"rethinking" the PRA

ms80831

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Brent,
Do you realize you called 1200 PRA members useless ! That's a hell of a way to kick off a Grand 2015 PRA Convention WOW
Rodney here is the definition of hyperbole.

hy·per·bo·le
hīˈpərbəlē/
noun
exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.
synonyms: exaggeration, overstatement,..

I don't think he meant to insult 1200 members, I think he stated a well established cliche about 10% of the members of any organization do 90% of the work.
 
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Brent Drake

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Brent- You will be a good one to prime the pumps for the PRA. Its good to get new blood....fresh ideas....fresh energy ...and you are definitely going to pull your weight.

This last convention was a good one in my opinion....but there was so little hype about it...I was expecting a ghost town when I flew in. Such wasn't the case..... But, you are already starting as early as you can for next years Mentone.....and all I can say is I plan on being there with my Helicycle doing my little bit of helping add to the convention.....and at least not asking why the PRA isn't doing this and that for me!


Stan

Stan, Thanks for your comment. I thought it was a very good convention and the weather was excellent.
 

Brent Drake

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Rodney here is the definition of hyperbole.

hy·per·bo·le
hīˈpərbəlē/
noun
exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.
synonyms: exaggeration, overstatement,..

I don't think he meant to insult 1200 members, I think he stated a well established cliche about 10 of the members of any organization do 90% of the work.
Your right. Thanks for helping me and correcting me in the same post.:yo:
 

ms80831

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Your right. Thanks for helping me and correcting me in the same post.:yo:
Brent.

You are welcome. You are on the right track and have the right ideas, don't let the naysayers drag you down.
Some people are easily offended, I think some people look for offence where none is intended. If you show some guys a silver lining, they look for the dark cloud.

M
 

AirScooter

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Scott,

I do not want to come across as I'm picking on you, but I just can't sit here and not respond to your comment above. I think your comments are right in line with many others who seem to all share some general misconceptions that I believe need to change, if we ever expect the PRA to flourish.

Doug Barker
PRA Pres.

Doug,

I deleted part of your post just to keep this shorter, not to place lesser worth on it.

You seem to care a lot about the PRA and your position in it.

I see that you keep your responses calm and precise. I respect that. You seem like an honest and straight shooting guy even though our opinions may differ on certain things.

I think you have a hard row to hoe to grow the PRA and I honestly wouldn't want your position, and I don't mean that in a negative way.

There are two sides to this whole back and forth about the PRA. You need volunteers to make things happen and you need folks to join so you have more money to work with. On the other side of that folks say why should I join, I don't get anything for my money. The facts are that some folks will donate time, money or both and never question what they get for their contribution. Some folks will pay their dues and never question what they get for them. Some folks want to see something tangible for their money. (and it is up to perception what tangible is) None of these folks are wrong, they are just different folks. I know what I hear folks at fly ins or get togethers say, and that is basically "what do I get for my money" and some of these folks are current members. And maybe it is only the grumblers that ever say anything at all about the PRA. I don't know.

I don't know the answers to all of the problems or how to run the organization to make it grow. I wish I did. I do not mean what I am about to say negatively, it is just my opinion based on what I hear folks say. Here goes; I think that unless major positive movement forward happens within the PRA that it will continue to basically be stagnate or even diminish. Anything that isn't growing is dying. And those are just my opinions.

I look at everything thru the eyes of business. In business if you have 1300 customers, and each year you loose 90 but gain 100 then technically you are growing by ten per year. But that is a painstakingly slow growth rate. So if I want to gain 300 per year, I have to put my product in front of more potential customers. If that doesn't work then I have to add products, or change some products to gain customers.

I will give what you said some thought.
 

AirScooter

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On the hot topic of the magazine..

You already have in place an editor puting things together, what if you just kept the ezine like it is.
Take the same content and put it in the Powered sport flying magazine (not sure if that is the right one).

See how much getting it in the magazine would cost, do the math and come up with a per member price that dues would go up to do that. See if members would pay the extra to have that done. That way it doesn't take money out of the current dues that are being paid in. Then the members could decide if they want to go that route or not. I have no clue what that number would be, maybe it would be unreasonable.
 

Brent Drake

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On the hot topic of the magazine..

You already have in place an editor puting things together, what if you just kept the ezine like it is.
Take the same content and put it in the Powered sport flying magazine (not sure if that is the right one).

See how much getting it in the magazine would cost, do the math and come up with a per member price that dues would go up to do that. See if members would pay the extra to have that done. That way it doesn't take money out of the current dues that are being paid in. Then the members could decide if they want to go that route or not. I have no clue what that number would be, maybe it would be unreasonable.
Scott, This is one of the many things we are working on. It's just time consuming to get as they say "all of your ducks in a row"

There is quite a bit going on. We won't comment on anything till it's set in concrete. At this point, we have mixed the concrete and starting to pour.
 

Vance

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Rethinking the PRA?

Rethinking the PRA?

In my experience over the years we have rethought the PRA many times on the Rotary Wing Forum the results have been consistent.

Many people want the PRA to do more for them, attract more members, lobby for gyroplane legislation, market in more ways. That would be good but we knew that before we rethought it many years ago.

If I didn’t know better a thread like this would drive me away from the PRA because the posts make it appear that the PRA is a pack of dishonest idiots who make nothing but bad decisions. The answers appear to be so simple that even people who are not involved with the PRA can figure them out.

In my opinion this thread is the antithesis of marketing and can even take the fun out of volunteering

If I wanted more out of the PRA I would put more into it.

I get more out of the PRA than any other organization I belong to.

When I helped with the judging at several PRA events I learned a lot about gyroplanes and had more fun than I would have had if I had not volunteered.

When I gave a talk at Mentone I had fun preparing the talk and fun presenting it. It made the event more fun for me.

I always try to find some way to help for completely selfish reasons.

I meet more people, learn more and have more fun if I get involved.

Usually it is some sort of team effort as in the judging so I get to work with smart, energetic passionate people.

What the PRA can do for me is make things happen related to gyroplanes so I can get involved.

In my opinion they do that well.

I am grateful that there are people out there that help me to have more fun with gyroplanes.

The most of the people that make things happen in the PRA are unpaid volunteers that are having fun.

I would not want to take that fun away by suggesting that if they don’t market things like I think they should or don’t do things my way; that they are doing whatever they are doing badly.

I feel if they are having fun and I am having fun they are doing a great job.

If I wanted to get more I would put move in.

I am off to practice intercepting radials with our Garmin 696 and practice engine out landings plus fifty feet minus nothing. As I put more into flying gyroplanes I get more out of flying gyroplanes.

Thank you, Vance
 

Brent Drake

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Well said Vance. I want the negative issues to subside so we can focus on improvements.
 

GyroDoug

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Doug,
I look at everything thru the eyes of business. In business if you have 1300 customers, and each year you loose 90 but gain 100 then technically you are growing by ten per year. But that is a painstakingly slow growth rate. So if I want to gain 300 per year, I have to put my product in front of more potential customers. If that doesn't work then I have to add products, or change some products to gain customers.
I will give what you said some thought.
Scott,

I appreciate your apparent willingness to think about the position you have taken. I wish everyone were as willing to consider ideas that are different than theirs.

I know lots of different numbers get thrown around here on the forum and it can be hard to know who to believe. Listening to many posters here on the forum would lead any rational business man to seriously doubt the health of our organization. But let me give you some facts that if considered might lead you to have a whole different attitude about the direction the organization is going in.

At Convention time 2013, we were down to about 1,000 members. (our lowest membership count for many decades) However at convention this year we were up to 1,300 members. That's 30% growth for the last year. While we are still a very small organization and we really need many more members if we want to be an organization with any kind of influence, that will take time. But we are on a solid path and going in the right direction for the first time in many years.

There are many people who have left the organization over the last many years (over a variety of reasons), and many of these people seem intent to continue to air their complaints over and over and never let them die, even though they are no longer even members of the organization and the issue they are unhappy about is long past and settled. I believe this group is largely responsible for much of the negative impression that people get when reading threads like this.

I appreciate your thought about getting back into the "Powered Sport Flying" magazine. Many people agree with you and wish that we could get back to a printed magazine. However, in this thread we have also had people explaining that dues are simply too high and that is what is killing the organization. When I became a Board member, dues were $50 and I am the person responsible for pushing for a reduction and I was able to get the Board to agree to drop them to their current rate of $42. (going lower than that was not financially possible without bankrupting the organization and even lowering them the $8 we did, was a leap of faith and was done on the premise that we could grow the overall membership numbers, which we have done) But people are still saying that was an insignificant amount and they are still too high and they need to go lower if we want to grow the organization. Do you see how impossible the whole situation is? Getting back to a printed magazine would cost everyone a significant increase and many are already saying it's too high now. No matter what we do as a Board, we are not going to make everyone happy and we simply can't give everyone what they want, no matter how good of an idea it might be.

We believe we are on the right track and making steps to make the organization more financially sound. The numbers so far tend to support our position. But we always welcome others opinions. However if you really want to be able to influence the Board there isn't a better way than to run for the Board and personally promote your ideas. Become one of the people that are making it happen and then you can have as much influence as you are willing to earn through your efforts. I appreciate your considering what I have shared with you, and thank you for any efforts you are willing to make to support our sport (in any way you want to make it).

Doug Barker
PRA Pres.
 

Jazzenjohn

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There are many people who have left the organization over the last many years (over a variety of reasons), and many of these people seem intent to continue to air their complaints over and over and never let them die, even though they are no longer even members of the organization and the issue they are unhappy about is long past and settled. I believe this group is largely responsible for much of the negative impression that people get when reading threads like this.
That is a very good point, I definitely agree.

I appreciate your thought about getting back into the "Powered Sport Flying" magazine. Many people agree with you and wish that we could get back to a printed magazine. However, in this thread we have also had people explaining that dues are simply too high and that is what is killing the organization. When I became a Board member, dues were $50 and I am the person responsible for pushing for a reduction and I was able to get the Board to agree to drop them to their current rate of $42. (going lower than that was not financially possible without bankrupting the organization and even lowering them the $8 we did, was a leap of faith and was done on the premise that we could grow the overall membership numbers, which we have done) But people are still saying that was an insignificant amount and they are still too high and they need to go lower if we want to grow the organization. Do you see how impossible the whole situation is? Getting back to a printed magazine would cost everyone a significant increase and many are already saying it's too high now. No matter what we do as a Board, we are not going to make everyone happy and we simply can't give everyone what they want, no matter how good of an idea it might be.
The dues lowering was a bold move, but the 30% increase in members and almost a 10% increase in revenue speak for itself. Dues though, is more than simply a dollar amount, it is also for value received. a comparison of what you get vs what you pay. The magazine was a large part of the value received half of the equation. Joining with PSF magazine seems a natural fit, but there must be very careful negotiations for it to work or some people will simply get the magazine if they don't feel the extra amount going to the PRA is worth it. Some may switch aircraft too, although I think we would get more crossovers than we'd lose. The devil is in the details there. They are a business and struggling too, so they would need to feel like they get something out of it as well. They may not even be interested.
 

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John,

I too miss having a printed magazine. I understand that many of our members wish we could get back to printed magazine and the Powered Sport Flying magazine is a natural fit for us. However, as you say the devil is in the details and while Roy is interested in finding a way for us to work together again, and has been very gracious in trying to come up with a plan that will work for both of us, we simply haven't been able to come up with a model that won't significantly increase the cost of dues, which many members feel are already too high. We haven't totally given up on the idea but we either need to greatly increase our membership or significantly increase the income being derived from the airport before we will be in a position to make something like that work. We are trying to move forward on both fronts and I am confident that with time and a lot more work, we will be able to make significant changes to the way things are today. I appreciate your thoughts.

Doug Barker
PRA Pres.
 

All_In

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Wow... 9 pages while I've been away.

Don't have time to read them now but I WILL. There is always some good idea in these.

My view is even if we only had 500 people we would still be the largest advocate for ALL OF YOU HERE. Most for free you may not love us but we love what you fly and you too.

I try and only provide solutions not problem ours is a lack of any real member benefits.
Every BOD since I joined agrees with you, and most the other complaints too.

We have one main asset the airport and it can generate much more revenue than it has in the past. We have enough funding to at least upgrade most of the services. Now the BOD's need's to act.

Example/history:
Jane emailed us, while I was building the G1sa marathon, that a group had just showed up to camp. The airport is making money with camping to new non-aviation groups again this month, it's already working.

We just need to get the electrical system done like yesterday!!!!

Then we can be listed on Sam's Club's list = for free and they have said they will hold their In chapter's convention here. More rental fee which may be able to use for advertizing which will provide more REVENUE! This BOD is trying to maximize our assets potential.

There are other FREE way to promote camping at the airport.
One of my friends on this forum who always helps me suggested ask a local to mentone airport to post a video of the airport facilities on to youtube then possibly someone looking for a conference centre /camping/runway etc will be able to see and investigate it.
just a quick simple intro, not a full blown professional thing. just something with some search tags and it may create a bit of free income !

Now that's a great idea so I'm asking for anyone who has shot videos to contact me so I can edit them from a PRA Mentone Convention to a showing off our facilities video!!! and PRA too of course.

I finally joined face book.
I discovered groups...I intend to join many, many groups that might want a convention site with an airport or motorcycle drag racing, etc.

Looking for your idea's for other groups that might be interested???

The BOD is currently looking for software that could provide real member benefits... We had out 1st computer demonstration /teleconference at this years convention.
We may have the funding to solve this problem with our current hardcore, want to make the world a better place, membership numbers.

Bottom line... now lets see it happen!!!

PS:
And Mark is the REAL DEAL = hero!!!! 100% the best!!! He get's it... making the world a little better place! Thank you Mark for all you do!
 
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AirScooter

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Zero.

The FAA is not in DC.

However, the PRA is extraordinarily active in working with the FAA for an organization it's size.

It has a written agreement with the FAA to share safety, training and regulatory information with dedicated contacts.

The PRA to date is the only org to produce FAA WINGS approved light sport presentations for rotorcraft, and produced an FAA Safety Team audited and approved sport pilot on line ground school program for new pilot and recurring training requirements.

PRA safety contacts have won FAA awards for their work with the FAA on rotorcraft issues.

There is more but that is all I am willing to type on a iPhone.

Could we do more? Yes, much. Funds generated by an active airport manager could do marvelous things as well as volunteers.

BTW, thank you for asking first, rather than just declaring that we don't/should. If everyone did that, these threads would be productive and less heated.
No, I didn't mean just the FAA, I know what I asked. Other organizations like the AOPA lobby congress or whomever it takes. That is what I was asking. Here is an example:


"AOPA lobbying efforts top $770,000
November 9, 2009 by Charles Spence Leave a Comment

According to the Associated Press, AOPA spent $770,000 in the third quarter lobbying on behalf of general aviation.

The news service said an amended form filed last month with the House clerk’s office reported the pilot group lobbied not only Congress on such issues as user fees, greenhouse emissions, and reauthorization of the FAA, but other Washington offices as well. These included the Transportation Department, Transportation Security Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and Homeland Security.

This total amount of money represents nearly $2 per member in just the July to September period."


I know the PRA can't spend that kind of money, but does the pra have an ear to bend in congress outside of individual members local congressman?
 

gyroplanes

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My understanding is that this is a group of fireworks experimenters who use the airport three or four times a year to test their creations, not a company. Their deal requires that one of those test sessions be the show at the convention./QUOTE]

The Heartland Pyro club provides the fireworks for our convention and has for every convention since 1996 (except the Texas convention, if I remember correctly)

Heartland is a chapter of the mother organization, PGII (PGI.ORG, nice site) an organization very, very similar to ours, but worlds apart in many respects.

I approached the Heartland club in 1996 about an opening and closing convention shoot, they said we would have to provide the insurance ($500 for one shoot, I agreed and we went through a local fireworks display company in Rochester. They sold us the discounted insurance and then refused payment. I don't believe we have ever paid a dime for fireworks, ever. The Heartland club uses our airport for a Fall tri-state get together and a couple club shoots a year. The neighbors are welcome at no charge.
 

gyroplanes

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Tom, I believe I attended my 1st PRA convention in 1969 and my 1st thought as I walked along the flight line in Hemet CA. was what are all these 'old' people doing here, where are the guys my age or younger?
I believe I was the youngest gyro owner / pilot at the PRA conventions for several years, I believe I was the youngest board member as well, andnow I'm an old timer.

The PRA has always been, and in my opinion, always will be an 'old' man's activity. The assumption being 'old' starts at 45. The 'youngsters' simply don't have the disposable income when they are on the way up the employment ladder and have families to raise.
I have to disagree with you on this point. Take a look at all the super bike, jet ski, snowmobile, cigarette boat, Mustang GT owners, and short track stock car drivers. You'll be hard pressed to find gray hairs on many of them. Kids are driving $40-50, 000 cars and racing $100,000 toys.

I used to (and still do) build my own racing engines. These kids today are buying $30,000 crate motors and adding thousands more in accessories.

There is money out there.
I'll bet this year we had the smallest and most expensive flight line we have ever had at a convention. There had to be a million dollars on that flight line.
 

gyroplanes

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Rethinking the PRA: E-zine

Rethinking the PRA: E-zine

We have bounced around and touched on too many subjects to have this thread be of much use.

I hear a lot about how we "used to be in PSF magazine"... well, guess what! we are still in PSF magazine. We never left. PSF has always had a rotorcraft section.

A lot of groundwork went into the PSF partnership and the whole thing went away due to a couple of "hotheads" that didn't think things through. It was the PRA's low point in my opinion.

Now we have an E-zine that comes out a month late (in my opinion) that doesn't matter much because most of the information is a month old anyway.

If you want rotorcraft up-to-the-minute news, you will never beat the Rotary Forum. If you need a paper magazine, and they still have a place, we can't beat the PSF magazine.

I would like you all to remember that the E-zine is, I believe, our biggest financial outflow. I'd make a motion to save that money and lower the dues.

I have an even more radical path to dues reduction, but I have to do some more homework to come up with the hard numbers.

Do we need an e-zine? Do most of you even read it?

I'd like us to stick with one "rethink" idea at a time, mull it over then close the chapter and move to the next.
 

Mike484

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I believe people still want Rotorcraft, just in a different format, such as part of PSF (officially from the PRA, not just a rotorcraft section) to supplement the Ezine so there is the best of both worlds.

I do not believe the forum can replace Rotorcraft. For every person I hear talk about the forum and how much they love to visit it, I hear one talk about how bad it is and how they avoid it. I don't think the forum has the same audience as the Ezine or E-Alerts. I have heard that the distribution is over 3,000 world wide, how many actually visit the forum regularly? And, if we get it printed in a nationally distributed magazine, the audience gets even larger. Also, it is nice to be able to read about our sport without having to pick through all of the commentary, sure some of it adds to the thread, but there's also a lot that takes away from it. If Rotorcraft is used properly, we can get a lot more exposure than we can through the forum.

I would like to see Rotorcraft and the regional newsletters stay.
 

gyroplanes

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For over $14,000 a year, what do we get from the e-zine that we don't get here? (weeks earlier). Is it worth over $14.00 of your dues. I sure don't think so.

let the PRA web site be the repository of "how to" articles published here. Keep and expand the regional newsletters and publish them here, so neighbors that don't have access can read them. Publish them all in the Rotorcraft section of PSF.

We can grow a lot faster through simplification. Let the chapters handle the zine for all, for free, and let PSF cover the luddites and privy readers. (or regular folks who like paper and ink, like me)
 
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