November 2014

In this month’s edition:

  • Phil Hall meets the Southern Strut
  • Sign-up for the Christmas Dinner Wednesday 3rd December 2014
  • Progress on Strut Twinning
  • Remember what it was like when you wanted to get in to flying?
  • Upcoming Events

Phil Hall meets the Southern Strut

Phill Hall talking to strut members in the Swiss Cottage pub.Phil Hall, the LAA CEO in post for about one year, attended the October Strut meeting at the Swiss Cottage.  The format of the evening was an informal talk from Phil followed by plenty of questions and discussion from members.

Phil began by outlining the principles that he thought should govern development of the LAA.  The key theme was “keeping our feet on the ground”; considering we are an aviation organisation perhaps a surprising theme!  These are the principles:

  1. We are a membership association run for the members – we are not like the Automobile Association.
  2. Me must be realistic about people and planes – no jet fighters.
  3. We must promote safe and fun flying – that means amongst other things tackling over-regulation and the threat to airfields.

On this last point he quoted CAA statistics on PPL issues where there has been a 50% decline over the last 10 years.  His reasons for the decline; money (we’ve been through a recession), and the low cost airlines!  The likes of Ryanair and Easyjet have increased competition to flying as a recreational activity by making alternatives like skiing and scuba-diving much more accessible.  We have to respond by making flying more attractive.  He cited Goodwood as one place doing this.  We must work with others to promote it as a cool activity.  There are also regulatory changes afoot that will help including allowing remunerated training in group owned aircraft and ab initio  training in your own aircraft.

Looking at the grey hairs in the audience Phil made the point that it is clearly vital to get young people into aviation.  A UK version of the EAA Young Eagles®, crucially with a structured continuation programme, is needed.  An example that demonstrates this is possible is the Spirit of Goole Build a Plane Project   The organiser of this scheme believes it is possible to get young people flying on an NPPL for about £600 each.

Phil gave some statistics about the current make-up of the LAA.  The membership is around eight thousand, currently static.  Many of the members are not builders.  The organisation as a whole depends on volunteers, with oversight of its two and a half thousand aircraft and general administration carried out by twelve paid staff.  There has been a recent influx of aircraft from the certified world and their new associated members are generally without building skills.  There is obviously a need for a focus on members as much as aircraft.  Currently there are 36 different classes of membership, which really needs to be rationalised.  There is a need for a better charging model when each modification approval makes a small loss for the association.  There is a big involvement in protecting the rights of the membership through the costly process of answering official consultations.  One interesting idea he proposed for keeping the coffers healthy was to attract money from outside organisations through forms of commercial sponsorship.

Questions from the floor raised a number of issues: speed of processing paperwork (and perceived biases in how resources are allocated); Phil was adamant that this was done in a fair way.  Insurance issues around fly-ins and young persons air experience; steps have been taken to resolve these issues and it should no-longer be seen as a barrier (and the Associations insurance cover was being increased).  There was some discussion of the opportunities/challenges presented by the SSDR regime.

Richard Griffiths

Sign-up for the Christmas Dinner Wednesday 3rd December 2014

Its that time of the year again. The dinner menu is below. Paid up members will get the Xmas dinner free and any partners/friends will have to pay the £13.49 a head. I need names of everyone (including non-members) coming including what they have chosen. I need the info ASAP NOT the night before!!!!

The Xmas Dinner Menu

The Xmas Dinner Menu

You can use the form below to book or just send Tony a normal email.

Tony Palmer

Progress on Strut Twinning

The following article has been published in the EAA Chapter 186 ‘Stick and Rudder’ newsletter.

Twinning with the LAA Southern Strut, UK

by Sande Miller-Long

The EAA Chapter 186 Board of Directors is pleased to announce our chapter has become a TWIN!  Several months ago we received an email from Steve Hutt, a member of the  LAA Southern Strut in the UK and RV-7 builder, who would be visiting our area of the US in August and wanted to drop by the chapter house with his wife Corrine to say hello.  The LAA, or Light Aircraft Association is similar to the EAA.  A “Strut” being their equivalent to a “Chapter.”

Here are the objectives:

  • To foster links with a similar like-minded group in another country
  • To gain a better understanding of GA flying and aircraft building in another country
  • To facilitate international acquaintances/friendships related to flying
  • To encourage the possibilities of arranging exchange visits
  • To enable social meets at flying events (e.g. Sun’n’Fun/Oshkosh Duxford/LAA Rally/AeroEx)

So on Saturday, August 30th, in between their visits to the National Mall, the WWII Memorial, and the  Air & Space Museum, Steve and his lovely wife Corinne made time to drop by our chapter house (truly a DC landmark in its own right) just in time for our deck BBQ.  And what a visit it was!  Steve and Corrine are truly delightful people and aviation enthusiasts.  The members present all mentioned to us what a delight it was to meet them and to share and compare our aviation interests.  Next time you plan a trip to the UK, be sure to contact Steve and the LAA Southern Strut —  We know they will be thrilled to meet you!  They meet “on the first Wednesday of the month near Shoreham Airport (currently at The Swiss Cottage) at 8pm for social chats about aeroplanes and flying, with the occasional invited speaker. We also organise flying and social events.”  More details about the LAA Southern Strut and visiting/flying in the UK will be available soon on our chapter website.

Remember what it was like when you wanted to get in to flying?

We got an email through the website from Ed Walker, who came along to our October meeting.  It’s a great reminder of how fantastic this community can be.

Message: Hello Richard,

I just wanted to thank you again for the warm welcome at the LAA meeting last night.  I felt very privileged to be there.  I see that flying was an unfulfilled dream of yours for many years, it’s so great that you’ve made it happen!

It’s been an amazing week for me.  I took some time off work in the hope that one of the light aviation companies might let me spend it with them.  I contacted several companies and received various responses.

The most helpful was Phil Moore who owns an aircraft cleaning company.  He suggested I speak to a gliding club, so I emailed East Sussex Gliding Club on Monday.  Next day I was made very welcome at Ringmer where I joined up as a social member and helped out with a bit of grass cutting.

Wed I met another whole crowd of great people at the club and was thoroughly enjoying driving one of the tow tractors, when Mike Miller approached me and offered to fly me over to Parham to help with a bit of maintenance on his Fournier there.  Just unbelievable!

When Mike invited me to the LAA meet it was the perfect end to an already fantastic couple of days.  I have met so many great people and enjoyed myself so much. After years of feeling that the flying world which I longed to be a part of  was way out of my reach, it’s great to be involved at last.

All the best,

Upcoming Events

Wednesday 5 November 2014  Strut Monthly Meeting at The Swiss Cottage

GASCo Safety Evening

Bring your logbook if you’d like it stamped.

For the latest list of events, go to the Events page on the Strut website.

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