View From The Top - President's Message
Noon Balloon #123
We are proceeding quickly towards our 2020 Reunion. It has been decided to return to Tucson, AZ, for the fabulous Pima Air Museum with their expanding aircraft collections and newly opened maintenance facility. Also, across the street we have made arrangements with the AMARC facility at Davis-Monthan AFB to tour their facility and the ZPG-3W control car stored there. It is not a regular part of their public tour, but they will accommodate our group. This was a well received event during our last visit. The AMARC people are very good to us. We have also negotiated a fine rate with the excellent Doubletree by Hilton where we stayed before for our stay. Details and registration information will be published in an upcoming Noon Balloon.
During September we have an Executive Council meeting scheduled at the Miami Military Museum in Miami which is an extraordinary effort led by our Anthony Atwood, PhD. The Museum is based on the site of the former NAS Richmond and is a fine memorial to that facility’s proud history and everyone who contributed to our military services there up through the Cuban Missile Crisis. It is well worth the trip to tour this fine museum.
On our agenda for the meeting are a number of housekeeping items plus several important issues concerning finances and future Small Stores operations. As our memberships decline, we are hard pressed to increase our revenues to sustain our organization. Primary concerns are with Reunions and The Noon Balloon as we go forward. As I have written before, we need members to attend our Reunions, not only for the experience of meeting with old friends, but with sharing stories and past experiences. The more attendees we have, the better our position is for negotiating good rates for hotel rooms, catering services for our banquet, local transportation costs, and attraction costs. The Noon Balloon suffers from low mailing numbers and our costs. We have reduced the page count slightly, but our mailing permit costs suffer as we lose memberships. We have made every effort to hold the annual membership price and there is no reason to expect an increase in the near future. Two major issues that were discussed cover efforts to join with some other organizations that share our enthusiasm for airships. After some preliminary discussions, there appears to be a lack of interest by some other groups to consolidate our joint activities and interests and enjoy the benefits of a united organization. At this time, we intend to proceed full speed ahead as the premier LTA group. Another significant discussion occurred over an alteration of our name. We discussed this topic initially at our 2016 Reunion in Pensacola. Bottom line, we will be doing business as the National Airship Association. However, the parent organization will still be the Naval Airship Association. The goal is to increase our membership by appealing to a larger group of LTA enthusiasts and veterans. I have personally encountered potential members who objected to “Naval” as our primary target audience. There are a large number of LTA enthusiasts out there regardless of their military background. Other important issues we covered were the details of the Reunion as we know them now, as noted above; a summary report from individual committee chairs; a change of Small Stores regarding how orders are packaged and shipped, but keeping the same financial billing procedures; membership/recruiting ideas and suggestions were noted and we decided to emphasize that our Reunion will move towards a “LTA conference” format and still concentrate on Reunion activities as have always done; and future plans for council and administrative positions. Regarding the last item, we do not have any specific changes to report yet, but need to be cognizant of any issues in the near future. Our Nominating Committee has been established with past president Ross Wood as chairman. The complete list of members will be published in the next Noon Balloon.
Our website is up and running and I have not heard any negative comments. It is a fantastic accomplishment. Sandy Westlake does a superb job of maintaining the site for us. Across the room, Keith Adams maintains our membership and mailing lists at an efficient level, again with no complaints. Both are employees of Ron Smith Printing and volunteer their time, a tribute to them and our publisher David Smith. We thank you for a job well done. Bravo Zulu!
Thank you for your continued support for the Naval Airship Association.
– Frederick R. Morin