Change in the wind

We are changing the way we present the Windsock newsletter.

We will be using the blog right here on our website as the main source of communication with our membership to keep you up-to-date and informed on what's happening at the club and what members are up to in a more timely manner.

Every few months we will post reports from our President, Club Captain and CFI, in between all the other amazing blogs we will have from you all! :)

First up is the inside word from our club President, Derrick....


Well we have completed the 2014/15 financial year and while we still have to complete the accounts and go through our annual financial review; we are close to being in the black. However this does include interest on our settlement so from an operating point of view we made a loss this year. And what a year it was, with half of it without a permanent CFI and some fairly inclement weather in the spring resulting in un-flyable weather on the weekends. It is a credit to Simsy and the team that we are getting good hours, often during the week when the weather is good and have caught up in the second half of the year.

Continuing with the subject of finance we find that we are continually having to chase up outstanding debtors across the membership. Members are reminded that the Flight Orders stipulate that:

All flights must be paid for in cash, eftpos or credit card unless the member has an account in credit or is permitted credit by the Club President, or CEO in special circumstances.

Members need to remember that if you don't pay your bills, this can become a cost to all of the membership. There is no such thing as a free lunch and if you don't pay it is actually the membership that picks up the tab and has to meet your debts. We are spending a great deal of time and effort trying to track down and contact debtors. Unfortunately we find that it may be necessary to follow up with debt collection agencies as a last resort.

Our continued focus on efficiency and cost effectiveness has enabled us to set a reduced annual membership of $199 if paid before the 8th May 2015, a saving of $70 over last year. We hope this will help encourage new members and existing members to get out and fly. Incidentally, our membership numbers have been quietly increasing, which is great to see.

On the subject of cost effectiveness, we have noticed a steep increase in members using credit cards to pay their accounts, with the associated bank fees now rising to several hundred dollars per month. This is not sustainable nor fair to members who settle their accounts by other means that don't attract a bank fee. We have therefore decided to implement a credit card surcharge of 2% from 1 May 2015 to recover this cost. Members can avoid the surcharge by paying by EFTPOS or Internet Banking.

On behalf of us all, I must also give a big thanks to Amy who has stepped up to the treasurer function this year on top of being the club captain. Amy has put together a most thorough budget for the 15/16 year and has worked through all the numbers to check that things make sense.

So how are we tracking on our flying?
For March 2015 we managed to get 123 hours of flying. Weather impacted us a bit on weekends otherwise the flying would have been a bit higher. With budget forecasts for 2015/16 we need to be aiming for about 130 hours per month on average to break even. It is great to see Simsy and the team organise pilot briefings on bad weather weekend days, to help us all refresh on the principles around our flying.

Below is an update on the subset of objectives we set for the year:

Appointment of a new CFI & then building up the team again

Simsy (CFI), Jelle (C-Cat) and supported by part time instructors, Dan, James, Bronnie, Richard, John & Marc. Jamie has moved onto a training school in Adelaide. So we are looking to recruit for a new instructor. We are unlikely to be big enough to cover someone leaving directly, so it may lead to some days being closed until we get a 3rd person on board.

WIAL lease and relationships for longer term alongside a plan for our facilities

Ongoing discussions & options given changes around the field. There are some possibilities for more space which are being explored with WIAL.

Getting into the black by financial year end

Likely to be close to being in the black.

Improving our engagement with aircraft owners

We will need to meet all aircraft owners to talk about the facilities and hangar doors given potential options from WIAL.

Updated 3-5 Year Plan

We have a draft high level strategy and need to fill out the details, prioritise and plan the activities to achieve the strategy.

We said goodbye to Jamie with farewell drinks at the Spruce Goose earlier this month, and had a great turnout. Jamie has headed off to instruct in Adelaide at a large flying school. Jamie had quite a period where he was the key instructor at the club last year and he kept things going well. So we wish him all the very best in his future endeavours.

Finally, we have good news on the Nanchang front; we have formed a new syndicate thanks to a lot of work from Erich Livengood to make it happen. We currently have 11 members in the new syndicate and would like to still find at least another 3-4 members. Eight members have continued from the old syndicate and three new members have joined in. We are aiming to make this a five year syndicate. I have been up a few times in the last few weeks and one of these flights included a request from the tower for a fly by and to go looking for an aircraft breaking airspace. You sure can have fun flying in the Nanchang which is seen in the grin of the faces of those returning from a flight. So if you are thinking about it please, contact either Erich or I for more details.

- Derrick


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