The Wire May 1999

The Newsletter of Stratford Gliding Club

Issue 14, May 1999


The News Letter

Now that the new soaring season has started, allegedly, this issue of The Wire is predominantly about flying matters.


Club News

Spring Meeting

The Spring Meeting passed off with little in the way of controversy. There was a long discussion of the pros and cons of renting the whole field without the sheep, and the costs of doing so, and at least as many opinions were offered as there were people present.

We still have nothing concrete to report on the subject, but the issue is being investigated and a Club Meeting will be held before a final decision is made.


Membership subscriptions became due on 1st April, and are £160 this year. For those who are entitled to half-price membership, half of £160 is £80. If you have joined since April 1998, there is a rebate against this year’s subs, and the details are in your pigeonhole.

Over 90 members have already responded to the appeal to pay promptly because of the small matter of the bill for the Skylaunch. Thanks to everyone who responded.

Club Diary

The following events are planned for the 1998 season.

1-2 May Inter-Club league, Shenington
3 May Seven-day flying starts
3 May Bank holiday
24-28 May Sutton Bank
29-30 May Inter-Club league, Hinton itH
31 May Bank holiday
12-13 June Inter-Club league, Weston otG
19 June Longest Day, dawn-to-dusk flying
20 June Open Day
12-13 June Inter-Club league, Bicester
5-9 July Club flying week
12-13 July Inter-Club league, Bidford
24-30 July Badge week
2-6 August Tjerk Bermon’s family’s course
16-20 Aug Club flying week
30 August Bank holiday
17 Sept Seven-day flying ends


The Winch

The new Skylaunch Winch arrived on site on 9th May, and as predicted, it’s Yellow and Blue. It’s also significantly more powerful than our current winches: on the first day of testing, in a completely 90° cross wind, the diesel got the K21 two-up up to 850′, the Skylaunch got it up to 1100′.

The few winch drivers who have got their hands on it so far seem very happy with it. We’re embarking on a rigorous winch-driver training schedule, and everyone must be approved by the Winchmaster before they can drive it, so the diesel winches will remain in use for some time to come.

As an interim measure, the K13 and K21 are to be launched on Black No 1 weak links. This is in accordance with the published list as posted in the Club House and is therefore fully in accordance with the relevant technical advice. When we have been operating the winch for a period of time this may be reconsidered. If this is the case, the relevant notice will appear on the CFI’s notice board.


Open Day

We’re holding an Open Day on 20th June, which is Fathers’ Day and also the Summer Solstice. There’s a barbecue for helpers in the evening, and we’re looking for a referee for the water fight.

From 10:00 onwards, all two-seater flying will be dedicated to flying with visitors, assuming that we can attract enough people. We hope to have six two-seaters flying. Before ten, we’ll be doing some Club dual flying, and since it’s a Longest Day day, there will be a reasonable chance of instructional flights. During the day, one cable in four will be reserved for Club and syndicate single seaters, and we’ll do our best to accommodate cross-country starts as well.

There’s a great deal of organising going on at the moment, and Jo is chairing the team that’s doing all this. There will be a big publicity push nearer the time, probably with TV coverage. There’s a list on the noticeboard for volunteers on the day, which is filling up reassuringly well.

There are two main aims to the day: One, of course, is to introduce people to gliding and make some money in the process; Secondly, there is the PR exercise in our relationship with the villages; Thirdly, and probably most important, we want to attract new members into the Club. OK, three main aims, then.


Aircraft News

All the C of A’s are complete, the varios in the K21 are still receiving attention, and the tail skid on the K18 is being modified again, deliberately.


Summer Operation


The Club will be operating seven days a week again this summer, from 4th May to 18th September inclusive.

The weeks beginning 6th July and 10th August have been reserved for Club flying and we will not be selling any courses for those weeks. We’ll be setting tasks on days that warrant it, but don’t let that put you off if you’re not a cross-country pilot, because the Club weeks are very informal and our main aim is to fly as much as possible.

The week of 24th June is a Badge Week, with the accent on Cross-Country flying with badge flights the target.

Staff Members

The instructors this summer are Jim Tyler and Phil Pickett. As usual, they’ll share the operation on approximately alternating weeks, doubling up when the number of course members warrants it.

Martin Greenwood, Barry Monslow, and Maurice Noxon are sharing the winching this year. In order to reduce costs, they’ve offered to winch four days a week, leaving Thursday as a volunteer winching day.


Club News

The Drive

Eade Pipelines, who are responsible for the mess at the main gate, have gone bust and are in the hands of the receivers. The job, which was due to be finished by last October, will definitely be finished by the end of April. It’s now mid-May, and they’ll definitely be finished within ten days or so. Until then, all we can do is curse and swear, and to help with this, we’ve included a few useful cuss-words, anagrammed, in this edition of The Wire.

Pink Forms

We’ll be using a different colour Pink Form for the Trial Lesson Evenings. Subject to availability, they’ll probably be Beige Pink Forms.

The only difference is that they’ll have GROUP EVENING or some such printed in the How Did You Hear About Us box, because we’re not interested in that, and the forms can be scrapped immediately unless they’ve been endorsed for 28-day membership.

We’re interested in how people hear about us, but the evening groups are flooding us with useless statistics, and this is just an easy way of filtering.



CFI’s Corner

Converting to the Junior

The requirements for converting on to the Junior have been reviewed. There is now no requirement to do the flying on the K18 as laid out on page 19 of the Procedures Manual before converting on to the Junior.


The requirements are now: Minimum of 15 flights in the K8; 10 dual flights in the K21; an instructors briefing; and completion of post solo training (of daily checks). The conversion from the Junior to the K18 is an instructors briefing.

If a pilot has successfully flown a Junior at another site on six occasions, they may be exempt from the foregoing requirements, at the discretion of the Duty Instructor.


Page 2 of the Procedures Manual has been amended to reduce the number of days over which Dual Flights are required for weeks 10, 12 and 16. These may be carried out in 1 day rather than 2 days.

It is, as always of course at the discretion of the Duty Instructor who may consider it best if you do indeed fly over several days before re-soloing and the Manual lays out the minium that is to be expected. It goes without saying that you also have some input into this. If you become tired or have had your fill of flying for the day, inform your instructor, do not wait for them to read your mind.

Annual Refresher Flying

The relevant notice for Rated Pilots is posted on the CFI’s notice board as in previous years. For non rated pilots, as before, get yourself a Fully Rated Instructor and get your refresher flying completed.

All the instructors will do their best to make the time you spend with them as interesting and as helpful as possible. You must of course do your bit. Putting yourself forward for your refresher flying without some preparation is not making the best use of your or your instructor’s time.

It is your responsibly to get yourself up to speed and this will inevitably require some studying away from the flying field. We all have to do it, I’m afraid, to refresh those little grey cells that sometimes have the habit of losing just the vital piece of information that we require.

If you have a weakness in an area of your flying, discuss it with your instructor so that they may help you without having to go through the process of finding it out for themselves.

You do not have to complete your refresher flying in one day, it is not just one of those things that has to be got out of the way. Approached with the right attitude, it might, just might save your life one day, or at least save you putting your hand in your pocket to pay for an unnecessary repair (no, the insurance doesn’t pay it all, the excess can be quite high).

My final comment on this point is to ask you to remember that the whole point of this exercise is to benefit you, so get the most out of it.

Pre-Take Off Checks

When carrying out the Pre-take off checks in a K13, the pilot carrying out the checks is in future to challenge the other occupant to check that the canopy is correctly locked in the front or back and to respond accordingly.

The same procedure of course applies to the K21. However in the case of the K21 this has been standard practice since it came on to site. This has not been the case with the K13’s. Some pilots have been, some not. It will in future be standard practice on all two seaters.

Pre-Landing Checks

The BGA Instructors Panel have decided not to implement a “Standardised” Pre-landing check but have left it to each CFI to decided which, if any, they wish to implement.

After discussion by the Flying Committee, it has been decided to continue with WULFAR. That is not to say that if you wish to personally use another Mnemonic that you will be discouraged from doing so. From time to time instructors may decide to make you aware of other Mnemonics if they consider it appropriate.

For those of you who have not gone solo and are wandering why you have not been made aware of such checks, do not be concerned. This will normally be introduced as part of your Post Solo training. The important thing is to be aware of the aircraft you are flying and to operate it accordingly.

K21 and Off Site Training

The K21 will again be available for Off Site Training. A notice is posted on the CFI’s notice board giving the full details and booking sheet. This year there is a slot for a reserve in case for some reason the person who has booked the slot cannot at the last minute make it. This is an attempt to maximise utilisation. To aid planning please book your slot as soon as possible. Otherwise if a slot remains empty, it may well be removed and other activities scheduled for the glider in its place.


Club Flying

Club Ladder

We’re running the Club Ladder as usual this year. All you have to do is note your flights in the Club Cross-Country Book, and everything else happens by magic. At this stage, there are just three flights recorded, reflecting the state of the weather.

Don’t forget that there’s a trophy awarded at the AGM at the end of the season for Best Flight in a Club Glider, and the Book is the primary source of candidates for this trophy.

Inter-Club League

We’re entering the Inter-Club League again this year, with Bidford, Shenington, Bicester, Weston on the Green, and Hinton in the Hedges. The League winner goes on to a regional competition.

Each club fields a team of three pilots, in the categories Novice, Intermediate, and Pundit, and the task or tasks are set by the home club on the day. Phil Pickett will be organising the team again.

If you’re interested in flying in the League, or crewing for the team, please contact Phil.

We don’t have to keep the same pilots for the whole season, or even for the whole weekend, so there’s plenty of opportunity to gain experience of competition flying in a reasonably relaxed environment, and we would like as many people as possible to take part.

Associate Members

Remember that you can fly at Club rates occasionally: at most once a month, and at most six times a year.

Not The Millennium Bug

The hardware clocks in the GPS systems roll over at midnight on 11th August this year. According to the accumulated wisdom in the GPS internet newsgroup, a few early receivers (the very expensive ones, remember) may suffer problems, but every unit built since 1995 should be able to cope.



300K Out and Return

On March 3rd, Jim and Tom Payne, flying an ASH-25 in California, broke the world speed record for a 300K out-and-return flight: 1hr07, 269Kph!

That was in the morning. In the afternoon, they flew a 500K out-and-return in 2hr02, 247Kph.

Apparently, the lift was quite good.


The View from the Beck

Don’t talk about the weather! We were waterlogged for months, and the field was unflyable so often the operations group were considering appointing a harbour master! It was like this last year and the year before… but how about the year before that? I can’t really remember. It’s like childhood memories: weren’t the summers always hotter and longer than now. Whatever your age, that’s what we all feel.

So just how wet and cold was last winter, how does it compare with weather averages over the last 30 years, and what can we expect for this summer?

Last winter was actually warmer and sunnier than normal. The average temperature was 5.6°C against an average of 4°C with 197 hours of sunshine against 155 hours. It was, however, wetter than normal with 190 mm of rain, compared to a normal 165mm. The same trend was followed in March, when we had an extra 5 mm of rain and the highest number of rainy days since 1986. So, perhaps the perception that last winter was one of the wettest ever is correct. BUT the records show the winter of 1994-1995 was wetter. How did that feel? I can’t remember but now we are into spring and looking forward to the summer, we can expect drier weather can’t we? No we can’t, summer is actually wetter then winter!!

April didn’t do us any favours. The average rainfall for a week in April is 11mm. We had 33mm in between the 19th and 25th April!! The wettest week this year. Can it get any worse? I wish I knew.

What have we to look forward to this spring and summer? We are surrounded by sea, with the Baltic and the seas south of Greenland which are kept cool by melting sea ice, the warming process to the north and east is slow especially with northerly and easterlies. The sun may be getting warmer and the days longer but the rise in temperature is slow. We can expect days where the temperature will rise to near 30°C in May (1947 had the hottest May day with 31°C)

June probably won’t be “flaming” (it hardly ever is because of those cold seas) but average day time temperatures can be expected to be between 19°C and 26°C with little chance of ground frosts. The trend over this century has been for cooler Junes. The 1930s and 40s were warmer and much drier, but the 80s were wetter and colder than present.

July will have an average of 21°C and should be the sunniest month with 27°C on at least one day. The trend is towards drier Julys. August will be wetter, cloudier and more humid, with an expected highest temperature of 26°C. It will have 8 wet days which can be thundery and produce as much as 22mm of rain on a single day.

The upshot of all this is that we never really know what to expect. So we hope for the best and plan for the worst. Actually we don’t: we only hope for the best, and that’s why we keep on turning up to fly even if the weather doesn’t look as good as we would like. Even in the dark and gloomy winter days, but at least the winter isn’t as wet as the summer. GULP!




Thought for the Day

The propellor is only there to keep the pilot cool: Turn it off and watch him sweat.

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