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How do we communicate with RAA effectively?

Guest TOSGcentral

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Guest TOSGcentral

This is not an idle, nor is it a provocative, question. I would genuinely like some advice!


Equally a few people who object to apparent ‘attacks’ on AUF/RAA and


suggest that the official channels should be used – may be enlightened


by the following.


I would like to know (a) how a member can effectively communicate with RAA honorary management and (b) obtain an adequate answer to the question?


Please consider the following:


1. I spent some time writing a comprehensive question paper on most


areas of basic RAA management for the last Board meeting. Granted it


was large, but there are rather a lot of areas that appear not


presently to be covered in the form of policy or management control


methods that the average member is aware of. I am quite happy to


re-post that here if anyone is interested in reading it!


2. I submitted the paper to go on the Board meeting Agenda by emailing


it to all three of the SE Qld Board Reps. I did not receive even an


acknowledgement of receipt from Myles and Don. Andre replied promptly


and despite having to go into hospital for an operation did submit the




3. After the Board meeting there was a ‘deathly hush’. I eventually


enquired as to outcomes from my three Board Reps. Myles did not reply;


Bevan asked what it was about (but had been at the Board meeting)


and he would check and get back to me. I explained what it was about


and he has made no further contact. Andre again responded and said he


would check but he had to go away for several weeks. That was a couple


of months ago and I have heard nothing since.


4. I have heard that some of the paper was discussed but this was confined to areas where something was actually happening (do not know which ones), the remainder was apparently ‘adjourned’ until later (something I saw quite a bit of when I was on the Board).


5. I enquired of Howard via these forums (as he seems to be the only easily accessible Board contact) and he did not trust his memory and wanted to wait for the draft minutes. That was also a couple of months ago.


6. Nothwithstanding the minutes being forthcoming the membership has


virtually no knowledge of what was discussed at that meeting other than


a few comments in the President and CEOs ‘chat’ pages in the magazine.


Nor have any other meetings been reported to the membership since Pat


McGrath and myself stopped writing our own and putting them in the


magazine (when we were both on the Board) but that was years ago!


7. Perhaps surprisingly to some, the President does not respond to


personal emails unless he so chooses. I had no problem having my


opinion sought over Mike Valentine’s suicide as I was a close friend of


Mike. I have had dead silence over anything else!


8. The classic example has been my attempts to get 25-0001 back in her


original registration as an obvious example of ultralight longevity.


For over three years I cannot get an acknowledgement of even receipt of


letters from either the President or the office!


9. I have had no real problem with either of the paid managers. I have


little need to contact Lee and on the single occasion communication was


fast and efficient (but it had need to be under the circumstances). Chris – I and TOSG appear to have a good level of rapport with so no problems there.


10. I attempted to lodge magazine classified advertising in the


magazine and that was totally ignored by our office that it had to go


through. I have also stopped writing for the RAA magazine some time ago


as communication was hopeless for my purposes and I get comprehensive


response within hours from Angela at Pacific Flyer.


11. The AUF Chat line was taken off line (which is why this forum opened)


and while it was supposed to have been discussed at the Board meeting


by a Board who could close it over the phone but needed a meeting to


re-open it –apparently is going to stay down! But the membership have


not been informed or given reasons why. That was our only real means of


a dispersed membership being able to exchange views together. I gather


that is dangerous?


12. Just to step outside my personal situation: I have a customer who


appears to have been comprehensively worked over by a PE/CFI/L2 to the


extent that fraud and or theft could potentially be involved (we are talking several thousand dollars).


She rang the office to check on the person’s credentials. She was told


to put the enquiry in writing which she did. Then dead silence, since


March and no response to further reminder requests. She was a brand new


RAA member and that has been her total experience of this movement –


other than from its in-field members who are trying to help her!


Can people now understand why some people do get pointed over our


single means of communication that can work – these forums – and advice


to ‘use official channels they are doing a great job’ just does not


work in practice far too often!


Can people wonder that far too often it appears that you get prompt


service when it suits but the ‘too hard basket’ is in fact larger than


may be thought and silence is the best way of dealing with the




And now Howard (quite rightly)


informs us that the new ASIC card is going to apply pressure to the


office – so I repeat what I have mentioned in another post – what else


is now going to fall be the wayside to make room for 2000 applications?


Plus, interestingly, while computer communication is apparently deemed


as ‘non representative’ and the Chat forum goes down, computers are


going to be the only means of getting an ASIC application form! Seems


to be some selective logic in that somewhere?


You eventually wind up with what we have – a conditioned membership


expectancy that it is a waste of time and RAA so effectively creates an


image of ‘Us and Themâ€Â! But can you also see that the contempt given to


communication (from both sides but for different reasons)


is actually stifling one of the most essential functions of the RAA


movement – the willing submission of accident, incident and tech


reports – that are what we are mainly all about in group safety terms?


It could be reasonably opined that RAA itself is encouraging the


independent ‘lunatic fringe’ of cowboys, unregistered and all the rest


of it via its implied stance of ‘we know better and the membership do


not even need to know!’ For sure if the movement does not appear to be


interested in the membership at large (particularly the membership it was created to serve)


then the membership will be disinterested in the movement – and proceed


to do what they wish in the certain knowledge that it is highly


unlikely that they will be ‘caught’.


That is the penalty of failing to capture loyalty and sense of common


purpose that is really the only core control movements such as ours


actually have.


So anyone got any advice for me?


Tony Hayes



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Guest carlsnilsson



My advice is that you keep periodically writing and publishing your


letters in your own unique and admirable style, but that you don't bust


your boiler or have a heart attack! Losing Mike was bad enough - we


don't want to lose you! Seriously, your letters could form an


important, not to say vital record if some larger aspects of our


administration are ever called to account. Churchill went on with his


painting and laying bricks during the 1930's, despite being out in the




Maybe you are treated as a "special case" by RA-Aus. To be fair to


them, Middo and the office have always resonded pretty rapidly to any


matter on which I have communicated . Ther mag is still a worry -


despite our membership it is still very lightweight and, if I ever have


time to finish off some articles - I would be very tempted to submit to


Pacific Flyer. The treatment of AUFChat and subsequent failure to


endorse any alternative is a disgrace. Agreed.





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Guest phila

Tony, In contradiction to Carl's view, I don't think that you are a


"special case". I have seen way too much of what you talk about in my


conversations with those at the forefront of our movement, the dealers


who attempt to provide us with the aircraft we all love to fly -


especially those who have "personality clashes" with the office staff.


We have gliders registered, but can no longer register new gliders of


the same type or new types in the same class; we have aircraft which


have been approved at high MTOWs, only to have that approval revoked


and then re-issued months later, creating total confusion and affecting


the reputation of those in the aircraft sales business; we have


aircraft which cannot be registered, even though those aircraft are


accepted in the experimental and GA categories or are registered in


foreign countries with bilateral agreements; and we have dealers losing


business because of "lost paperwork" and other excuses dragging out the


approval process. I agree entirely with you Tony, we have a


disfunctional organisation which appears to be building an empire that


is unsustainable - taking on more work is not in the benefit of the


membership if it detracts from the core objectives. Phil



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Is there an opportunity here to maybe help our RAA organisation with


constructive suggestions on what may be able to be done. For example is


there perhaps an opportunity to have a dedicated publicity, promotions


and communications person that not only promotes our organisation but


is also the communication channel (for general communication outside the scope of board members)


between the office and the members. The board members are not paid and


do it out of their own goodness yet are very much over worked when


considering they have their own lives to lead as well. Perhaps this PPC


person could be a paid employee in the office to also help eliminate


the work load at the office but then that would increase our membership


fees or perhaps they could be like the board members as a volunteer -


just a thought!


Is there any other suggestions that we as members could do to help our organisation to not only become better but more acceptable to the greater membership



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Guest carlsnilsson

I take Phil's point better than this suggestion (for a PPC person).


Sound like a spin doctor to me. What may be needed in the office is


another knowlegeable person to assist on the matters Phil has raised so


that more person-hours can be put to the hard issues of maintenance and


training and type-registrations, AN's etc. I don't want to be


communicating with a go-between intent on putting the appropriate


'spin' on issues.





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I must start by saying that I have had no adverse experiences with


RAAus, administration or Board, but as an active member I am concerned


by the many expressions of dissatisfaction I've been reading on this


and other forums.


One can be forgiven for gaining the


impression, based on the content of many complaints, that the RAAus is


being run by an aloof elite as some sort of gentlemen's club, where


mere members are treated rather disdainfully as the unwashed herd who


exist to pay the bills.


I don't know whether this is an accurate


summation of the situation, but it is certainly one that is being


publicly aired. That this should be so is of concern.




aviation in Australia is no longer the province of a fringe minority


who can operate in relative obscurity. It is a big, and growing,


business. An increasing number of people and organisations stake their


livelihoods on its good governance.


If the RAAus Board really is


aloof, uncommunicative and unresponsive - and I repeat, if - then they


need to be tumbled and a responsive group put in their place. If, on


the other hand, the situation has been misrepresented, then the Board


needs to communicate more effectively with its members to clarify the




As a member, I would like to know what is happening and be able to decide what I as a financial member want to do about it.


The Board's arbitrary closure of the previous discussion forum (with pretty piss-poor justification in my humble opinion) did little to help me to see the Board's pov.




the current national atmosphere of government-inspired FUD, more than


ever we need a strong, responsive and communicative leadership for this


(potentially) excellent organisation.


My 2c. Gregg



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Gee... This is one area that I really wish to 'not wake up the dog'.Though having said that and accidentally kicking the dogI totally concur with your comments Ian. Inan area I work with-in, the military has the C acronym which stands for “Command, Control & Communicationsâ€Â. We (RAA) could use a similar acronym with “communication, co-operation & consideration†as their standard.As this is a subject which could take up all my available spare time, and more... I'll leave it at that for the momment.PS Tony, don't stop batting - Ace efforts, but watch for the slow ball Sincerely,Rodger



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Guest ozzie

As someone who has reentered this "sport" after being on the fringe


since '87, i read the above posts with some distain. when someone like


Tony writes the above i get kinda worried over just what is going on in


the ACT. I have had a few occasions were i was given the incorrect


info. i blamed this on a rapid change of several tech managers. Having


them never seen or heard of my 30yr old machine may have something to


do with it as well. the loss of Mike would have rattled a few window,


he was the only one who seemed interested or knowlegable in what i was


doing. i belive that the RAA is working as effectivley as they can with


the funds that they have. What really annoys me is that money that can


be used to improve the overall sytem. (like train those honorary members in effective communication/job requirerments, for instance.)


and maybe even employ more dedicated ops staff is being wasted in


fighting off CASA. how many times over the past 6 years have i heard


Middo bitching about the Dept? more than a couple of times.


As for Tony's question on having a effective communication with the honorary?


My answer is, No.


i have had several administrative problems since renewing several yrs ago and had a giggle at how not much had changed (the hands were thrown up in disgust back in 87).


The best tool for an individual who has trouble with "communication" is


the power to vote in the RAA. i was rather chuffed when i received my


ballot papers. i was a member of the APF for over 30 yrs and NEVER EVER


had the right to vote on who was to reppresent me and the sport has


suffered greatly from that. i don't waste my RAA vote and thoughly


screen the candidates. And so should everyone else. and don't vote for


your mate, or the agent who sold you your aircraft. put the guy in who


can communicate. a stable effective system starts with your local rep.


so who voted for myles and don, ha?


the only advice i can offer you Tony.


I also feel that the Board has a Duty of Care in keeping the membership


informed on all the minutes of all meetings as soon as practical. and


that all corospondence between the members of the board and the dept be


summarised, published, and be made available in full to any member with


good reason.


By flying and restoring early ultralights i sometimes feel negleted by


the RAA. the whole system is geared for the newer aircraft. The loss of


the original ano95:10 was devastating to these types of ultralights.


i've had a few people say to me "so what". well heres what. if it


wasn't for a small group of guy's and a scout. we would now all be


members of the SAAA and flying with a VH on our aircraft. i am still


amazed how, in the light of all the "world events" that in the U.S.A,


FAR103 still exists. It has produced an amazing industry worth millions


each year. But then i forget it is written into the FAA charter to


promote aviation. CASA has an "empty sky is a safe sky" policy.


Ozzie cruzing @your stall speed.




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  • 2 weeks later...



This discussion and discension bothers me! A strong voice in unity is what is required and we all need to be careful when our comments can undermineinstead of underpin. Any one who is not happy with the organisation absolutely should get them selves voted in to office because that is the only real way to fix a percieved problem. Do the work or leave it to others and put up with the results.


Ed Ed Herring



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The people "doing the work" must be made aware of whether they are seen to be acting to service the needs of the members.


This forum provides the type of feedback that any elected representitive should be happy to see. Any discension should alert our repsto any problems percieved or real and allow them to make any official comments, if appropriate, or to modify their actions or policies as required.



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Guest danda

I love this word communication for communication to work correctly it must be a two way street, continual criticism is in no way communication.


If people are continually criticised they tend not to listen for communication to be effective it must start with a common ground not with the discontent of some personality official or organisation.


I very much agree with Ed if you don’t agree with the elected board get in there and change it however not everyone will agree with you that's a fact of life.


However dissension and negativity can only bring about destruction.





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