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Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

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Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

Old 12-09-2005, 01:40 PM
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Default Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

How many people have been in an AMA chartered club that didn't want to grow or worst yet had members that complained that the club was too big? Are these positions in direct conflict with our desire to increase AMA's membership and or bring parkflyers "into the fold"? My club has a membership of about 125. I have heard some wish the clud was half that size. I don't think I have ever been at the field when all pilot stations were taken or had to wait for my frequency. Given that, why not bring more into the club and thus reduce your fixed cost per member?
Old 12-09-2005, 01:54 PM
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Default RE: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?


ORIGINAL: Aggiebq86

How many people have been in an AMA chartered club that didn't want to grow or worst yet had members that complained that the club was too big? Are these positions in direct conflict with our desire to increase AMA's membership and or bring parkflyers "into the fold"? My club has a membership of about 125. I have heard some wish the clud was half that size. I don't think I have ever been at the field when all pilot stations were taken or had to wait for my frequency. Given that, why not bring more into the club and thus reduce your fixed cost per member?
I know of a few that have membership caps, I've flown at those fields and it gets pretty lonesome unless you really like to fly alone. But somehow they survive, I guess its the feeling of "exclusiveness" it brings to the members.
Old 12-09-2005, 03:08 PM
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Default RE: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

There are a number of factors involved.
We only have about 45 members and on a typical weekend, we only find about 8 to 10 of them actually fly. Some members will show up and not bring an airplane. Retirees will fly during the week.
Fly-ins, however, usually draw a large crowd of visitors and flyers.
In some clubs I've either been a member of, or have visited, pilots sometimes must wait for an hour or two between flights and this is annoying I'm sure. Under those circumstances, it is all but impossible to practice aerobatics and other maneuvers to gain perfection.
Keep in mind that some pilots like to fly, fuel up and fly again immediately and others will only make one flight per day.
So, I would say that it all depends on the make-up of the club involved. What sort of flying they do, aerobatic practice or just toodling around the sky. With a large club of members who just come to make one flight and socialize the rest of the time, they can probably handle 125 members without any problems. Some pilots use the waiting time as an excuse to not fly.
If the club has a lot of serious flyers, then 50 is perhaps too many. Like any kind of club, you always have the do'ers and the non do'ers and probably only 10 to 15% of any membership will be really active members. Each club has its own personality and mix.
In any event, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

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Old 12-09-2005, 04:06 PM
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Default RE: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

In 1997 AMA president Dave Brown thought so. But there is really nothing that anyone can do. It is a case of the haves and have nots, i.e. those who can fly on their own and those who cannot. Can't change human nature.

CCR

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Old 12-09-2005, 04:07 PM
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The only thing to be concerned about is the even handed application of the herd management theory. What that means is that you have to make the rules simple enough that the average herd animal can understand and follow them or they are unenforceable. I know you will follow them to the intent if not the letter, but you are special and the herd is not. Heck, if the club is large enough you might find enforcing simple AMA Safety Codes difficult.

From what I have seen, in several areas of the country, is that with larger clubs you have to plan for the 10% we hear about because, if you are an officer, you will get to deal directly with them. Or try to undo the damage they do to your club, reputation, and image. BTDT. My club lost 2 flying fields in the same year. Interestingly enough both sites were lost after someone who was better than the average pilot did something really extraordinarily bad. It cannot be proved that there is a direct connection between the stupid safety violations and notice of field loss, but it is interesting that within 90 days of both events notice of lease/rent termination was tendered.

The first replacement field is not of the nature that the two groups of "special" I-fly-better-than-you folks enjoy, so they chose not to renew their membership. Herd mangement theory in practice...

Old 12-09-2005, 04:19 PM
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Default RE: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

I know of one club that had a cap of 50 but although the field has been all but deserted every flying season for over 10 years, they still refuse to raise the cap or eliminate it altogether. BTW, they have a waiting list to join even though for the most part few if any ever flies.

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Old 12-09-2005, 06:23 PM
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Default RE: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

We have a cap of 30 by agreement with our landowner. He wants to keep traffic on his property at a low level and will not allow us to increase membership. With so few members we have to keep the dues rather high $100/yr.

There are some good points to this arrangement. We don't get into the big-club arguments... hovering over the runway, not flying a pattern, airplanes vs helicopters, etc, etc, and frequency conflicts are rare.

I'm very spoiled. I don't know that I would want to fly at a club with hundreds of members.
Old 12-09-2005, 06:37 PM
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Interesting observation. When my club had 40 to 60 members finding a pit spot on a nice Sunday was an exercise and one got to walk a lot. When we peaked at around 200 members with two fields, one large and one small, both fields rarely had more than 6 or 8 folks there flying. I still have not been able to figure that one out, but we have tried to increase participation for years with little positive result. Of course, that was before our special bunch left, so things might be different this year.
Old 12-11-2005, 03:24 AM
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Default RE: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

Our club currently has no membership limit, but it was at 75 members when I first joined, was raised to 80, then 90, then when another local club lost their field, we went to a 150 limit, and took on almost 160 people.
We more normally average about 130 to 140 a year.
We rarely are super crowded, since one group of members, mostly retirees and people who work night fly from 9 to 12, then they are replaced at the field with an afternoon group who go till maybe 6 pm. After 6, there are the people who usually work day shift, and these people fly till dark. Then there are about two Saturdy groups, early and late, and of course there is the sunday group. There are also those of us who get to the field whenver time allows.
We also have several members who build, but rarely if ever fly.
Not a whole lot of crowding.
Old 12-11-2005, 07:43 AM
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Default RE: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?


ORIGINAL: Aggiebq86

How many people have been in an AMA chartered club that didn't want to grow or worst yet had members that complained that the club was too big? Are these positions in direct conflict with our desire to increase AMA's membership and or bring parkflyers "into the fold"? My club has a membership of about 125. I have heard some wish the clud was half that size. I don't think I have ever been at the field when all pilot stations were taken or had to wait for my frequency. Given that, why not bring more into the club and thus reduce your fixed cost per member?
Aggie', when you hear members wanting the club to be 'half size' just ask them if they are willing to pay 4 times the dues, 2 times for support of a 1/2 size club and 2 more times to support those that did not want to shrink the club. [:-] Their tune will change.
Jetero runs around 130 paid members. We lose about 20+/- each year, yet gain back about the same for the past couple years. For the 8 years previous we gained the loss + 5-10 members from a 65 member group 10 years ago. Once we established a 150 member cap to try to get a large influx of members trying the theory that many may join just to get in before the cap. DIDN'T WORK! []
Then we removed the cap because we wanted that AMA Gold Leader status, which we have, and a cap is not allowed for that.

Like your club Aggie', Jetero seldom sees a day when anyone cannot fly as often as he/she wants. In Feb -- Apr. there are weekends when the field gets a bit crowded, yet the times when all five pilot-stations are full are still few. For some reason known only to God and themselves, very few members make use of the best times for our field, which is after 4 PM, especially during the DST times of the year. Guess "Happy Hour" prevails.

OTOH, when I lived near Chicago, the public fields were always full. While I belonged to a club with a private field, it was a long drive so I visited the public fields during the weekdays that I had off. Weekend days-off were always at the Club's field. That was over 20 years ago, but we had to cap that club at 100 members with a waiting list. There was just no room for more. Week-ends may well see 40 pilots on the field. In addition the LHSs kept directing customers to us because of the attention we showered on them. Even though back in the late '70s -- early '80s our dues were $100 per year we had no problem filling vacancies. The waiting list was long. That field long ago became a housing development.

I have been talking with the real estate community in the area of Jetero. They say that area will virtually explode in real estate values within the next 3 years. Just how high will they tax us before we are "gone"? We have a membership value plan for those that continuously remain paid-up members. Wanna' get in a good deal??[sm=spinnyeyes.gif]

Old 12-12-2005, 09:48 AM
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Default RE: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

We are a club of about 15 in rural Indiana. We have a great airfield that hardly gets any flying time. We would like to get more members but apparently there isn't that much interest around here. We have had 4-H workshops, expos, Boy Scout buddy box days, yet nothing seems to increase our membership. Our dues were just raised to $25 and I thought we might lose a couple members then. Some left when the AMA dues increased a few years back. The good side is, we are a close bunch and we never have to wait to fly. But to answer the question, no, we have never needed to cap our membership.
Cheers
Old 12-15-2005, 05:42 PM
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Default RE: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

ORIGINAL: Hossfly


. . . back in the late '70s -- early '80s our dues were $100 per year we had no problem filling vacancies. The waiting list was long. That field long ago became a housing development.

I have been talking with the real estate community in the area of Jetero. They say that area will virtually explode in real estate values within the next 3 years. Just how high will they tax us before we are "gone"? We have a membership value plan for those that continuously remain paid-up members. Wanna' get in a good deal??[sm=spinnyeyes.gif]

Does anyone golf?

A model airfield that can safely accommodate the typical mix of models you would expect to see in most clubs, would require about the same amount of real estate as an 18-hole golf course. To play on your average urban, public, course takes about sixty bucks on a weekend. If you play every other week, on average, you’re out over $1500 for the year.

I am amazed by the large segment of the modeling community that moans and groans over paying a hundred bucks a year for a flying site. Look around. There are a lot more golf courses than there are miniature airfields. One of the finest fields that I ever flew at, Mile Square Park, is now a golf course.

Why is that?

Urban and suburban real estate is valuable. To model aviation enthusiasts, all I have to say is that you get what you pay for. Unless we become more willing to pay for what we get, our hobby/sport will become extinct.

addendum;

I considered starting a new thread on this topic. When the field I currently drive twenty miles to fly at becomes a housing development some time next year, I am facing a sixty mile drive to another endagered field.
Old 12-15-2005, 06:41 PM
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Old 12-16-2005, 05:01 PM
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I have never been to the Temecula field, but I remember when Temecula was a dingy little speed bump on US395. (Before I-15) Population ~ 500. There are now almost 100,000 people there now, and though the explosive may slow a little, I see no signs of it stopping.

What my point is, is that as we grow, the number of people who have access to flying fields is going down. I used to live in L.A., and flew at Sepulvida basin. It is one of only two first class sites in Metropolitan L.A. It was severely crowded, almost totally unregulated, and threatened by a nearby airport, and, of course, golf courses.

That field is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, and administered by the Los Angeles City Park Service. There is no membership requirement to fly there, there are frequent complaints by full size pilots, and there has been at least one instance of a jet going down in a picnic area, and a giant scale warbird on a golf course.

If you bring up taxing the people there in order to bring a little order to the chaos, they will scream bloody murder. I bet if you ask some of the park rangers, or airport police, that have been called out there, they would just as soon see it turned into a golf course. All it will take is a few city council people with dollar signs in their eyes.

Meanwhile, back in Temecula. The field there may not be on an endangered list, yet. I think it is only a matter of time. What is a long term plan? One suggestion. . . Work up a buisness plan, buy some land, and charge admission. Any other ideas?
Old 12-16-2005, 06:36 PM
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Old 12-19-2005, 06:50 PM
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Default RE: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

I too flew at Mile Square in the "good 'ol days" During the week I also used it for touch and goes in full scale. It was in the beginning an Auxiliary Landing Field for the Navy. They gave permission to use for model aircraft. Next step was a Congressional clean up of unused bases and I believe it was sold to Orange County or some small city. First step was a golf course along the South side. No questions asked from the general public. Just do it. Balance of the field disappeared the same way. I hope those pasture pool fanatics are happy now. There was no one to speak for the modelers until it was to late. The people who decide those things most likely play golf on the taxpayers dime and care less about us.
Old 12-22-2005, 07:08 PM
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Default RE: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

this sounds like a church group thing when some members of the church leave for some dumb reason lol
Old 12-23-2005, 11:28 AM
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ORIGINAL: ballgunner
The people who decide those things most likely play golf on the taxpayers dime and care less about us.
My whole point was that golf courses make money for city governments. We are screwing ourselves out of flying sites by being so cheep.

The Ironic part is that a model flying field costs a lot less to maintain than a golf course, so access to it should cost less.

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