Minutes of the London Area General Meeting for Thursday 12th November 2020 by ‘ZOOM’ AT 20.00
Present: Steve Brett (Bickley); John Lewis (Epping & North Weald); Tim Billings (Concord); Dave Warren (Concord); Bob Ryan (Bickley); Martin Dilly (Croydon); Alan Robinson (Eynsford); Julie Fisher (Flyin’Fish); Paul Perkins (Warren Farm Radio Flyers)
Apologies: for absence; Bill Wheeler (Bickley)
Minutes of the previous Meeting: These were not presented.
Matters Arising: None
Chairman’s report. Dave Warren welcomed Paul Perkins and Julie Fisher to the meeting. He said that it had been a very unusual year which had started with the model show at Alexandra Palace which had been followed by very little in terms of items to report.
Vice Chairman’s report. Steve said that very little had happened with no organised competitions or events in the area so no event sponsorship money had been requested or spent. Most clubs had lifted their flying bans as permitted with various track and trace systems in place. The initial expected surge of members at club sites had not been as big as expected. No indoor flying had taken place due to a maximum of 6 people meeting indoors. Steve had visited Buckminster BMFA site for 3 days in August and felt that the site was continuing to improve.
Secretary’s report. John Lewis reported that the committee had met 4 times over the year, twice as normal and twice using ‘Zoom’. The Area had purchased the Pro Version of Zoom for use by London Area Clubs at a cost of £143 for a year license. Voting and presentations were possible with this system and ,unlike the free version, there was no time limit. John and Bob Ryan had both listened, independently, to Andy Symon’s presentation on related issues. Bob mentioned that Dave Ray, a Bickley member was very proficient at IT and could be asked to help if needed.
Treasurer’s report. Tim Billings said that he had assumed the position of Treasurer following the Thursday 14th November 2019 AGM. He presented the Area accounts but said that he had little to report and owing to Terry’s illness he had not had access to previous records. A new account had been set up with Metro Bank after some difficulty with Nat West Bank in Swanley who were obstructive in requests for a change of signatures on the Area’s A/C. On 30th January 2020 the Metro a/c was opened and the BMFA were informed. Only three cheques written in the year and funds currently stood at £1768.31.Achievement Scheme Coordinator’s Report. Dave Warren said that there was very little to report. He had delegated a few things to Bob Ryan and Keith Berry but it had been very quiet. Keith Berry reported that flying had only started in a meaningful way in late July when he took an a test but he did feel that the importance of preparation and practise did seem to
be getting through including watching as videos. Keith did attend the August ASRC Fly In at Buckminster and found it interesting to see the differing skill levels of those attending. Keith had established a link with a club who wished to develop the Achievement Scheme and would continue to work with them next year.
Bob Ryan reported:” I have completed a number of pre-test training sessions for candidates wishing to take tests but no actual tests. I have been approached by Gravesend Club who want to nominate 2 club examiners. This has been approved by South East Area as I am a member of Gravesend Club. No names for nominees have been given to me at this time. I have one nominee for a club helicopter examiner who is undergoing some training with me but this has been seriously affected by the COVID 19 crisis.
London Area Delegate’s Report. Martin Dilly’s report had been circulated. He reported that the BMFA Membership Survey had already had over 10,000 responses which was approximately 1/3 of the membership. Apparently for professional surveys anything over 8% was considered a good return. He wasn’t sure how the data would be analysed but felt sure it would be useful and should result in cost savings. Meanwhile council are preparing a strategic review of the BMFA operation to find cost savings and to improve the focus on current needs. In view of COVID further work on charitable status had been deferred. Martin also reported that Sport England had recently given a club some money towards rates relief for their flying site and details could be found at: https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/our-funds/community-emergency-fund.
Martin felt that Dave Phipps was doing an excellent job particularly with regard to ‘drone’ issues, access to airspace and negotiation with government and international authorities. He and was well supported by Club Liaison Officer Andy Symons who had done a lot of work making our internet presence more effective and facilitating ‘Zoom’ meetings. Manny Williamson the Development Officer had made the National Centre an effective operation with 2021 heavily booked for events. The remote operation of the BMFA office was proving very effective – two members were currently on furlough. A small working group under Jim Wright is to develop ways to mark the BMFA centenary in 2022. Control-line flyers have already raised £30,000 towards the cost of a paved circle at Buckminster and a further £7,000 from reserves is to be allocated towards completing this facility. Martin did feel that the loss of Jo Halman, the current Comp. Sec. from Council was most unfortunate as she had been a very dedicated council member. Our current underwriter no longer covers sports insurance so a new one is being sought however because the insurance tax is likely to rise from %12 to % 20 the cost of BMFA insurance is likely also to rise.
London Area P.R.O. Report. Martin mentioned the London Area Model Area Exhibition at Alexandra Palace at which London Area together with Southern Area manned the BMFA stand. Owing to COVID the show was not going to take place in 2021 but Martin did wonder at the financial viability of the show in the future.
Safety Advisor’s Reports. Bob Ryan reported: ’This year has been dominated by the COVID 19 crisis so consequently there is little to report. I am aware that local clubs have cooperated well with the BMFA recommendations to minimise the spread of the virus and I understand that my suggestion of a ‘No Fault’ accident and near miss reporting system will be incorporated in the next BMFA Handbook’.
Education Officer’s Reports. Nothing to report
Silent Flight Report. Bob Ryan reported that there had been one F5j competition this year with only 6 people attending. This had given an opportunity to try out a new PC based competition management system that enabled each competitor to register the score via a mobile phone. The score had then been updated automatically without the need to have someone writing it all into a computer. It was quicker and had required very little paperwork. There had been some difficulty finding locations for glider competitions so if anyone is aware of possible locations please let Bob know.
Free Flight Report. Martin Dilly reported “The Croydon Club’s Wakefield Day had been cancelled due to high winds but the Coupe Europa had been held in a flat calm and had attracted a decent entry. Martin expressed surprise to hear that Area 8, the model flying area on Salisbury Plain, had been closed due to COVID!!!
Helicopter Report. Alan Robinson reported that there had been fewer events but in the short period that had been available the F3N had held multiple competitions and Blades over Buckminster had been held with over 70 pilots attending. EHMC had successfully held a COVID safe quad racing event that had been well attended. In addition a team day had been held for AT models at EMHC that had been a great success. Pre-COVID successful events had been run by the F3 N team which had had good turn outs. Julie Fisher said that two F3A team trial competitions had taken place at Cuffley and Northolt.
RC Power Report. Steve Brett said that he had nothing to report.
Fixed Wing Turbine Report. Steve Brett said that due to COVID he had nothing to report.
London Area Webmaster: Dave Warren repeated a plea for information to be forthcoming to Bill Wheeler. John Lewis said that Epping & North Weald had recently appointed a committee member to publicise the club and her would put him in touch with Bill.
Election of Officers
Officers served for two years. Martin Dilly said that it was Chairman, Treasurer, Council Delegate and PRO in even years with the other committee members in odd years. In the light of the circumstances all the committee were unanimously elected with a return to the usual pattern next year.
Given the unusual circumstances it was decided that rather than having a normal meeting after the AGM that further issues would be dealt with under AOB.
1.Martin Dilly said that the BMFA AGM would be taking place on ‘Zoom’ on Saturday and that there had been a good response to the membership survey with over 10,000 respondents replying. He explained that two workers at the BMFA head office had been furloughed but said that the organisation was coping very well. By using ‘Zoom’ some £3,000 had been saved from travel expenses.
A small working group had been set up under Jim Wright to formulate plans to celebrate the centenary of the BMFA/SAME. If anyone had any ideas please could they let Martin know.
£30,000 had been raised for a paved circle at Buckminster and the BMFA had agreed to add £7,000 from reserve funds. First Aid courses would soon be run at Buckminster, initially for contest organisers but later for normal club members.
A serious accident had taken place at a pylon flying competition involving an ARTF model which had broken up in flight. As a result of this incident involving a lack of structural integrity in a Dura Fly EF Extra it was recommended that this model should not be flown.
2.Bob Ryan asked whether BMFA subs were likely to increase and Martin said no unless changed at the AGM. Bob also reiterated his request for flying sites for glider competitions.
The next meeting will take place on Thursday 11th March at 20.00 and the meeting finished at 20.47