SAWS becoming Unafordable

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RudiGreyling
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by RudiGreyling » Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:20 am

Chris_WIS2 wrote:Hi Rudi

Please do that, it will give us a sense of the desired state. While we may not match that 100%, it may serve as feedstock for a constructive debate.

Please do note that the Metar, TAF and warnings info is already free.

Regards
Chris
OK Give me a bit of time to draw that up.
Anybody wanting to give input PM me to what that should look like FREE, LITE, FULL, PER DAY.
I'll post as soon as I am ready then we can debate further.
Rudi
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by Chris_WIS2 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:25 am

@dilligaf: VFR and IFR is how SAWS see the world. Visual Flying Rules are used by GA, and requires a completely different set of products (low level, visual) than IFR as used by CA. You may have come to the core of this debate; a fundamental difference in how SAWS processes work to serve two completely different markets. That's possibly why you guys keep saying that GA is "no extra work"" for SAWS, and SAWS are sitting there saying "We cannot afford to continue this product".
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by Chris_WIS2 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:29 am

RudiGreyling wrote: OK Give me a bit of time to draw that up.
Anybody wanting to give input PM me to what that should look like FREE, LITE, FULL, PER DAY.
I'll post as soon as I am ready then we can debate further.
Rudi
Rudi, here's a starting point. Please note that as you scroll down to aviation section, it all becomes very messy as we haven't had time to update how this table presents the underlying authentication table for aviation:
http://www.weathersa.co.za/web/SubsTable.asp

Also, another user did this work which may help - it's outdated now and there should be more green under SAWS:
http://www.weathersa.co.za/web/Compare.asp

Both should give u a leg up

I'd also suggest the cuts need to align with our technical ability:
- free, R25, 35, 150, 250/month
- We could relatively easily do a pre-paid type of buy 2/3/5/30 consecutive day bundles (CC details would have to be pre-loaded)
- We could also add capped entries per month (we'd need to dev this tho)

Also think about NEW products - perhaps there are top premium things we could do (eg plot your flight path and we give you air ascents for the path), more airports covered (this requires more observers by ICOA standards), more webcams (needs infrastructure), etc. A word of warning tho; SAWS is already ice cold on this market, and putting more support in is not going to be sellable right now, so it's future thinking.
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RudiGreyling
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by RudiGreyling » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:58 am

Chris, i was pressed for time but this is my first stab at it, without taking your last post into consideration
I need to run to meetings for the rest of the day but will check in late tonight.

There's a lot of thought behind this...but let the debate begin.
I thought really hard what is the minimum criteria to safe flight and tried to make only that FREE.
Then it was a balancing act between LITE and FULL.
I am in business consulting so I understand what you/SAWS are tring to do, but I also fly and we need to balance this act.
1.jpg
2.jpg
Anycase those are my thoughts until late tonight...

Regards
Rudi
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by George » Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:01 am

=D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D>
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by wynand » Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:31 am

I am pleased to see this dicussion continue.
We are still miles apart, but we are seeking middle ground. Thanks to everyone.

Dilligaf: I also found the "VFR" and "IFR" labels bewildering. Also the term, "CAA pIlots" is very puzzling. It took me a while to realize that the split in users alluded to actually refers to commercial operators versus "all the rest", the reasoning being that the commercial operators are already taxed in terms of the gazetted formula.

The problem with this is that many commercial operators are zero rated because they either fly aircraft less than 2000kg, or they fly "VFR only" with aircraft less than 5000kg.
This is a significant contravention of the "user pays" principle. Presumably it was argued that such operator's usage cannot be quantified and they don't have money anyway. By the way, I fit in this (light commercial/ medium VFR-commercial) category and I have free access to the "IFR" site Because the wording in the gazette makes me exempt!!:D .

The tariffs we are beginning to argue now, affect the private flyers that include anything from the Lear Jet owner (does he EVER fly VFR?) to the syndicated trike pilot.
Presently the maligned R250/month tariff imposes a heavier "per movement" tax on the average private pilot than on a commercial operator using the same machine over the same distance. Not good! (but we are addressing this issue)
In fact, in the under 5000kg VFR category the commercial operator gets free access to the IFR site. Also not good. Now private flyers will subsidse commercial operators.

Now here's a further complication: The commercial operator who does pay the gazetted rate, will evidently lose functionality on the IFR site, because Spot graphs and "other VFR" products are going to be moved to the " VFR" pay site. The comercial guys, if they find out, are bound to be upset about this (I think RET is already smelling a rat :D ), but there is some unintended justice here because the pay site is better and presently still rather expensive for the occasional user (something we are addressing right here).

It really is a can of worms, innit?

I believe the present basic categorization of aviation weather product consumers is flawed, and that it require a re-think.

I cannot see how the products can be classified as "VFR" and "IFR". Many private flyers fly IFR and many Commercial ops fly VFR. Is a spot graph only applicable to one of the two categories? In the end, serious private flyers and commercial operators want access to exactly the same products. Right now, the "VFR" site is BETTER than the IFR(commercial ops) -site, what with bookmarking and far better packaging.

I apologise for throwing in these complication while we seem to be making progress, but I do believe we have define the user categories and their respective requirements much more clearly before we have any hope of arriving at an equitable, hopefully simple and attractive solution.

Ultimately I would like to see ONE user interface that has the appearance of the present "VFR site" where commercial operators paying the gazetted rate have full functionality, and all the other users find a comfortable level where their subscription fee is percieved to be fair for the value of functionality (or frequency of use) they quailfy for.
Pardon my shouting, but all my ramblings can be distilled into the above statement.

At the very least, METARS, TAFS, weather warnings and some country-wide weather radar image should be free.
There are other sites where satellite imagery can accessed free.
Last edited by wynand on Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by heisan » Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:41 am

:twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

I wonder how the new Consumer Protection Act will affect this? When they get it wrong (which they inevitably do), do we get a refund?

:wink:
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by wynand » Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:52 am

Ja, Heisan, lets not go there. I don't refund my pax when I make a hard landing.
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by Chris » Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:54 am

What SAWS need to understand is that the main decision a GA pilot need is a go/no go. CA is different - they have schedules so it is not a go/no go decision for them. It is about fuel they need to load, alternates, minimas, etc A GA pilot that is finding he is spending ages pouring over weather charts, sat images, etc should probably already have made the no go decision.

Another point - where we can fly is also limited. As an example - If I am flying PE to Jhb - I have to fly at FL105. FL85 is too low unless you want to go low level and FL125 is oxygen territory. The winds at every level mean nothing. All it does is help me estimate the ETA and once you are in the air that becomes very easy.
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by Chris » Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:58 am

wynand wrote:Ja, Heisan, lets not go there. I don't refund my pax when I make a hard landing.
You had better not go there as well - The new Act is going to have far reaching effect on Business. The new Act changes the responsibility of proof from the customer to the supplier. The existing situation was that is you were unhappy you had to prove to the Court that the supplier is liable. Under the new Act the supplier has to prove he does not have to pay. :shock: :shock: :shock:

I can see American type court cases becoming the norm with prices going up to cover all the legal fees and compensation, or businesses closing. Consumers think this bill is great - but if it cripples the economy then it is not.
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by Chris_WIS2 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:46 pm

We're actually very very close to each other IF we can guarantee the volumes. That's the issue - I don;t think we can guarantee them. Attempts were made by SAWS over the past two years to go a regulated route, and it was bounced repeatedly by AOPA etc. I think that's now a lost opportunity. Unless anyone has a bright idea?

So, here's where we are:
  • Occasionals: WELL catered for at R10/use. I really don't think there are any counter-arguments that can hold water there any longer. I must repeat that this will move to a CC-only payment gateway tho (upload details once, you'll get a confirm button each time you have to 'top up')
  • Full timers: Rudi's split is doable, but it's essentially just a reduction in average pricing, so the above volume issue is key
  • CA access: This is solvable; we'll clean up that old aviation database, and airlines will have to give us employee lists to upload, then we can (not saying we will yet) replicate that database to the 'new' site for them. It'll take a while tho - largely cos employers are not gonna move fast...
So truly, we're at a place where volume has to come from one side or the other; either SAWS (and yes, FF) carry on delivering a service at a very tangible, recently measured, loss in the hope that volumes increase, OR the aviation group finds a way to bring volumes fast. If pushed to the former, then SAWS (and FF) will indeed stick to the R250 until things swing (if they ever do at that price point). We have an installed base, and that's currently keeping this facility on life support. If we drop pricing and volume does not come in, then it's game over. Once again, the R10 mechanism covers all and every case of the occasional flyer so please stop confusing that issue. The R250 debate is ONLY for people who will want and use the full time.

@heisan: We process refunds right now (public site - high value report sales etc) with no issue at all. EXCEPT SMS - there is no way to recover the 50% that goes to other parties, and without a banking transaction there is also no affordable way to admin an R5 refund.
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by Chris » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:20 pm

Can you quantify the volumes you are talking about
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by George » Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:39 pm

3rd option is "we" just make use of alternative sources... :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by Chris » Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:57 pm

Freezing level is a scarce commodity on most weather sites

What I would like to know is what portion of the buck will get to SAWS - with FF taking their share and the ISPs, etc taking the cut on sms charges there will be very little left.
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Re: SAWS becoming Unafordable

Unread post by RudiGreyling » Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:16 pm

Chris_WIS2 wrote:We're actually very very close to each other IF we can guarantee the volumes. That's the issue - I don;t think we can guarantee them. Attempts were made by SAWS over the past two years to go a regulated route, and it was bounced repeatedly by AOPA etc. I think that's now a lost opportunity. Unless anyone has a bright idea?

So, here's where we are:
  • Occasionals: WELL catered for at R10/use. I really don't think there are any counter-arguments that can hold water there any longer. I must repeat that this will move to a CC-only payment gateway tho (upload details once, you'll get a confirm button each time you have to 'top up')
  • Full timers: Rudi's split is doable, but it's essentially just a reduction in average pricing, so the above volume issue is key
  • CA access: This is solvable; we'll clean up that old aviation database, and airlines will have to give us employee lists to upload, then we can (not saying we will yet) replicate that database to the 'new' site for them. It'll take a while tho - largely cos employers are not gonna move fast...
So truly, we're at a place where volume has to come from one side or the other; either SAWS (and yes, FF) carry on delivering a service at a very tangible, recently measured, loss in the hope that volumes increase, OR the aviation group finds a way to bring volumes fast. If pushed to the former, then SAWS (and FF) will indeed stick to the R250 until things swing (if they ever do at that price point). We have an installed base, and that's currently keeping this facility on life support. If we drop pricing and volume does not come in, then it's game over. Once again, the R10 mechanism covers all and every case of the occasional flyer so please stop confusing that issue. The R250 debate is ONLY for people who will want and use the full time.

@heisan: We process refunds right now (public site - high value report sales etc) with no issue at all. EXCEPT SMS - there is no way to recover the 50% that goes to other parties, and without a banking transaction there is also no affordable way to admin an R5 refund.

OK Chris_wis where does it leave us now? I dont understand where we stand now? a R10 per day OR R250 per month option and nothing inbetween?
Did I do all that work for nothing, and is the poll not something to consider?
At least adjust the minimum FREE stuff so we can execute SAFE flight while we debate further.

Regards
Rudi

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