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Everything posted by MattyB

  1. Posted by Colin Leighfield on 15/05/2015 16:57:34: There are limits on what you are free to say if involved in a due diligence exercise involved in a prospective purchase. I'm happy to see what comes out of this and then consider it. I'm just concerned that people who are probably doing their best can be forced to feel as if they are being accused of having other motives. I doubt very much if that is the case. Correct, there are limits on transparency, but much more could have been shared than has been. For instance the vendor will have no interest in the estimated minimum and maximum budget for buildings that would need to be erected, so why can't tahat be given to members? Also let's not forget that nobody forced the BMFA to move for the site publically right now - the feasibility study was supposed to be completed and released before anything like this happened. Even if they were keen on Laws Lawn they could always have released the feasibility study now referencing hypothetical sites/funding models x, y and z and gathered support behind their preferred option. Instead they chose to tell us they wanted to buy immediately with none of the details around how or why. Until we see the figures it is impossible to tell, but it all points to a project team that has done the feasibility study, realised the numbers don't add up but feel under pressure to proceed because of the investment in time and effort to date. They may have the best of intentions, but it's the numbers that will determine if this initiative can be a success, and for as long as they are witheld I will remain extremely sceptical. Edited By MattyB on 15/05/2015 17:26:00
  2. Posted by Andy Meade on 15/05/2015 14:43:46: Same as Martin - I think you bring up some great points Matt, but am worried that you may get short shrift and told to mind your own business! It is a business and their own consideration after all, and as such not something that needs to be passed by us every time they want to spend some money - no matter our feelings on the subject. I'm certain I will get no meaningful answers tbh, but putting the request in writing is still worth doing as it shows others who happen upon the page that the BMFA are not behaving transparently. However, if they choose to proceed with the purchase on Saturday I suspect there is going to be a significant "No" movement which will mobilise quickly to hold them to account - there are additional avenues which have not yet been fully explored... Edited By MattyB on 15/05/2015 16:27:33
  3. Posted by John F on 15/05/2015 12:48:32: With consultations general plans are one thing - specifics are entirely another thing. Having said that the purchase of the land has also been extensively explained on the BMFA forum! This is going around in circles and is fruitless when you can clearly obtain all of this information by asking the BMFA on the forum that they set up specifically for that purpose. If they were going to provide answers to these sort of questions surely they would have done so previously online or at the area meetings, but that's not been the case as far as I'm aware - the confidentiality card has been played with a straight bat every time. Let's test your theory, but I'm not holding my breath for an answer, especially not on Friday afternoon...   Edited By MattyB on 15/05/2015 13:22:33
  4. Posted by John F on 15/05/2015 12:16:36:   Don't forget though, and I think a lot of people who are repeatedly banging drums here have completely forgotten this point, all of this is embryonic and being overscrupulous over the minutiae at this point in time is unecessary as it is still in the consultation stage. This also explains exactly why specific info is not yet available - this is the period of consultation and all the answers are there for the asking. You keep saying that, conveniently overlooking the fact that the BMFA will be committed financially from June 5th when contracts are exchanged - we will not be able to back out of the transaction, so the association will need to find £1.25m to buy the site and service any loan needed! The period of consultation over proceeding with the NFC is irrelevent; it will not complete between May 16th and June 5th, nor will there be time for the members to go through the required channels if they wish to call an EGM to attempt to prevent the transaction. The timeline the BMFA have set here means that May 16th is the one and only chance for the land transaction to be halted - if full committee approve it will go ahead. Or do you believe the above is incorrect, and if so, where? Edited By MattyB on 15/05/2015 12:40:12 Edited By MattyB on 15/05/2015 12:42:56
  5. Posted by The Wright Stuff on 15/05/2015 09:57:11: I think of it this way. If I wake up one morning with a sudden and unexpected urge to go skiing, and have never done it before, then I can ring up a UK ski centre (e.g. Sheffield, Milton Keynes), book a session with an instructor, hire all the kit I need, turn up, have a go, and leave at the end of the day having made no commitments, invested no money in equipment or membership, and not had to do any preparation, research or practice beforehand. Maybe I'll have enjoyed it so much that I subsequently take it up later as a hobby. Similarly if I want to have a go at paintball, golf, quad-biking, Go Ape, shooting, and half a dozen other outdoor activities that I can think of. But what if I want to try model flying in the same casual manner? I'm not talking modelling, Suppose I have no interest in building or understanding ESCs or servos, I just want to fly. Where do I go? Not quite so easy is it? We may not like it, but most of those people now go down to their local Toys R Us, Halfords or go online, buy a quadcopter, and take it out and fly it. The safest and most likley way of being successful? Probably not, but it's what most newbies seem to do these days. Edited By MattyB on 15/05/2015 11:54:57
  6. Posted by John F on 14/05/2015 15:41:31: Posted by Erfolg on 14/05/2015 13:56:16: Colin Right from the beginning a major issue for me has been a lack of clarity and any consultation with the broad membership. . . . How could there possibly be a lack of consultation with the broad membership when every member was told about this? This has been ongoing for almost exactly a year. I am sorry but the repetitive issue of not being informed, or consulted, is completely untrue. Club Bulletins had news of the NFC and if your club did not know about it then maybe your club needs a rattle to keep itself up to date with what is going on. That is the role of the club; to inform members, and if the club is unable to do so then maybe it is time for a new set of personalities to keep the club going. Sounds harsh, and I apologise if it does read as such, but the excuse of not being kept up to date is simply not acceptable when so much is available to everyone. This is the first moment the idea was given birth: **LINK** Then they actually, specifically, asked for thoughts and comments : **LINK** There is even a forum style discussion with actual real members of the council who are involved in the NFC who welcome any question. The bonus is that you get answers from the folk who know, which quells the guestimations: **LINK** If that is not enough you even get a recent update from the BMFA : **LINK** I am sure that they are fully aware of the regulation regarding spacings at air shows! The only elephant in the room is the fact that some people do not bother to acquaint themselves with these full, frank and completely open sources of information which answers many of the wee gripes that are currently floating around here. The clarity is all there, for everyone to see, as is the consultation from members that they have repeatedly asked for. Sorry John, but the sources you cite all read like the last 6 weeks of listening to Cameron "explaining" the £12bn welfare cut and Milliband's "plan" to cut the deficit. The headline is there, but the substance is missing. Taking on the Paxman role , can I therefore ask where in these sources the following pieces of information reside (none of which are directly related to the land purchase and therefore do not need to be remain confidential): Total estimated cost of the project (inc. land purchase, buildings and all other necessary infrastructure); Sources of funding for the land purchase (i.e. how will the defcit between BMFA reserves and the purchase price be made up - mortgage, loan from our insurers, PPP arrangement, something else?) - detailed amounts not required; Funding model for the projec overall (i.e. x% from the lottery, y% from member donations, z% from fundraising etc) Approximate level of BMFA reserves available for contingency following the land purchase; Estimated timelines of the project; Risk analysis for the project, including list of project risks identified with outline mitigation plans if available; Steps taken re: gaining planning permission for the Laws Lawn site; Steps taken re: establishing the impact of the bridleway which crosses the Laws Lawn site; Steps taken re: establishing the impact of the Wittering MATZ; Alternative options that have been costed, and reasons for why they have been discounted in favour of Laws Lawn Farm. Perhaps you think I am being picky, but I can asssure you that any PM leading an infrastructure project of this size in a major company would be expected to acquire and share all this information and more prior to gaining funding. That none of it is available to members means it is impossible most of us to give any view to our area committees other than "No - do not proceed with the purchase until the plan, funding model and risks are clear and understood". Edited By MattyB on 15/05/2015 11:49:04
  7. I think the poll that would be useful at this point is "Based on the current information provided by the BMFA, do you support the purchase of Laws Lawn Farm (East Northants) for £1.25m on June 5th for the potential establishment of a National Model Flying Centre?". That is the pressing question right now - whether members are for or against the idea of an NFC is of secondary importance (and the BMFA would argue has been answered by their survey last year). That can (and apparently will following the May 16th Council meeting) be debated anyway between now and any EGM to agree going forward with the NFC. Edited By MattyB on 14/05/2015 11:30:15
  8. Posted by cymaz on 12/05/2015 17:09:41: Posted by MattyB on 12/05/2015 07:21:50: Cymaz, what was the result of the vote at the meeting you attended? Did your area support it? And how was the gap between the reserves and purchase price being made up - a mortgage? Edited By MattyB on 12/05/2015 07:23:40 The vote was held by the Cornwall sub Area. Seven clubs attended. There were two votes held Do you generally support the idea of a national flyong centre? Carried Do you support the purchase of Laws Farm? Rejected Interesting - that is the second area committee to take that line. We can only hope the rest are similarly sensible.
  9. Posted by Peter Jenkins on 12/05/2015 11:05:08: ...So, I would say that the BMFA is doing what it can to ensure that members views are sought and used to guide decisions. If no views are forthcoming then Council, composed of volunteers who give their time for free, have to come to a decision, or as in this case, try and put something together that is well thought out before sending it out to the wider membership. Council has yet to debate the Feasibility Study so asking the membership view on what might be an outcome which is not yet fully thought through might be considered counter productive and draw well deserved criticism for wasting members time. I see you are still persisting with this point. However, you need to understand it is not whether to progress with the NFC that people are really worried about at this point; it is the purchase of the land. Based on the timeline as they explained in their May 5th update there will be no capacity for the membership to oppose or support the purchase of the land; if full council approve it, contracts will be exchanged on 5th June before anyone outside the full council and area committee chairs has seen the feasibility study or financial model. Put simply, if as you you state above they are debating "...an outome that is not fully thought through...", should they be going ahead and spending £1.25m of money accumulated from the members on it?!
  10. Posted by Martin Harris on 12/05/2015 11:39:19: Posted by Doug Campbell on 12/05/2015 01:29:42: There are half a dozen on this thread who very strongly oppose this move and keep re-posting the same anti BMFA/NFC garbage.   The BMFA contacted every member at the start of this project and got overwhelming support to proceed. Now it is moving on the dissenters come out of the woodwork and hassle these modellers that are trying to work for us for nothing. Embrace the idea and move on. Doug, if (as I assume) you're counting me as one of the half dozen then I strongly object to this statement. I am (and have been if you check my posting history) a strong supporter of the BMFA. I'm not immediately aware that any others with similar viewpoints on the proposed NFC are anti-BMFA. I have no objection to the idea of a national flying centre and would strongly support it if a properly costed proposal which showed it to be viable was presented. My objections are simply on the grounds that on the scant evidence provided, I cannot see how it can work from a financial point of view. This appears to be the view shared by my area council who, I'm told by our club representative, have instructed its delegate (director) on the NC to vote against moving forward with the purchase at this time. Edited By Martin Harris on 12/05/2015 12:04:03 +1 - I am for the idea of a NC in principle, I just don't want to see the association bankrupted by a decision based on a sketchy business model that relies on best case assumptions and leaves nothing in the pot for contingencies or emergencies. Edited By MattyB on 12/05/2015 12:08:52
  11. Cymaz, what was the result of the vote at the meeting you attended? Did your area support it? And how was the gap between the reserves and purchase price being made up - a mortgage? Edited By MattyB on 12/05/2015 07:23:40
  12. Posted by Cuban8 on 11/05/2015 18:34:46: **LINK** Items 10 and 11..........what's going on? Just a typo I guess, they seem to have mangled the numbering.
  13. Posted by john stones 1 on 08/05/2015 15:32:31: Legalise takes some reading for me I had a read though, looks like we are liable for a £1 each if we ever get wound up ( keep calm folks ) John Yep, this looks like one of those docs insomniacs read as a treatment of last resort...
  14. OK, I can find the template for Area Constitutions, but not one titled BMFA constitution... could it be the "ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION OF THE SOCIETY OF MODEL AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERS LIMITED"? EDIT - Manny just sent me an email, it is the document I have linked above. Edited By MattyB on 08/05/2015 13:12:06
  15. Posted by Dickw on 07/05/2015 23:17:24: Posted by MattyB on 07/05/2015 16:38:57: ..........- mind you, to do that I'd have to be able to find a copy of that strangely elusive constitution... Edited By MattyB on 07/05/2015 17:05:28 Try phoning the Leicester office and asking for a copy. Dick Good idea, have just sent them an email...
  16. Posted by Peter Jenkins on 07/05/2015 15:43:47: Matty, it's the Treasurer's job to look at getting best value out of the BMFA's funds and making recommendations to both the Exec and Full Council. I am quite sure that he will provide his views on whether this is a prudent use of funds. I am quite sure that he and the rest of Council is more than a little interested in the long term health of the Organisation. I would imagine that many of the areas in which more information is needed will have already been identified by Council members, some of whom have quite useful business backgrounds, and will be brought up at the meeting. Yes it's the Treasurer's job to get best value for the organisation, but in a Corporate setting there would also be a phalanx of risk and compliance specialsits looking at the implications of any huge scale (relative to the size of the org) investment or transaction such as this. Do the BMFA have these skills in their team and have they considered the risks? They might, but since we have not seen the proposal or a rundown of who was involved there is no way of telling. Posted by Peter Jenkins on 07/05/2015 15:43:47: If from your comments you have no faith in Council members to have any business background, knowledge or common sense in how to assess business risks then, in effect, you are saying you don't trust any of them. If that's the case, who is going to stand up and be counted and kick out these so called incompetents so that you, and other members, will feel confident that you have a Council you can trust and believe in? BTW, I'm not being sarcastic but just taking things to their logical conclusion. I think we are suffering the same in the big election going on i.e. a matter of trust in those running the show. Fair question. Up until this point I have had no reason not to trust them - they seem to have done a reasonable job of directing and governing the association in the years I have been a member - but in that time they have never needed to take a decision of this magnitude and importance. Had they been transparent and said "We need to move quickly, here is the costed proposal, please feed back to your area councils by x date and then Full Council will vote based on the feedback they've heard" I would be quite happy. It's the fact they haven't done this that has caused this "trust gap". What would I be prepared to do about it? Well I don't think there is anything any of us can do within the timescale of June 5th, but if I thought it would help I suppose I would try and put forward a motion of no confidence - mind you, to do that I'd have to be able to find a copy of that strangely elusive constitution... Edited By MattyB on 07/05/2015 17:05:28
  17. Posted by Peter Jenkins on 07/05/2015 14:46:38: Why not just pass your Club's views to your Area Delegate and then, if the decision is to go ahead with the National Centre, you will get all the relevant information made available to you and your club. If you don't like it, you can vote with the other Clubs in your Area to give your Delegate the instructions on how to vote on the next proposal which would be to go to an EGM or AGM. I think that sounds quite reasonable to me. Your background information on governance is very useful Peter - thank you. However, the problem here is a very specific one that isn't addressed by your suggestion above... Yes we can give our views on the proposal at present, and many of us (including me) would like to support it, but without the financial information behind the proposal we cannot be sure. As a result the only feedback we can give to area councils is to vote against it. Let's suppose enough area councils vote for it, and the Full Council vote supports the proposal as a result. Yes members will be consulted on whether to proceed with the NC, but we will not get a chance to voice our opinion on the land purchase or the funding model behind it; that is what the majority of people here are worried about I think. You will I am sure point out that the Full Council have the right to make that decision and I am certain under the rules of the constitution you are correct (though I have still not been able to find a copy of it). However, when there is a decision of this magnitude affecting the finances and future of the Association it would seem only fair to let members view the purcahse proposal and give their views via area council. Edited By MattyB on 07/05/2015 15:30:50
  18. ...so I guess the $1m question is what exactly is the nature of the funding model i.e. what is the detail behind "...the potential move forward has been considered on the basis of a significant financial safety margin and absolutely no effect on the day to day operation of the BMFA, it is most certainly not a case of depleting all reserves just to proceed". I have suggested to Manny via the BMFA site that these models should be shared asap, but have low expectations that that will occur - to be fair he is probably prevented from doing this by the existing governance model. Either way I don't think there is much more any of us can do now, other than making your representation to your area committee member - hopefully if enough people do this there will be enough votes to put the brakes on thsi proposal until financial modelling can be shared and questioned by rank and file members and a revised proposal put forward.
  19. A - Matthew, thank you for your further posting and comments regarding the National Centre Study and subsequent developments. It is unfortunate that you are disappointed with the current position but I feel that you have made assumptions that go beyond the actual facts. Certainly the findings of the study have not been “thrown away” and the results will be presented to the Council Meeting on the 16th of May. If you note the wording of the Chairman’s proposal it is asking that the Full Council endorse the actions already taken by the Executive, this is of course once Full Council have received the same information that the Executive received. It is in no way a done deal. I would say that there is “no rush to purchase land” however there is a recognition within the Executive that firstly, land ownership is a meaningful goal in it’s own right, and secondly that in order to ever move forward then a positive move has to be made. The land at Kings Cliffe was identified as a consequence of the study, and on the advice of the funding consultants was used for various further aspects of the study to evaluate the financial implications against an actual location. The follow on from this work was that the Executive were shown the location and felt that it actually represented a meaningful objective, on this basis further work has been directed to the specific location, but it is important to note that much of the ongoing activity has relevance to alternative locations should that become necessary. The key facts that the study has revealed have been, firstly, finding a location suitable for the establishment of a large permanent model flying site is extremely difficult, the update published yesterday gave a flavour for this with the number of sites evaluated and rejected, secondly it also demonstrated that land is selling, we looked at two locations that were subsequently sold during the study period. One of the issues I see going forward is that there is no current mechanism to move forward should a potential location be identified, I would view the actions of the Executive and the Chairman as a practical solution to this issue, if we do not ultimately complete on Kings Cliffe then at least the relevant issues will have been addressed and hopefully a way forward established for any future acquisition. Whilst no future strategy is without risk (including doing nothing) I would not agree that the current process exposes the society or the membership to excessive risk, the potential move forward has been considered on the basis of a significant financial safety margin and absolutely no effect on the day to day operation of the BMFA, it is most certainly not a case of depleting all reserves just to proceed. In terms of your comments regarding risk to members, I see no potential for the service that members receive or the benefits provided as part of the membership package to change (only improve over time as they have done over the last few years) so it is difficult to see what you perceive as the specific risk to individual members. I do not share your views that it is a “mess”, the timescales involved have of course generated considerable speculation and it has been difficult to place all of the information in the public domain, firstly due to the fact that Full Council have yet receive all of the information (we of course had to follow our constitution hence the publication of the agenda) and also due to a degree of commercial sensitivity in terms of the agents and the current landowners (who I am sure are reading this with considerable interest). However I/we have endeavoured to keep a flow of information outwards as far as has been possible. At this stage it would appear that a small number of members have strong views but overall the membership seems content to await the outcome of the forthcoming meeting. Whether the membership should vote on this matter or whether the board of directors voted in place by the members should make the relevant decisions is of course a matter of personal opinion. I do not know what the outcome will be, however I await with interest. Manny W
  20. Looks like Manny responded to my post on the site yesterday... Q - Further to my previous comments I wanted to put on record how disappointed I am in the way this initiative is being progressed. Whilst I remain supportive of the idea of the NC and like the location proposed, the way we are rushing in without sufficient consultation or due process is extremely worrying. Firstly the scope of the feasibility study seems to have been thrown away in a rush to purchase land. Simply put there is no way the governance structures within the BMFA should allow an offer of this magnitude (which based on the 2013 AGM report is a minimum of 1.5x the net reserves of the BMFA) to be made without the Full Council Agreement, even if it is non-binding offer; this would never happen in a plc or charity. The spin that this is primarily an investment with better returns than cash is also is ridiculous; that may be the case in the long term, but what independent financial advisor would suggest putting all of our reserves into a single piece of property which is subject to the vagaries of the property market? This is an extremely risky strategy that could result in big losses to the association and its members if we are unlucky. Finally the emphasis on the consultation that will occur if the Full Council meeting approves the proposal on May 16th overlooks the fact that there is no time between then and the exchange of contracts on June 5th for an EGM – if the Council approves the proposal it appears we will be buying the land whatever the members views. All in all it’s somewhat of a mess, and one that could easily damage the association in the long term. Edited By MattyB on 07/05/2015 11:43:52
  21. Posted by Frank Skilbeck on 07/05/2015 11:01:51: Posted by iqon on 07/05/2015 10:25:22: So , let me get this right , we are looking for land to build a NFC, they buy a piece of land not connected with the NFC, purely to potentially make some money, And at the same time they are looking for another piece of land for the NFC that there is no money in the pot for .... I dont think that excuse pans out.....it is something SWMBO would do though That's not the way read it, the site would be suitable for the NFC subject to planning permission etc. but if the membership decides not to proceed with the NFC then the land can be resold at no loss to the BMFA. i.e. the primary purpose of acquiring it is for the NFC, but if for some reason the NFC doesn't go ahead then it can be resold and the committee think that this would not lose any money. This is the assumption I really think is incorrect. Property prices can fluctuate significantly in the short term so if we needed to sell again there is no gurarntee of a higher price, and even if it was that would be eroded somewhat by transation fees. For me if you are going to buy the land you have to be pretty sure it is the right spot for the NFC; if not there are much sounder diversified investment strategies that would still return more income than cash and would expose the organisation to far less risk.
  22. Posted by Martin Harris on 07/05/2015 09:41:59: ...so am I correct in thinking that the almost totally unrelated purchase of 107 acres of land will go ahead with a contract date of the 5th of June, assuming the council see it as a good investment for money that they don't have in the bank? Posted by Willyuk on 07/05/2015 10:12:31: perhaps they will do what most of us do, get a mortgage? For a mortgage you need to prove you have sufficient income. Having looked at the 2013 BMFA accounts income and expenditure are quite finely balanced; they made a surplus of ~£7k in 2012, and ~£35k in 2013. That is nowhere close to the level needed to make up the deficit between the ~£780k reserves and the asking price of £1.25m. Of course this gap could be being made up by the insurers as suggested in the BMFAs last communication, but the nature and magnitude of that support is unknown at this point. Even if it made up the full gap it would leave no reserve for the organisation as a whole, which does not sound very sensible.
  23. Posted by iqon on 06/05/2015 15:52:50: Posted by Martin Harris on 06/05/2015 15:48:51: The idea may be but the execution needs careful thought. They have thought about it carefully and decided you are having one Agreed, though strangely they are not so clear on how it will be paid for or who will be accountable if and when it goes wrong... Edited By MattyB on 06/05/2015 16:49:25
  24. Interesting feedback from an attendee at the South Midland Area meeting last night... Last night at the South Midland Area Meeting the proposal from the BMFA Executive Council to purchase land at Laws Lawn Farm for a BMFA National Centre was discussed at great length with all attendees expressing a view. The result of a vote by the club delegates attending the South Midland Area was NOT to support the proposal as it stands in the Full Council agenda. However, the Area meeting does still strongly support the 'concept' of establishing a National Centre and that further work must be done. This is what our Area Delegate will put forward to the Full Council meeting on Sat 16th May. Edited By MattyB on 06/05/2015 15:00:08
  25. Final point - Let's take a quick look at what the "Phase II Feasibility Study" was supposed to deliver: A visible commitment to explore the viability of a nationally owned model flying facility A possible direction and future aim for the society A clear and accountable outcome on the question "Can the BMFA provide and sustain a national facitily?" An end to speculation.... possibly. Anyone see a £1.25m land purchase in there? No, me neither... Edited By MattyB on 06/05/2015 13:54:40
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