Executive Council Meeting

April 23, 2005
Muncie IN

Official

Not in attendance at the April 23, 2005 Executive Council meeting was David Ivey, NAA Representative.

The President called the meeting to order at 8:05 a.m.

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

Motions:

The following was approved by a yea/nay vote:

  • To accept the report of the Flying Site Grant Committee. 10 yes; 2 no (Dist. I, IX)

The following were approved by acclamation:

  • To accept the minutes of the January 29, 2005 Executive Council meeting.

  • To accept the audit report.

  • That the committee that currently has the right to establish waivers for world record attempts……..

IN ATTENDANCE
President Dave Brown, Hamilton, OH; Executive Vice President 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-Sandy Frank, Weatherford, TX; IX-Mark T. Smith, Shawnee, KS; X-Rich Hanson, Scottsdale, AZ; XI-Bruce Nelson, Spokane, WA; Executive Director Don Koranda and Joe Gelwicks, General Counsel.

Attending AMA Headquarters staff was Joyce Hager, Rob Kurek, Carl P. Maroney, Vicki Barkdull, and Tom Schwyn. Also in attendance were Bob Reynolds, Brady Ware; Joe Beshar, Flying Site Assistance; Wes DeCou, Flying Site Assistance; Frank Roales, Dist. VI; Bruce Giumarra, Dist. II; Shirley Teague and special guest D. George Buso.

The President indicated that the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has moved its office and was recently experiencing telephone and E-mail problems.

The Executive Director introduced George Buso, a tremendous benefactor of the AMA. Mr. Buso recently made a very generous donation to the Academy of over $53,000 to be used for FAI Scale activities and the ED asked him to attend the meeting to talk about why he made the donation. He explained he has always been interested in international affairs and competition and has been involved with it for 30 years. He feels that in the Scale arena, the U.S. competitors possess the skills, but need a change of attitude and some education as far as FAI rules. He is requesting that someone within the AMA with knowledge of the international scene work on attitude change of the average American modeler toward international competition. The President and ED thanked George for his donation. It was explained that it will be a significant challenge to work on changing the attitude toward competition, but it is vital as competition is what drives technology and development.
 

APPROVAL OF THE JANUARY MEETING MINUTES
It was moved, seconded and approved by acclamation to accept the minutes of the January 29, 2005 Executive Council meeting.

ADDITIONS TO AGENDA
The President called for additions to the agenda.

NEW BUSINESS:
Discussion of university UAV programs
Discussion of open flying during scheduled activity

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

FAI Meeting
The President and AMA contingent attended the FAI Bureau and Plenary meetings in Switzerland in March. The U.S. had a proposal to host the RC Helicopter WC in 2007 but this proposal was withdrawn and the WC was awarded to Poland. The President noted that the U.S. was not prepared to make a proper presentation; he noted the substantial increase in formality of presentations for bids to host world championships. The U.S. was awarded the 2007 RC Pylon WC. (New Zealand lost its site and withdrew its bid.) Bob Underwood stepped down from his position as Technical Secretary; Pierre Chaussebourg stepped down from his position as 1st Vice President (but remains in the position of French Speaking Secretary); and Dave Brown was elected 1st Vice President. A very significant item of note was that all Subcommittee Chairman were given voting rights on the Bureau; previously they were only advisors to the CIAM Bureau members. This is significant in that the U.S. has three Subcommittee Chairmen and substantially increases the U.S. voting power within the organization.

Committee Assignments (Appendix I)
The President created the Membership Development Committee. He assigned M. Smith as Chairman, T. Schwyn as Staff Liaison, and the committee makeup will be determined at a later date. He is in the process of reviewing the committee assignments and Council can expect realignment. M. Smith asked the President if it was possible for a person to request being placed on a committee; the President welcomes anyone who feels they have the expertise and desire to serve on a committee make that known to him. He indicated that when he is no longer President, his last act as President will be to vacate all the committees that were Presidential appointments. This allows the new President to begin with a clean slate.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT'S REPORT

The EVP made note of an item that will affect discretionary spending; he will talk with the bank re the interest cost on floating loan and various options. He will inform Council following those talks. Year to date financials for March and the quarter were distributed to Council.

B. Reynolds thanked the AMA for allowing Brady Ware to continue working with them. He indicated that Council has received copy of the audit report and he would not talk too much about numbers, but rather speak briefly about the Management Letter. Discussion included:

  • AMA’s board governance and effective oversight;

  • since the AMA does not have a formal audit committee the Executive Council becomes the audit committee, and as such should approve the hiring of the outside CPA to conduct the audit, approve the audited results and have dialogue with auditor about the process;

  • AMA had some audit adjustments this year which were reviewed by D. Koranda, V. Barkdull and D. Holland (AMA approved recording the adjustments);

  • AMA had no consultations with other CPAs;

  • Revenue for 2004 compared to 2003 remained consistent;

  • Salary and payroll contributed to a slight increase in operating expenses.

It was moved, seconded and approved by acclamation to accept the audit report.
 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT 
Koranda opened with some general remarks about what was happening in the various HQ departments. He has challenged staff members to look at what they do differently and think differently; he noted that this requires much work but they have risen to the challenge. A few areas he mentioned included the publications department is striving to make major changes on a number of different fronts; the computer department is supporting the activities of the organization; Koranda and T. Schwyn are working hard on marketing as this is a key focus in moving forward; and the ED and EVP are addressing cost/project accounting.

AMA Convention (Appendix II)
Koranda has challenged the staff to report what it actually costs to run the convention focusing on expenditures versus income. Using cost/project accounting the total revenue was approximately $4,200; the ED and J. Mealy will look at ways of improving the bottom line. The results of an exhibitor’s survey were presented. The President explained that AMA purchased this as a trade show and has been making progress in converting it to a convention. Koranda will request that a charter be developed by Mealy to illustrate what is expected of the convention.

Marketing (Appendix III)
Schwyn reviewed the marketing activity since the last meeting: two primary goals are to have 200,000 members in five years and to increase the percent of non-dues revenue. Schwyn made the following points:

  • January 2005 YTD membership number was 94%, it has increased to 99%. Earlier this month did a push email third renewal notice and received a 4.3% return; fourth renewal planned for upcoming week that will be sent to those who have not renewed since 2001;

  • Introductory membership is on track for about 4,000 members annualized with approximately 25% converting to full membership;

  • New program for 2006 renewal season will offer monthly prize drawing in addition to a grand prize-forecasting a conservative 1% return;

  • Work continues on a Scouting program in Indiana;

  • Working with AST to promote positive AMA image and recruit new members;

  • Explained his concept of an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) membership purchase program-this information is confidential at this time;

  • AMA has received its first payment in association with the US Bank Affinity Credit Card Program;

  • Of the 50,000 TN DVDs shipped 2/18/05, over 8,000 were purchased. Volumes 2 and 3 to come and AMA expects approximately $50k/year for revenue; in response to the complaints received modifications will be made to the letter sent w/DVDs (bold language when talking about returning it, etc. to make more clear);

  • Investigating a dental and vision program.

The President suggested that an article should be published in the magazine which outlined the benefit, particularly in the financial sense, to AMA of the marketing efforts. This may increase the success of the programs and help members better understand the underlying reason for such programs.

Insurance (Appendix IV)
Maroney presented an insurance status report which included comparing the 2004 annual insurance report with 2003’s (looking at trends and insurance costs); how AMA has renewed for the year for premium comparison; and look at ideas on a condition report to develop trends. Discussion included:

  • Maroney compared the insurance figures from 2004 with those of 2003 which showed the overall cost of the insurance program dropped 19% (based on claims that were settled); Maroney expressed concern with respect to the liability claim numbers: property damage up 51%, bodily injury up 114%, fire up 317% and theft up 90%;

  • He reviewed the spread sheet to help Council appreciate the cost of the insurance program. Council should note that in the year 2003/2004 AMA is seeing increases in premium costs;

  • The last policy renewed took place on April 1; the actual cost for 2004 was $1.309 mil, compared to last year’s $1.356 mil. The 2004 cost was under budget by $28k, but AMA actually saved total premium of $47k over 2003. AMA was able to get a $50k reduction in liability coverage cost;

  • Claims. Average about 80 liability claims and 70 medical claims a year – most liability accidents are property damage running 60-70%, most liability claims happen at chartered club fields, poor piloting skills are the most frequent problem relative to an accident, radio experts state from a repair standpoint that poor battery management is #1 cause of radio failure;

  • Condition Report. In the process of working on a form to develop trends. (Hope to have on Internet) This has been through the review process several times to make it more factual and show less judgment in the questions that are being asked; it is expected that the results will show the areas to work on; once reviewed by the Safety Committee it will be presented to Council for final look and comment.

M. Smith requested an analysis of accidents, etc. claims per district in lieu of the claim reports the Council previously received monthly. Koranda indicated the Condition Report Maroney reported on is the vehicle that will used to report this information to the VPs.

Publications (Appendix V)
Kurek reported on the magazine and National Newsletter redesign, magazine content, and AMA Nationals coverage. Discussion included:

  • Typically, association magazines redesign about every 5 years on average. The staff began this process about a year ago. The redesign provides the opportunity for AMA to reestablish a connection with the members through the magazine. A redesign prototype was made available for Council to review during the weekend.

  • MA redesign. Kurek reviewed some changes which include:
       -text-based leads on the cover;
       - A new member services page (this will consistently be on page 4);
       -Section in front that will highlight items of broad interest starting with lead in page called In the Air (featuring photos, all color, and an article format);
       -A new AMA News section following In the Air. This section could include district information that is unique or of high interest to members beyond the individual district realm;
       -The remainder of the district columns will appear in a standard flow toward the back of the magazine (as they previously had);
       -Council will receive a new schedule and written guidelines, with provisions to accommodate the new section, however the amount of column inches remains the same;
       -District reports should be to HQ by the first of each month to provide ample time for composing the layout of the new In the Air and AMA News sections; and
       -There will be a new two-page spread on contact information for officers.
       -Koranda noted there will be some back and forth between HQ and Council as each learns to work with the new format. The September 2005 issue will have new redesign.

  • National Newsletter redesign. It will be expanded to make it a more effective communication vehicle with all club officers as opposed to just a tool for newsletter editors; it will be distributed via E-mail (either html format or a PDF download); and it is expected the newsletter would include a President-to-President column and a column that addresses safety issues.

  • Content Analysis. Kurek indicated the staff will follow the magazine redesign with a significant content analysis. They expect to get feedback through a survey, focus groups, and input from members at tradeshows. Kurek expects to have the feedback by the end of this year, and following consultation with the Publications Committee he expects implementation early 2006.

  • AMA Nationals Coverage. HQ will launch an online daily newsletter for the 2005 Nationals utilizing those reporters who have covered the events in the past; this newsletter will be made available to anyone who provides their E-mail address to AMA and requests it.

  • Miscellaneous: Kurek noted the printing contract is up and he and Koranda will go to MN in May to see press facility; Michael Ramsey was hired as Associate Editor and is expected to begin June 14, 2005. In response to concerns that some members are receiving their magazines before the VPs get them, Kurek will investigate possibly sending VP copies from Headquarters. Sport Aviator readership continues to track upward. The Publications Committee chairman thanked R. Kurek and his staff for their work on improving the publications.

NAA REPORT

NAA representative was not in attendance. No report.

Council then went into Executive Session (10:50 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.), followed by lunch.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Ad hoc – Safety Video
The committee has put together a menu of items that should be covered in the video and subsequently had a conference call with Koranda, Maroney, Mealy, and Kaluf to discuss other ideas. The committee will provide the content for the CD/DVD and entertain bids from professionals to put together a story board and produce the piece. It is important that AMA retain control of the story/storyline. There are two specific audiences – the club audience and an Internet audience (those who do not belong to clubs) that need to be addressed. Relative to where the funds will come from, the ED will look closely at all the available sources.

Ad hoc – Disaster Relief
Various avenues for providing relief have been discussed on this issue. It was previously suggested to limit the fund to no more than $2,000 with guidelines that the money be used for ‘basic necessities.’ The committee considered the possibility of coupling that idea with a no-interest/low-interest loan. An idea suggested by the President was that AMA could provide seed money for a fund; this fund would then accept donations provided by clubs and individuals. The President then offered the idea of having the amounts of officer’s budgets that are not eligible for carryover go into this fund. The EVP suggested the committee and council consider how this fund could be financed and present ideas that could be included in the budget for 2006.

Frequency
The majority of the committee’s discussion was on the use of spread-spectrum technology. Most of what is out there is on 2.4GHZ and there is currently surface use only (model car) equipment modules to fit various brands of transmitters as well as the intended receivers being made by Spectrum™ and distributed by Horizon. They are conducting tests on its application to aircraft that has recently exposed some inherent problems. The AMA is considering its effect on frequency management.
There was also discussion on BPL (Broadband over Power Lines). Most are of the opinion that this issue will die of its own causes, basically due to the cost. The committee continues testing where and when it discovers areas where BPL is operating.
The President praised Dan Williams (District II Frequency Coordinator) who wrote articles on BPL and spread spectrum; noting he was able to take all the technical terms and information and put them in terms that everyone could understand.

Flying Site Grant (Appendix VI)
The chairman explained the committee and process to the new members on council. There were 29 applicants this year, and 20 received grants. This information should not be distributed until formal letters have been sent to the recipients and the results are published on the Web site. The ED will inform Council of a release date. Applications for the 2006 grants are available.
M. Smith expressed his uneasiness in having subjectivity in awarding these grants. He would like to know how the committee rates the applications so he can better help the clubs in his district prepare to submit an application. It was explained that for many years, various grant committees have tried to develop a more objective way of handling these grants, to no avail. In conclusion, it was decided that copies of the top five recipients’ applications will be sent to the District VPs to look at and offer suggestions to clubs on preparing their applications. They are to be seen by ONLY the VPs and destroyed afterward.

It was moved, seconded and approved to accept the report of the Flying Site Grant Committee. 10 yes; 2 no (Dist. I, IX)

OLD BUSINESS
None.

NEW BUSINESS

Weight Restrictions on Model Aircraft
M. Smith spoke with D. Brown prior to the meeting relative to how and why the 55 lb. restriction was put in place. Following this conversation, Smith viewed an E-mail from a person putting together a large jet; the issue was referred to the Safety Committee. The President explained that the weight restriction is not an insurance issue but rather a liability issue.

AMA Membership List – Permissible Use
Council was advised that JPO would like access to the list of AMA turbine-waiver holders to conduct a membership recruitment drive. It is recommended that they provide a solicitation to Headquarters; AMA will review it and work with them to get that mailed to waiver holders. Koranda suggested that JPO get in touch with T. Schwyn. Council did not object to proceeding in this manner.

EPA Partnership (Appendix VII)
Joe Beshar has negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding with the EPA; the President commended Beshar on his accomplishments and asked him to present an outline to Council. He explained how he approached the federal agency with respect to the need for flying sites. During communication, the EPA brought up the potential of a partnership document/agreement between the AMA and the EPA for the reuse of Superfund (cleaned-up landfill and industrial) sites for model aircraft flying. Beshar was invited to attend a meeting in Washington, D.C. (Flying Site Assistance volunteer B. Giumarra accompanied Beshar) where a partnership document was signed by the AMA and the EPA.
The EPA has ten regional areas and Beshar has worked with them to develop a means of communication between the chartered clubs and the state owners of the Superfund sites; he reviewed the process. This information along with currently available Superfund sites can be found on the EPA Web site.
Koranda indicated that the magazine department expects to run a story on Beshar’s effort and success with this partnership. He also expects to have a follow-up with a club that has taken advantage of this opportunity, to document a case study and show other clubs how they succeeded. Once the EPA put out a news release on the partnership, Beshar received calls from and had articles written in such publications as the Washington Post, Houston Chronicle and the Gannett News Service.
Discussion on this subject included: be aware of proximity issues with already existing flying sites; we should not decline an opportunity presented by the EPA if there is no club in the area of a Superfund site; encourage clubs to investigate these sites as back-up sites; it was emphasized that there is no guarantee a club will receive one of these sites; and the magazine article to be printed in the June issue of Model Aviation will chronicle the process beginning to end, for a club to get one of these sites.

District Funds/Budget Policy (Appendix VIII)
In the process of reviewing issues concerning carryovers, difficulties in the system were uncovered. The President pointed out that currently VP funds not used within the year may be carried over year-to-year, and it does carry across any reelection or new election line, however a VP may not carry over an amount greater than one year’s current budget. He indicated that within the accounting system we do not actually fund this; and there is the potential since it is not funded, that there is no money behind these accounts. The President is of the opinion that changes need to be made, whether in the accounting system to create a reserve to cover these; a change in the budgeting process that would add these monies into the budget, or discuss whether to have carryovers at all. Another situation came up which asks the question does Council feel the need for a limitation on a VP to transfer district money to other budget line items.
It is agreed that the carryover is ‘real’ money and should be treated as such within the accounting system; the accounting department will create a mechanism to correct the situation. The President explained that VPs spend their ‘current year’s’ budget first, and their ‘last carryover’ second. It is Council’s understanding that there will be no limit to the number of years carryover allowed.
The past Executive Council meeting minutes will be researched to determine the most recent Council action on VP budgets and carryovers. The ED will also coordinate the research of past motions pertaining to funding for WC teams and FAI functions (meetings, etc.) funding and bring results to Council. It was also requested that the ED address the issue of making the CD of past EC minutes/motions completely ‘searchable’ by the VPs.

University UAV Projects
There are several universities that are involved in an autonomous vehicle competition. It should be understood that these are university programs, not commercial programs. The question has been asked are these universities allowed (assuming those involved in the operation are AMA members) to fly and test these vehicles at AMA charter club flying fields. The President indicated he received questions about programs from a number of universities including MIT and Cornell. He is of the opinion that waivers to the autonomous flight rule similar to those granted for FAI world record attempts, should be granted for these UAV competition project testing. He firmly believes that waivers should not be granted for commercial or industrial projects. Granting these waivers goes toward the Academy’s 501(c)3 purpose.
Two stipulations must be adhered to: the university must present a letter stating they are supporting the program, and pilots involved must be AMA members. It was pointed out that there are issues involved that could pose problems such as trespass (flight beyond the club field boundaries), noise criteria, and a crash off site could create bad public relations for the club that flies at the particular site. These elements must be discussed when deciding whether to grant a waiver. No club will be told they must let this activity take place at their field. The President stated this testing must be done with the blessing of the club and all flying must be done within visual range. Maroney would like to have the university indemnify AMA of having to provide insurance. When asked what Maroney meant by indemnify, he stated an agreement would be written that the universities would have to sign indemnifying the site owner, the club, and the AMA.

It was moved, seconded and approved by acclamation that the committee that currently has the right to establish waivers for world record attempts (FAI Committee and S. Kaluf), has the right to establish a waiver for educational UAV activities on AMA charter club sites, subject to club approval and the signing of a certificate of indemnification.

This agreement would be made standard across the board and pertain to any groups that wanted to do a program of this sort. When issuing a waiver, the committee will confirm that the pilot(s) is an AMA member. Maroney will work with the AMA attorneys to develop a certificate of indemnification to be signed by the universities. It is expected that this will take approximately two weeks.

Open Flying during Scheduled Activity on the AMA Site – Discussion
Bauer distributed an E-mail he received regarding a plane being downed at an official event on site, due to another individual who was flying on the same frequency without being in possession of that frequency pin.
Discussion included:

-If AMA is going to allow flying, the pilot should register and be told where he/she can fly;
-the headquarters Nats/Events individual was on the field, but was not informed of the incident;
-Maroney received a call asking about a large plane being shot down by a park flier and he had no knowledge of the incident at the time of the call;
-a solution may be to adhere to the original site use regulations developed and adopted by PADCOM (the site may hold events three weekends a month; one weekend a month must allow for open flying). It is not certain whether this was ever rescinded;
-Koranda was surprised that he was not informed by Headquarters staff that an incident had occurred on site. He recommended that when an incident occurs on the site, a report be filed internally;
-Koranda will report back to Council on the incident following communication with L. Estep.


AWARDS All awards were moved, seconded, and approved by acclamation.

Prior to adjournment, T. Stillman thanked Koranda and J. Hager for the Power Point presentation of an overview of AMA. Stillman indicated he will use this to show his AVPs the projects, history, and member services that AMA provides. It will also be provided in a written format. All Vice Presidents will receive this item.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:20 p.m.



Respectfully submitted by JoAnne Brown recording secretary for the April 23, 2005 Executive Council meeting.