The Wire January 1996

Issue 2

January 1996

The Newsletter of Stratford Gliding Club


The News Letter

The response to the first issue exceeded our expectations, which is encouraging. Please continue giving us your feed back.

Next issue we would like to include a For Sale/Wanted/Swops section. Entries for the April edition must reach us no later than the 12th March 1996. For this issue only this will be free, there after a charge will be made, rates to be notified next issue. Please keep it brief, because entries are subject to the space available.


Winter Rates

From the start of December to the end of February, we’re charging a flat rate of £4 per flight in the club aircraft. All flying time is free. All launches before 10am are £2, as are all simulated cable breaks.

If the club limit of 45 minutes for two-seaters is broken, flying time for the whole flight will be charged at normal rates.

There is a prize of three launch vouchers for the longest duration single-seater flight, club or syndicate, during this period.


Aircraft News


The Broken K13

CBW has been repaired by Derek Phillips, the Club’s Technical Officer, and is flying again.

We intend to keep it in the club fleet until the middle of the season, and then review whether to keep it as a fourth training aircraft. The decision depends on utilisation.

The K18

The tail skid has been honed, filed, chamfered and trimmed to the minimum weight possible. The heaviest part of the assembly is the rubber plate, and there’s not a lot we can do about that.

The problem was that we weren’t sure what the weight of the original unit was. Broken bits of it are scattered all over the field, so we weren’t sure whether the new one was any heavier, and Martyn raised the lower cockpit limit to avoid any possibility of an aft C of G.

The aircraft has now been reweighed and has a new weight placard.

It’s still tail-heavy, of course, so the tail still must be carried when the aircraft is turned.

The New K13

HSM has also been reweighed after the lead ballast weight had been removed from the nose section and a revised load chart fitted.

Dl’s of two seaters

Some confusion has arisen as to who can DI club two seat aircraft. The answer is P1 rated pilots and above.


The Hangar

We now have seven club aircraft on site. This requires very careful packing and unpacking of the hangar.

Until we are more practised in this art, aircraft must not be taken out of the hangar first thing in the morning or packed at night unless under the supervision of at least a P1 rated pilot.

Pilots who do not have such a rating but feel that they are capable of carrying out this task should apply in person to the CFI or Deputy CFI’s where each application will be considered on merit.

The club hangarage is being reviewed by the Committee as a matter of some urgency.


Safety Matters



We’re planning a lecture on First-Aid, accident response, and operation of emergency equipment. It will be run by Bob Hill, the Safety Officer, in February.

Fetching the Cable

When the Land Rover arrives with the cables, the system is under maximum tension because the brakes are on at both ends. When you are about to take the cable off, it’s often convenient to hold the cable up to keep it clear of the wheels. If you do this, always hold the parachute, never the weak link. The link may still break, and broken cable is very sharp.


When you’re working with machinery on the field, or even handling the cable at the launch point, it’s usually wise to wear gloves. With certain machines, it’s also essential to wear goggles.

While we recommend their use, we are not allowed to supply them because the current Health And Safety rules forbid it.


There was an incident last season when a sheep took exception to its reflection in the highly-polished door panel of a member’s car. It butted the door several times, causing several hundred pounds’ damage.

The culprit hasn’t been identified despite a full description, and the flock has closed ranks rather than hand her over.

This sort of damage can’t be covered by the Club’s or the land-owner’s insurance, and so “Vehicles are parked at the owner’s risk” is a reality. Most at risk are gleaming dark-coloured cars, especially black and dark blue. The recommended solution is a layer of filth.




Now that the winter Cheap Rates are here we can expect a lot of Cable Break practice! As pilots, we need to be prepared, and also as Winchdrivers.

Please make sure that you are in current practice for dealing with any level of cable break. Any of the instructors will be happy to check you out. Cheap rates can be very costly if we spend lots of money on Wrap-ups!

Also, I have asked all instructors to check on the experience of the winch drivers when there is a First Solo or New Type being launched.

If you are an inexperienced driver, don’t be offended if a more experienced driver takes over for a first solo, try to remember your first solo – you were desperate for a really good launch with no hitches.


Lesley, Winchmaster.



The previous newsletter was distributed with an application form for personal insurance through the Club. If you want to join this scheme but have not yet responded, this is your last chance to do so. If we haven’t received sufficient replies by 1st February, we’ll abandon the scheme for the foreseeable future.


From The Minutes

We take safety very seriously, not just in the air, but on the ground as well. We try to build safety into our normal airfield routine, so that it just happens as a matter of course.

Recently, however, various bodies, including the Trading Standards Authority and the Health and Safety Executive, have imposed themselves on gliding clubs. Nowadays, it’s not enough to be diligent, we have to be able to prove, in retrospect, that we have been diligent.

Unfortunately, this will inevitably involve the Committee in bureaucracy, and some of it may escape into our daily routine.

For example; we are now keeping logbooks in the winches, and all engineers and winch drivers are asked to maintain these logbooks with the same degree of detail as we do for aircraft.


The Club

The Club AGM

Over half of the Club’s full flying members came to the AGM in October. Thanks, it makes the Committee work seem worth while.

Much of the work of running the Club is delegated to other groups. These groups are run by group chairmen who are always members of the Committee.

The Committee is now:

Geoff Butler Chairman, Membership Secretary
Martyn Davies Secretary
Brian Tebbitt Treasurer
Peter Fanshawe Deputy Chairman, Airfield Ops
Peter Blair Aircraft
Derek Bennett Marketing
Dave Benton Flying Committee
Bob Hill Engineering, Safety Officer
Pete Kenealy Deputy Safety Officer
Jo O’Brien
Derek Phillips Technical Officer
Harry Williams
Roy Wood Site

New Members

Chris Devey and Mark Thompson have joined us through the Sponsorship scheme bring us up to the full complement of 10.

Wes Howard, Ray Gardner, Susan Smith, and Ian Willats have also joined us, bringing our full-flying membership up to 130.

Tim Duckett has converted from Temporary to Full membership, just a week before going to live in Woking and work in Bracknell.

Who’s Done What

Since the last Newsletter:


  • Rob Palfreyman completed his Bronze ‘C, in November.
  • Derek Bennett and Geoff Bridgewater achieved Gold Height badges at Aboyne in October.

(If we’ve missed you, sorry, but you haven’t told us!)



Duty Marshalling

On the whole, Club members reject the principle of marshalling and the Duty Marshall. Why is it then that the Committee, who are there to implement the Club’s wishes, insist on continuing to try to impose marshalling.

It is often the case in spring and autumn that we reach the end of the flying day with members still to fly, and they either don’t fly at all or have a single, rushed, poor-quality flight. This can also happen in the summer, when the limit is not the daylight but the end of the instructors’ 12-hour shift. Less obvious, but more important, is the end of the part the day when the weather is working.

The normal reaction to these problems is “Bad luck, they should get here earlier”. Perhaps (but perhaps not: if people arrive at nine, work ten hours, but don’t fly, they’ll soon stop bothering to come). However, that’s not the problem that we’re addressing.

If there acre 30 members on site, we need 60 launches for them. If one of those members chooses to arrive earlier to improve their flying, fine, but we still need 60 launches, it’s just that somebody else is at the bottom of the flying list. From the point of view of the Club, failing to achieve those launches is a disservice to the members, and from the point of view of the business, it is a financial loss caused by under-use of the fleet.

The solution is to have the club fleet spending more time in the air and less on the ground, and that is the main aim of the Duty Marshall. There are avoidable delays at the launch point, and the Duty Marshall will try to avoid them by getting pilots into aircraft and making sure they are ready when their cables arrive. (By way of an illustration: if everyone wastes just one minute, leaving their cockpit checks until the last moment or waiting for the launch point crew or waiting for that cloud to come in range, during the day we’ll waste an hour, which is ten launches or five members’ flights.)

Another function of the Duty Marshall is to make sure that people don’t miss their turn to fly just because they’re not at the launch point. Winch drivers, retrieve drivers, tractor drivers are all out of sight and easily out of mind. Out of sight in the Clubhouse is a different matter, of course.

So, the job of the Duty Marshall is to keep the launch point running smoothly and efficiently, improving the flying for the members and reducing the frustrations for those left on the ground. That’s why we persist with the scheme, and we’ll continue to do so until somebody comes up with something better.

The Chief Marshall

After several years in the job of Chief Marshall, Fred Price is standing down, and Sandra Wood has volunteered to take his place. Our thanks are due to both of them for their past and future hard work. The Chief Marshall is a member of the Airfield Ops Group, and reports to the Club Committee through the Chairman of that group. The group is responsible for the day-to-day ground operation of the Club, and includes, among others, senior instructors, the Winchmaster, and the Safety Officer.

As we see it, the role of the Chief Marshall is to insinuate marshalling into our daily routine, to define the level at which it should operate so as to be acceptable to all, and to provide whatever training, information, tools, and authority are necessary to get the job done to an acceptable and consistent standard.

Sandra has started by showing is just how effective Duty Marshalling can be if it’s done well, and has succeeded in reconciling some very long flying lists with some equally short days. However, the job of Chief Marshall does not include being duty marshall very day, so you can Expect to Be Approached.


From the Internet

From: software@oimag (Chris Rowland)within 2 days of the flight):

<snip> Chris Rollings took the UK height record with 38,000 feet at Deeside Gliding Club (Aboyne) earlier today. The height record was for two-seaters and was for absolute altitude and height gain, using the BGA’s DG500. The gain was about 10,500m and the absolute altitude was about 11,500m. This was done within a few miles of Aboyne, in fact the glider was probably further away vertically than horizontally.

Chris came down because he was as high as he was prepared to go, even with a diluter demand system, the lift was still about 3 knots. Incidentally the CAI logger pressure altitude stopped at 36000 ft. Fortunately the EW barograph didn’t, although it would have done so at about 40000 ft. Does anyone know where Chris can get a pressure suit…

From: eagle@taskfinder win-uk. net (Ken Sparkes):

The United Kingdom Club Class championships will take place for the first time in 1996. The competition will be held concurrently with the Western Regional Championships to be held at the Bristol & Gloucestershire Gliding Club at Nympsfield during the period 22nd/3Oth June 1996. The entry list will be restricted to 35 pilots in the first year.

Gliders of 103% handicap and below, based on the BGA Speed Index list, will be permitted to fly in the competition. This will exclude the LS4 which is still considered to be competitive at the Standard Class Nationals level. The competition will be handicapped and scored under the same rules employed for Regional competitions.

Admission to the competition will based on the current priority lists. The competition will not be rated as a National Championship in the first year and will produce a winner rather than a National Champion.

It is also the BGA’s intention to run an independent 18 Metre Championship under the same rules in 1997.

Free Out-and-Return

From: Peter Ryder,

At the last plenary meeting in March 1995, the IGC decided to introduce a new type of flight for glider records, called the “Free Out-and-Return Flight”, defined under point of the new Section 3 of the Sporting Code, which came into effect on October 1, 1995: Free Out-and-Return Flight. An out-and-return distance flight where the turn point may be selected in flight from a predeclared list of turn points. A corresponding record category ( was also introduced.

The question has been raised as to whether the Free Out-and-Return Flight may be used not only for records but also for the distance flights for the International FAI Gliding Badges as specified in Chapter 4: Silver distance; Gold distance; Diamond distance; 1000 km Diploma; 2000 km Diploma.

After careful consideration the IGC Bureau has ruled that the wording of Chapter 4 in conjunction with the flight definitions in Chapter 1 does NOT at present permit the Free Out-and-Return Flight to be used for badges.

This matter will, however, be reconsidered at the next IGC meeting in March 1996. It is possible that the IGC will decide to use Free Out-and-Return Flights for Badges, but for the present this is excluded by the wording of the Code, whether this was intended or not.

Peter Ryder. President, IGC.

Turning Point Lists

The idea of a free out-and-return flight lets you select a turning point, in flight, from a list of turning points declared before the flight.

It is good enough to declare The Current BGA Turning Point List.

This list is available in hard or soft copy if you need it, but it’s normally pre-loaded into all GPSs.



A useful parachute re-packing service is available from John Curtis, a British Parachute Association Rigger-Examiner.

John, who is based at Gainsborough, but is usually available at Windrush Airfield near Burford at weekends, will check and re-pack most types of parachute for a charge of £18 each.

The BOA has no policy on parachutes. When I enquired, Barry Rolfe referred me to the British Parachute Association.

The BPA advised that re-packing of emergency parachutes should only be done by a BPA qualified rigger, not by any other BPA packer, and gave me John Curtis’s name.

Although some manufacturers impose a life of 10 years on their parachutes. John will permit up to 25 years on any chute, depending on its condition, but with a six month re-packing cycle.

This means that any chute, regardless of age, that he repacks, is repacked “on condition” and has a “life” of six months. Further repacking will always be for six months “on condition”, up to the maximum age of 25 years.

When I spoke to him, he gave me the usual advice about storage: keep out of damp and sunlight etc. He also said that canopy size is important in relation to pilot weight. Obviously a heavy person would have a high descent rate with a small canopy. However, I quote his remarks regarding very light pilots.

“A small person requires a small canopy and a heavy person a large one. The danger with a light person is that of being blown about when descending in windy conditions if the canopy is too large”. “Remember, an emergency parachute may be used in conditions that a sporting parachutist would not jump in”.

Parachute canopies vary in size from 22 feet to 32 feet and also in porosity.

John Curtis is based at Curtis Rigging Services Ltd, 221 Ropery Road, Gainsborough, Lincs, DN2I 2PD. Tel: 01427 614917. Home tel & fax: 01427-614917.

Tony Edlin


View From The Back

Snappy title, eh? Particularly as this is intended to be on the back page and is written by an instructor. The title came first, but, for this issue, let’s take it literally and talk about the view from the back seat. We’re often asked “How can you see with my head in the way?” The answer is: ‘We do because we look”.

Let’s think about seeing, what we see, and where we should be looking. The human eyeball Mkl is all we are equipped with in a glider. The military jets that pass so close on weekdays have a slightly better system, but we don’t show up too well on that. We have to trust that they, private powered aircraft, and other gliders are using the Mkl eyeball to the best advantage.

Trust, but don’t assume.

The trouble with the Mkl eyeball is that it’s been around for a long time and wasn’t developed as a flying aid. It was developed to take in an image of our surroundings and decide, in conjunction with the brain, to take in an image of our surroundings and decide if what we see is normal, something edible, or a threat. If it moved, it was a potential meal or a potential threat, and we would “see” it; if it didn’t, we could dismiss it and keep looking for the next meal. The point is that the Mk1 eyeball detects movement, and if an object is stationary, we can miss it as the brain will choose to ignore it.

Unless we LOOK.

Next time you fly, concentrate on looking out. When you’re flying straight, LOOK ahead at the horizon, then below and above it. Scan the full field of view, pausing from time to time to look at the horizon and above and below it.

Before turning, LOOK. If you’re turning left, look right first to ensure that there isn’t a surprise waiting when you’ve turned 180°, then look left as far behind as you can.

Before rolling out of a turn, LOOK, especially behind and below the upper wing.

These may be obvious, but have you thought of LOOKING UP when in circuit. There may be another glider 100’ above you, and you are in his blind spot. The pilot may choose to open his brakes to “get the right angle”. On base leg, have you thought to LOOK away from your landing area? There may be a glider on a long final glide about to just scrape in.

The view from the back should be the same as the view from the front. We should both be LOOKING.



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