Dear pilots,

On 8th March 2024 the club received a letter from a Lawyer. It raises some concerns and contains allegations that a very large number of the “member” base of this club do not meet the requirements of theconstitutionformembershipandwerenotmembers. Thatcriteriaisthatthepersonbeover16and have an interest in Hang Gliding. Hang Gliding, although not defined in the constitution is accepted as flyingusinganunpoweredapparatusconsistingofanairframewithafabricaerofoilstretchedoverit. Itis
an aircraft type whose operation is recognised by CASA under CAO 95.8 as being administered by SAFA.

When we look at the objects of the club identified in the constitution, the sole objects are:

a. To promote interest in Hang Gliding.
b. To promote good fellowship among those interested in Hang Gliding.
c. To educate and encourage members of the club.
d. To do all things and acts conducive to the furtherance of the objects and interests of the Club.

It does appear that the previous committees have sought to admit people into membership that do not meet that description and the club has not been predominantly focussed on promoting the interest of hang gliding. I cannot locate any record (which I note, our records appear to be quite incomplete from previous committees) which would identify what criteria was being applied. The processes seem to have been very loose in that respect.

The previous committee seems to have been the first to recognise that this was a problem and attempted to address it by calling a meeting 28 March 2022. That meeting was called as a Special General Meeting, but it was not properly conducted. No notice of meeting was sent to all members using the President’s email account. Even though the problem had been identified, it appears the then President did not realise that this meant only a meeting with a quorum of hang glider pilots could amend the constitution to allow other disciplines. There was not a quorum of hang glider pilots at the meeting.

Those members of the Committee who are hang glider pilots have decided to put in place a set of criteria that comply with the constitution, and we now attach an application form for all those interested in membership of the Sunshine Coast Sports Aviators to complete which allows us to verify that they satisfy the criteria for membership.

One of our duties as committee members is to ensure the club complies with its rules and that includes
working within its objects. Moving forward and having regard to the objects of the constitution of the club, the committee needs to have a focus on its objects and therefore on the promotion of hang gliding and promoting good fellowship among those interested in hang gliding. That being the case, we need to consider our approach to the other disciplines. Those who do not meet the criteria simply cannot be members of the Sunshine Coast Sports Aviators if we are to comply with our duties to uphold the constitution. With this in mind, please find attached a form to enable you to provide details of your actual hang glider flying, or your interest in hang gliding. Please return these by 26th of May, you will receive a reply from the Committee shortly after that confirming your membership. The club will refund on a pro- rata basis the unused annual fee of those persons on the roll who do not satisfy the constitutional criteria.

We continue to be strongly committed to supporting sports aviation in general in the region. We have drafted agreements to ensure that the sites the club is responsible for remain open to all pilots who are members of clubs which agree to comply with the rules (both landowner, SAFA and the club of the Sunshine Coast Sports Aviators) applicable to operating at the site. The agreement will be freely available to clubs wishing to ensure their members, of all disciplines, are able to access sites operated by the Sunshine Coast Sports Aviators. And we will work quickly to ensure continuity of flying.

Kind regards,
Steven Beale
Sunshine Coast Sports Aviators
E: [email protected]
PO Box 456
Tewantin QLD 4565