Welcome to Strathaven Airfield Ltd's latest set of annual accounts.
A few years ago, the CAA - with the BMAA and LAA etc - heavily promoted the IMSAFE mnemonic. Before flying check: Illness, Medication, Street, Alcohol, Fatigue and Eating.
Little did we think that Illness would mean Covid!
Almost a year ago I was in Paris for my birthday, and how we scoffed at Tom "Top Gun" Cruise when he and his film crew bailed out of Venice because a couple of cases of this new "Flu" had appeared in Italy. Ooops!
So this is a review of the year from 1st October 2019 to 30th September 2020 - Strathaven Airfield Ltd's financial year. A copy of the accounts is referenced below.
In the year 2018/2019, the airfield made a loss of £4,742 - mainly due to a bad debt. The general aim has been to break even, perhaps even build up a small surplus to pay for improvements.
This year, 2019/2020, we have made a surplus of £12,459. But since we received Covid grants of £26,800, we actually made a trading loss of around £14,000.
A large part of that was due to the decision when lockdown started to spend money to improve the airfield facilities - the major item being while the runway was closed, we dug up sections to put in new drains and laid a new gravel drain down the south side of the main runway.
Graham and Colin also spent a lot of time in lockdown simply tidying the place up. We ended up with a stack of old fence posts, a skip full of scrap steel and more than 300 used tyres to recycle.
We also decided In March to freeze club membership and hangarage fees, instead of the usual increase in hangarage to meet inflation.
As part of preparing for the return, we also made sure we posted something every day on the airfield Facebook page, so as people could keep in touch (at a distance!) and be encouraged.
For the first time ever, the airfield managed to get grant money - in this year, £25,000 from Scottish Government money distributed via local councils. We should give credit to the local Conservative councillor Graeme Campbell for helping us fight our corner.
That has spurred me on to applying on behalf of the airfield for other projects.
The Scottish Government's Community And Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) has offered us a grant of around 60% of a project to install solar PV panels on the hangar roof, and a storage battery to help ensure we use as much of that power as possible on site. The planning application is now in and the project has to be completed by March 30th.
We have also applied to the South Lanarkshire Renewable Energy Fund for help towards the cost of this project. Even without their help, the scheme should only cost the airfield around £6,000, but will save around £1,200 a year in electricity bills.
We have also recently applied to the Community Response and Resilience Fund for a laptop and some picnic tables, including a wheelchair accessible one. And we have sent in the form for a grant from the community council for another wheelchair accessible picnic table for the end of our "Road to Nowhere" path.
These applications were prompted by the success of the "Road to Nowhere" path. During lockdown 1.0, we were approach by one of the local radio modellers who was meant to shield but thought he would be driven mad by staying in his house for months. He asked: You have plenty of open space at the airfield, can I come and have a walk?
So we opened the path, put the cast iron table and bench at the end of it, and among the welcome visitors is a chap from the new Cala Homes who comes up in his motorised wheelchair to walk his two Collies!
We are hoping to clean out some drains across the runway and solve another damp patch. And we have asked the local non-flying community what they'd like to see at the airfield in future.
Responses so far have included more wildflowers, a cafe or burger van, a community orchard at the gate and even a small open-air music venue where the old dump was!
Colin and Graham are pretty busy with the day-today operations of the airfield and flying school, so as well as suggestions, people will need to volunteer if they want things done!
We have also continued with the gradual replacement of the three miles of fencing around the airfield - you may notice the new fence and gate near the top of the driveway. And Graham's brother in California made up the design for a new airfield sign, which has now been made by 360 Graphics in Strathaven and is waiting to go up.
And we will see what other grant money we can get. Recognition of our work in the first lockdown came with a VIBES award - Vision in Business for the Environment in Scotland. A nice trophy, but more importantly it is independent recognition of how we are working to improve sustainability in our community.
Fees and charges
Inflation is less than 1%, so we are going to freeze the club membership and hangarage rates for the second year. Membership and aircraft based here - and the income from that -may fall a little this year, but we have the reserves to cope.
For landing fees and overnight visitors, we have signed up with two new apps: Aerops and AvPay. So no need to handle cash, and a full record of who has paid. Many airfields in Scotland have signed up with these companies, so well worth downloading their apps in preparation for when we can fly again.
The airfield accounts are here: https://tinyurl.com/Straven19-20
Finally, at this point, we would usually advise that the accounts and associated receipts are available for inspection at the airfield. With social distancing requirements, if there is anything you'd like to inspect this year please let Colin know and we can scan things or use Facetime so as you can view them.
With even more feeling than usual, may we once again wish the airfield family health and happiness.
To view the latest accounts, please click here
For the 2018-2019 annual accounts, please click here
For the 2017-2018 annual accounts, please click here
For the 2016-2017 annual accounts, please click here
For the 2015-2016 annual accounts, please click here