Jump to content
Tony

BMFA Buckminster. To much of a success?

Recommended Posts

Tony

Hi All

Firstly this isn't a pop at the centre and secondly I haven't approached the BMFA about this. The staff at the centre work very hard and I for one appreciate it. This is aimed at the executive.

To much a success? I was a  season ticket holder the first year, the second I moved away from the area, now I'm back and a current season ticket holder. I'm retired so I can fly any day of the week .

As  I've moved back I have noticed an increase in the use of the Buckminster site . Most weekends there is an event that covers Sat/Sun but now there are also events that are inclusive of the Bank Holidays as well, what worries me about this is that those of you who work full time and perhaps fancied flying have very little chance to do so at any  given weekend. I've also noticed an increase of bookings for events or club days that are now happening during the week if this trend continues then this will have an impact on flying for season tickets holders and pay as you go members.

My perception, obviously not fact, is that to fly at the site it's becoming a bit "Selective" and not  open to all.  I think we need to ensure that the balance  is right for everyone to use.  I can see that bookings give a stream of cash for the BMFA but what about the remainder of the membership. 

I suggest bookings are restricted to some but not all weekends and events during weekdays are limited. Also flyers wishing to fly this year are given the opportunity to fly when events are on, ie they can share the site unless there are a lot of fliers. What constitutes a lot of fliers?

It may just be me and everyone will disagree.

Tony

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Phil.Taylor

Good that someone is getting good use out of a nationally funded local flying site.

Its an utter irrelevance to me & probably most other BMFA members.

Phil.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mikef

Buckminster is 134 miles for me so I'm never going to have a season ticket or use it on a casual basis.  I go there three or four times a year for special events and I always get a buzz going down the entrance road to our very own BMFA National Centre.  The vast majority of BMFA members will not visit often but I think all should consider taking  in a big event from time to time.

I was at the F3K/DLG 'come and try' over Easter and we had 36 members attend on one or both days.  Perfect weather and the presence of the World Champion from Holland made it a very special event.  I think our furthest travelled was from Sunderland.

If the site turns down big events at weekends and Club days during the week, the prices of season tickets and daily tickets will go up rapidly as fewer members from further away will attend if the number of 'big events' is reduced

Shared use is difficult if a formal event is organised unless it's planned in advance but that's not possible for those who want to just turn up and fly so it can't normally be accommodated.

I have drawn the attention of Manny, the National Centre's  Manager, to this thread to give him a chance to comment.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mikef

This just in from Manny - sent at 2255

Good evening Mike

Firstly, thank you and well done on another very successful F3K event at the National Centre, the feedback has been very positive, hopefully we can get a repeat in the diary for next year (including the weather).

Thank you for your Email pointing me to the posting on the BARCS Forum.

Whilst I usually avoid posting on forums (there just aren’t enough hours in the day) sometimes a response is appropriate, would you be kind enough to post this in its entirety on my behalf as I am not a registered member?

One of the problems with forum posts is that once they are out they are out, whether accurate or not they are in the public domain, that is in no way a criticism of Tony’s post however there are a few points that deserve clarification.

I am pleased that Tony regards the Centre as a success and the general feedback we receive very much supports this view.

Season tickets are always sold on the basis that they are predominantly a midweek ticket with access to some bonus weekends and also access to relevant events.  The price has been pitched to reflect this and we are aware that for most of our season ticket holders it is a second or third flying facility, we would not want to “lure” members away from their home club, the price of £70.00 means that it they don’t have to visit many times to make it financially attractive compared to the day ticket price of £8.00 per day.

Also the feedback from a significant proportion of season ticket holders (there are currently 80 in total) is that they purchase a ticket as a show of support for the project rather than because they are regular flyers, it has to be said that overall use of the site is still very light during the week, the other big benefit that season tickets report enjoying is exposure to the large range of disciplines that we accommodate at the Centre during the course of the year.

Each year (and remember it is still early days) we try to plan a calendar that provides a broad spread of activity that will appeal to as many flyers and visitors as possible, a proportion of these events are open events such as the SAM 35 galas (which now include the very successful swapmeets) where we have radio, control line and free flight all taking place at the same time, also the events run by the Achievement Scheme Committee are open to all and there a are also sport fly events such as the Midland Area Fly-in which are open to all, there is also plenty of opportunity for day ticket flyers to turn up and fly mid-week and any club can book an away-day, on this basis I would strongly argue that the Centre is open to all and in not in any way “selective”, it is also worth noting that camping at BMFA Buckminster is becoming popular and more flyers are taking short model flying holidays at the National Centre in addition to those who camp for events and competitions.

Where possible we do run activities and events concurrently, a good example is Control Line events that fit very well with the R/C flying due to the location of the circles (we recently hosted the Freestyle Master which brought 31 of the UK’s best fixed wing free style flyers to the Centre and on the same weekend we hosted a control line combat comp with over 30 entries) however some disciplines are not compatible and require exclusive use of the site (the F3K and BARCS eventsbeing  good examples) the recent bank holiday weekend was designated as a quiet weekend so the Sat/Sun worked well for F3K whilst the Friday and Monday were set aside for season ticket holders electric/quiet flight only. 

In terms of the finances, the use of the National Centre doesn’t provide “a stream of cash to the BMFA” the income generated from season tickets, day tickets and event bookingscover the cost of running and administering the site, after the rent, rates, electric, diesel, water, wages, machine maintenance  etc etc (it’s a very long list of expenditure)  are paid, any surplus will go into further developing the facilities for the benefit of those who use the Centre, it is a tight but transparent budget (it’s published with the BMFA paperwork prior to the AGM)

I hope this has picked up the main concerns expressed in Tony’s posting.

Additionally I note Phil’s comment in the thread, it is of course down to personal viewpoint and perspective but we regularly receive visitors from each end of the country for the various events, some flyers happily travel long distances to compete or attend events for their particular area of interest but I appreciate it isn’t for everyone, at present we are certainly receiving strong support and not just from local flyers, two of our season ticket holders live in Glasgow, one in Plymouth and another in North Wales, certainly not just for the locals.

Mike, thank you for your post in the same thread, points well made.

With kind regards

Manny W

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steve J

I am in two minds regarding BMFA Buckminster. I like the idea of a national centre, but it appear that the reality is that we have a facility that will only ever be used by a small minority of the membership that the BMFA have sunk a lot of resources into and which, far from making money for the association, requires ongoing support.

Steve

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pete beadle

Hi all

For what its worth, I think, the BMFA have NEVER been good at their own PR and this centre is the final proof, if one were necessary........

It has all the hallmarks of one man's ideal, that is rapidly becoming every member's very own white elephant.....a pity but totally predictable in this day and age.......

Regards

Pete

BARCS1702 

  • Like 2
  • Sad 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mikef

We have had the National Centre for less than two and a half years and it's still under development.  The F3K World Champion, who visited last weekend, was very impressed and envious of the resource it represents, even at this stage.  He wants one in Holland.  Like Steve and many others, I like the idea of a National Centre.  I expect it to cost us something.  It aims to become self-funding and it would be great if that could happen.

It is obvious and inevitable that the vast majority of members will not live close by and they will visit infrequently if at all but, like our Administrative Centre in Leicester, it is there for all members whether they chose to go there or not.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tony

Thank you all for your comments. I could have used the header "A victim of it's own success" and I could have used "Revenue" instead of cash. The latter of which I wasn't insinuating anything I'm sure the money is used as needed.

My point being I think we're at an important stage on the centre's development. I appreciate like anything else you can't please all of the people all of the time. I support the centre. It's convenient for me to use as it's only an hour away.  I also defend it as members in my area, who have never used nor do I think they will use, view the BMFA  quite negatively I have no idea why and suspect it may be historical.  I only re kindled my flying 10 years ago having given it up for 20 years so I may have missed something.

I still stand by my feelings re the weekend  flyers' having access and no I don't have the ideal solution but I think it's important to consider as if we don't we risk, possibly,  alienation by the very members we should be trying to attract who in turn would hopefully encourage others. 

I for one will continue to use the site until I can't.

Cheers, Tony

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steve J
22 hours ago, mikef said:

I expect it to cost us something.

BMFA membership is expected to be 3000 down in '19/'20 compared to '18/'19. Their reaction to this was to increase fees. BMFA fees are now significantly higher than the other UK associations (they are almost twice FPVUK's). The BMFA needs to be taking a long hard look at it's outgoings (I would start with the magazine and all the committees that they spend money on) not looking for other things to spend money on. 

Steve

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mikef

Sorry Tony, we seem to be drifting  off your point but, for Steve.

The BMFA is its members.  The members send their delegates to the AGM or attend in person.  The BMFA AGM takes 'a long hard look at its outgoings' and its income every year.  The AGM decides the membership fees and approves the spending plans worked out by the members representatives at Council.  So the members get what they corporately want and understand where the money comes from and goes too.

There was a remarkably long discussion on fees at the last AGM with good points made for both increasing and reducing them.  The overwhelming feeling from the floor was that we get very good value for money and there was a large majority in favour of the increase.

Thanks Tony for your post rounding off the original discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pete beadle

Hi MikeF

Thanks for reminding us all hat should happen but, in this instance, that of establishing a BMFA National Centre , I think you'll see that the main opposition to its cost came from forum members, not attendees at  any meeting or AGM. The decision to go ahead with the National Centre, although we obviously clearly couldn't afford it, was no surprise to the respondents here, who said it could only be achieved by a large increase in subs......a comment proved subsequently to be correct

Everywhere else in the hobby, particularly with regard to the closures of models shops,  BMFA members were being shown that a physical presence, particularly in a purpose-built building, was an indulgence, and that everything necessary could be achieved by an online presence.......the buildings, such as model shops. were basically redundant, why therefore did this not apply to the BMFA itself? after all, we already had an office in Leicester........

BTW when I originally joined the BMFA I was told by many members that they had "only joined for the insurance" and had no interest whatsoever in the BMFA organisation itself........perhaps that could be  a factor also?

Regards 

Pete

BMFA81993  and BARCS1702

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mikef

We have two major soaring events at the our BMFA National Centre this year - I'm going.    I'll get a buzz driving down our entrance road to our buildings.  I'll have indoor toilets and a kitchen where I can make a cuppa and I'll shelter in the hangar if it's bad weather.  I'll meet with fellow model flyers - fly some gliders and have a good time - you can't do any of that via an online presence.

I'll spend more than the BMFA sub just on fuel getting there and back.  I don't think about how many annual subs the models and  gear in the back of my car cost me.  I'm just glad that our predecessors invented the BMFA and grateful for what is achieved for all model flyers.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MikeDLG

I agree with you 100% Mike.  I think it is sad that some people cannot appreciate the fantastic facility we have with the National Centre.  I wonder how many of those have even been there?  I imagine that if it had a fantastic slope as well, there might be less discontent.  But you can't please everyone all of the time.  

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pete beadle

Hi Mike

 I get a similar buzz as I'm driving up the little hill to the main car park at Ivinghoe.......I get an even bigger buzz when I am joined in flight by Red Kites flying there

Buckminster is a round trip of 240 miles for me, I don't compare the journey there and back as multiples of the BMFA annual subs I simply work out what else I could do with the cost of the eight gallons of petrol I'd have to spend, and how much that is as a percentage of my pension

Oh, and BTW Mike DLG, there IS a good slope quite close to the National Centre, unfortunately it's not a patch on the Ivinghoe hills

I too hope that other BMFA members visit the National Centre and enjoy its facilities, it's just far too far for me to travel for a day out, oh, and did I mention, too costly too?

Regards

Pete

BARCS1702

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Phil.Taylor
4 hours ago, MikeDLG said:

 I think it is sad that some people cannot appreciate the fantastic facility we have with the National Centre.  I wonder how many of those have even been there?  

 So what is this fantastic facility? - basically a model airfield - a "patch".

Any other model airfields out there? - amongst the 780 affilliated clubs? - any with toilets? - tea & coffee?  - any that hold gatherings & events? - any others that are subsidised nationally by 36,000 members? 

Phil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steve J
5 hours ago, mikef said:

I'll get a buzz driving down our entrance road to our buildings.

Lease cost for '19/'20: £27,000 (out of a total expenditure of £72,000)

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PaulR
3 hours ago, pete beadle said:

Hi Mike

 I get a similar buzz as I'm driving up the little hill to the main car park at Ivinghoe.......I get an even bigger buzz when I am joined in flight by Red Kites flying there

I know what you mean - I was circling with Red kites twice at the weekend (at the National Centre...)

I can see both points of view. For those flyers who aren't interested in the kind of events (mainly competitive flying it seems) that are held there its largely pointless. For those that attend those events its a great central hub that provides a good venue (that is equally awkward to get to for everyone 🙂 )

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John Minchell

I was initially against having a national centre as it would inevitably be only regularly of use to locals and those who went to their own flying discipline events.  Also, the expectation that it would be subsidised by the 30,000+ members subscriptions.  This was however when the proposal was to buy premises which would be £1,000,000++

Once that idea was sidelined and a leasing arrangement was proposed at a reasonably acheivable figure of a few tens of thousands per year, AND with a get-out clause, which would not see the membership saddled with a huge mortgage for 50years or more, then it made a more sense.

At the special EGM prior to the decision, I asked "can the committee GUARANTEE the membership that the annual subscription will not be put up substantially to cover the NC?"  I got the answer that although they could not guarantee it, but that the NC would be its own cost centre and would have to cover its own costs.  The fact that the property owner who gave the lease was also prepared to chip in equal funding to match ours when refurbing the various buildings was a distinct bonus (halving our costs). 

The rise in membership cost this year, I was informed, was because the no claims bonus from the insurance company (£30,000) was unlikely to be paid to the BMFA this year as there had been many more claims.  Most were for crashes into vehicles and you lot are all driving Porsches, BMWs and Mercedes now which cost a lot to repair.  IE. it was not an increase to cover the NC, but just altered operating costs of the general business of the BMFA.

I have to attend the Scale Tech Committee meetings over the year and they are held at Buckminster NC so I have seen how it has developed from the beginning.  It is good and getting better, but yes I understand it is not for everyone.  None of my local modellers will ever go there (280 miles round trip) unless they are in the minority of model pilots who travel for competitions, or SAM 35 events etc. or fly ins etc ..

However aeromodelling in all its forms now has it as a venue and so we must use it and make the best of it however we can, otherwise it really will be money wasted.  No point in arguing over it now,

John  M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MikeDLG
5 hours ago, Phil.Taylor said:

a "patch

So, you haven’t been there then. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Big Si

I for one said I would never go there waste of money and so on and felt rather annoyed that they had gone ahead with it

but and a big but I have now been there 5 times for events Pylon racing 3 times ,Free style masters and last weekend for the DLG event

its a fad site and run well and very nice to fly from and I take my caravan with me I went on the Friday to the free style and stopped till sunday night where I then went down the road to A1 south bound camp site till the following Friday where I then went back to the bmfa headquarters for the DLG weekend

I loved the fact that both times there were control line flying there as well as us lot

members should stop moaning and get there for a fly instead and see what its about,i for one have changed my mind on the site and can see the need for a place to hold events for what ever discipline you do

for me its a 240+ round trip but  I don't feel is that bad for such a great site,if I lived closer I would fly there more often

I think over time it will get used more and more and I don't see why it cant get more things going on at the same time as there is room

I for one am pleased we have it and will more than happy take the time to go and use it when ever something I am interested in is held there

its no different than going to pick up a second hand model as for me its always the other side of the country no matter what I am after lol

Happy flying

Simon C

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.