First off let me introduce you to your Board of Directors and Committees for the 2017 season:
Board of Directors
- Sean Christie – President
- Gary Baker – Director Aircraft
- Martin Brassard – Director Flying and CFI
- Bob Harvey – Secretary
- Mark Luscher – Treasurer
- Mark McDermott – Director Marketing
- Rafael Nunes – Vice President and Director Membership
- Bill Vollmar – Director Facilities and Safety Officer
- Bill Vollmar
- Dale Guenter
- Bob Harvey
- Hans Juergensen
- Herrie ten Cate
- Andrew Corrigan
- Paul Parker
Chief Tow Pilot
- Dave Springford
Dean of Students
- Mark Luscher
- Rob Russell
- Mark McDermott
- John Brennan
- Farid Ibrahim
- Peter Hickey (President of Marketing O2)
While the flying season hasn’t full started just yet, your board has met twice already and are busy working on a number of initiatives and activities. We have agreed that the following are priorities for us in the 2017 season:
First and foremost, the board is committed to ensuring that SOSA’s safety focus remains high. 2016 saw a marked improvement in safety incidents over the previous year, which is thanks in part to Bill Vollmar and his safety team for the work they built on top of previous committees. I think it is also important to thank all of you, our members, for your focus and commitment to our improved safety record. Whether it is in the air, on the flight line, moving aircraft in the hangar, or just general activities at the club, safety needs to remain front of mind for all members and in all activities. Let’s keep up the great trends started last year so that we can ensure 2017 is another safe year at SOSA.
I would also like to point out that Bill received the 2016 Hank Jansen Award from SAC for his Contributions to Safety. Congratulations Bill!!
We all recognize that our membership has been declining over the last few years. This decline in membership has not just been felt in our club but across the soaring community and in many other organizations. The competition for peoples’ time and money has increased and people have many more options and opportunities today. Over the years we have had a great deal of focus on marketing and growing our membership and while this needs to continue, our bigger challenge is in maintaining the membership we have. Sure, we can expect some attrition year over year, but our membership retention rate has been an issue in the last few years. Surely it should be easier to keep members than attract new ones.
So, as we organized this year’s Board portfolios, we wanted to start thinking in terms of managing and caring for our existing membership as one thing and address marketing and growing new members as a separate portfolio. This division will allow the marketing team to have an external view in development and execution of our marketing strategies and messages to targeted audiences, while also allowing for a dedicated focus internally on how best to improve the member experience, satisfaction and retention.
Thanks to Farid Ibrahim and his team last year, we made tremendous progress in integrating Free Flight at our flight line and into the financial systems of the club. We will look to further train all members on the use of the system and implement other features and capabilities of Free Flight.
We are looking to formalize more organized student training program. You will hear more on this from Martin shortly.
Here are a few key upcoming dates:
- April 22/23 – Spring work weekend
- April 23 – Pilot safety meeting at clubhouse
- May 6/7 – First scheduled weekend for duty roster
- May 9 – Start of Tuesday evening instruction
- May 12 -- Start of Friday evening instruction
- A full listing of key dates can be found here
In other news
- I want to report that the 505 has been sold and is now making its home in Montreal at AVVC. Thanks to everyone that helped to make this happen. GLP was a good ship for us at the club and I am sure we all will have good memories of flying her. My best memory was my first flight in the 505, it was a great flight with Andrew Corrigan where on our way back from the north, flying at 90 knots, we were still climbing.
- All the instruments have now been installed in our new Duo Discus and it is ready for its import inspection. It should be ready to fly as our season opens. Thanks to Dave Springford and others for all their hard work in getting her ready for the season.
- I attended the SAC AGM back on March 18 and was pleased to see so many SOSA members in attendance. Here are a few notes from the meeting:
- As noted above, Bill Vollmar received an award at the meeting, but two other members also were recognized at the meeting. Tom Butts received the “200” Trophy for the 6 best flights by pilot under 200 hours. Jerzy Szemplinski received the BAIC Trophy – for the best flight of the year. Congratulations to Bill, Jerzy and Tom!!
- As part of the 150 Canada celebrations this year SAC is joining the festivities with a Canada 150 Soaring Pin. Any flights recorded in OLC of 150kms or more will automatically receive the 150 pin. SAC will be monitoring OLC for all flights that meet this criteria and mailing out the pins monthly. Qualifying flights will include flights made in two-seaters and pins will be sent for both the pilot and passenger, if noted.
- SAC is also organizing a Soaring Historical Committee, led by Bruce Friesen, for the purpose of collecting and documenting the great soaring history in Canada. They are looking for any photos, audio files, or other memorabilia that anyone has and is willing to donate. They are also looking for volunteers to help on the committee. If you are interested in helping or have any material you would like to submit, please contact me.
- We are hoping to see a few more low-key social events at the club during the season. Something along the lines of a once a month BYOM BBQ after the hangar doors are closed. Look more information on this once the season get started.
Well that is it for now. We will publish more information and updates during the season. If you haven’t signed up as a member yet, please do so soon as we would love to see you at the field early this season. Remember that April 22/23 is the spring work weekend and many hands make light work. Once again welcome to SOSA for 2017 and looking forward to seeing everyone at the flight line.