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Thread: Improvements to BAC

  1. #1
    Orbiting Earth Orbiting Earth corcoran's Avatar
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    Improvements to BAC

    Note: the following discussion was started on email but moved here to the Discussion Forums to reach the intended audience. Tom's original email and initial email replies are replicated here.

    From: Tom Corcoran, Member #9
    To: The BAC Board
    (Copied to my Fellow BAC Members)


    I will not be able to be at BACFest. That may come as a relief to some.

    I do wish I could be there to make a few points about some of the mechanics of the club which I hope would be discussed at BACFest to be voted on at an appropriate time.

    1)
    Specifically I am concerned about member access to the Board of Directors. Your meetings are held in a vacuum and members are not admitted.

    Additionally, the minutes of the meetings have not been posted for the benefit of members.

    I no longer see the date and times of Board meetings announced.

    No official way to propose an agenda item for Board consideration is in place and worse, no opportunity exists for an item sponsor to make his best case for his idea.

    2)
    The treasury seems to have an amount of money which is beyond the needs of operating the organization.

    Dues continue to be collected at the rate of (450 x $50) over $22,500. This is a large sum of money that should be explained or modified. Added to the present balance it represents a very large sum.

    You are now using treasury funds to buy parts. For the present this is a good idea but what safeguards are there against future abuse?

    3)
    Some of the members, whom I personally admire, have been lost to the policies of the club. Some people have just quietly disappeared. Personally I would name Oz and Ed Fitchett in that category as they seem to now be absent. Both have expressed to me a reluctance on the club’s part to hear their side of the issues that concern them.

    I have similar concerns.

    High profile members, people who appear on the website daily, have privately contacted me and I can report some unrest. Each has thought that the dismissing of their ideas and suggestions may not be the result of Board policy but one or more of the club officers acting cavalierly.

    This brings me to the openness needed as described above in item #1.

    4)
    Club elections have been at best a sham. Having been the first person turned out of office, I can attest to the election process being troubled.

    Brian Foote is a good guy and was one of the hardest workers when I was the first Northeast Director. I did not object to his election over me at the time because he wanted to do the job and I only cared to be behind the scenes.

    I only saw that someone had announced an election and I only read that I had lost that election. No numbers. No campaign. No exchange of ideas between Brian and me. I think Chuz had a similar fate. Things should be more open and businesslike..

    BAC should adopt the normal election process of all good organizations including…advance elections dates and rules, nominations, campaigning, scrutiny of the candidates and an open voting system with more than the webmaster calculating the results.

    With $23,000 - $45,000 in the treasury, a shoestring operation is no longer appropriate.

    5)
    A committee should be formed for member retention and development.

    I see a red announcement at the top of my home BAC page that says I have five days to pay my new dues. If I do not, nothing will happen. We can not let long time members slip through our fingers.

    Also, I still meet Beech people who have never heard of BAC and would like to know more. The membership committee should use good marketing principals to have BAC widely seen and understood.

    6)
    From a technical/mechanical standpoint we are doing very well. This is due to the kindness of a few members who answer technical questions. This is fine as long as they are happy and willing to invest the time. Make a plan for when they can not be so generous.

    7)
    BAC should be more fun.

    My opinion is it still lacks the social atmosphere that brings everyone together.

    More fly-ins mean more fun. Competition should be encouraged between regions for bragging rights. But, the regions have been made too big for one person to be the social director.

    It is time for there to be a leader (Airboss) in each state and in each province overseen by the present Regional Directors.

    Yes, the Board has seen this proposal before and rejected it. I offer it again as a simple way to rectify the lack of social enthusiasm that the large BAC regions stifle.

    8 )
    I agree with Ed Fitchett’s wishes which were abruptly and summarily dismissed. Both East and West Canada should be a region of its own. It should have an Airboss named for each province and the two new regions having its own director.

    Final note:
    There is no way to address these procedural issues in BAC so I use this public forum. I can not post it on the website without permission. I am in no way casting a shadow on any individual or our present group of officers, but we now need to address the growing pains which have started to rise.

  2. #2
    Tom,

    First , I am responding not to be speaking for the board but simply as a member of BAC that has held a position on the board and my experiences so far.

    I have to say I found your e-mail to be disconcerting on several fronts. As you know I am "Executive VP" of BAC and have participated in I think every board meeting since my election.

    At some point in any organization, there has to be some delegation of responsibility and oversight. Things have to be done and in an expedient manner. Certainly, no individual that I am acquainted with(on the board especially) has not devoted a significant amount of time striving to put this young organization on a good footing, while trying to prepare and develop for the future. I am very uncomfortable with the inference that the board is trying to operate in a 'vacuum'. It is simply a practical matter that an organization of 400+ members needs to have it operation delegated to smaller group of folks on a board to oversee, respond, make reports including ideas generated among the general membership, discuss and consider options with respect to the benefits to the group and develop follow-up strategies to take advantage of these as well as the many other issues a group needs to act on. No one on the board is perfect, though in my mind there are some extremely thoughtful and skilled folks donating their time, and professional expertise for this organization.

    On the financial end there has been quite a bit of discussion on the level of dues, the impact on membership, what is provided, and what we'd like to accomplish for the future. I was initially concerned about the level of dues, use of the money, and where we are going. I am very comfortable with where are and what the future holds for our young organization. Obviously, there are trade-offs. We have tremendous expertise on several fronts that are really unfunded - donated resources that benefit the group. The tremendous website, the newsletter, Mike Relhihan's technical advisories, and on and on.

    While, I don't agree with every decision the board makes or has made I don't believe at any point anyone is being 'cavalier' or have ideas been dismissed so. I am disappointed that some folks have communicated with you that they feel the board or individuals on the board have demonstrated 'a reluctance on the club’s part to hear their side of the issues that concern them' - I have never heard this. We do have elections coming up and certainly the more active elections and process the better for the group. I don't think there is a lifetime appointment to any position. While we are on the elections subject - I don't remember the previous election as being a 'sham' or Chuz who I think ran against me being slighted - heck I almost voted for him myself and I think now he has been appointed to another position or replaced someone that resigned. Certainly, we want open elections and active discussion of where we need to go - but sooner rather than later some decisions have to be made and action initiated - it's not an effort to shut anyone out.

    On member retention there has been quite a bit of discussion and follow-up to those that haven't renewed. While I am sure we've lost some and will lose some more - I think we have a pretty large group for our age and it is my belief that we still offer excellent value for the dues.

    Certainly, we need to assess where we are - I think/hope the first BACfest will be an additional opportunity to discuss - I will not be able to attend this year but hope to next. I also would encourage anyone to be involved - didn't realize there were topics like this that couldn't be ongoing on the website - maybe that is something that needs to be changed. With the increase in cost to fly - it is getting more difficult for some and I know in my EAA chapter people have tempered their flying somewhat - that could be affecting our regional gatherings as well.

    Lastly, I would be in favor of publishing minutes from our meetings as well as the financial on the group - others may disagree. I don't think folks realize how much discussion there is or how seriously the board takes their responsibilities to the membership - it may not appear so on the surface. As for ideas - certainly they can be communicated in a variety of ways to the board.

    Sincerely,

    Shelby Smith

  3. #3
    I am writing this to the membership of BAC to address certain concerns raised by Tom Corcoran, one of the Founding Directors of BAC.

    First let me restate what I have said many times before. BAC is an organization run by volunteer members. It has no paid staff and what it does is done by people that devote their time and energy for the benefit of others. Anyone that wants to contribute is welcome. Much has been accomplished in two years because of the efforts of a few hard working members of BAC that have volunteered their time and talents. I will now address specific areas of concern.

    BAC Governance. BAC is governed according to its Bylaws by its Board which is composed of officers and directors who are elected by the members. Since it’s founding a little over two years ago, three directors have been added to BAC’s Board so that now there are fourteen (14) Board members. The membership, now in the neighborhood of 480 members, is spread across the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe with a few members scattered elsewhere from time to time. The Board meetings, by necessity, are held by telephone conference call. Many of the Board members have never met face to face. Out of thirteen other Board members, there are five that I have not met personally. Fourteen people on one conference call (if all Board members are present) is plenty. It is simply not practical to have non Board members participate in Board meetings. Of necessity members must bring their concerns to the Board through their officers and Regional Directors. I think it is common in organizations to have Board meetings attended only by members of the Board. All members, however, are invited to attend and participate in the Annual Meeting, which is held at the national convention (coming up in two weeks in Wichita).

    I will, however, take steps to have the Board meeting minutes posted on the website. Be forewarned; they don’t make for very exciting reading.

    Airboss. Tom suggested that each state and province have an Airboss. Tom wanted me to appoint an Airboss for each state. I did not agree to do this. The reasons were: (1) I don’t know enough of the members to do this. (2) It is difficult enough to find one member in each region to take on the responsibilities of Regional Director, much less one in each state. (3) I felt the RDs know their members better and would be in a better position to pick people to help them. The idea was presented to the Board and discussed. The Board decided not to mandate Airbosses. However, any RD that wishes to do so can and may appoint anyone he/she chooses to assist him, if he/she can find willing volunteers.

    BAC Organization. BAC’s membership is presently divided into nine (9) regions. Originally we had seven (7). Last year we carved up the Northeast and Southeast Regions to create the Mid-Atlantic Region. We also put all of the members outside of the U.S. into the International Regional. This was done in an effort to give those members outside the U.S. more of a voice to address any concerns particular to them. At least one member from Canada was unhappy with this arrangement. I tried to explain that we were trying to give him more representation but neither of us understood the other’s point. There was consideration and discussion by the Board of making Canada a separate region. This was rejected primarily for two reasons. First the geography is too spread out and people from one coast would likely never see people from the other coast. Second we try to balance making regions large enough to have sufficient members to support activities and small enough to make travel time and distance to events manageable. In rough numbers creating one (much less two) regions in Canada would result in a region with approximately twenty members spread out across several thousand miles and leave only a half dozen or so other International members.

    Financial Matters. The issue of dues and utilization of funds was raised. First dues. Last year there was consideration given to lowering the dues. The Board decided to leave the dues at $50, AT LEAST FOR ANOTHER YEAR (this year 2006). The matter can and probably will be considered again. Personally I think anywhere in the range of $35-50 per year is reasonable and I can’t imagine why a difference of $15 per year would be a make or break decision on whether a member would consider renewing membership. A year or so ago we were struggling to fund some of the things we wanted to do. Now we are better able to finance some of our undertakings. We are in a middle ground. We presently are taking in more than what it costs to finance WHAT WE ARE DOING NOW but not to the point that we could undertake some of the things we might like to do. I think most members feel they are getting their money’s worth. Financial matters are reported in the BAC Talk and are reported at each Board meeting (the minutes of which will be posted on the website).

    Social. I agree. I would like to see more fly-ins. The thing I enjoy most about BAC is meeting other BAC members. The reality is someone has to organize a fly-in and other members have to attend. Almost every Regional Roundup (in BAC Talk) contains appeals by the RD’s for members to host a fly-in. To date there have been seventeen (17) events this year that count toward the President’s Trophy. That includes all BAC fly-ins plus SNF and OSH. That includes one event that I organized, one that Tom Corcoran organized and one that Mike Rellihan organized. Of those seventeen events, only three had six or more attendees. The only way that the social aspect of BAC will improve is if more members organize events and more members attend events. I am gratified to see the expected turnout for BAC Fest (twenty-nine (29) BAC members, seventeen (17) of whom will be traveling more than 500 miles, one way, to attend).

    Elections. I am surprised that this is an issue. The elections are governed by and were conducted according to the Bylaws. There were nominations by the Nominating Committee, open nominations and the opportunity for all candidates to address the electorate. The process and dates are well publicized. For anyone that it interested either in running for a position or in how the elections are conducted, I suggest they read the Bylaws that are posted on the website.

    Member Retention. Any member that does not renew his membership receives an e-mail from Brad (our Secretary-Treasurer) asking why they did not renew their membership and if they have any comment for the betterment of BAC. Few respond. Most that do advise of the sale of a plane or the loss of a medical. We’ve had very little negative or constructive response.

    Conclusion. I’d like to thank Tom for taking his time to address these issues. Tom is one of the Founding Directors of BAC and I appreciate his efforts on BAC’s behalf. I regret the creation of any impression that the Board is unresponsive to the membership. As a matter of practicality BAC is run by its officers and directors. However, any member should feel free to address the officers or directors with their ideas or concerns. I will ensure that the minutes of the Board are posted on the website so that the membership is informed of the actions of the Board. I will admit that not every idea presented is acted upon. Keep in mind what I said initially, we are limited by the time our members are willing to volunteer and by what our treasury can afford. We are still a young organization but I am very proud of what we have accomplished in two years.

  4. #4
    Tom, my comments are located after each selected item of your email below.

    Specifically I am concerned about member access to the Board of Directors. Your meetings are held in a vacuum and members are not admitted.
    Members do have access to the Board of Directors. Each member also has a Regional Director assigned to them to communicate issues to. None of the organizations I'm involved with allow members to attend meetings of the Board of Directors. Opening up meetings to members would make it difficult to get anything done with that many people on one telephone call, even if just a handful joined.

    Additionally, the minutes of the meetings have not been posted for the benefit of members.
    I would not be opposed to posting meeting notes if the rest of the Board agrees.

    I no longer see the date and times of Board meetings announced.
    Did you try contacting your Regional Director (or any other board member) and asking them when the next board meeting was?

    No official way to propose an agenda item for Board consideration is in place and worse, no opportunity exists for an item sponsor to make his best case for his idea.
    There is an official way to propose an agenda item for Board consideration; through your Regional Director. That is exactly what their duty is... to represent the people in their region and bring up issues from the members they represent.

    Dues continue to be collected at the rate of (450 x $50) over $22,500. This is a large sum of money that should be explained or modified.
    Have you asked for any explanation from our treasurer? Did you receive a response? And if you didn't agree with the answer did you ask your Regional Director to bring up your issue with the Board?

    You are now using treasury funds to buy parts. For the present this is a good idea but what safeguards are there against future abuse?
    The safeguards lie within the Board of Directors who have been elected by the membership to represent the members.

    Some of the members, whom I personally admire, have been lost to the policies of the club. Some people have just quietly disappeared. Personally I would name Oz and Ed Fitchett in that category as they seem to now be absent.
    Oz sold his Sundowner last Fall and no longer owns a BAC aircraft. I wouldn't expect someone who no longer owns a BAC aircraft to continue being an active member of the club. Ed used to be a regular (at least weekly) poster to Musketeer Mail however from what I see he hasn't posted there in over three months. He has been absent from MM just as long as he has been absent from BAC. However I cannot speak for either of them.

    Club elections have been at best a sham. Having been the first person turned out of office, I can attest to the election process being troubled.
    Tom, I am sorry you think the elections have been a sham. I believe the elections were run in a very clear and honest manner.

    Brian Foote is a good guy and was one of the hardest workers when I was the first Northeast Director. I did not object to his election over me at the time because he wanted to do the job and I only cared to be behind the scenes.
    I would gladly turn over any and all election materials for an independent review if that is what you would like.

    I only saw that someone had announced an election and I only read that I had lost that election. No numbers. No campaign.
    Tom, that is simply false. The Bylaws outline the schedule for elections and have been available online since almost the inception of the club. A further announcement on the BAC website as well as email broadcast was delivered on November 14 reminding everyone of the process and schedule. A further announcement on November 30 announced the close of nominations. On December 1 and email was sent out to everyone nominated (including you) asking for a "speech/campaign" to be posted along side your name when the elections started. Each candidate had five days (until the 6th) to return their speech to me for inclusion before the start of elections.

    On December 5 I sent an email to everyone who hadn't submitted a speech yet (including you) to send it to me ASAP.

    On December 7 you sent an email to Bob asking him why your speech wasn't included. Bob said he never received anything from you. (Neither had I.) Later that day you sent your speech to me and it was posted within minutes of my receipt. We had initially discussed not allowing late speeches to be posted but decided later to allow late speeches to be added.

    On December 8 you sent me an email saying you went to check that your speech was posted and that it wouldn't allow you to see the page since you had already voted. I confirmed that your speech was in fact posted. You also joked at the time that since you couldn't see the voting page (since you had already voted) you would alert "FBI, CIA, FAA, USPS, ACLU, EAA, AARP, and Martha Stewart". I did not consider this an official objection due to the joking demeanor.

    You also sent private messages to people in your region asking for their vote. Very clever! To my knowledge no other candidate did this. I only knew about your messages because I had two people ask me if they were supposed to receive messages from both candidates and they had only received information from you.

    On December 13 the polls were closed in accordance with the schedule previously announced and later that day the results were made available. Still later on the 13th you sent an email to the board, congratulating the winners and Brian. I didn't see any objection from you in that email.

    So your accusation that you only knew about the election after you found out the results is false. And your accusation that there was no opportunity to campaign is also false. In fact, you campaigned more than any other candidate.

    No exchange of ideas between Brian and me.
    It seems to me that an exchange of ideas between you and Brian is up to you and Brian if you want to exchange ideas.

    BAC should adopt the normal election process of all good organizations including…advance elections dates and rules, nominations, campaigning, scrutiny of the candidates and an open voting system with more than the webmaster calculating the results.
    As outlined above, I do believe we have a good election process which includes advance election dates and rules (as outlined in the bylaws), and campaigning (you did more than anyone elese).

    As to only me calculating the results... Tom, I'm offended and insulted by your accusation that I rigged the results. I abstained from voting and will certainly offer any of the code and database tables for scrutiny by the Board of Directors.

    If you had a problem with the election you should have brought it up 20 months ago in the email you sent to the Board after the election when you congratulated Brian. Waiting 20 months to bring up this issue is absurd and I resent your accusation.

    I see a red announcement at the top of my home BAC page that says I have five days to pay my new dues. If I do not, nothing will happen. We can not let long time members slip through our fingers.
    We don't just let members slip through the cracks. Beyond the notification on the BAC site, an email is set out to each member 30 days before their membership expires. After a membership has expired Brad sends an email to each member asking for feedback as to why they let their membership expire.

    More fly-ins mean more fun. Competition should be encouraged between regions for bragging rights. But, the regions have been made too big for one person to be the social director.
    I haven't heard feedback from any Regional Director that they are not able to handle the number of people in their region. Other members have expressed that there are too many Regional Directors. The way our membership is distributed it is impossible to create divisions of reasonable geographic areas while maintaining somewhat even numbers of people in each region.

    It is time for there to be a leader (Airboss) in each state and in each province overseen by the present Regional Directors. Yes, the Board has seen this proposal before and rejected it. I offer it again as a simple way to rectify the lack of social enthusiasm that the large BAC regions stifle.
    Yes, we saw this proposal and rejected it. We just didn't think we needed that level of oversight and each Regional Director felt comfortable with the number of members they represent. Further there are many instances where there are not any members in a particular state/province or where there are only one or two members.

    I suppose I would be appointed for Maine. I would have one person to represent, Brian, who happens to already be the RD. One Airboss for Vermont and one for Rhode Island would each represent one additional member. There are no members in Deleware, Montana, or North Dakota. The Airboss would represent only themselves in Wyoming, Idaho, Hawaii, and Alaska. In Canada, Alberta would have an Airboss to represent two other members, Manitoba and Quebec would have an Airboss to represent no other member, and several other provinces have no other members.

    In the end with the Board of Directors (5), Regional Directors ( 8 ), and Airbosses (50+13) we would wind up with about 76 people to oversee the other (477-76) 401 members.

    I agree with Ed Fitchett’s wishes which were abruptly and summarily dismissed. Both East and West Canada should be a region of its own. It should have an Airboss named for each province and the two new regions having its own director.
    Ironically, the reason I campaigned so hard to have an "International" region was due to previous comments by Ed. He seemed upset that people outside of the USA were just lumped in with USA Regions. So I campaigned hard on his behalf to create an International Region so that the people outside the USA could have a voice through a Regional Director of their own.

    When we announced the creation of the International region I expected to hear Ed jump up and down with joy and I tossed out his name as possibly someone to take the Regional Director position of the International Region. Instead we initially heard nothing from Ed and when we did we were floored to hear he disagreed with the decision. I campaigned hard for what I though was exactly what he wanted.

    Last I checked I think there were 16 members from Canada. 16 members don't representation from 13 Airbosses (one in each province). I also disagree that 16 members need representation from two Regional Directors.


    There is no way to address these procedural issues in BAC so I use this public forum.
    Yes, there is a procedural way to address issues like this. You use the Contact form on the website (which has been there since day 1) and you address your Regional Director. That is their job. I know you are aware of the contact form since you have used it before.

    I can not post it on the website without permission.
    Yes, there are places you can post to the website without permission. We need a place on the homepage to place club news that is of importance to all members. That is what the news section is for. The news section of the website isn't a place for anyone to post whatever they want. If you think you have something which is newsworthy, the procedure is to contact your Regional Director who can review the news item and if it is appropriate to the membership at large they can submit and approve the news story on your behalf. I know you are aware of this procedure since you have completed it nine times.

    I am in no way casting a shadow on any individual or our present group of officers, but we now need to address the growing pains which have started to rise.
    Tom, frankly I think you are attempting to cast a shadow on both individuals and the present group officers.

    We do strive to accept feedback from members and from what I've seen the Regional Directors are doing a good job bringing feedback to the Board. There are procedures in place for members to bring up issues through their Regional Director. The Board carefully considers all issues brought before them (like your suggestion to post minutes which will be available shortly) and the board acts in a manner which they they think are the best for the club. That is after-all, what they were elected or appointed to do.

    I believe the Beech Aero Club is fun and I believe there is a healthy social atmosphere. The number of fly-ins has dropped a little bit, however we've been plagued by bad weather and rising fuel costs. Activity on the website is at a near all time high with more than 415 messages being posted to the Discussion Forums in the past month. There have been over 30 messages posted in the last week alone planning new fly-ins in several regions.

    Right now it looks as though about 45 people have made plans to attend BAC Fest. It is shaping up to be a huge success for our first annual convention. 

  5. #5
    Can't make it..got 3 kids..they eat alot.

  6. #6
    BAC Board Meeting Minutes are now available by going to the 'BAC Info' menu and selecting 'Board Meeting Minutes'.

  7. #7
    Questions and comments put out there and answered professionally. Good discourse is almost always healthy. I learned a lot from both Tom's questions and Tim's answers.

    One thing no one can change is the giant geography issue. Here in the west we have tried to get together but distances, hills and weather conspired to thwart our efforts (undauntly, we are trying again!). The 'fun' factor and social aspects of the organization will flourish as we grow in numbers and have successful gatherings. These things don't happen over night and I think we've made some great progress in two short years.

    As for membership and letting the world know about BAC, I am eager to disucss a membership drive at BAC Fest. I'm sure there are some great ideas out there and I want to hear and impliment them...it's lonely out here in Utah!

    Anyway, I say well done to our board and all the RD's! We're making progress and that is always a good thing!

    Chris L.
    Sierra C24R
    N5106M
    KSLC

  8. #8
    Key points from my perspective.

    Every organization needs member feedback both positive and negative. The positive keeps the volunteers going, and the negative can often improve the organization. This assumes that the negative is well-intentioned and suggestion-oriented, and does not leave us with dispirited volunteers.

    Every organization experiences some personnel conflicts. It can be really hard to keep a long-term perspective, if you think you are being snubbed, or you think you are not appreciated for the time you have put in and the things you have accomplished with and for the group. I can usually get along with just about anyone, so it is sometimes hard for me to understand how well-meaning people can wind up butting heads; but it happens. It's a shame to let it wind up 'feeling personal', when everyone just wants a stronger organization. I have seen this happen in every group I have been a part of; VAC, EAA, AOPA, NRA, PERC, NAPRI, and more. So far all have survived it; the lucky ones wind up being better for it rather than worse. The good outcomes are a tribute to those who work past the bumps in the road.

    Relative to our geographic size, BAC is still small in numbers at this point in time, though we have done very well for only two years in existence. But our member distribution makes it tough to have a close relationship between members and leaders (all of whom are unpaid volunteers). Tim has done an excellent job of highlighting the available methods. Everyone new to the website (as well as some charter members) can still have difficulty in finding and using available tools; not just for leadership contact, but for any other purpose. This isn’t a ‘negative’ for the website; it is a reflection of how much has to be shoehorned onto the home page. Tim has tried to make Chat, Forums, and News home page focal points, along with the member photos and recent changes (Classifieds, news links, etc.). Like any other complex tool, the longer folks play with it, the easier it gets to find things. Doing a BAC Search on ‘regional director’ turns up lots of hits. Using the ‘Contact Us’ tool (ubiquitous on almost all websites), and clicking on the drop-down menu for ‘To:’ (also ubiquitous in most Mail programs), provides an extensive list that includes all the BAC officers, including all the RDs. Anyone can direct questions, comments, and compliments directly to any BAC officer they choose. I can’t imagine anyone ignoring such a message, unless they are traveling or sick, or are having computer trouble. But if at least an acknowledgment isn’t received within a couple of days, it is pretty easy to send the question to another person. I’m still encountering businesses that never do respond to customer online questions. A lot can go wrong with email, and we are all volunteers; if a prompt response isn’t received, please be patient, and/or ask an additional person. I sure don’t think anyone is being intentionally snubbed.

    Along the same lines, if any RD feels that they have a large enough member population to need help, or that their geographic separation warrants more local help for some part of their region, they can certainly solicit and appoint an ‘Air Boss’ or whatever else they wish to title the position. Or they could even open up an ‘internal election’ for their region via email, if there are multiple candidates. The number of members within any region would certainly make that manageable. My personal experience in groups like this is that it is very tough to get enough members to step forward to work, as opposed to casual participation; any RD with multiple offers is fortunate indeed. Tim has done a good job of illustrating why this isn’t necessarily a good solution for BAC to mandate for every state and region, but any particular RD is welcome to pursue it.

    I hope to see BAC continue to grow as we become more widely known. There are naturally some folks who will simply never join a group; as a whole, most pilots are pretty independently-minded people. Our direct mailing to registered owners, in BAC’s first year, was a disappointment. For whatever reasons, many owners said they never received the mailing. I suspect many or most went into the trash as snail-mail spam, unread. Our members have been terrific ambassadors; and our excellent website has been discovered and reflected in many other places. For example, a Google search for ‘Musketeer Club” shows us as the fourth hit; MusketeerMail does not appear anywhere on the first four pages (I quit looking there). If you do a Google search on “Beech Parts”, BAC is again on the first page, as the fifth hit. Wickipedia lists BAC in all of its references for the 19/23/24/76/77, but does not mention MML. This isn’t a negative reference to MML; it is simply an indication of how active our BAC website is, compared to the Yahoo list. MML postings have declined dramatically in the past year; they are now roughly 25% of their former level, as more and more people shifted to the vastly better functionality of the BAC website (which we are paying to get, along with Tim’s volunteer efforts). What I’m getting at is that we are approaching ‘critical mass’, when more and more people will see our organization simply by accident, without the need for direct mailing costs. Nothing can work better than the interaction and influence of our current members, when they see other owner-pilots at random events. There just is not a large population of our airplanes, relatively speaking. All the more reason why we all need to stick together, for the benefit of all.

    There is also the 'turnover factor'. I doubt that it is 100% true in our group, but the national average for a given airplane changing hands is every two years. The pilot population is also aging; some number of our former members have lost their Medicals. What I have found very rewarding is that quite a few people have remained active members, despite no longer owning a BAC plane, or having lost their Medical.

    As far as the BAC Treasury goes, I thought we had exhaustively examined that before. Part of the explanation for setting the dues at $50, rather than the more common $30-$35, was to enable us to support Fly-Ins and to build a ‘war chest’. The war chest is targeted at picking up the production of critical consumable parts, as they become unavailable at any reasonable cost. For example, I am currently forced to sell my remaining Nylon yoke bushings at $250 (because of my cost on them), which is an exorbitant price for what they are; and the RAPID list price is $866! What will we do, when my limited supply runs out? I am working with another member, Bill Manhein, to develop engineering drawings. We are in hopes that, with the assistance of the BAC STC Group (headed by Ashley Palmer), that BAC will be able to obtain a PMA on this part. Wouldn’t it be ‘nice’ to not only get the parts again at a far better price (maybe $50-$100, depending on what the material is), but to also not have to pay another company’s mark-up? We can’t do this with everything, but we can hope to do it with some things; and it will take money to go through the testing and paperwork with the FAA, plus initial production. None of these things will be affordable, if we can’t have them run off in a bulk lot.

    BAC also financed (at my cost) my purchase of four spar replacement kits (two left and two right), when I found them at a good price. These kits target the outboard spar, a common starting place for spar corrosion if left untreated. In fact, one of our members recently lost their plane to outboard spar corrosion. Someday four members will be able to obtain these kits for around half of today’s list price, and a fraction of next year’s (and onward) list price (if they are even still available then). It is a lottery on who will benefit; but part of BAC’s charter is keeping these fine airplanes in the air. While I procured them, BAC owns these parts, with that documentation on file; and the Treasury money (plus any missed interest) will be recovered when the kits are sold. One of our members (Tim Hill) has already benefited from a spar kit I was able to get for him, at the same time. You might want to ask Tim what that spar kit was worth to him. It was the difference between a restoration and a salvage airplane.

    I have probably run on about this too long. I just wanted to illustrate my conviction that quite a few people are doing a great deal of work on behalf of BAC and its members. Any and all are welcome to help, in any capacity; that includes making suggestions. Not all suggestions can be adopted, just as not every member will agree with any particular decision. We all live with those scenarios every day of our business and personal lives. BAC is no different, and it should not be allowed to divide us. Part of the reason we all remain volunteers is to help assure the membership that BAC is entirely above-board. In my personal case, while I continually try to respond to questions and to post technical information, I felt obliged to decline any Board position, whether elected or appointed. I was a Founding Director, of which I am very proud. But when I began procuring parts for members, I did not want there to be any appearance whatsoever of any conflict of interest; so I felt compelled to distance myself from BAC governance. That same issue of appearances, as well as simple economics, is why BAC remains an entirely volunteer organization.

    Everyone I have met has not only been a great person, but has worked with BAC’s best interests at heart. Many other people have made excellent postings, including some great articles. We can always improve, and hope to continually do so. Steady improvement will require continual commitment from all members, in any capacity they can bring to BAC. Running for office, accepting special assignments that fit with their talents, organizing social events, seeking new members, etc.

    Everyone and everything can be a help. One of the very best things that members in each region can do, is to establish a dialog with your Regional Director. That would help a great deal in making fly-in plans, getting questions answered, and identifying volunteers for other needs.

  9. #9
    Hello to all. Please let me know what I can do to help in central FL. I have a private ramp where I could host a fly in but the last time I tried to do that I was blasted by many about competing with one over 300 miles away.

    Jeff Ryndak

  10. #10
    Jeff, I'm sure that multiple fly-ins would be much appreciated at your location; it sounds like you are ideally located.

    I know that it came across to you as 'being blasted' when some folks pointed out that the SE regional fly-in was already scheduled at Falcon Field at the time of your last attempt. It sure wasn't intended that way, though. We have so much difficulty enabling more than a handful of planes to make it to the regional events (or any event), that it was hoped that we (BAC) could avoid making folks in NE FL and SE GA have to choose between the two events. KFFC is 300 miles from your location, but only an hour or 1.5 from those in between, who would have had to make the choice.

    With the poor weather luck at KFFC recently, it probably would not have mattered after all. You might have gotten a better turnout than the KFFC event. Who knows; but hindsight is always great. In my opinion it's still a good idea to try to avoid conflicts, just in principle; but you are welcome to announce a fly in at any time you wish. I think Chuz Chamberlain is the current SE RD. He can help line up the BAC money for the fuel ticket drawings, and any refreshment allowance. Either you or Chuz can add the event to the BAC event calendar, to make it 'official'.

    I hope you have some great events going forward. If I still lived in FL, I'd be attending them, that's for sure.

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