May 13, 2020

In response to the “President’s Page” column in Sport Aerobatics, April 2020

Since Robert took office we’ve seen a 17% decline in participation. I cannot overstate the financial challenges we are about to face. If I presided over the IAC I would spend my time addressing this crisis, not duplicating the work of the rules committee.

Many, including me, share Robert’s concerns about “category creep” which is the tendency for sequences, over time, to become more challenging. Yet our sequence rules are proposed by the members themselves and passed only after an extensive comment period. Category creep is not the fault of past IAC leadership, board members, or our international partners at CIVA. In reality, it is simply the unintended consequence of so many of our vocal stakeholders also being experienced aerobatic competitors. The IAC has been bickering over this since the advent of the monoplane. Speaking divisively puts a real solution farther away.

If I am elected President I will not waste one moment shifting blame. Instead I will show IAC members how our processes work so they can get involved. I will increase transparency so they can see that the IAC is responsive to their concerns. I will restore enthusiasm by speaking positively about our volunteers and partners. I will ask the board to establish a “grassroots” committee to study and propose “category creep” solutions to the membership for their approval. I will invite all stakeholders into the process so a lasting compromise can be found. I will not become distracted by one issue; I will find all the root causes of our decline in participation. This is how a President can make sure that the IAC has a place for everyone, from the humble beginner who has built their plane with their own hands to the next World Aerobatic Champion flying a $500k monoplane.

I believe an IAC that is firing on all cylinders will BOTH field a competitive world team AND also make the sport accessible to everyone at all skill and income levels. We don't have to choose one over the other.

Jim Bourke

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