The 2018/19 year has been another great year full of progress and also some unexpected challenges.
As always it takes many people to run our Club and most of these people do it silently and without fuss and do a fantastic job. I have had the privilege to work with the wonderful team of people that make up our Committee who generously given their time to manage all of the services across the Club.
I personally enjoy the support and guidance I receive from the leadership team from Peter Bernardi as Immediate Past President, Ray Taylor as Vice President, Martin Cartlidge as Secretary and Judy Pay as Treasurer.
I also need to recognise and thank our Office Staff and instructors who are the main interface between the members and the Club at Flight Ops where Lisa, Glenda, Brodie and Riley are always there to help.
Peter Phillips has now come back to PAC as our Head Of Operations, taking over from Sundeep Rao, and has fitted right back into the role and leading the way in improving training and safety.
There was plenty to do after we transitioned to Part 141 to reinstate all of our approvals as CASA introduced new requirements around endorsements. We have had some of our younger instructors develop under the guidance of Peter Philips and progress onto new roles with regional airlines, which is very pleasing to see we are giving our instructors a pathway to develop their careers.
This year we have attracted a couple of new contracts where we support survey work that provides valuable twin engine time for our younger instructors which will provide them with an opportunity to springboard their careers as well as provide members with access to advanced twin training.
During the year we introduced a Cessna 206 for IFR training and higher passenger capacity. We found a replacement for the Decathlon with another Decathlon for tail wheel and aerobatic training. We have introduced a Foxbat in RAA registration, which has proven to be very popular. We have also decided divest ourselves of our A152 VH-RYI but it will be back after a full rebuild and ready to go again on cross hire.
Once again we ran a very successful Toy Run in conjunction with the Antique Aeroplane Association where we had hundreds of locals turn up for the event and we collected over 500 toys for the Food for All charity. We also ran our annual Fun Flight Day and took many children and their families on a joy flight, and were rewarded by lots smiling faces of thanks from the children and parents.
Lead by Julie Nathan, after many years of the ladies on the Social Committee preparing our Sunday dinners, we have decided to outsource the catering which has proven very successful and very yummy too. If you haven’t attended a Sunday dinner I encourage you to come along and share the evening with fellow members.
Luke Bramston has also been busy this year in providing more variety in the bar and introducing a coffee machine to the downstairs lounge. The lounge seems to be well used and always full on weekends with members and friends
The Tyabb Flyer is going from strength to strength with the readership having increased by 60% and we now have around 1200 readers each week. Ian Johnson has put his heart into providing this weekly newsletter to keep the members informed about Club events and I thank him for his dedication in doing this week in, week out.
As everyone will know, we have had our hands full with the Council making a surprise attack on the PAC over their claims that we do not have appropriate operating permits, and that the Planning Scheme says that an airport, airfield, ALA and ALG are prohibited uses for land zoned “Airfield”. Our legal advice rejects the Shire’s claims and says we have all of the lawful permits required, and the Shire’s assertion regarding to the Planning Scheme is nothing more than a typo in their documentation, which they have now acknowledged.
We are locked into a VCAT hearing over the coming months that will settle some of the peripheral issues in relation to the Church Hour and a new Tractor Shed permit. We are also continuing to engage with the Shire to discuss other options around new operating permits, which we will need to bring back to the membership if and when this progresses to the stage where we have some options to share with everyone.
Part of the Shire’s attack spilled over into the planning for the 2020 Airshow where the Shire had rejected our permit applications on the 2nd July and then offered us a new permit a couple of weeks later, which we could not comply with as it would have impacted on CASA requirements. After failed discussions with the Shire to reduce the permit’s demands we agreed to cancel the airshow. After a week of community outrage the Shire eased the requirements and also approved our original permits to allow the airshow to proceed, which was very pleasing for everyone. Needless to say, we have found ourselves working within an incredibly compressed time frame and Ray Taylor and the Airshow Committee are working overtime to get everything in place.
I must say how pleased I am to have seen the volume of support that has come out of the Community who came to our rescue. The Shire completely underestimated the reaction by our community, which has consolidated the view that the majority of the community support PAC. If one needs to find a silver lining in these events it has increased our membership to nearly 600 with many locals joining PAC to show their support.
This year we also ran the Australian STOL Championships, which was a fantastic success. The event exceeded all of our expectations with the number of spectators and competitors. I need to acknowledge the team behind the event and how they got it to run like clockwork and raised the bar in safety management. My thanks go to Steve Bull, Tony Manning, Mike Brooks and Rolfe Summerhayes.
We have also made the big step into becoming an RTO. Lisa Waugh has not only been doing her day job of managing the front desk and office, she has been running with the RTO development. We have entered into a joint Venture with KRTS and now completed an agreement with Woodleigh Secondary Collage to provide a Diploma of Aviation to successful students.
Peter Cutting and Brain Kohlar have been looking after the major and minor building projects with ongoing new hangar development, balcony upgrade, replacement fuels facility, new garden seating, new bench tops in the kitchen and a coffee lounge.
Rolfe Summerhayes has been active in sourcing a new engine for our tractor and managing the rebuild to have it ready for spring to mow the never ending growing grass. I need to thank Steve Bull, Tony Manning and Peter Bernardi for spending countless hours with their team of members keeping the grounds and runways in great shape.
Mike Brooks and Darren Barnfield have played important roles in managing our safety with Mike rewriting our safety and OHS manuals and Darren as our Air Safety Officer. We can never let our guard down when it comes to safety and I encourage you to look at everything you do through a safety lens first as we want everyone to go home in the same condition as you arrived, that is, happy and healthy.
Lastly, after serving as Treasurer multiple times, Judy Pay has informed me she will be stepping down from this role, although she will remain on the Committee. I cannot overstate her contribution in managing the Clubs finances and providing us with a solid base to allow us to continually improve our facilities. When you see Judy around please take the time to thank her for her services to the Club and for her selfless generosity in paying things forward.