Membership fees are now being paid once again. The GFA board gave all flying members 6 months free membership during the early stages of Covid-19. The thinking was that many members would be impacted though loss of income and restrictions on flying, and we wanted to provide a period where members would not have to choose between GFA membership payments while juggling those other issues.
Members whose membership previously fell due in March are now paying their GFA membership in September and we can now see that income coming through. It appears that a few members are not paying their fee at the moment but it is unclear if they have decided not to continue or are just delaying their payment. We will have a clear picture in the new year.
On the positive side, we have had 64 new members join in the past 2 months, which is very pleasing. Only four of these were in Victoria but now that the State is open for business again this should improve quickly.
Claiming a Badge Flight – The soaring season has been quite active already in the north and west of the country, and will shortly be coming to the remainder of the states. It’s a great time for pilots to be thinking about and achieving their FAI badges, whether it be Silver C or 300km or 750km flights, or even records.
Flying the task is the major challenge and the greatest fun, and we have tried to make it as easy as possible to claim the flights so that you receive the appropriate recognition.
The key points are that, to comply with the international rules, you need to use a Flight recorder to provide evidence that you have completed the task. You must have declared the task in the Flight Recorder, and have an Official Observer (OO) who can support you and verify your achievement. OLC results alone don’t meet the standard.
Your OO can give you advice on choosing and setting up a Flight Recorder and flying the required task. If you cannot declare the flight in the Flight Recorder then there is an online declaration form which you can find in MyGFA – see below for directions. If you want to see who the OO is at your club or nearby, you can check out the list of OOs on Go Membership.
Login to Go Membership and click the green Reports tile. Click on Customer Reports and then Membership Reports to find the Official Observer list. This shows the list of OOs in each club.
Making a Claim – Once you have completed your flight and you have celebrated, you now have to do the ‘paperwork’, although no paper is involved. The first step is to pay the required fee. In Go Membership, click on MyGFA and find the black button for purchasing a New Badge Claim. Click the ‘Book as an individual’ button and select the number of legs that you want to purchase. If you don’t pay, you will not be able to progress any further.
You will receive a payment receipt that also gives you the link to the claim form. If you have declared the flight in your Flight Recorder, you don’t have to fill in the latitude and longitude details. Next, select your OO from the drop down box provided and upload your IGC file from the Flight Recorder. Details of your claim will be sent to your OO and also to the FAI Certificate Officer Beryl Hartley.
If your flight is approved, you will receive an email as evidence of completion. You will need to upload this confirmation when you apply for the Credential. If you achieve a badge, you may purchase the actual badge from the Events/GFA shop section of Go Membership. Enjoy!
A new focus will be placed on the Glider Pilot Certificate (GPC). Our membership survey over the past five years has consistently identified the need to improve pilot training through to Solo and to the GPC. I believe there is an article on this topic elsewhere in this magazine and would encourage you to have a look at that.
The Operations Department and Soaring Development Panel have done a lot of work to update the resources for the Trainers, both Instructors and Coaches, and for student pilots. This will be launched in the new year and will be trialled at some Flying Start and Flying Further courses. If you want to accelerate your learning, you should look for one of these courses at your own club or at another club that offers mid-week flying.
Governance & Integrity
The Governance & Integrity committee of the Board has been reviewing and updating a number of policies including Child Protection, Discrimination and Bullying, and Inclusion and Diversity. The updated policies can be see in the Document Library on the new web page glidingaustralia.org/. Under Member Area, click on Documents/Search Documents, and then click on AAIntegrity Policies.
The committee will be updating the Member Protection policy and the Complaints & Discipline Procedure in the new year. Clubs and members are encouraged to review these Integrity Policies, and clubs are encouraged to use the policies within their organisations.
A dispute has continued between the GFA and the Mount Beauty Gliding Club (MBGC) for the past 18 months, resulting in the affiliation of the MBGC being suspended and then cancelled. MBGC appealed this decision and an appeal panel comprising five Victorian Club Presidents reviewed the evidence and decided that the penalty applied was too severe and ruled in favour of the club.
Affiliation has been reinstated and the Club’s new Committee is in discussion with GFA to ensure the club’s long term viability. The discussions appear to be making positive progress. Under the current rules disciplinary options open to GFA are extremely limited. The review of the Discipline procedure will aim to provide more options with regard to penalties that can be applied to ensure they are in keeping with just culture and procedural fairness principles.
Sport and recreational aviation organisations, including Gliding, may apply to become Approved Self-Administering Aviation Organisations (ASAO) under Part 149 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1988 (CASR).
Becoming an ASAO will enable gliding to take on increased responsibility and authority to manage the sport in cooperation with CASA. The Parachute Federation (APF) have achieved this outcome and RAAus are close to finalising their process. GFA has agreed to apply and have established a committee to manage the process and develop the relevant documents.
Much of this work concerns ensuring that our current Ops Regulations and Manual of Standard Procedures (MOSP) Procedures are modified to suit the new regulation. This will be a six to nine month process but should mean that we retain and improve our independence. An update will be provided in the new year.
Australia typically hosts a large number of international glider pilots each season, coming to experience our weather and culture. Since COVID has meant that these pilots have not been able come this year, many of our full-time operations are finding that they cannot afford to provide the facilities that we have all become used to. Try and support them if you can, and you will then understand why the international pilots keep coming back – the service is great at these sites.
Terry Cubley AM