PANDAS Flying Field, Control Line Flying, Meetings, AGM, Joining Night, Club / BMFA 2021 Subscriptions & Club Finances – 30th July 2020

Some updates after the club committee get together yesterday, including PANDAS Flying Field, Control Line Flying, Meetings, AGM, Joining Night, Club / BMFA 2021 Subscriptions & Club Finances –  30th July 2020.

New Field Levelled Area

The new PANDAS field levelled area has a good covering of grass now and we are waiting for the council to cut it (hopefully today Thursday 30th July).

Friday 31st July is a ‘No Fly Day’ for the club, due to the horse racing event in the park.

However, the ground underneath still appears to be quite soft, due to the cultivation work, that was required, to break up the soil before the reseeding.

We are therefore looking to hire a roller over the next couple of weeks and roll all the new area.

I appreciate is has taken some time to get the work done, but for the sake of another few weeks, it is asked that members continue to use the temporary flying area, until we can get the new area rolled.

The contractor who did the levelling work, has also recommended that the whole field is treated with weed killer later in the year. We are planning to have this done.

Grass Cutting

The council should now be cutting the new levelled area on a weekly basis and the rest of our area every fortnight.

We are continuing to monitor this, to ensure they do the work, as per our agreement with them.

We are in the process of sourcing a small second hand ride on mower, for members to use as a back up and cut any other areas as and when required.

Control Line Flying

Once the new levelled area is ready and in full use, we are looking at letting control line aircraft fly from near to the main fixed area (over to the left and basically behind the fixed wing flight area). I am told this is where they use to fly from in the past.

We will be conducting a few test flights over the next few weeks, to see if this is practical. The council no longer cut the grass on the top field on a regular basis and it is allowed to grow (called meadow land for wildlife I am told and they get a grant from the government for doing this). A win win for them, they do not have to do anything and get some income too.

As a club it is not viable to cut and maintain a 150-foot control line circle on the top field for the limited number of control line flyers that come to the field, to fly them.

In my relatively short time at the club (about 5 years now), apart from the 2 annual organised control line events, I have only seen control line flyers at the field on 2 occasions.

Any changes would be open to a regular review and if it did not work, we would look at other options.

Club Meetings, Club Committee, AGM & Joining Night, 2021 PANDAS Subscriptions

It currently seems unlikely we will hold any indoor meetings this year.

This will impact on the AGM and joining night. Further details will be circulated over the next few months, but the following are some of the ideas so far:

  1. Members do their own BMFA membership renewal either online or by telephone direct to the BMFA, before they renew their PANDAS subscription.
  2. Members will be encouraged to pay their PANDAS membership subscriptions where ever possible by an online bank transfer.
  3. We are also looking at obtaining a card machine so members could pay down at the field by credit or debit card. We would arrange some specific dates and times when a committee member was at the field to process any payments.
  4. We are not planning to change the locks and gate keys this time round (this saves around £500.00).
  5. The current committee would continue until next year when hopefully we will be able to hold indoor meetings again. If anyone has any strong objections or any better ideas, please let me know.
  6. We will publish some basic accounts with current bank balances, but it may not be possible to get the accounts formally audited until next year.
  7. The PANDAS subscriptions for adults are currently £20.00 a year. Our annual basic costs for the field rental , grass cutting, and general running / maintenance costs are well over £3500.00. This means with 150 members (we currently have 149) we are running at a loss. I think the membership numbers could well be down next year and we need to look at a realistic membership subscription. My intention would be to increase the subscriptions to £25.00 for 2021 and then look to an increase if needed, in 2022, so we at least break even. This rise for 2021, in effect would be done without a formal vote at an AGM, due to the current unprecedented coronavirus situation. If anyone has any views or strong objections to this course of action, please let me, or any member of the committee know.

CAA Operator Numbers

For members who require a CAA Operator number (the one you paid £9.00 for) to fly legally, these numbers will start to come up for renewal from November 2020 onwards. They last for 12 months, from the date of issue and as such members numbers, will expire at different times.

It is unclear if a member did fail / forget to renew their operator number and was unfortunate to have an accident, whilst not displaying a current valid operator number whether they would be covered or not, by the BMFA 3rd party insurance. The current suggestion is, that if it was a genuine oversight, the insurance would most likely be valid, but if it was a deliberate act not to renew, then it is unlikely the flyer would be insured.

To show that we as a club, as far as possible, are making sure our members are flying lawfully, we are looking at asking members to provide the club, with their operator number and expiry date, as part of the membership renewal process for 2021. We can then remind members when their renewal is due.

PANDAS WhatsApp Group

The PANDAS WhatsApp group was set up for the purpose of letting members know about club events and details of when members were going to the field for training or any other purpose.

It is asked that members respect this and entries are kept, to club related matters. If members want to share jokes or other material, it can be done on other social media platforms or on a one to one chat basis on WhatsApp or by creating a separate group.

I would like to thank everyone for their continued support, on what can only be described as a very strange year. The club does not run itself and the committee has continued to work hard in the background, to keep things going and ensure members are up to date with any current news.

I am sorry the field levelling project has taken longer than expected, but hopefully it will be ready (once we get it rolled) to fly from in the next few weeks.

If anyone wishes to discuss or comment on any of the above suggestions / proposals, please feel free to email or call me with your views.

Thank You,

Martin Lynn,
PANDAS Chairman.
Mobile: 07802 725 231

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