The Wire January 2002

The Newsletter of Stratford Gliding Club

Issue 21, January 2002


The News Letter

2001 was a fairly demoralising year for a lot of people in the Club, administrators and pilots alike. The editors of The Wire have been caught up in the general malaise, and it’s been difficult to raise the enthusiasm to publish regular editions, and as a result, this is the first since the frantic times of the Foot and Mouth crisis.

2002 is a new year, and we’re hoping that we can put all of that behind us and start afresh.

This winter has been reasonably kind to us so far, so we’re reasonably optimistic that the coming season will get off to an early start. Lots of work is going on behind the scenes to make sure that we’re in good shape to make the most of this when it happens.


Aircraft News

C of A’s

CofA’s are well advanced already. The K21, two K13s, and the Junior have already been completed, and the K18 is under way. We’re well on target for the fleet to be ready before the end of March.


The K21 has been modified so that the instruments in the front seat lift up with the canopy to improve access.


In accordance with the BGA’s recommendations, we now have an electric variometer with audio attachment in every Club glider.

There is also a parachute for every seat plus, a spare in case one goes unserviceable or gets deployed by accident.

Private Aircraft

There have been several changes in the syndicates over the winter.

The T21 syndicate now has no outstanding shares for sale.

There will be two new syndicates on the field this season: a Dart 17R and at long last a Cirrus.


Ground Kit


There’s a second Kubota on site. There were teething troubles caused by a short in the wiring loom, but that’s been sorted out now. Both the PTOs are now enclosed, and the new Kubota has a tow hitch.

The International was suffering from a slipping clutch, which is a big job on a machine that size, but we avoided the problem when Andy managed to sell it for a reasonable price.

Land Rovers

Gordon’s built us a new Land Rover, starting from two rather jaded machines. There’s a probability of a new military spec Land Rover coming on site in the near future.


The 2001 AGM

The AGM 2001 took place on the 1st November, in Snitterfield Village Hall. This is a summary of the important points, and there’s a full report on the web site.

Finance Report

The Treasurer reported on the year ending 30th March 2001, as detailed in the Club accounts. There was a significant operating loss over the year, partly but nowhere near fully attributable to the fact we were closed for over a month at the end of the Club year. The Treasurer also summarised the income for the Club year to date, which was significantly down on the previous year. This was more directly attributable to the closure in the Spring.

The proposed charges for the next Club year, starting 1st April 2002, were accepted unanimously with little discussion. The fees will thus be:

Annual Membership £200 +£20
Senior, Family £120 +£20
Junior £70
Associate £20 +£2
Launch fee £5.00 -£0.20
Flying time £0.25
Joining fee £40 -£20
Visitor fees Unchanged

Chairman’s Report

We started the season, and the club year, closed down because of Foot and Mouth. We were actually closed for nine weeks, from the end of February until early May, and there were restrictions on cross-country flying until well into July.

There was an excellent Club spirit, which was demonstrated in the support that we got during the emergency meetings while we were closed. As a result of this spirit, the Club was back on its feet as soon as we were able to start flying again, despite the flying restrictions.

While we were closed, we suffered the first of a spate of break-ins. We’ve had six or seven this year.

Membership. We took a big hit in our membership renewals, and we are significantly smaller now than we were last year. We dropped to just 80 renewals from our norm of 100.

Furthermore, we had just about no new members until July, halfway through the season. Since then, we’ve picked up reasonably well, to a current total of 94 (97 now – Ed.).

Personnel. There have been some changes in personnel during the year. David Ireland has taken over from Tony Murphy looking after the sale of Trial Lesson Vouchers, and Jo O’Brien has taken over from Karin Hülsemann organising the courses that we run during the summer. Also, Liz Pickett has taken over from Roy and Sandra Wood as Club Bursar.

Electricity. The plans for getting mains electricity on site were undermined by a combination of circumstances, including a way leave complication, resulting in a large increase in the price in a time of obvious economic constraint. As a result, plans are on hold for now.


The Committee is now

Chairman Geoff Butler
Secretary Nigel Spedding
Treasurer Chris Wooller
Deputy Chairman &
Operations Group
Tony Palfreyman
Aircraft Jeff Gale
Engineering Pete Blair
Marketing Andy Sutton
Site Lee Ingram
Andy Balkwill
Nick Jaffray
Jo O’Brien
Roy Wood
Ex officio CFI Peter Fanshawe

CFI’s Report

While we were closed for Foot and Mouth, other Clubs who were more fortunate, such as Shenington, Bidford and HB, were able to continue flying, and our members were made most welcome there.

We had very short notice that we could start flying again, but we were back in the air within 24 hours. The Instructing team worked very hard to get pilots back in the air, and there were no problems resulting from out-of-practice pilots.

General Operations. As soon as the restriction on visitors on site was lifted, we commenced 7-day operation with Phil as the resident instructor. Phil’s terrible accident in July meant much re-organising, but the Club spirit brought all hands to the pump and very little flying time was lost due to the flexibility of our Instructors.

BGA Examiners. There have recently been some changes to the BGA personnel. Bob Pettifer is the new Chairman of the Instructors Panel, John Garrett is our new SRE and Lemmy Tanner and Gee Dale are our Regional Examiners.

Cross Country Flying. Last year

(NB 2000 – Ed) we recorded 16809 km flown cross country, this year it was 7448. Last year we recorded 106 flights, this year 46. Interestingly the average task flown this year was 161km against 158km last year, and there were ten 2-300 km flights each year.

Presentation of Trophies

The Chairman awarded the following trophies on behalf or the Committee:

John Simonite Trophy for contribution to the running of the Club: Gordon Graham. Fred Haines Shield for long and meritorious service: Steve Brown.

The CFI awarded the following trophies on behalf of the Flying Committee: Most Progress During The Year: Ian Kennedy. Best Flight in a Club Glider: James Ward. Club Ladder: Mike Coffee; runners up: Martyn Davies, Diana King.


Bronze C Lectures

A series of Lectures aimed at preparing Pilots for the written Bronze C Exam will be held in the Club House on the following dates:

Meteorology 21/02/02
Navigation 1 26/02/02
Navigation 2 05/03/02
Principles of Flight 1 12/03/02
Principles of Flight 2 19/03/02
Principles of Flight 3 26/03/02
Air Law and Operations 02/04/02
Written Examination 16/04/02
Practical Navigation & Field Landings 20/04/02
Practical Navigation & Field Landings 28/04/02

These Lectures are open to all Club Members. If you have not gone Solo yet, or if you passed your Bronze C some years ago, you are more than welcome to come to one or all of the Lectures.

The venue is the Club House, except for the practical navigation and field landings which will be carried out from Enstone.

The lectures will start at 19.30 and finish about 21.15 to 21.30.

So that we have an indication of the numbers who will be attending, could you please append your name to the form accompanying the notice in the Clubhouse, or email the CFI.

If you would like more information please do not hesitate to contact him either at the Club or on one of my contact numbers or by email.

Further Education

There was a series of lectures that were organised last winter, which were scuppered by the Foot and Mouth closure. These lectures cover a wide range of subjects, such as GPS navigation.

We hope to reschedule these shortly. Details will be posted on the notice board and the web site.

Motor Glider PPL

If you already got your Silver C and are considering a Motor Glider PPL, it’s a good idea to do it Real Soon Now, because the hours concession may shortly be withdrawn.


Safety Matters


When you’re signalling a launch, please make sure that you’re a safe distance from the aircraft and the cable. We’ve had several near misses recently, and teeth are very difficult to remove from wingtips.

Glider Retrieve

If there are other gliders on the launch line, the way to deliver a retrieved glider to the back of the line is at right angles. The only time that it’s safe to use a tractor to manoeuvre a glider up the line is when there are no other gliders on the line in front.

The problem is that, once the tow rope is at a large angle to the fuselage, any small change at the tractor or wingtip causes a large change in the speed of the glider, with the resulting probability of an unwelcome collision between two of the fleet. Please manhandle the aircraft into position for the last few feet.



We’re asking people to stop the Kubota engine before dismounting. This is nothing to do with saving diesel – it’s because there have been several instances of people knocking the tractor into gear as they get off. The easiest solution, of course, is to stay in the seat, but that’s not always possible.


Undesirable Luggage

Any object that you carry in your trouser pockets has the potential to fall out while you are sitting in the cockpit. To minimise the risk, please ensure that you aren’t carrying any unnecessary items.

The most recent incident was a ring spanner which was rattling about in the tail of a K13.


Club News

Seven-Day Operation

We’re intending to run the seven-day operation from 6th May to 30th August this year. However, we won’t be open for certain weeks in that period, such as Sutton Bank and Camphill weeks.

Waste Disposal

Nick and Penny have been organising the way we dispose of our rubbish. They’re asking everyone to be selective in what they throw away where, so that we can recycle as much as possible. In particular, cans and paper need to be separated from the dross.

The problem is that the Club has to pay to dispose of its waste, and we want to minimise this. Please help, by putting stuff in the right bins, and by taking your own rubbish home with you.


2002 Diary

This is the diary so far. There’s an up-to-date version on the web.

6 May Seven-Day Opening starts
18-25 May Sutton Bank week
20-24 May Club closed Monday-Friday
22-28 June Vintage Glider Rally, Camphill
23-27 June Club closed Monday-Friday
21-23 July PFA International Rally, Cranfield
27 July – 4 Aug Midland Regionals, HB
5-9 Aug Tony, Roy, Andy, Steve’s course
30 Aug Seven-Day Opening ends
31 Aug – 8 Sept Junior Championships, HB

Great Puzzles of our Time

Does anybody know why we’re flying a Danish flag from the flagpole.


The 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 Mk1 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 Mk1 eyeball to the best advantage.

Trust, but don’t assume.

The trouble with the Mk1 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.

Reprinted from January 1996

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