The Wire October 1995

Issue 1

October 1995

The Newsletter of Stratford Gliding Club 


The News Letter

It has been said on many occasions that information is not circulated effectively within the Club. In an attempt to improve communications, it was announced at the last Club Meeting that a News Letter would be published. After much delay here it is, the first one. This is very much an experiment so please bear with us if we do not get it quite right to start with. We’re intending to publish The Wire five times a year, at the start of October, January, April, June, and August.

We welcome contributions from anyone. Ideally, we’d like items that are informative, interesting, and entertaining, but one out of the three will do. We also welcome ideas for items, regular or one-off, and we’ll even do the writing for you.

Normal cut-off for contributions will be three weeks before the press date, but there will be time for important or urgent articles up to a week before the date.

Aircraft News

The New K13

The new K13 has now been on line for a little while. The instrumentation is not yet as good as it could be but improvements are on the agenda. The altimeters have already been sorted out (not before sorting out the odd pilot!) The cockpit loading is at present low. Part of this is due to the fibreglass skinning but we are told that there is some ballast built into the front of the glider. It is proposed to have this removed and the glider reweighed.

The broken K13

The fuselage has already been repaired and our Technical Officer Derek Phillips is repairing the wing. This should be completed by January 1996. The size and composition of the Club fleet will be reviewed by the end of the year. We of course have the possibility of having four two-seaters on line next year but this is at the moment all in the planning stage.

The K18

The K18 is proving to be a popular aircraft in the air. On the ground, however, finding yourself at the tail end is not so popular. Damageis being caused by the tail not being lifted. Peter Jones has done an excellent job in manufacturing a new all singing all dancing tail skid unit which has now been fitted to the aircraft. It is however 1½ to 2 lbs heavier than the original and so the aircraft has to be reweighed before coming back on line. This is due to be done soon and may even be complete by the time you read this. (Many thanks Peter – Chairman)


As we have now increased our fleet, there is a shortage of cushions. The committee will sort this out soon.

New launch signalling system

An enhanced signalling system between the bus and the winch is in development. Trials of this system will take place shortly. These will only be trials. Before any permanent changes are made to our existing system all due consultation, training, etc will take place.

Personal Accident Insurance

This was mentioned at the last Club meeting and has not been forgotten. The relevant questionnaire will be sent to you soon.

Safety Lecture

We have had three accidents on site this year requiring the people concerned to visit the Hospital for treatment, None of the accidents were directly flying related, one accident was however caused by a K13 while being ground handled. The point is that accidents do happen and we should be well prepared to deal with them. Mike Whitehouse who is an ex training officer with the Fire Service is going to lecture to interested members on “first responses” following an accident. Please make an effort to attend. Whilst flying is very safe, motor vehicles, glider trailers and so on seem to take their toll.

From The Minutes

The Committee minutes are published in the Clubhouse every month. Here are a few points that affect everyone.

Aircraft in the hangar have been damaged by sheep when we were flying from the far end of the airfield. That’s why there are notices asking you to keep the hangar doors closed.

There is a subcommittee of six currently working on the planning permission that governs our flying. The subjects are aerotow, motor gliding, and modern SLMGs and SSMGs. A planning consultant has been consulted, but as yet no conclusions have been reached and no actions taken.

The Committee is drawing up a five-year plan to give direction to the running of the Club. We are discussing membership, the fleet, the instructors, the ground equipment, the flying operation, and everything else (if there is anything else). One recommendation from this activity that has already been put into operation is the Junior Sponsorship scheme.

Junior Development Sponsorship

The Club is running a Sponsorship scheme to encourage juniors to take up gliding. This includes anyone under eighteen, and students under twenty-five. The aim of the scheme is to spread the cost of joining, and to fund somewhere around half the cost of going solo.

We have seven sponsored members at present: Lee Ingram, Chris Nock, Rob Palfreyman, and Clare Smith (who are already members), Alex Dyhouse, Matt Lines, and Lorraine Toolan.

If we start running short of pensioners, be assured that we’ll run a Senior Development Sponsorship scheme to compensate.

IGC Sporting Code

There is a new amendment to the IGC Sporting Code, which governs among other things gliding badges and record claims. All OOs have copies of the amendments.

Ian Strachan is chairman of the international group responsible for the Sporting Code. He’s posted a long article on the Internet about the amendment. We have the full article available, and indeed the whole Sporting Code is available in soft copy if anyone needs it. Here’s an extract from Ian’s post:

From <>, Ian W Strachan. The main change for most people will be the introduction of GPS Flight Recorder (logger) evidence for badges and records. However, so far, no GPS Flight Recorder has been approved by the IGC GPS Flight Recorder Approval Committee (GFAC). Indeed, only one type of recorder has been submitted to the committee for evaluation.

So, if you have GPS and Flight Recorder, do not assume that from 1 Oct you will be able to use it for Sporting Code purposes. Evidence from it will not be valid until a GFAC approval is issued for your type of equipment. Also, there is no guarantee that existing units will meet the IGC criteria for security of data (published in the new Annex B to the code), so do not assume anything unless you know that the kit was intended to meet the new (1995) IGC criteria. And a design intention may not mature into a GFAC approval, which will depend on test and evaluation of the kit.

From The Internet

Rec.aviation.soaring is an Internet news group that often comes up with useful information. Here are some examples of things we’ve picked up over the last year…

The daily results of the World Championships at Omarama were published with a lag of a day or two.

The Canadian Soaring Association has produced a safety checklist, which their clubs use as a basis for safety procedures. It came to light when it was used to avert a lawsuit claiming negligence after an accident, the club involved were considered to be diligent because they used the checklist. Pete Fanshawe, Airfield Operations Manager, has a copy.

From, Mike Schuster. Hold your right arm straight out in front of you, with your thumb up and your for fingers pointed left at a right angle to your palm. While aligning the top of your index finger with the horizon, glance past the bottom of your smallest finger. This is an 8:1 glide angle. By using less fingers, you can also visualize 10:1, 15:1, and 30:1. Of course, arm length and finger width vary, so everyone should verify their own measurements.

From, Ian Johnston: I have just been to the Southampton Boat Show, where I discovered that some GPS prices are in near free fall. The current going rates (inc VAT) are:

Garmin GPS45  £200
Magellan 2000  £200
Magellan Meridian  £200
Magellan Meridian XL  £250
AP Portable  £160

Which in most cases are 30-40% less than in the spring.

Winter Operation

It has been a fairly good (if fairly short) summer but all good things have to come to an end. Winter will soon be here and this requires a change of gear in more ways than one. There follows a few points on the Winter Operation.

Winter Landing

When the field was so hard in August, the landing runs were very unpleasant and caused some damage to the aircraft. At least some of the state of the field is a direct result of ruts laid down last winter. Please be careful this winter.

Winter Retrieving

As a reminder to those that know, and as news to those that don’t, we don’t rent the whole of the field from Richard Hobbs. The area that we don’t rent lies between the two hardstanding area at the SE and SW points, and comes out as far as the hole in the middle of the field that used to hold a fencepost.

Richard doesn’t mind if we land in that area in an emergency, or by mistake, and he hasn’t really grumbled when we’ve abused the situation. However, please try to avoid driving in this area. It gets very wet, and it’s hard to talk your way around two six-inch-deep Landrover ruts marking a shortcut to the winch.


Last winter, we had several accidents and incidents caused by the state of the field underfoot. Things that in summer might be minor irritations, such as over-enthusiastic tractoring, become a real hazard when people have their work cut out to remain upright. Don’t rush. Take it easy when you’re driving, pushing, or walking.


Remember don’t take off if the canopy is misting up, it may not clear in time for you to deal with a launch failure. The sun can also make life very difficult in the late afternoon. Think before you launch, not when you are on the approach.

WANTED: Dedicated Duty Marshals

The ideal duty marshal is definitely a woman. Somehow, men just do not appear to take this job seriously (if they can be persuaded at all to take it on in the first place). They can frequently be observed abandoning the flying list on a tyre well out of site, or just shoving it into someone else’s hand after half an hour. It is almost as if they fear they’d miss their turn to fly if they concentrate too hard on marshalling.

Women, on the other hand, seem to approach the task in a totally different manner. They do not seem to mind using their power to drag members out of the warm shelter of the bus/clubhouse into one of those horrible draughty sailplanes, virtually forcing them to fly. On occasions, they have even been heard remonstrating with members who appear reluctant to join the brown knee club, just to keep things going. Women have obviously realised that the job of duty marshal allows them to develop just the right skills for any leading position with responsibility, while retaining a sense of humour. Male converts to this approach may also be considered for the job.

Signed: Karin H.

Safety Messages

When towing a glider with a tractor, please ensure that the glider is behind the tractor and not off to one side.

When the cables have been taken off the Landrover, pull them well apart. This is more of a problem if the Landrover arrives in front of the downwind launch position.

Do not hold or stand on or near the second cable when the first cable is being launched.

This section could of course go on for many pages, but these three malpractices are happening far too often.

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