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Andreas Bergstedt
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NGO killing the RC Aircraft Hobby

15 July 2014, 06:30
Before I start my rant i would just like to make something extremely clear:
A): I am a paid up SAMAA memberB): I Prescribe to and follow SAMAA RegulationsC): I Encourage everyone to do the same
Now that I have cleared that up lets start:
I am a passionate RC Aircraft flyer, I always keep a park-flyer aircraft with me just in case I get the opportunity to fly.

My passion for this hobby started in Sweden when I was 12 years old and joined the local Club in my hometown of Sigtuna.
I flew there until I left for South Africa at the age of 22, Now when I came to South Africa I had other priorities than flying planes; So life moved on and 14 years later I picked up the hobby again together with my oldest son(10).
At this point I had gotten into the inexpensive part of the hobby, a flying class called Park-Flyers, and I started the registration process of a Model Aeroplane Club at my sons school.

SAMAA gave the go ahead for the registration and Bedfordview Fun Flyers were formed under the Park-Flyer category.

So I started to plan a way of bringing interest to the club and the only way I knew how was to host an event that was different and fun, So I Announced a competition, a streamer combat competition (This is when two or more airplanes try to cut streamers attached to the tail of the aircraft for points).

Now what you need to understand is that according to the regulations that SAMAA govern there is a document called PR17, this is the terms of reference for Park-Flyer aircraft and the guidelines for safe operation.

In the PR17 document there is nothing that says "You can not have a competition or event at a Park-Flyer venue" but when I asked them to endorse the event they said that the event was too risky in terms of 3rd party liability.

Now lets look at that for a second:As a SAMAA member you are insured for 3rd party claims if you fly an approved aircraft on an approved air-field so that removes the that hurdle and makes the statement null and void.

So the only conclusion that I can draw is that SAMAA is not willing to attract the lighter side of the hobby and only promote the commercially viable aspect the "Old Boys Club".   

This just makes me so angry and just rubs me up the wrong way, what point is there to complying with regulations if someones subjective opinion about what you do is going to try to kill your passion for the hobby.
Now if we look at this from our international counterparts like AMA in the US and SMFF in Sweden they advocate Fair play and social development in the community by providing guidelines and regulations. But SAMAA on the other hand say follow the rules and we will tell you if you are allowed to follow the rules!

And I ask "What is the point?"

Well there is no point as SAMAA is telling me that I must not abide by the rules I must Abide by the rules and obey SAMAA, this doesn't gel with me.

And this only drives more people to break the rules and act in an unsafe manner ie Fly in public parks, do not register and pay SAMAA memberships.....  

In fact there is no regulations on the Park-Flyer class that is enforceable by the CAA, as long as my wing span is less than 1200mm and the aircraft has a total weight not exceeding 1 kilogram I can go and fly it anywhere based on the fact that I comply with public frequency regulations or that would get me into trouble with ICASA.

So I am trying to do things the right way but the it seems that there is double standards in the NGO called SAMAA.

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