions. Man, do modelers, whether they are leaders or not, love to talk.

These are the items I thought might be of interest to this forum.

There is an ongoing attempt to re-write Article 10 of the by-laws. At the last EC meeting, a basic proposal took shape, and was expected to be posted for the 45 day comment period required by the by laws. The hope had been to have a vote of the leader members before the end of 2004. In attempting to develop the exact wording, after the adjournment of the meeting, differences of opinion have slowed the process, and a proposal was defeated by e-mail. Work to develop acceptable language will be on going. There seems to be no urgency to do it, just for the purpose of doing it… getting it right seems more important.

This highlights a new theme among the EC that was mentioned several times during the day. The EC is determined their actions will be correct the first time. They realize they have acted too quickly in some cases in recent memory. As a couple flatly stated, waiting another three months for the next EC meeting is a small price to pay for getting it right the first time.

There is, currently, a motion out to the EC members, that will be voted on by e-mail. It covers the position of safety officer. The only mandate will be that a safety officer has the ability to communicate with the AMA by e-mail. The motion also includes suggestions, not mandates, that a club might have a safety officer perform. Can’t tell you how many times the point was made that these would be guidelines as opposed to mandates. I have not seen the document, so I can’t give specifics. What it will not suggest is inspections of aircraft by the safety officer.

537 came up several times during the day. A lot of research has been done to find out just where it did come from. The document was first produced back in the 80’s. It was modified a couple of years ago. Carl Maroney posted it on the AMA site, strictly as a set of suggested guidelines… nothing more. His action was independent of the EC. I raised the point a couple of times, as to who is responsible for content on the site. The ultimate answer is the ED. The EC will set policy, and it is left to staff to institute policy. Although Carl has taken considerable heat over posting the document, it is within his job description to do so. Bottom line is, everyone felt his timing in posting the document sucked, but, that his intent was good. EVERYONE understands that the world has changed, relative to litigation, since the document was first written. Taking on liability, such as inspection of aircraft by a safety officer, or by a CD, is something that should now be avoided. A certification of self-inspection, possibly witnessed by someone else, was offered as an alternative, for those so inclined.

Carl Maroney and Larry Johnson conducted a safety seminar, which I attended. A report on specific accidents was given. We are still sticking our hands in spinning props. Discussion of major accidents over several years were discussed in some detail, most of which has been posted here before. The point was made that the only time the AMA has turned down a claim, for as long as Maroney has been there, was the intentional act of flying into the Goodyear blimp many years ago. The guys attorney filed a claim and it was rejected. Considerable time was spent on the handling, by clubs, of accidents. The subject of “liability waivers” was raised. Because so many jurisdictions would be involved, for a national organization, this is not deemed a viable option. It might work some places, and not others. Wording would have to be different in many places. It was suggested that if a club so desired, and had access to legal advice, it might work for a club.

This entire presentation was in a powerpoint format. There are some changes being contemplated to the presentation. At the request of some members of the audience, Carl stated that the finished production would be posted on the net for clubs to use, but, that the interim presentation MAY be posted after review. Questions posed by the audience may be incorporated. It later occurred to me that this presentation closely paralleled the proposed safety video. I did not think to ask if it might be used instead of making the video. It is set up so that clubs can show it to their memberships.

Although I felt positive that my position here was correct, I discussed the Special Edition of MA with Dave Brown, Doug Holland, and Rob Kurek. 12 issues of the magazine were sent to the membership during 2004. Not 13, not 14, 12. As an afterthought, I asked Holland if there were any unusual costs associated with the production of the special edition. There is a unique cost that is associated. The exact amount will not be known for a while. It turns out that the way the membership was worded (it has been changed), that members who do not renew, will receive magazines including the March 2005 issue. That gives those non-renewing members one extra issue. Of course, the exact number of non-renewals is not yet known. Estimates range from 2500 to 10000. Holland used the pessimistic figure of 10,000, but allowed it might be less. They all used the $8 per member per year cost of the magazine. This means that, at 67 cents an issue, it will cost between $1675 and $6700 to make the date change created by the Special Edition of MA. It was viewed as money well spent, since it is felt it brings the dating system into line with the industry standard and it also acts as a reminder to those that have not renewed. Dave Brown and Rob Kurek confirmed the additional expense, although no one can be positive of the exact amount yet.

I specifically asked Holland if the legal expenses he incurred in his last election were reimbursed by the AMA. The answer is no, although he allowed that he still employees the same attorney. Asked if he would run again, he stated he has not made up his mind yet. Asked if he supports funding the captive, his answer was a rather resounding “no”, actually stated in words that I can’t print here. He did agree to supply the answer to questions about the AMA, if asked. I poked at him about the fact that the AMA had some paper losses in the market three years ago. He smiled and pointed out that they had been recouped and we are doing quite well now, the smile getting broader as he spoke. Looking back at his performance with AMA investments over his time in office reveals a considerably better than average return on investment. He is looking forward to the release of the 2004 financial statement in a couple of months.

I also had the opportunity to talk to Mark Lanterman. He answered some very pointed questions in a straightforward manner, as did everyone else I talked to. None of these people duck direct questions.

Each and every member of staff and the EC I talked to is aware of this forum, although you might have thought I asked if they shopped at K-mart, in some cases. LOL
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:48 AM
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Default RE: AMA Convention

The point was made that the only time the AMA has turned down a claim, for as long as Maroney has been there, was the intentional act of flying into the Goodyear blimp many years ago.
Well, then I guess Mr. Maroney has a very short memory. Three years ago, one of our members was at a funfly in our AMA District. He had two 40% Extras and a 33% CAP 232 destroyed by a person who intentionally flew his airplane into the pit, with the sole purpose of taking out these planes. He was pissed at the owner of the Extras because of some long ago confrontation between the two. The damage to the airplanes was over $10,000.

The AMA denied the claim.
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Old 01-09-2005, 12:02 PM
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Default RE: AMA Convention

Damage to model aircraft and equipment is excluded under the AMA coverage. It wasn't turned down, it was not covered under the policy.


edited to include the word model
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Old 01-09-2005, 12:35 PM
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Default RE: AMA Convention

Thank you JR for this fine report. Very interesting in all points, however mostly an "as expected" list of conclusions on a number of items. These subjects, even at the lower levels of toy airplane administration, can and will always be debated probably just like medical items among the mainstream Doctors and Dr. William C. Douglass a champion of alternative medicines, with a very proven track record. I have no intention of any further debating them here.

However one item deserves a short comment.

Taking on liability, such as inspection of aircraft by a safety officer, or by a CD, is something that should now be avoided. A certification of self-inspection, possibly witnessed by someone else, was offered as an alternative, for those so inclined.
That item is already in the Contest Director's sanction package and NO additional forms are needed. It has been there for years and is named "Flight Safety Declaration Form" which is returned along with the Form 10 to AMA after an event. Here the participant in an event signs a declaration that states (paraphrased here) he/she is capable of performing all required maneuvers, and that the aircraft to be used has flown the maneuvers and is qualified to be flown in the presence of contestants, officials and others in the area.

In my events there are no Safety Inspections except for the "Review" in the IMAA event. The pilot is the final authority on the airworthiness of the machine. He signs that it is so. What else is needed?

In observation, it's very good to see that at least some EC members must have some awareness that there is a need for doings things right even though it seems that such may be simply an excuse for delaying doing those things that really need to be accomplished.

BTW, did the new ED mention when he would get his name on the Web Staff "Contact Us" list or will he continue to keep Joyce there as the first recipient to run interference?

Again, Thank you for being so detailed.
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Old 01-09-2005, 01:27 PM
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Default RE: AMA Convention

ORIGINAL: Hossfly

BTW, did the new ED mention when he would get his name on the Web Staff "Contact Us" list or will he continue to keep Joyce there as the first recipient to run interference?

Again, Thank you for being so detailed.
Sometimes I am amazed how we think. I mentioned to a couple of people that I was surprised that his name was not placed on the Staff list, along the my comment that it was nice to see he was not ego driven. When I mentioned it to Joyce, she said she thought she had put out a memo sometime back in the middle of December, requesting that it be done. She said she would look into it next week.
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