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Newcastle Aero Club

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Newcastle Aero Club

Old 20th Nov 2004, 13:28
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Newcastle Aero Club

All aircraft grounded today due to large debts built up over the past two years or so. At a recent AGM nothing was really agreed and now the planes are not being allowed to fly. Unless a package is agreed at the next re-scheduled AGM on the 9th December, it could be the end of the Club.

I really feel for the people who's living is reliant on the Club and can only hope that an agreement is imminent. I do understand that there is a meeting on Monday between the Club solicitor, committee and the main creditors. Unless the income stream keeps going through lessons, I fear for the Newcastle Aero Club. Fingers crossed that the planes can fly until the AGM after Mondays meeting.
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Old 20th Nov 2004, 13:53
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NAC is one of the oldest flying clubs in the UK. Is this just another case of big airport forcing out GA, like happened at Luton? Manchester School of Flying seems to be hanging on in there, but for how long?
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Old 22nd Nov 2004, 15:19
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Or a bit of both?

It is true that the management of NAC has been seriously inadequate, to the point of being almost non-existent, however the combined effect of landing (and T/G) fees by about 1000 percent has had a deleterious effect upon the clubs income stream, and follows a pattern set by the CEO (alleged salary 700K) when in charge at Bristol. Incidentally most of his excessive charges were reviewed and reduced following his departure from Bristol.

Unfortunately a few years ago the club was relatively wealthy, but numerous bad (and possibly illegal) actions by successive club committees have frittered away all the reserves, and exposed a fundamentally flawed business structure.

Several of the responsible committee members have resigned over the past 18 months leaving a lack of proper scrutiny or control over expenditure, particulalry in relation to directors expenses!

A failure to effectively communicate with either creditors or
the membership has led to a deterioriation in an already difficult position, to a point where, without any income stream, there is almost certainly no prospect of recovery.

As has been said above this is the oldest flying club in continuous existence, and in the unlikely event of it surviving into 2005 will have been in existence for 80 years. Unless it can be saved or replaced there will be no affordable access to fixed wing flight training between Durham Tees Valley and Edinburgh.

Truly a sad state of affairs for aqviation in the NE
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Old 22nd Nov 2004, 18:40
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This would be a very sad day for GA.
But for my money, more than a smattering of the blame has to lie at the door of the airfield operator.
I may be wrong here, but is it that they don't get any discount on landing fees? If so, then twenty odd quid to land is taking the you know what.

The reason I say this is when I started looking into the ppl shenanigins, as my job takes me to every major airport in the north UK, I called in and got a price list.

Nice guys, and a great club house, something we don't enjoy at LPL. But whilst I was there, I overheard an instructor telling a young lad that today would be solo day if all went well. The next statement made me shudder, that this exercise would cost 240 ish! No doubt the biggest part of this is landing fees. Just exactly WHAT are the costs of carefully placing less than a tonne of metal on a lump of tarmac??
When you hear tales of airports paying MOL & Co to land there, just where does this muppet at NCL get off????

Hope it survives. I'm sure the club will be there for another 80 years, unlike the numpty in charge of NCL. Perhaps he should consider that some things are better and bigger than he is!!

Just incase an airport manager is reading this, where do you think the pilots of the big jets(that bring you millions of pounds a year in revenue) train?????
Think about it
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Old 22nd Nov 2004, 21:16
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As far as I am aware I was paying around about 8 per landing out of hours and around 15 at peak times. I feel the airfield operator may be getting a disproportionate amount of blame here. Whilst this was per landing (I have flown a circuit detail where 5 landings cost 40) the total cost of that hours flight came to approx 120. Not ideal for circuits - not the most expensive in the UK.
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Old 22nd Nov 2004, 21:38
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You're right - not the most expensive in the UK by a long way ...

Leeds is 19.50 per T/G ... others are much more expensive !

FF
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Old 23rd Nov 2004, 09:52
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Charlie32

You are right - Both!
 
Old 23rd Nov 2004, 10:13
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cessan l plate

Most of the commercial guys based at NCL trained outside the area, as there are no CPL training providers in the north east. The nearest I believe is Leeds.

Where do you think they trained?
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Old 23rd Nov 2004, 11:11
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Shropshir lad

Sorry your figures are incorrect. There was a temporary grace period where the club got a discount but this has since been removed

The actual costs are:

25 for peak landing (in summer most of the time) and 12 T/G or go around
Off peak 18 landing and 9 T/G Go around.

Not difficult to see why training numbers have tailed off, from about 20 PPLs finishing each year to just 12 last year
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Old 23rd Nov 2004, 13:30
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It's a sad day when any flying club closes.

Sorry to be such a vulture but does anyone know what they will do with the aircraft and who owns them?

I'm in the market for a PA28.
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Old 23rd Nov 2004, 13:45
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HN1708,

The future of the club will be decided at the AGM scheduled for 09/12/04.
 
Old 23rd Nov 2004, 13:47
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Thanks for the info. I was told that the airport authority had impounded the aircraft. No doubt inaccurate info. I was just curious to know if the planes would be sold off. I know these things take a long time to sort out!
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Old 23rd Nov 2004, 15:17
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The VAT man on training, especially towards professional training is bad enough, and not forgetting the tax on fuel!

But the airports/ aerodromes with visions of Heathrow, seem to forget that without us, there would be no them.

Obviously the cost of running and licensing some of the bigger ones is expensive, but the airport operators do not make it easy for anyone.

People probably think with the amount they spend, the clubs/ schools are making a killing.

Still, its that time of year when the pinch happens, and lets face it, we have all seen better summers.

Lets hope no one else ends up in a similar situation!
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Old 23rd Nov 2004, 17:46
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HN1708 - you are correct. The aircraft have been impounded and "writs nailed to masts" The airport is owed a very substantial amount - and it was growing daily. Given the aged analysis of creditors I have seen - they have shown forbearance and given ample opportunity for the Club to trade its way out of difficulties or deliver rescue plan.

They are not the only large and voracious creditor hovering presently.

Very sad background to the saga.
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Old 23rd Nov 2004, 18:53
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Charlie32 - thanks for the update on the figures - I was unaware the aircraft had been impounded. This is beginning to sound worse that I thought
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Old 23rd Nov 2004, 21:55
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As I mentioned in my earlier posting - we must wait for the AGM scheduled to take place on 09/12/04. I however do agree, things don't look good.
 
Old 24th Nov 2004, 10:21
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daw
 
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HN1708 - think you will be joining a long queue of people for the aircraft. Various members have tabled sale and leaseback options at the AGM but this was never agreed. Partly due to bickering over why the club was in the state it was rather than trying to work out a solution going forward. It was also a shame that the committee didn't deem fit to circulate or at least make available in some way ahead of the AGM all of the possible options so that a considered debate could take place.
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Old 24th Nov 2004, 12:22
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Whilst there is no question that the management of the club has been deficient, the airport authority must share some of the responsibility.

Whilst it is of course true that Newcastle int Airport is a multi-million pound resource, which is made available for PPLs and training, most of the fixed costs associated with this operation arise out of the needs of the commercial sector e.g. ATCO, 2.3KM runways, 5 different approach aids, multi million pound terminal buildings shopping arcades, high level fire cover, security etc.

The fixed costs associated with the GA operation which are essential to their operation are frankly minimal.

It is therefore unfair and unreasonable to expect GA to bear their share of the cost of this operation on a like for like basis, when most of what is there is not necessary.

The airport might have an argument if there was any evidence at all to support the view that GA hindered the commercial operations at Newcastle, but this is simply not the case. GA operations always take second priority to commercial ops, and trainees have to pay the price of the additional holding time both on the ground and in the air, in addition to the landing and navigation charges.

The fact is that GA slots in around the commercials in spare capacity, and indeed often helps controllers maintain their skills in ATC procedures such as SRAs, which the commercials are unwilling to do because of turnaround pressure.

In other words there has been a happy synergy between commercial ops, GA/training and ATC for many years at NCL.

It is sad therefore that the blinkered view of an airport management structure based upo brutal accountants, should have contributed to the downfall of one of aviations oldest institutions. Three years ago, the aero club could not have racked up this debt with the airport, because they did not pay such extortionate charges!

I say again, the management of the aero club has been sadly deficient, largely because it was done by (mainly) well meaning amateur volunteers. Perhaps a happy compromise could be reached whereby some of the management skills available in the airport could help get the aero club back onto a sound operational basis.

Impounding the aircraft achieves little for anyone. Two of the aircraft impounded have prior charges on them from loan companies and the Inland revenue, so the airport will not get anything from these, and the remaining equity is unlikely to settle their debt. It effectively stops all significant revenue to the club, particularly pre-Christmas, which is usually a cash rich time for the club, with present of vouchers being very popular.

The airport should write off the debt, re-structure their charges at a sensible level, and work with the aero club by providing business support, to help them get back to a viable operating position. That would be in everyones interests.

So come on Mr Parkin, why not join the aero club in a joint venture to try and avoid this tragedy?
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Old 24th Nov 2004, 15:46
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Unfortunately, in his time at Newcastle, Parkin has managed to wreck the lives and livelihoods of the majority of those who work for or at the airport. The current situation at the club is a direct result of his policies. The next group of people who are about to have their livlihoods destroyed are the refuellers and those that work at the fuel facility. There is a case against Parkin just about to go through the courts in the next few days. I wonder if he will live long enough to hear the outcome. I wouldn't be alone in hoping that he gets his soon but I am surprised that with all the malicious intent toward him that it hasn't happened yet.
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Old 24th Nov 2004, 16:01
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daw
 
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I don't buy the argument that the airport was to blame. Has there been any discernible loss of custom from the increased prices? As far as I can see NCL Aero was in a dominant market position and for whatever reason didn't take advantage of that.

Whenever I was up there the booking sheets were full and I know that I had to book at least a week in advance to get an aircraft. Also there was nowhere else nearby that you could do your basic training. Yes 120 per hour or whatever it was is a lot of money but it is no different to what other schools charge around the country and many of those face stiff competition.

Consider a bit of basic 101 accounting.......If you charge say 100 plus a landing fee of 15 then surely it is basic budgeting to put aside the 15 as you know you have just collected it on behalf of someone else (ie Mr Parkin). Similarly you know that you have to pay 17.5% to HMC&E. It makes sound financial sense to put aside those monies into a separate account and of course from your detailed budgets you know that the remaining monies will cover your costs and hopefully deliver a bit of a surplus for the members for a rainy day. Me thinks that somewhere Peter robbed Paul which is how the wheels fell off but blame surely can't be placed with the airport.
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