The Wire August 1996

Issue 5

August 1996

The Newsletter of Stratford Gliding Club


The News Letter

The next News Letter will be in October, after which we’re going to switch to four issues a year, in October, January, April, and July.

Unsurprisingly, we still haven’t received any For Sale or Swop requests. If you want to put anything like this in The Wire, it’s still possible, but as of now we’re going to stop asking.

The YR

The first issue of The YR arrived recently. We’re honoured to find that The Wireis considered worth competing against.

The Editor of The YR, who has passed the qualifying exam for joining the editorial staff of The Wire, has not yet taken up the post.

The first issue contained an interesting blend of in-depth studies of club members, old jokes, and out-and-out libel. We await the second issue with interest.


Club Flying

Club Flying Week

There wasn’t too much of the expected task flying done, because the weather rather let us down. There was plenty of local flying, and the visitors from Bristol University Gl seemed to enjoy themselves.

Thanks to Jo O’Brien for organising the barbecue on the Thursday. BUGC are under the fond impression that they won the evening’s entertainment, but as far as we were concerned, they surrendered en masse to out Chief Negotiator.


Aircraft News


We’ve had a spate of damaged canopies recently. This has been caused by general carelessness, and in particular by people reaching through the direct vision panel to operate the release. This costs the club a lot of money, both in repairs and in lost flying.

Laws and Rules for Glider Pilots

The twelfth edition is now available and it is expected that every member will have their own copy. There are 32 clauses marked as Inclusions or Alterations in Sense in this new issue. Do read it from cover to cover.

Air Map

The new Issue 22 of the half mil air map is now available. Cross-country pilots are legally required to carry an up-to-date air map.

Landing Out

Any pilot who lands out, planned or otherwise, bears the responsibility for getting the aircraft safely back to Snitterfield.

If you’re planning to go on a cross-country flight, you should have your retrieve crew organised before you go. Retrieving is all part of the sport, and most people are happy to retrieve, on the basis that it may be them who lands out next. However, calling in at the end of the day and expecting to organise a crew on the phone is much less likely to succeed.

If you’re flying a Club aircraft, be sure that you know how to derig it. It’s also important to make sure that the aircraft is stowed correctly and securely in its trailer.

All of this is perfectly obvious, but it has already gone wrong four times this season.

Note that it’s important to load the open K13 trailer correctly, because it’s possible to get it wrong and damage the aircraft. The upper surface of the wings must be inboard, and the elevator horn must be towards the fuselage with protection between the two.


Visitor Flying

Casual Visitors

We’ve had a few days recently when we’ve been inundated with visitors. While we welcome the income, there are times when it does rather interfere with Club members’ flying.

In the most recent case, visitors were insisting on their right to fly, on the grounds that ‘we called and we were told to just turn up’. It’s important not to set visitors’ expectations too high, so if you take a call on the Club phone, please explain that there may be a wait if there are other visitors, and that places and time are limited.

We are looking at the whole question of flying casual visitors, and your input will be welcome.


The number of courses is well up this year, to the extent that the Duty Instructors have been complaining that we’re making them work too hard. Thanks to all the Club members who helped out during these weeks.

The course on the week of the 5th August was exceptional. There were eight course members, over 45 hours flying between them, one re-solo, and one real solo after just 17 launches.

Trial Lesson Evenings

The Trial Lesson Evening season is almost over now, and we’ve done very well this year. We flew a lot of large groups, and many were return visitors.

As an experiment, we raised our limit to 25 for one evening and organised a big crew. The group actually turned up with 31 people, and we did 40 flights in the evening.

Unfortunately, this means a great deal of work for the people involved, and as things stand, the teams are stretched too thinly. We’re working on a solution for next year, and again your input is welcome.


Safety Matters

Positive Control Checks

Some confusion has arisen with regard to Positive Control Checks. The Club’s procedure is being reviewed, but in the meantime, Positive Control Checks are to be carried out on the launching grid on all gliders. Any glider that has just been rigged should, whenever possible, have an independent check of structural and flying control connections and this should be signed for in the glider’s DI book.


Members’ Letters

Due to space constraints (and, in the case below, with the benefit of hindsight) we may edit members’ letters.

The Editors


Trial Lesson Afternoon For Youngsters

Dear Editor,

I would like to extend my thanks for the support of all Club members, and in particular Jo O’Brien (who coordinated the volunteers), who made themselves available on Fridays 10th and 24th May for the trial lesson afternoons. These were set up to fly ten pupils from year 11 from Bartley Green Community School. Unfortunately, the weather beat us on 10th May, and a bereavement for Steve Mitcham, the coordinating teacher, followed by a breakdown of the school minibus, meant that the pupils did not fly.

The pupils were awarded a flight for their achievements and efforts in their schoolwork by John Lowe as a promotion exercise for both his company and Stratford Gliding Club, with the hope that we can continue the Club’s philosophy of promoting gliding to young people as well as attract future business to Omega Training Services Ltd.

John Lowe

For more information, contact John at 73 Adams Hill, Bartley Green, Birmingham B32 3QJ.


Club Notices

Club AGM

The 1996 AGM will be held on Thursday October 3rd at 19:45 in Snitterfield village hall.

Open Day

We’ve decided not to run an Open Day on August Bank Holiday Monday this year. The last two have been rather disappointing in terms of the return on the effort put in by the members, and our hopes of repeating the first one that we ran, three years ago, have proved over-optimistic.

At this stage, we expect to run an Open Day in 1997, although when and what it turns out to be are subject to a great deal more thought. Your opinions on the subject are welcome.

Flights Over 2 Hours

If a pilot declares a badge task, such as a duration flight or a Silver Distance, in a club aircraft, the flying fees stop at two hours, and the rest of the flight is free.

We’ve decided to extend this rule to Assistant and Full Instructors who need to achieve the ten hours solo required as part of the rating renewal. The flight must be declared, to overcome the 90 minute limit on club aircraft, and it must count towards the ten hours. Of course, we would prefer it if instructors with their own aircraft fly those instead.

New Trailer Park

We’re taking an extra couple of acres of land to the north of the hard standing area, behind the hangar. It will be a trailer park and rigging area, and we’re doing it to increase the trailer space available, and reduce the congestion behind the launch point on busy days.

Richard Hobbs, our landlord, will be fencing the area off once the current crop has been harvested, and preparing the ground for grass. The park should be in operation for the 1997 season.

Junior Sponsorship

We currently have four members sponsored under this scheme, with another two potential candidates, so there are still slots available for enthusiastic juniors. Anyone under 18, or under 25 and in full-time education, is eligible to apply.


The National Students Gliding Club is a new organisation which is trying to solve the problem that most students split their time between different parts of the country. The NSGC works by buying membership slots at various clubs, and its members can then fly at any of these affiliated gliding sites.

In our case, the NSGC will be taking five slots, and we expect the bulk of the students to come from Birmingham (which already has a gliding club) and Warwick.

We expect NSGC visitors to be part-time members rather than casual visitors, and they are Club members when they are on site, from all points of view.

Who’s Done What

Mark Connaughton has soloed here after being solo at Lasham, and Clare Smith has completed her Bronze.

Lee Ingram, Pete Jones, Dave Johnson, Ian Lang, Eric Lown, and Barry Monslow have P1 ratings.

Frank Jeynes has flown a 530km Diamond Distance in his ASH-26E. The claim is still awaiting ratification, and is in fact the first claim that the BGA have received which is based purely on GNSS datalogger evidence.

We believe that there are some more entries, but we’re not sure because you haven’t told us!

Peeping Toms

Diana and Phil King gave a talk on the subject of Official Observing. It was attended by several prospective OOs and just two existing OOs. The talk was aimed at prospective OOs but some interesting general points came out.

The rules are enshrined in the Sporting Code, and these rules are changing frequently and becoming more and more complex. It became apparent that it’s not at all easy to keep up with these changes, and that misunderstandings are rife. However, we’re safe in the knowledge that all the OOs who didn’t attend are completely up to date.

The responsibility for the observation of a flight lies with the pilot, not the OO, so everyone who flies cross country should have some idea what’s required, even though the OOs will of course do their best to help.

We’ll be making some OO reference cards soon, covering the procedures immediately before and after the flight.


The View From The Back


A white glider in a bright sky is a beautiful, if hard to see, sight. When we do see someone circling, we will all consider joining them, especially if you think they are going up faster than you. (It’s only when you get there that you find they are thermalling in sink trying to get down on one of the best days of the year, and you’ve wasted so much height getting to them that you’re forced to join the circuit!)

No, it’s OK, that other glider is going up well and you’ve joined him. Yes you will go round in the same direction, and No, you won’t push him out of the thermal, and No, you won’t get on his blind side. (All these points are made in the poster on the CFI’s board.)

Now things are getting really busy. Not only are you having to keep a good lookout for the gliders you’re sharing the thermal with, but also for others joining you, as well as for any other aircraft.

All that and keep an eye on the airspeed and vario. It feels more like an aerial dogfight than something to be done for pleasure! The sky around you is full. Still, you’ve gained enough height to move off and find your own thermal in a quieter part of the sky, where you can concentrate on climbing to your heart’s content.

The trouble is, you’ve been concentrating so much on looking for other aircraft and thermalling, you’re not quite sure about where you are… Oops! …the thought comes to you that the reason no one was in this part of the sky is because you’re at 3,500 feet and south of Snitterfield.

Where’s the controlled airspace in this area?

It’s an easy trap to fall into, especially to the East of Stratford, but that could never be an excuse. We must always be aware of where we can and can’t fly. We must know ALL the ground features that mark out the controlled airspace nearby. We must know when Snitterfield Corner is available and what to do if we get lost in the vicinity.

If you’re in doubt on any of these areas, consult the Club Manual and do the airspace test paper. To contravene the airspace not only brings the club into disrepute but will prohibit you from flying solo.

Don’t let yourself get distracted from any of the points of good airmanship while soaring.

Keep it fun, keep it legal, keep it safe.


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