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Growth in club memberships through retaining

current members as well as attracting new

ones, allows your club to share your passion

for your sport with more people, letting them

experience the thrill of flight as well as getting

access to funds for improvements to your club


There are concerns that our aeromodelling

environment is under threat from a number of

areas. Currently a Senate enquiry is examining

the activities of remotely piloted aircraft,

including model aircraft. Model aircraft in

Europe was under threat of being banned

altogether. We may be lucky and be allowed to

continue as we are, though increasingly local

councils and shires are banning model aircraft

from public parks and reserves. The provision

of safe, controlled model aircraft areas

provided by MAAA affiliated clubs may help in

preventing draconian restrictions being placed

upon all aeromodellers. Increased membership

equates to a greater ability to influence the

outcome of such enquiries.

2. That our children and grandchildren

are given the opportunity to enjoy

aeromodelling in the same manner that

we have.

Many clubs are suffering from aging

membership. When I first joined the MAAA 32

years ago the average age of members was in

the low forties, the average age of members are

now in the high sixties and growing each year.

The number of young aeromodellers joining

today is far less than they were 32 years ago.

There are many reasons for this, however if the

aging trends continue, aeromodelling clubs as

we know them will fade away. The responsibility

to ensure this does not happen rests with all of

us. We must ensure that our grandchildren and

their children are given the same opportunity

to enjoy what we all have over our lifetime. We

can only do this by opening our clubs up to new

members, being proactive in our recruiting

initiatives and continue to provide friendly,

harmonious and safe flying environments.

John Miles (who features in this edition of

Wingspan) and his three young sons have

been warmly welcomed into the NSW Free

Flight Society with open arms. Members have

encouraged the younger generation to have a

go and have shared their skills and knowledge

with the young brothers. The boys may even be

teaching long-serving members a thing or two.

It’s a great example of sharing this collective

knowledge, inspiring our future pilots and

ensuring our sport lives on now and into the


To ensure our clubs and our sport doesn’t

fade away, we should also encourage younger

members to take up leadership roles and the

same applies to State Associations. Younger

members of State Associations equal younger

members on the MAAA Council. They are our


It’s also important for clubs to embrace new

technology and disciplines, just like our control

line and free flight forefathers had to embrace


At the May Council Conference, Council

Members will devote time to examine ways

membership can be increased. Ordinary

Members will be asked to present at least three

initiatives for Council consideration.

MAAA cannot do it alone, however State

Associations must help drive the initiatives and

with help from the States and MAAA, clubs must

actively implement recruiting strategies. We all

have an important role to play to ensure that

aeromodelling remains an exciting pastime

well into the future.

Let us all embrace the “Towards 11,000”

membership drive and encourage new

members to come to our clubs and live

the reality. Equally important is to provide

an environment where we retain current

members. The future is in our hands, if we all

introduce one new member the task is easy.

Until next time, have fun, safe flight

Neil Tank