Workload at Bong Launches
(cross-posted with permission)
At the meeting last Wednesday a major topic of discussion had to do with the
problem we have had with a few people doing all of the work at the Bong
launches. I said that I would write something to the membership about this,
and I thought I'd send it the day before our sod farm launch in hopes that
the topic will be fresh in our minds tomorrow.
The problem is fairly clear, and obvious: a very few people consistently do
all of the set-up and tear-down work at Bong, as well as much of the range
duty. The make-up of this group changes from season-to-season, but our
President Scott Goebel has always been part of it. Once in a while -
probably once a year at most - he misses a launch, but other than that, he
is the first to arrive and the last to leave at Bong, each and every time.
In light of that, there is no reason why he should have to do any range duty
at all, yet almost always he winds up LCOing (that is, pushing the button)
We talked at the meeting about various "carrot and stick" approaches to get
more people to help out, and while I didn't keep careful track, I think
there's going to be some "carrot" related to offering to waive launch fees
for people who work two or more shifts during a launch. The "stick" is
already there: if Scott has to keep doing all of the set-up and tear-down
with insufficient help, there will come a time when he will decide not to
bother anymore. Count on it. I just finished a two-and-a-half year stint as
President of a small organization, and that's more time than anyone should
have to put into that kind of position. Scott has been our President for
more than twice that long. I've been in the club long enough to know that
it's not fun always trying to find a new President, and I'm really glad we
don't have to do that anymore. Let's not tempt fate.
I'm as guilty as anyone with respect to the set-up/tear-down stuff, and I
intend to make sure that I'm there for one or the other, or both, from now
on. It's not that difficult, at least for those of us with relatively short
drives to Bong, to arrive around 9 AM rather than 10 AM and help set up the
range. It's considerably harder for me personally to stick around until the
range closes on Sunday (or Saturday, on a one-day launch) for tear-down, but
someone is doing it, and all of us who fly at Bong have a duty to help out.
I'm not even touching the issue of who stores and transports the trailer,
which has to be a huge hassle for someone, or the thankless job of going
down to Bong in early January to argue over use of the runway.
Because I've been negligent about set-up and tear-down, I couldn't tell you
who the other people are who have been coming through for us. However, it's
quite clear that our Secretary/Treasurer Mark Hackler has been doing far
more than his share of the work as well, not only in keeping the website
current (see the new rule about the away cell), but in putting together a
really nice new PA, and on top of all of that, running Registration at the
launches. There is no reason why he should have to do anything else at
launches (though setting up and tearing down the new PA is probably his baby
for a while - it wouldn't hurt if some of us tagged along to learn to do
it). In fact it would be nice if someone else would step up and take over
the flyer Registration duties. It's a simple task, except at the big public
launches, and after about noon, it's essentially no work at all.
We have a launch at Bong a week from tomorrow, June 11th and 12th. The
website says "10 AM to 5 PM". If you're a WOOSH member and you intend to
make use of the range, you should read that as "Saturday 9 AM to Sunday 5:30
PM". Unless it's pouring out, I will be there at 9 AM on Saturday morning,
and I'm going to make every effort to be there at the close of the range on
Sunday as well. I'm also going to take the first LCO shift on Saturday. When
I'm done with that, I hope to see someone other than Scott or Mark manning
the rangehead. If you're willing to LCO but don't know how to run the
system, find me and ask me, and I'll show you. It's easy.
In the past we've done this and it "stuck" for exactly one launch. There's
another Bong launch on the 30th and 31st of July, one the 27th and 28th of
August (ECOF), and finally the 17th and 18th of September. If you're
planning to attend any of these launches, please plan ahead right now to
help with set-up, tear-down, and range duty.