Past President Pages
From The President 2005/6
Overall, I believe that the Society has had a very successful year. I have had a great year as President. It has been a year I have enjoyed meeting so many people, attending so many Piper Society events and have learned so much from attendance at the four Pilot Proficiency Programs. From a personal perspective, the additional confidence gained from those programs and from meeting and talking to other pilots who have similar fears or concerns or learning from their different and sometime frightening experiences has been invaluable. The Outback Pub Crawl was an interesting, sometimes challenging, fun event with members from as far north as Mackay, as far south as Cobden and as far east as New Zealand. Although I missed the Evans Head flyin due to weather and was personally very disappointed, I understand that it was enormously successful. I was fortunate to be able to attend the Benambra fly in and the Piper Short Wing fly in at Tocumwal which both great events.
The year started with a bit of a shock when we found that the web site data base did not function properly and couldn't be relied upon for accurate membership information. This lead to confusion about who were members and who were not. It took us five months and a lot of frustration before resolving the membership to a reasonable degree of accuracy. The web operated database does not yet function properly and we have problems running two separate database systems.
We determined that the membership was stagnant which we felt was due to failure to provide members with adequate communication and with activities which would be expected from a society with such a diverse and geographically separated membership.
As such we initiated a fly in program, centred in different places around Australia, which allowed many members to meet each other and enjoy social interaction at these different locations. Each fly in and each of our PPP's were organised and hosted by a local member, and our thanks go out those members who were involved.
We tried to make these activities accessible to as many as possible and even our committee meetings were designed to coincide with Pilot Proficiency Programs or with an opportunity for a local fly in.
Our meetings and activities were at Deniliquin, Benambra, Narromine, Evans Head, Toowoomba, Latrobe Valley and Orange with the AGM at Cobden and the Aldinga fly in planned for end of November.
We continued with the exceptionally successful Pilot Proficiency Programs which were professionally designed and which had been operating successfully since the foundation of the APS. We changed the venue, which had been at Deniliquin on all previous occasions and took the program to the members. As a result we had Pilot Proficiency Programs at Deniliquin, Latrobe Valley, Toowoomba and Orange. This of course adds cost and administration for the Society. The increased number of attendees proved the value of the additional cost and administrative time.
We are now working on producing PPP Stage II which will deal in exciting detail with many of those practical and air time issues which confront us as part time pilots. We think this will be a great program which everyone who wants to improve their confidence, competence, efficiency and aviation skills, should attend.
The Outback Pub Crawl, although somewhat of a misnomer, and the largest event on our calendar, continued the initiatives of the previous committees and again proved an outstanding success. Nineteen aircraft and thirty nine persons from all over Australia took part and the riotous 70's night at White Cliffs was the culmination of an event which saw many friendships renewed and many new friendships made. In May next year the flyaway heads down the West Coast of Australia and is already 50% booked.
Evans Head and Benambra have been the subjects of individual reports.
Communication has been a major focus in the last year. The focus has been on activities which allow members to participate and to meet each other. Hopefully, this year the Committee will find the time to facilitate a system which provides members the opportunity to interact more freely on an individual level.
The web site has been revamped in stages I & II and stage III is in the process. We know that many do not have broadband access to the web and we have continued to mail out the bulletins, to ensure that members are kept fully informed. One area which needs some attention is to improve the system which allows members to advise when their email addresses change, as there are several who missed out on a number of emails later in the year.
Over the year membership has increased and the committee is conscious of the need to provide members with increased and better levels of activity and to encourage members to take matters into their own hands and organise events and activities which help members to meet and enjoy each others company. It doesn't have to be anything other than an open invitation to meet at a certain place on a certain day while having a bar-b-que. Make it a byo at a country or private airstrip or a fly in winery or a strip with a café or restaurant so that it doesn't matter whether one or one hundred turn up.
The year was at times exhausting and at times frustrating but the highs of meeting so many people, attending so many events and enjoying the company of others and learning something from just about everyone I met. The experiences were worth the work and effort and overall very rewarding. On balance, I came out the winner for being a part of the Committee.
The coming year has just as many challenges as the past year, but hopefully we will then have a Society which functions without too many problems and with a very much reduced workload for the Committee members. As volunteers, the work of the committee is done in personal time and often at the expense of family and private commitments. It is only through being on the Committee that we can appreciate the enormous amount of time and effort of individuals and previous Committees, which went in to forming this Association and establishing it as a successful aviation group.
Thanks to the present Committee for the efforts and contributions over the past year. Despite our glitches and hiccups, I believe that congratulations are due for the overall result and achievement and building on the work of the previous Committees.
We expect that 2006/07 will provide members with even greater potential for enjoyment and learning, which is the sole purpose for the existence of the APS.
15th October 2006
15th October 2008