There have been enquiries about visiting modellers, who are members of
different organisations, flying with us. When deciding to join AMAS, our
first priority was that visitors would be permitted to continue to fly with us!
UPDATE Sep 2015
AMAS has implemented insurance cover for visitors who will not be covered
if thay fly at our field. The cover costs $5 per day.
Applications are to be lodged before any flying occurs. If you are planning a visit,
it is best to contact us before arrival.
Here is a statement which appears on the AMAS website regarding the situation....
Flying side-by-side with AMAS members - An open letter to all Committees and members of MAAA Affiliated Clubs
Since the emergence of AMAS on the aero-modeling scene, much misinformation has been circulating regarding whether MAAA clubs or members can fly alongside those who have joined our new society.
The most significant of these myths surround alleged insurance issues which have caused many MAAA members and clubs to believe that :-
1… MAAA affiliated clubs are prevented from permitting AMAS members to fly at their fields
2… MAAA affiliated clubs are prevented from allowing some of their members to join AMAS
3… the insurance coverage of MAAA members may be voided by the insurer if they fly alongside AMAS members.
AMAS believes that it is time that these myths were dispelled and that MAAA members and clubs were made aware that there are no barriers to members of the MAAA flying alongside members of AMAS, either as visitors or indeed even as full or associate members of an MAAA affiliated club.
The first point we would like to make is there has been no written direction to MAAA affiliates from the MAAA Insurer indicating that their insurance coverage of MAAA members would be voided on the basis of whom MAAA members fly alongside.
Such advice has of course been asked for by many clubs but as yet no one has seen anything from the insurer which indicates they will void a members insurance if that member flies alongside a non-affiliated person.
The second point is understanding why these alleged restrictions emerged in the first place and who benefits most from promulgating them amongst model aero clubs and their membership.
Obviously the MAAA did not welcome the AMAS or more accurately, the competition for membership the AMAS would represent when it appeared on the aero-modeling scene.
Offering direct membership and identical insurance coverage (with a much lower excess) for considerably less money, the AMAS was and remains clearly a threat to the administrative/insurance monopoly which has been enjoyed by the MAAA in Australia for a great many years.
Therefore it stands to reason that any obstacle, real or imagined (in this case alleged “insurance implications”), which would serve to reduce the penetration of AMAS into the market (clubs) would certainly also be serving the interest of the MAAA.
The entire "we can’t fly alongside AMAS members because it will void our insurance" has been and continues to be completely without foundation. It matters not whether MAAA members are flying alongside someone insured with another national association or indeed alongside someone who is not insured at all.
The smoking gun is the situation for MAAA slope soarer members, who regularly share unregulated slope sites with non-MAAA members and even uninsured persons.
You might recall last year that many questions were leveled at the MAAA by the slope soaring fraternity within the MAAA concerning these alleged insurance restrictions that prevented side by side flying with non-affiliates. You might also recall that these restrictions were suddenly relaxed and MAAA members were advised that slope soarers are insured when flying alongside anyone...but only slope soarers and only at slope sites!!
Why only for slope soarers at slope sites? Well there are two likely reasons.
The first is that most of the popular slope sites are in fact public land and therefore outside the control of the MAAA.
The second reason is that unless it was confined only to slope soarers at slope sites, there would be nothing to prevent clubs from welcoming AMAS members as visitors flying under their own insurance or indeed MAAA affiliated clubs from offering AMAS membership to their own club members.
In brief the MAAA needed to address slope soarers concerns but at the same time still needed to dissuade MAAA clubs from letting AMAS “through the door”.
So consider the current situation. As an MAAA member your insurance is fine if flying alongside a non-affiliated person in an unregulated flying environment but apparently your insurance cover might be voided if you fly alongside that same non-affiliate (eg AMAS member) at your own club field?
It is clearly a ridiculous proposition and clubs are starting to wake up to this.
At present there are now a number of MAAA affiliated clubs that are accepting AMAS insured persons not just as visitors to their local events but also as full club members.
Meanwhile other clubs are simply making the decision to affiliate with AMAS altogether and to say goodbye to these alleged and unreasonable insurance conditions being imposed upon MAAA members and clubs.
Another rumor apparently making the rounds at clubs is regarding the quality of the insurance carried by AMAS members.
The truth is that AMAS insurances are as good as, or even better than those that MAAA members currently enjoy. The Personal Injury Policy is through the same MAAA insurer, Savannah, and while the AMAS public liability is also through Savannah, that policy was also offered to the MAAA as an alternative this year by their own broker. Why the MAAA decided to decline taking up the Savannah policy, as a less expensive option and one that removed the $5000.00 excess in favour of $250.00, one can only guess, but suffice to say AMAS insurances are backed by the same underwriters for the MAAA policies, Lloyds of London.
So regardless of what you might have heard or been told, the quality of AMAS insurance is not an issue here at all.
You might also have heard that allowing AMAS insured members to join the club will "confuse" the issue of insurance claims.
If a member insured with AMAS causes an accident, the claim is made against AMAS Insurance, if the accident is caused by an MAAA insured member, the claim is made against the MAAA insurance, is that confusing?. Not at all.
How about a more complex scenario where an AMAS insured member caused an accident at an MAAA affiliated club and the individual affected sued both the club member and the club? Again quite simple..one claim would be made through AMAS (for the member) and one through the MAAA (the club). Again where is the confusion?
Indeed your club could cover all bases in the second scenario by also affiliating with AMAS (for a mere $10.00) and also enjoy the benefits of our cover for committees and volunteers.
Then should there be any claims against your club as an entity, the risk would be shared by both the MAAA and AMAS insurers (as is the case when any individual or organisation takes out two policies with different insurance companies against the same risk).
So again there are no insurance issues at all and certainly no confusion in the processes involved.
The final thing you may have been “warned about” is the alleged safety issues surrounding AMAS insured members.
As for these alleged safety concerns, there are none.
Should your club allow some of its members to join (insure with) AMAS, one assumes they will still be required to follow your club rules and comply with CASA regulations as they are now. True? You might even require them to follow the MAAA Mop's if you choose and that’s fine with AMAS.
Also ask yourself, “Would any of your members be less safe flyers simply by joining AMAS?” Of course the answer is no.
Your existing members don’t become less safe flyers overnight simply by joining AMAS and if your club was concerned about the flying ability of any visiting AMAS member, you simply do what a lot of clubs do now even with visiting MAAA members...get them to fly alongside one of your members first to assess their ability. Where is the problem there?
At AMAS we do recognise the MAAA current flying competency ratings, even if that position is not presently reciprocated by the MAAA.
If a bronze wing MAAA member joins AMAS they are deemed to hold their solo endorsement. If they have their gold wings they are deemed to have an advanced AMAS rating and if they are MAAA Instructors, they retain that rating with AMAS.
One doesn't lose a skill level simply because one changes affiliation to another national body.
So again any assertion that AMAS members are less safe or would be less safe than MAAA members at an MAAA affiliated club, is a complete and utter fabrication, especially bearing in mind that most AMAS members are themselves former MAAA members with bronze, gold and instructors ratings, indeed we even have two former MAAA chief flying instructors who are now members of AMAS.
Hopefully, having reached this point in reading this letter, you are now asking yourself on what basis your club may still be excluding AMAS members from visiting your field and why the option of joining AMAS has not been offered to your club members, even if a few still want to remain members of the MAAA?.
It’s a good question.
Obviously as far as AMAS is concerned (and a growing number of clubs) there are no impediments to allowing your members to decide whom to individually affiliate (insure) with.
Insurance is insurance and as long as a person is appropriately insured why can’t they fly at your club as either a visitor or as an associate member or indeed even as a full club member?
The answer of course is, they can.
There has been so much misinformation about AMAS at clubs that it has scared many away from AMAS. Indeed what we are finding is that some committees are even actively discouraging discussion about AMAS at meetings and a few have even threatened the membership of those who would dare raise it at a meeting.
So has your committee raised the issue of AMAS at all with your membership ?
If it was discussed were the alleged “insurance and safety issues” raised as the reason to keep AMAS out of your club?
Was anyone from AMAS contacted or invited to the meeting? And if not why not?
Finally ask yourself this, are a few committee members also competition flyers and perhaps working in their own interest by suggesting that your club keep AMAS out?.
Remember, most of your club members don’t compete in elite competition and therefore don’t need to be affiliated with FAI or ASAC, in fact that don’t need to be members of the MAAA or a State Association at all.
If most of your club’s members are just general club flyers, who do most of their flying at their own club field and visit an occasional fly-in elsewhere, all they need is insurance. So why are they being made to pay extra to join the MAAA for FAI and ASAC membership that they clearly don’t need? Is it reasonable that they are paying much more than they need to?
Your club can offer your members a choice? Those that want to remain with the MAAA can, while those that want access to more affordable insurance should be permitted the choice to join AMAS.
While the MAAA might be pressing the idea of retaining “MAAA Only” clubs, at AMAS we do not insist that clubs and their members are only affiliated (insured) with AMAS.
As far as AMAS and our insurer is concerned, members of both associations are free to fly together without restriction even as club members of the same club.
AMAS members are always covered by their insurance when flying at ANY club or other location in Australia, whether flying with other AMAS members, MAAA affiliate members or the uninsured.
Permission from the owner of the land being used and compliance with CASA regulations whilst flying, are the ONLY requirements for insurance coverage to be honored by AMAS.
The bottom line is if you club wants to offer some of your membership the AMAS option, you can!
Clubs can affiliate with both the MAAA and AMAS, that is permitted by AMAS and there is little the MAAA can do to prevent clubs from doing so.
Only one threat of expulsion from the MAAA has been made to one club who raised the issue of dual affiliations but it backfired with the club members themselves who then decided to leave the MAAA altogether (joining AMAS thereafter). So if threats are made (and they may be) bear in mind that the MAAA needs your members more than your members need them.
Remember, your club belongs to you and your members. It does not belong to the MAAA simply through the act of affiliation.
If you have an MAAA loan or the land you fly off is a state field, the position may be different, however assuming your members and their funds built your club from the ground up, then it is your club it does not belong to the MAAA.
So the decision who to affiliate with is yours and if you want to affiliate with AMAS as well as the MAAA, so that some of your members can join AMAS and continue to fly alongside members who want to remain with the MAAA, then that is a decision you and your club are free to make.
Finally a recent issue of the MAAA newsletter suggested that clubs would potentially compromise the deed of agreement between the MAAA and CASA should clubs allow some of their membership to join AMAS.
In this regard you should note that the last deed of agreement (which expired in June 2013) between CASA and the MAAA had no such condition attached to it. CASA are certainly not concerned whom club members choose to insure with, nor should it involve itself in such matters since its role is simply to ensure that aero-modelers comply with the regulations, which of course is expected of members of AMAS anyway.
So just to recap..
1. MAAA and AMAS members can fly side-by-side at MAAA or AMAS clubs or anywhere else.
2. AMAS insurances are identical to or better than MAAA insurances and also underwritten by Lloyds.
3. AMAS members are required to follow CASA regulations and club rules where they fly and are in all respects as safe as their fellow MAAA members.
4. Clubs can chose to affiliate with both the MAAA and AMAS.
5. Clubs can offer their members a choice with whom to affiliate (insure) with.
We trust this letter has addressed the speculation occurring at clubs and amongst MAAA affiliate membership generally, concerning AMAS.
Based on the information provided we hope that your club will reconsider its position in regard AMAS, especially concerning side-by-side flying and in offering your members access to a more affordable insurance alternative.
Should you wish further information please feel free to contact us at AMAS.