Attendees: Mike Karnes, Charles Youngblood, Samantha McKinney, Phil Vance, Rusty Fried, Doug Pilcher, Ron Graham, Steve Sides, and Brad Davy
Absent: Michael Verzywelt
Meeting began: 9:15 p.m. EST.
2016 Board Elections – Mike Karnes
Nominations for the 2016 Board will begin on September 1, 2016. Mike will post in the forums to the general membership that nominations will be open. Elections will be in December.
Forum Issue – Letter to RD – Ron Graham
One of our RDs received a letter from an anonymous IMAC member concerned about the membership drop and other issues in our organization. The BOD discussed this letter and took it under review.
Forum Issue – Membership drop – Mike Karnes
The BOD discussed the forum thread on the membership drop.The question was raised on what we have to offer new members. Many members have ideas, but not very many step up help. Brad raised the question if we were too wrapped up in the numbers because there are other factors involved. Ron completely disagreed. Many different ideas were discussed on why our membership is dropping: “cliques,” disposable income, plane size, website issues, judging issues, etc. It was under agreement that “cliques” are not the reason for the membership drop. Each pilot at contests make everyone feel welcome, and are more than willing to help each other and new pilots that are beginning IMAC. Brad feels that the issue is more with disposable income. Many pilots use their disposable income to fund this sport. When the disposable income drops, this sport is the first to be cut. Many of heard that a smaller plane couldn’t compare to a big airplane on how well they can compete. Many of the BOD members mentioned several instances where a pilot with a smaller plane is very competitive, but its not the plane, it’s the pilot.
Some RDs mentioned that some new members mentioned that the website is too much of a hassle for them, especially when trying to register for contests and the forums. Some of the older members are not as familiar with computers and it is harder for them to navigate the new website.
Another issue mentioned for the membership drop was favoritism being played with the judges, or the judges not being experienced enough to judge certain classes. Some CDs put judges in the chair that don’t know how to judge or have a fellow pilot flying in that particular class. Many of this is due to the numbers that attend the contests. This leads to subconscious bios. The South Central region does not normally have the CD create the judging matrix. Most of the time it is the RD or the ARD’s that create the matrix. Most of the time the RD and 2 or more ARDs are at their contests. It was mentioned to have the names of judge one and two for each round be submitted with the scoring. South West region has put experienced scribes with unexperienced judges to give them someone to discuss judging with.
Mike mentioned that we could get a testing software for the judges, but it has a cost with it.
Ron mentioned that we need to have some individual classes for the CDs to help them become better prepared to host a contest. There are some CDs that have attended judging schools and cannot run a contest. IMAC does not currently qualify the CDs, AMA does. IMAC has never had qualifications for CD. The closest thing we have is the Contest Standards Guide. The CDs provided the field and the weekend, and there are several members that are willing to help them run the contest.
Phil presented the membership numbers from the following years: 2007 – 845; 2008 – 906; 2009 – 1,127; 2012 – 983; 2014 – 899; and 2016 – 778. Many BOD members pointed out the rise in members in certain years, particularly the year of the World Championship qualifying year.
Forum Issue – Limiting aircraft size in lower classes – Mike Karnes
An issue has been raised that we need to limit aircraft size in lower classes, due to the drop in membership and unfair competition. In both of these cases, it goes against IMAC. The Basic class can fly what they want. It was suggested to keep points and acknowledge the pilots flying with smaller plane. This would create more to keep with up for the CD and the scorekeepers. Several of the BOD agrees that the problem isn’t the equipment. The BOD members named off several pilots that won several competitions in their classes with smaller planes. The pilot choses what he/she wants to fly. This isn’t the overriding problem.
Forum Issue – Use of gyros in lower classes – Mike Karnes
Gyros were mentioned in forums as a possible advantage to lower class pilots. He wanted to the RDs to let the CDs know to look for this type of equipment as it is not allowed. Currently, there is no BOD support for gyros being used in the lower classes.
Forum Issue – Advertising loss – Mike Karnes
Mike informed the BOD that we lost Hobbico as one of our advertisers due to not enough hits on the website. We currently use the advertising income to pay the monthly maintenance fees on the new website.
Forum Issue – International Region – Mike Karnes
The International members are wanting their own regional page on the website and RPS listing. The only thing that the International community receives from IMAC is the knowns and unknowns. They would like to be able to post their contests and a place to post their scores for their members can view. A motion was made to create an International region on the website for these contests can be posted and scores can be viewed and would have an “RD” assigned to the said International Region and also have a seat on BOD. Motion passed unanimously.
Electric Request for Action (RFA) – Mike Karnes
An RFA (request for action) was sent to the BOD for allowing electric aircrafts to fly a sequence, land and change batteries, and then proceed to the end of the line to finish their round. Currently, this RFA is actually an RCP and the BOD will forward to the Rules Committee for review for the next Rules Change Cycle. The BOD agreed that as of now, it will be left to the CD’s discretion at each event whether to fly all single sequences or the normal 2 sequences per round.
Marketing IMAC – Mike Karnes
A few BOD members mentioned that we don’t market IMAC very well. It was raised to hire an outside professional to help market IMAC. Mike gave an example of how the North Central region pilots schedule is to why we have trouble helping promote IMAC. The North Central contest schedule is nonstop from the first contest to regional finals. These pilots are going to every contest possible to get their points and compete. There is a contest almost every weekend. It is hard for some of the North Central pilots to balance work, family and IMAC. Currently, our line of communication with new members is contests and the website. With the website, a pilot can create a profile without being an actual member, but they cannot register for contests. Some members believes that our website is confusing and complicated. When registering, Phil must create and send the IMAC number; the computer doesn’t automatically generate it. Forums are not user-friendly. Many that are not familiar with a computer have a hard time finding the forums.
The question was raised if we could afford an outside professional to help promote IMAC. Brad and Ron has spoken to a couple of people who work for marketing companies. They said that we would need to contact their companies and ask them to submit a proposal. The companies would present a couple of proposals for the BOD could review. Ron asked the BOD to write the top 5 ideas that they think will promote IMAC and bring in new members. A motion was made by Ron to move forward on getting proposals from outside professionals on what we could do for marketing and advertising IMAC to help the membership drop, as well as putting a dollar amount to said marketing and seeing if viable to add to IMAC budget. Motion carried unanimously.
National Judging School – Doug Pilcher
The registration for the 2017 National Judging School is on the South Central Region page. Registration is for Saturday and Sunday only. The RDs will appoint who will attend on Fridays. As of right now, hotels will possibly be between $80-90. Doug informed the BOD that they are nice rooms. These hotels are close to the school and about 20-25 minutes away from the field. Doug has an unlimited pilot lined up to fly for practicals. The reimbursements for individuals is $700 per person, up to $1,400 per region.
Meeting adjourned at 11:49 p.m. EST.