M-ASA Needs New Training Gliders
The M-ASA membership continues to show outstanding support for this purchase. We now have 18 members pledging $116,500 or 50% of the loan. Remember we will sell the 2 Grobs at the end of this year, or early next year. This will allow the club to pay off a significant portion of this loan, and the rest will be paid back, with interest over the next 8-10 years.
Send your pledge to Nirmal and join the growing number of members who wish to help M-ASA grow.
February 11, 2017
Today, Sat 2/11/17, the membership meet for their annual safety seminar and the annual club meeting. At the club meeting the members heard a presentation from Nirmal Mathrani, our new Treasurer. Nirmal spent the past few weeks talking to our previous treasurer, board members, our bookkeeper, and other interested members and has gotten a handle on the clubs finances. This review has shown that the club is financially healthy and it can afford to purchase these 2 gliders, and simultaneously continue to make upgrades to the clubhouse and other facilities. Nirmal even projected a strong growth over the next 10 years, meaning there is little chance that the club will have trouble repaying member loans.t
Rich Carlson then made a presentation asking for pledges to move us forward. As most of you know, last July the club placed an order for 2 ASK 21 gliders. We put a deposit of $27,500 (24,000 euros) and received confirmation that the gliders have been ordered. Now it is time to solicit loans to cover the remaining amount estimated at $232,000. Rich handed out pledge cards, see the March issue of Convector for a copy or download it and send a copy to Nirmal ASK 21 Pledge Statement.
Two important things also happened during this meeting. 1) several members noted that as a 501 (c)(3) corporation we do not have to pay MD state tax on these gliders. That will save over $10,000 on the gliders and trailers. It may also help us when paying for fuel for the tow-planes. 2) the members approved a motion to equip one of the gliders with hand controls. The thought is that we can work with wounded veterans or other disabled individuals who may want to learn to soar. This will cost an additional $5,300, but we are still ahead by not having to pay tax.
Following the meeting 11 members turned in pledge cards for $66,500. This is over 40% of the load amount, in just 1 afternoon.
Further updates will be posted as events unfold.
June 2 – Update:
After receiving my last email and/or listening to my presentation, several members have stepped forward and pledged funds to cover the cost of the deposit. Once the board determines how it wants the members to submit their funds to the clubs bookkeeper I will contact them and we’ll get those pledges converted into cash. There is still room for any member to pledge any amount they are comfortable with. The more members that participate, the wider the sense of ownership of these future club assets. Contact Rich Carlson if you want to pledge.
May 30 – Update:
For the past few weeks there has been a lively discussion on theclubs email list regarding this topic. Several members have asked for detailed financial details and have wanted to know how the club could afford these new training gliders. In response to these requests Rich Carlson obtained club financial records from 2008 – 2015. He also pulled annual meeting presentations off of the member only site that contained more financial data. On Sunday May 22 and again on May 29, Rich presented the results of this financial analysis. The presentation is available in either PDF or PPT formats and members can download/view either presentation.
As noted in the presentation, the immediate need is to come up with a fully refundable deposit of (30,000 euros or $34,000). This will place an order for two (2) ASK 21 training gliders to be delivered in approximately 18 months. At least 6 members have expressed a willingness to loan the club funds to make this deposit. Contact Rich Carlson or Willy Hackett if you would like to join this group. We expect to have a statement from the board shortly describing how members can send funds to the clubs book keeper and have them marked as ASK 21 loans. Look for more emails shortly.
Send questions or comments to the member email list.
Why upgrade the glider fleet?
M-ASA’s 2-place gliders are the mainstay of our operations serving three primary purposes.
- Conduct primary flight training for student and transition pilots. This is the lifeblood of a healthy club. Historically the flight training conducted at M-ASA accounts for much of the overall annual operations.
- Conduct recurrent training for all rated pilots. Flight Reviews and spring check-outs are both examples of recurrent training M-ASA flight instructors provide.
- Provide a suitable glider for members to enjoy soaring with and without their guests
The current fleet of 2-place gliders consists of 1 Schweizer SGS 2-33, 1 Grob 103 Twin II and 1 Grob 103 Twin Astir. All three of these gliders have different flight characteristics and configurations. They require different skills and experience levels to operate safely.
In addition, several of the gliders are high time aircraft, the G-103 Twin II has over 6000 hours and is beginning to show its age. As we have recently seen, the repair and maintenance of these gliders will increase as time goes by. Selling them now while they still have some resale value is the right thing to do.
Upgrading the fleet also brings other benefits to the club. Every pilot wants to fly a new aircraft. Those who haven’t flown a particular type want a new experience, those who have, just want to compare this aircraft with the previous one they flew. The result is, the club gets an increase in flying as members come out to check-out the new bird.
Students will see a tremendous benefit. The ASK-21is a much better training glider than either of the Grobs. The Grobs are very heavy on the rudder and lighter on the aileron. This leads to a very unbalanced feeling as the student learns to coordinate their turns. On the other hand, the ASK-21 controls are well harmonized. The feel of the rudder matches the feel of the aileron making it easier to learn the basic flight skills. Like the Grobs, the K-21 has benign stall characteristics. This makes it a stable and safe platform for the beginning and more experienced pilot. It can be augmented however with an optional spin kit which makes the K-21 a very good spin trainer offering students an opportunity to safely learn how to recognize and recover from spins in a controlled environment.
The benefits are not limited to the student, everyone needs a flight review every other year. Rated M-ASA pilots will enjoy the feel and the flight characteristics of the K-21. You can also use it to give rides to friends and relatives so they can experience the joy of soaring just as much as you do.
Finally, the K-21 has a reputation and history. It has been in production since the early 80’s. It has a proven record as an excellent trainer. Most importantly, it has a well-established, and well known, manufacturer standing behind it. While there are other trainers on the market and other manufacturers; none have the history and durability of Schleicher and the ASK-21.
Why a Schleicher K-21?
Before recommending the club purchase a pair of new ASK-21 gliders, I looked at the wider 2-place trainer market. At the present time, there are very few new training gliders being produced in the world. Blanik L-23’s are currently not in production. The SZD-50 Puchacz has gone out of production and its replacement the SZD-54 Perkoz is a 20 meter span advanced trainer. Neither the DG-1000 nor Schempp-Hirth’s Duo Discus are intended for use as a basic trainer. This leaves the K-21 as one of the few new training gliders being produced.
Other nearby clubs have already done this. A quick review of regional clubs reinforces the popularity of the ASK-21.
Why buy new?
Then why not buy a used K-21? The answer is simple, availability. Used K-21s are few and far between. They don’t come on the market very often and they command a premium price when they do. If a used K-21, in good condition, was available M-ASA should consider purchasing it. Barring that, getting an order in for a new one soon is a great way to ensure that eventually we do get something.
Why not just continue on as we are?
This basically says the Grobs are fine, our student training program is fine and everyone should be happy. Unfortunately, this is not true. Student flight training is suffering because we only have 1 glider of each type that students must share. The next time you are OD, look at how long our club flight instructors are spending just standing around the flight line. Gone are the days when they could fly with a student or 2 in the morning and then hop in their own ship to fly the club task. It now takes 2-4 hours to complete 1 student lesson, as the glider keeps getting passed around from student to student.
Maintenance issues with the Grobs is also an important issue to consider. The Twin II will need to be refinished in the next 3-4 years. This will be a huge expense for the club and the glider will be down for months if not a whole season. Selling this glider in the next year would save the club this expense.
This is a win/win situation.
Putting a deposit down on a new glider is a low risk activity. The funds are fully refundable if the club changes its collective mind anytime up until the glider is built. Even then we can get a full refund as Schleicher will sell it to someone else.
You get the satisfaction of helping the club grow and supporting the student flight training activities. You also earn a reasonable rate of return on your investment, far more than the banks are paying you today.
M-ASA gets a new glider that can meet the need of current and future members. The club can also sell the glider for what we paid on the used market, so there is very little financial risk in not taking this step.
The bigger risk is keeping the status quo and hoping that we can continue deferring maintenance on the Grobs as we have been doing for the past few years.
Help the club out by making your donation today. Contact Rich Carlson or Willy Hackett for more information.