Executive Council Meeting

January 15, 2007
Ontario CA


In Attendance
President's Report
Executive Vice President's Report
Executive Director's Report
NAA Report
Committee Reports
New Business


The meeting was called to order at 8:00 a.m. by the President.

President Dave Brown, Hamilton, OH; EVP Doug Holland, Raleigh, NC; District Vice Presidents: I-Andy Argenio, Smithfield, RI; II-Dave Mathewson, Baldwinsville, NY; III-Bob Brown, Bradford, PA; IV-Bliss Teague, Hickory, NC; V-Tony Stillman, Pensacola, FL; VI-Charlie Bauer, Norridge, IL; VII-Bill Oberdieck, Southgate, MI; VIII-Jim Rice, Universal City, TX; IX-Mark T. Smith, Shawnee, KS; X-Rich Hanson, Scottsdale, AZ; XI-Bruce Nelson, Spokane, WA; Executive Director Jim Cherry; NAA Representative Kris Maynard. Attending HQ Staff were Joyce Hager, Jay Mealy, Steve Kaluf, Colleen Pierce, Rob Kurek, Tom Schwyn, Diana L. Garza, Michael Smith, and Jack Frost. Others in attendance were Bob Underwood, Safety Committee; Travis McGinnis, Finance Committee; Larry Johnson, Harry A. Koch; Paul Bretson, Harry A. Koch; Bob Reynolds, Brady Ware; Sandy Frank, Shirley Teague, Rae Underwood and Ginger Mathewson. The President informed Council that AMA’s legal counsel Joe Gelwicks would not be in attendance but would be available by phone if necessary.

The President introduced Muncie Visitors Bureau Executive Director Jim Mansfield, who addressed Council. He understands that the past relationship between the MVB and AMA had been tumultuous and lacked a strong line of communication. Over the past few years the MVB has made a concentrated effort to improve communications and the relationship with the AMA and will continue to do so in the future.

Additions to the Agenda: Discussion of the TAG program (during committee reports)

Approval of January 15, 2007 Minutes:

It was moved by C. Bauer (VI), seconded by B. Teague (IV) and approved by acclamation to approve the January 15, 2007 Executive Council meeting minutes.


a. Update from CIAM meeting
The President was proud of the group that went; they won virtually every point they argued. During that meeting the CIAM President, Sandy Pimenoff, announced that this would be his last term as President. The leading candidates for that position are Dave Brown, USA and Bob Skinner, South Africa. There is an undercurrent within the people at the meeting to expand the role of CIAM to something beyond high level world championship competition. They would like to see it also become a forum where those people heading aero clubs can exchange ideas and promote cooperation between aero clubs.

b. E-mail vote

It was approved by acclamation to change the date of the April 2007 Executive Council meeting from April 28-29, 2007 to April 21-22, 2007.


a. Audit Report
The EVP introduced Diana Garza who is the new comptroller.
Bob Reynolds thanked Council for the opportunity to continue working with them. Important items to note: 

• Had an unqualified audit opinion
• Trends to think about in moving forward – had an operating loss; the board should be aware that other sources of income (rental, appreciation in investments, etc.) contributed to a positive bottom line. (This bottom line positive operation result did not come from membership revenue)
• He thanked Vicki Barkdull for assisting them (during her transition); Diana will be a great asset to the AMA
• They’ve given AMA a Management Letter with some recommendations
• In the wake of Enron et al, the standards under which Brady Ware operates must change. Next year’s audit will spend more time looking at internal controls
• The Executive Council is responsible for the financial operations of the Academy; if there are any questions during the year contact Diana, Doug or Brady Ware
• Composition of the Board and term limits. Many organizations are going to term limits and are holding the board members accountable to recruit replacements. Brady Ware encourages the Board to think about term limits

It was moved by D. Holland (EVP), seconded by B. Teague (IV) and approved by acclamation to send a Letter of Appreciation to Vicki Barkdull for her service.


a. Staff 20 year plan • Staff Mission Statement: We are the beacon of our sport, committed to serving our members and advancing the Vision and Mission of the AMA
• HQ has mapped out long term goals and plans of the association. (3-5 years)
• It will take all the departments at HQ and Executive Council to realize these goals. Cherry proposes to adopt the following format on an annual basis: annual retreat with staff and EC, from that HQ will present a draft of long range plans and program of action, EC would approve the plans/program of action, HQ develop a budget to fund plans/action, EC would approve the budget, this would give HQ an annual program of action and budget to execute it for the year, EC would review the project(s) at each meeting and receive an annual report This process would repeat each year; HQ will always have a 3 year plan in place at any time.
• Council is asked to review the proposal and at the meeting in August agree to a direction to move. From that HQ will develop a one year plan; Council will review the plan and if approved, staff, committees and Council will begin work on it in 2008.
• Once this is put together, HQ recommends the hiring of a capital funds person.

b. Membership Survey
Has provided a wealth of information and will be referred to during the meeting.

c. Leader Club Exemption
Revisions to this program are requested.

MOTION I: Moved by M. Smith (IX), seconded by C. Bauer (VI) to separate into two requirements in the AMA Leader Club Award program, that a club must have been an AMA Chartered Club for a minimum of five years; and club membership is open to all AMA members and is not limited to a certain number (closed membership).
MOTION passed: 12-Y; 1-Abstention (NAA)

MOTION II: Moved by T. Stillman (V), seconded by M. Smith (IX) to allow the District Vice President to waive any one of the six absolute requirements.
MOTION passed: 12-Y; 1-Abstention (NAA)

d. Building Update

Everyone is aware of the water stains on the ceiling in HQ and work continues on trying to find the source of the leaks. Met with the architect, contractor and legal counsel and subsequently agreed to hire an outside firm to do a cursory overview look on March 29, 2007. It is recommended to hire that same firm to do a real study, removing ceiling panels, etc. to determine who is actually responsible; determine whether it is a design problem, a construction problem or a combination. Pending the outcome, action will be taken.

MOTION III: Moved by M. Smith (IX), seconded by T. Stillman (V) to authorize the Executive Director to hire someone to make a study of why and where the water is leaking in the HQ building.
MOTION passed: 12-Y; 1 Abstention (NAA)

e. Host/Hostess Program
The ED proposed adopting a practice that the national parks employ; a Host/Hostess Program that would serve as a presence on site. This program would be on a volunteer basis; AMA would provide two sites with water and electric hook-ups, a means of transportation and communication to be used for AMA use only. This service would be utilized during the flying season (April-October) and would be limited to a month’s service per Host/Hostess.

MOTION IV: Moved by T. Stillman (V), seconded by B. Nelson (XI) to authorize Headquarters to implement a Host/Hostess Program.
MOTION passed: 12-Y; 1-Abstention (NAA)

f. Park Flyer Flying Site
As a result of discussion on designating Site 4 as a Spread Spectrum site and establishing a park flyer field on the property, the following were proposed:

MOTION V: Moved by A. Argenio (I), seconded by B. Brown (III) to designate a new park flier field with Spread Spectrum use only. No major development will be made to this site without consultation with the Property Committee. Mowing will be done to establish a runway.
MOTION passed: 12-Y; 1-Abstention (NAA)

MOTION VI: Moved by J. Rice (VIII), seconded by T. Stillman (V) designated sites not in conflict with an organized event will be available for open flying on Spread Spectrum.
MOTION passed: 12-Y; 1-Abstention (NAA)

NAA REPORTThe NAA representative is not in attendance; therefore, no report was given.

The AMA President however noted some items of interest: he served on the Collier Trophy selection committee in 2006 and was asked to serve again in 2007. NAA has just elected Walter Boyne as new Chairman of the Board (Wes McDonald has stepped aside.)

D. Brown was asked if the NAA realizes how important Council feels it is to have an NAA representative present at the Executive Council meetings; this concern was articulated to NAA previously in 2006 and the President isn’t sure of how else to handle the situation. He explained AMA has a contractual relationship with the NAA that provides for the exchange of board member representation; yet they are not keeping up their end of the relationship. The Executive Council has asked that the NAA make a presentation to Council at the April meeting, explaining why AMA should continue membership in the NAA; the President will send a letter to that effect to the NAA. AMA pays 60k plus other residuals from sporting licenses, etc. totaling close to 80k to the NAA yearly; this is close to one-half of the revenue NAA receives from the air sport organizations.

Insurance (Appendix II)
Renewal process for 2007 General Liability Policy—the current policy is up for renewal on March 31, 2007. The five brokers currently involved are CCR Insurance, Harry A. Koch, International Special Events and Recreation Association, Marsh USA, and United Insurance; each was provide a Broker of Record letter. An extensive RFQ was developed; they were asked what their interest would be if the safety code was added back into the policy; also, how they felt about going to a manuscript policy. Deadline for proposals from the brokers is February 6, 2007. A selection is hoped to be made by March 1 or earlier. Maroney indicated that it is a soft market right now and they do expect favorable premiums. This is an extensive process and does not happen every year. (Last time was two years ago.) A recommendation will be made to J. Cherry who will evaluate it and decide who needs to be involved in the final decision. The Insurance Committee would like to be kept informed in the process.

Year end report—premium on liability for 2006 was 891k; this premium was down 1% over previous year. Affect of this overall is that it affects our rate on cost-per-member. Expenses, legal and paid claims, were 458k, down roughly .03% from last year. Membership rate balanced out at about 46 cents less than the year before for cost of insurance per member. The annual report will be published in the magazine.

Updated actuarial study—an in depth report will be given at the April meeting; Maroney gave an update. The study was done by Mercer, Oliver, Weinman out of Columbus Ohio; AMA provided them with six years of data. The actuarial analysis focuses on the general liability program; the report presents projected losses and allocated loss expenses. These include legal and adjusted expenses. The actuary who did the report is tentatively scheduled to come to AMA and meet with the Insurance Committee and present an in depth review; an abbreviated report will be given to Council during the April meeting. Cost for the study was 13.5k.

Minutes from conference call—the purpose of the call was to discuss the possibility of returning the Safety Code language back into the insurance policy for the 2007 renewal period; they could not come to a strong consensus on a recommendation to bring to Council. The committee recommends that nothing be done pursuant to this issue for the 2007 renewal period; the committee will investigate the issue in greater detail over the next year and present a firm recommendation for the next renewal. If the Safety Code language is put back in the policy, a code violation would be cause for denial of a claim. Comments included: until the Safety Code is revamped and Council/Headquarters find a better way to establish guidelines, the code as it is, is too convoluted and should not be part of the insurance policy.

The chairman has had discussions with the President and is looking at restructuring the committee, possibly adding a member(s) with insurance expertise.

There was a brief discussion on Director and Officer Insurance for club officers; it was pointed out that the AMA Bylaws (Article III, Section II A) refer to this coverage. At this time it is unclear that AMA offers any additional insurance to club officers other than the regular insurance provided to all AMA members. The Insurance Committee should investigate this issue.

Education (Appendix III)
Council should have received a copy of the AeroLab video; this grew from the Inventing Flight Program. The Inventing Flight Program curriculum was distributed to every school district in the state of Ohio (650 copies), and is still marketed through the Agency for Instructional Technology (AIT). Schimmel explained that it was a grade K-12 program and was very broad. With the existence of No Child Left Behind, the committee is focusing on the upcoming national and state tests in science that will take place in 2008.

Schimmel explained that STEM is a big buzz word these days; this stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math. He noted one must be STEM compliant to even begin to talk to science teachers and they are trying to develop this on behalf of the Academy. They must go where the teachers and kids are and this is at science conferences and in the classrooms; this is what they do, trying to raise awareness about how simple model planes can be used to teach math and science. It makes kids thinkers and helps improve their creativity and thought process.

The committee did a day-long workshop for 25 Indiana Airport Managers; each of those managers brought a middle school science teacher who also participated in the workshop.

The FAA approached the committee to be on their published list of ‘Best Practices’; there are nine FAA regions in Indiana and the program will be used in each of those regions. The FAA also holds ACE camps and the committee’s curriculum will be part of those camps.

Future items—the committee has been working hard to develop a rigorous program to respond to what is necessary to be credible in the marketplace in providing activities for kids in classrooms, and they feel a new conference booth is in order; will be looking at recruiting regional representatives-teachers/trainers, to host workshops and clinics; will work at making the education website more user friendly, more supportive and acceptable to teachers, maybe include profiles of people who are successful; and develop an E-newsletter.

The non-formal education program includes B. Underwood’s past involvement with the SITES program (Smithsonian associated program); C. Bauer’s work with Web Wings; will do more work with Y.E.S. Grants, the Science Olympiads, possibly park and recreation conferences, and work with the American Camp Association on providing activities during the summer.

The NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) will hold its annual conference in St. Louis this year and B. Underwood will be attending; regional conferences will be held in Birmingham and Detroit in 2007. The work and activities of the Education Committee need to maintain support and visibility in the communities. It is suggested that the committee create a syllabus that could be used in the non-formal education arena (church groups, scouts, after school activities, etc.).

T. Schwyn gave an update on the status of the Boy Scouts model aviation badge; the effort continues.

Membership Growth (New Member)The Marketing and Membership Growth reports were combined. The objective of the Membership Growth committee was to find ways to promote model aviation as a worthwhile recreational activity, to grow the AMA membership and to improve the current members’ perception of the organization.
Projects being worked on include a total revision of the AMA web site. Hardware and software are in place and content is currently being added; Council viewed how the homepage will look. Banner ads are still being considered. When an inside page is viewed, a menu bar drops and the specific sections of the site are revealed. Features that will be added after content is completed will include a streamline renewal system (this is ready to go now but will wait until after peak renewal time to launch); real time credit card processing; a customized (by member) contest calendar; on-line charter renewal; streaming videos; and how-to videos. Links to district web sites will be made more obvious in the member service section. It is expected that the filing of sanction applications will be made available on this web site, however it hinges on the ability to accept credit card payment through the site. In a discussion on the AMA logo it was asked whether the words ‘since 1936’ can be taken out; it was agreed that two versions of the logo will be available, one with ‘since 1936’ (when promoting the credibility of the organization) and one without (when promoting the activity of model aviation). The President recommends using the term ‘sport’ in lieu of ‘hobby’ on the front page of the Web site; Schwyn will make sure the change is made.
Other projects being worked on include a newcomers guide reference handout; development and distribution of quick start guide to aero modeling CD; an AMA guide to member services; and development of a guide to acquiring e-sites. The quick start guide to aeromodeling CD was introduced at the AMA Convention this year and should be available for distribution by the first of February; the first draft of the guide to member services is expected by early March.

Update on programs—TAG (Take off And Grow)—Council should have received a report which included a chart showing the number of applications HQ has received, the letter sent to those who filed applications and an outline on the development of the program. The VPs will receive the applications and should recommend the top three clubs for the program. Depending on monies available and the industry’s commitment, at least one per district will be awarded, ideally two per district; however, will run as many programs as there is money available. To make this program successful and continue, additional funding will be needed. I. Maine is the contact person at headquarters.

XFC Championships—will be held June 15-17, 2007 at Muncie; staff coordinator is J. Mealy. B. Brown showed the primary advertisement; it will appear in several different publications. Talk of the event has hit the aero modeling forums and the response to it being held in Muncie has been overwhelmingly positive.

Buddy Box Program—this program was launched with the 2007 renewals and new memberships have been received. Negotiations are ongoing relative to industry support.

Incentive Program for clubs—this is the media based incentive program. The club supplies proof of media exposure (three different levels) and receives compensation depending on the level of exposure. This was the old RCHTA program.

Hobby Shop Program—currently NRHSA hobby shops receive $5.00 for each membership they generate; however there are around 1300 shops that are not NRHSA members. Following discussion with NRSHA board members they were very supportive of a similar program being afforded to non NRHSA hobby shops.

Harris Connect partnership—the contract negotiated was for AMA to receive 40k up front whether they sold one book or not; first contact will be made by Harris late in the second quarter. A heads-up communiqué will be published in Model Aviation and on the Qeb site prior to contact by Harris.

Park Flyer DVD (5-10 minute)—the purpose of this project is to be a sales tool for a variety of outlets, including hobby shops. Goal is to have this available at the end of the first quarter. A brief description of what will be included in the DVD was offered. The close of the DVD will go back to what AMA can offer; AMA can be a partner in helping you successfully get involved in this part of the sport. Final shot will be of the AMA Headquarters building. E-field handbook – this will be a tool to help develop a network of fields available and clubs where they primarily fly smaller electric (park flyers) planes. A key goal is to expose the new flier to AMA. The piece is expected to be about twenty plus pages and available by the end of the first quarter. The President requested that consideration be given to manufacturer exposure in the booklet.

Update on visit to Wildberry Productions relative to DVD concept—Mathewson, Schwyn and Smith viewed a DVD on electrics that drew them to want to watch it; this is the type of work that would be valuable in the committee’s Park Flyer DVD project (mentioned above). Mathewson noted Wildberry does a lot of how-to pieces as part of their DVD series and they do first class work. The President of Wildberry is a strong modeler and although not modelers, the producer and editor have a good concept of model aviation and do great work, albeit expensive.

M. Smith’s committee recognizes that the major stumbling block for the Park Flyer Program was the opposition to providing a discounted rate dues structure for those flying Park Flyer type planes. After further consideration by the committee, the idea of a complete dues restructure, with no bias to any particular discipline looked to be a viable option. Smith continues to gather information from various sources. A dues restructure can be looked at from three different standpoints: technology (nitro, gas, turbine, ff, electric), benefits (magazine or no magazine, sanctioned events or no sanctioned events, full insurance or a lesser insurance) and aircraft size (engine, wingspan, etc.); or any combination of the three.

Smith is looking for input from Council on whether the committee should continue to investigate the possibility of a dues restructure or if they are completely opposed to the idea. If he gets the go-ahead to continue gathering hard data, it is expected a proposal will be brought before Council at the April meeting for a vote. If approved the process would be implemented in June to be effective in 2008. (Electronic and Web changes would be necessary.) If not approved in April, it would most likely be 2009 before anything could be implemented.

J. Cherry has put together a staff task force and asks that any comments the VPs receive on this, whether positive or negative, be relayed to him, Mark or the committee. Comments from Council included: the concept of favoritism is hard hitting to members; are the HQ administrative support costs for an e-flier different than those for a regular gas flier or a person flying free flight?; how do you define an e-flier?; how do you enforce the restrictions?; may want to consider including a competitors license rate with the three mentioned above (technology, benefits, aircraft size); the dues structure should be based on the benefit package received; there is a huge number of people entering the sport due to the industry providing economical, slow flying models (that we call park flyers) and AMA must position themselves [in that market] within the industry that appeals to a large number of people in order to grow; if AMA doesn’t, someone else will; it has yet to be determined whether these ‘toy electric airplanes’ being sold by the thousands, are being purchased by consumers who are actually hobbyists as opposed to a novelty buyer and what percentage are being purchased by current AMA members; has a market analysis be done?; consider offering a basic membership with no insurance, and offer insurance coverage separately; Stillman offered to provide M. Smith the results of a survey he had done. Council indicated they were all willing to listen to a proposal addressing a dues restructure. The EVP pointed out that when the proposal comes back in April, everyone should be clear that AMA cannot take a cut in revenue without taking a cut in programs. Smith expects there will be a conference call on this subject between now and April.

Lunch 12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
EXECUTIVE SESSION – 1:15 p.m. – 2:55 p.m.

An EC member expressed disappointment that he felt he has continually been passed over for committee appointment even though he possesses expertise in various fields and has offered to serve on numerous committees in the past; he noted two recent incidents specifically. The President offered his reasoning behind the appointments he made.


Create an Ad hoc Committee of EC officers to look at Nats future
This committee should look at such things as having days (during the peak flying season at the Muncie property) when non competitors can use the site; having off days during the Nats to provide for an easier transition between events and alleviate some of the overtime that has been required; possibly aim at giving the SIGs ‘X’ number of days and what they do with those days is up to them. The committee should take a long-term look at the Nats, and get a broader overview for looking at the 2009 or 2010 Nats. It was suggested that the committee look at reducing the overall Nats timeframe; possibly eliminating events that don’t draw a predetermined number of competitors and adding events that will ensure the future of the Nats. The standing rules as they pertain to the Nats should be reviewed; also look at how the concept of the Nats can be changed to make it more relevant for the future.
The President appointed a committee of T. Stillman, Chairman, C. Bauer, B. Brown, D. Mathewson and a person involved in Free Flight (Hager to provide name to Stillman, possibly C. Markos or P. Sullivan). The President will contact R. Morgan, Nats Manager and explain the charge of this committee.

• Waive the signature requirement for establishing Junior F4B team for 2008
In 2008, Poland will hold the F4B World Championships which will include Jr. Teams. One of the requirements in AMA’s WC Procedures Guide is that the “petition to establish a new team program must be submitted to the AMA Technical Director with names, signatures and AMA membership numbers of at least twenty (20) AMA members interested in actually participating in the team selection process.”
The request is being made for the requirement to be waived this time only; currently there are only about six juniors in the U.S. who fly real competition in Scale. It should be noted that a first time team is not funded by the AMA.

Comments included: the FAI Executive Committee and AMA HQ went through a significant amount of effort to find a way to curtail the ongoing increase in the number of teams being sent; waiving the requirement the first time it would have applied will make it very difficult to apply it in the future. Poland included Jr. CL Scale to the World Championships to get funding from the Polish government to help support their activity; it is unlikely that there would be ongoing activity in this category. There is a good chance that Poland will not get the number of countries to put forth a Jr. Team required to hold this championships. Council could include the caveat (if the waiver is given) that if the Jr. team wished to participate in the next World Championships, they would be required to follow the procedures from the beginning, as outlined in the procedures guide.

The FAI is experiencing the same thing that AMA has been for years now; they keep adding new events, but never sunset those which have low participation. The focus of the new AMA procedures allows logical procedures for establishing which teams to fund and why, and allows the programs with low participation and success rates over the years to be sunset.

The FAI Executive Committee authorizes that a team be sent to the Jr. F4B World Championships, based on the selection procedures accomplished at ‘X’ event (the Nationals). AMA HQ must advertise/publish/announce that a team will be chosen during the Nats. The announcement should include ‘choosing a special junior team, on a one-time basis to represent the U.S. at the 2008 F4B WC’. This way there is no expectation for the future.

• Create policy for refunding memberships
This item is requested by an AVP as the result of an AMA member asking for a dues refund three times within two years.
Currently the membership department has a policy (although not EC created) they follow for refund requests. Comments included: a reasonable refund policy could be that a new member may receive a refund within the first thirty days however an administrative fee would be retained by AMA. Beyond thirty days no refunds, except in extreme circumstances; it was suggested to use percentages instead of dollar amounts where calculating refunds as the dues amount could change; no refunds until the card is returned and received at HQ.

MOTION I: Moved by J. Rice (VIII), seconded by M. Smith (IX) that no refunds on membership will be given except in the event of death, military deployment outside the United States, or for special circumstances as approved by the District VP and President. No refunds will be given until the membership card is sent back to AMA Headquarters.
MOTION passed unanimously. (District VII VP was not available for the vote)

This policy will be published on the membership application, in the magazine and on the Web site. Headquarters should revisit the membership refund policy; for time being leave as dollar amounts but may want to use percentages in future.

• Club Charter Discussion
The club officer sheet requires some affirmations that they have such things as three-mile separation of sites, no discrimination within the operation of the club, etc., and they must submit a copy of their bylaws. However, AMA does not require that they submit any amendments to the bylaws. Hanson is suggesting that the affirmations signed by the club officers include statements that they will operate according to the provisions of their bylaws and that they will maintain a current copy of the bylaws at AMA Headquarters. Headquarters will refine its list of suggested items to include in club bylaws, into a list of items clubs must include in their bylaws. The club president will be required to sign an affirmation that their bylaws cover the items AMA requires, the club will operate according to the provisions of their bylaws and will maintain a current copy of bylaws at AMA Headquarters; failure to follow the bylaws could invalidate a clubs charter. These affirmations must be signed and returned to headquarters with each year’s charter request. Headquarters will inform clubs that these mandates will become effective with the 2008 charter renewals.

Awards were moved, seconded and approved by acclamation.

April 28-29, 2007

The meeting adjourned at 4:35 p.m.