The Wire February 2011

The Newsletter of Stratford Gliding Club

Issue 49, February 2011

From the Chairman

There will be much to talk about at the Spring Meeting – not just the usual
fees and the coming season. It’s on Thursday 24th
March, not that far away!

January has been incredible! We have flown on 18 days (best ever
January by 6 days), recorded our highest number of launches and flight
time for any January and already taken more course bookings for 2011
than we had in the whole of 2010.

On the other hand we suffered two break-ins. There has been much
publicity about the new web site, which allows you
to enter an area or postcode and view the crime stats for that area
over the last month. So when the site had recovered from its first day
blues I tapped in ‘CV37 0EG’ and waited for it to do its stuff,
expecting to see two reported incidents. Zilch! Nada! But then I
noticed it is showing the figures for December, so I suppose they are
accurate – our reported incidents being in November and January!

You will remember that in November one of our buggies was badly damaged
when intruders decided to take it joy riding after using it to
transport copper wire – presumably to sell for scrap value. We have
learned lessons from this incident!

On the night of 13th January, thieves entered the
vehicle shelter, started a tractor, used it to pull a caravan belonging to
Caroline Coates to a more ‘road vehicle friendly’ area, stole the caravan
and left the tractor running. Luckily they were not intent on vandalism – a
tractor can do a lot of damage! We have learned lessons from this incident!

Then on Sunday 16th January, ‘visitors’ decided to
have a real go! To try to disable the alarm they destroyed the wi-fi aerial
on the side of the Clubhouse, broke a window in the clubhouse and reached in
and ripped out some wiring (we believe they hoped was alarm wiring) and
having failed to extinguish the alarm indicators in the clubhouse, set about
the glider workshop instead. The destroyed a roller shutter, damaged a side
wall, broke in to locked tool boxes, threw the alarm system in a bucket of
water, stole some tools and made an absolute mess in the process. Thankfully
they did not damage the glider that was in there! It will cost us between
£3,000 and £4,000 to put everything right and that does not
include the upgraded alarm system we have installed. We have learned
lessons from this incident!

The really frustrating thing is that we know that we do not leave
anything anywhere on site that has any intrinsic value when sold in the
pub or for scrap. Who would buy specialist glider tools in a pub? Our
problem is that the thieves do not know this – they are simple
opportunists looking for anything they can trade for cash.

What is clear is that we cannot afford to learn our lessons
retrospectively – since November these ‘lessons’ have cost us around
£5,000 (not to mention the personal cost to Caroline). We need to
be proactive in preventing incidents in the first place, and clearly
someone needs to take responsibility for ensuring that we are secure at
all times, and that we do not leave anything lying around the airfield
that intruders could use to make life easy for themselves. This is an
easy appointment – WE ALL NEED TO DO IT – please start immediately!

But we have created ‘official role number 22’ – that of ‘Security
Manager’! Dave Martin has stepped up to the mark and is now very active
in this role ensuring that we are as secure as possible, has upgraded
our alarm systems and will ensure that everything is in place to ensure
we are as secure as we possibly can be.

I will talk of this and many other things at the Spring Meeting, but in
the meantime let’s take advantage of the incredible flying weather for
this time of year!

Be safe, fly lots (and lots) and have fun!


CFI’s Corner

Club Flying Week

Formerly known as Badge week or Task Week

In response to member feedback, the Club will be holding a general flying
week this year instead of a Task Week. The week will run from the
1st to the 5th of August
inclusive. Allan Wright has agreed to be our instructor for the week and we
won’t be taking course bookings. Flying will focus purely on the needs of
the members and visitors from other clubs, regardless of their level of
experience or individual aspirations.

The cross country coaches – Barry, Martyn, Mike, Phil and Sharon – are
likely to attend and will be very happy to help anyone who wants to
approach them on an individual basis, but there will be no formal
structure to the week and the focus is not specific to cross country

If you would like to come down for the week, please put your name on
the notice in the clubhouse.

Bronze C Lectures

The Bronze C Lectures start on 24th February, with
lectures on: Navigation; Air law; Principles of flight; Meteorology;
Radio; and Airmanship. They finish with the Bronze C Exam on
28th April.

They are aimed at pilots who hope to complete their Bronze this season,
but everyone is invited if they feel they would benefit from a


The expedition to Sutton Bank will be for the week starting on Saturday
21st May. The one to Camp Hill will be for the
week starting on Saturday 18th June.

Club News

The Stratford 49’ers

Saturday 22nd January 2011 was a momentous date
for the Stratford 49’ers – it was week 250 and the total raised by this draw
for the club funds topped £10,000. Thanks to everyone who continue to
support this much needed fund-raising effort.

Let’s not forget the seriously rich this draw has created. Our latest
fabulously wealthy member (who wishes to remain anonymous, but is
conspicuous when he arrives in his new Ferrari) only joined the 49’ers
in September 2009 and has already won 7 times!

There are still some numbers available if you would like to change your
fortunes (at the time of writing they were 5, 10, 15, 19, 26 and 37) –
just go to ‘Retail Therapy’ and your dreams just may come true.

The Roof

The design for the clubhouse roof is now complete. It was done
professionally by a qualified structural engineer, amid concerns about
the loads the building would have to bear from gravity and the wind.

We are now in the process of sourcing and acquiring the materials. Once
that’s complete, we’ll be constructing and fitting as soon as possible.

The plan is to build as much of it as possible on the ground, to
minimise the time spent on the roof fitting it, which is when it’s most
vulnerable to the wind. For that reason, the T-hangar and areas of the
car park are likely to be unavailable while it’s being done.

Trial Lesson Evenings

Last year, visiting groups were so few and far between that members got
into the habit of assuming that there was no booking. As a result,
several of the evenings that actually were booked were seriously

We’re running Trial Lesson Evenings again this year, and we’re working
hard to get bookings in. The income is important to the Club and we
can’t let these evenings slip away from us. In a good year, they’re
worth £80 each off everyone’s membership fees.

We already have eight evenings booked, so there’s hope that we’ll do
better than last year. You can help by bringing a group from your place
of work or wherever. Contact Jo to make a booking.

The experiment last year, opening the Club on the evenings in May and
advertising for local residents to come and try, yielded very little
and won’t be repeated this year.


A group of about thirty cyclists turned up for breakfast on Saturday
5th February, apparently with permission. Nobody
really knows who gave them permission, but it would have been courteous of
whoever it was to ask the committee first, or even inform them afterwards,
but neither of these happened.

As a result, the clubhouse was full of cyclists who nobody knew,
members who wanted to sit down had to go into the briefing room, the
kitchen was overstressed, members’ breakfasts were delayed, and the
Chairman’s ear was badly bent by members who assumed it was all his
doing. The cyclists showed little interest in flying, or even in
talking to any of the members .

Fortunately, it was a week apart from the CFI’s Conference. If the two
had happened on the same day, it would have been extremely embarrassing
for the Club.

Please think before you commit the Club to requests of this
nature. If the request is not flying-related, you must refer it to a
member of the committee.

Club Online

Members’ Forum

A couple of years ago, we set up a bulletin board called the Members’
Forum, as a place for members to discuss stuff with each other. The
board server was free, because we didn’t want to commit any money until
we knew it was going to be worth it.

The forum never took off, partly or mostly because the interface turned
out to be thoroughly user-hostile. We abandoned it last year.

And Now …

… we’re on Facebook!

To find the Club page, search Facebook for Stratford Gliding or
something similar: it’s fairly smart in directing you to the right

The page offers updates on club flying (who got the best flight today?!),
includes general information on the club, a link to the club website, and
photos taken by members (currently via Sharon ).

If you visit the page, you will be able to like the page, and the
page will then push updates your feed. And if you don’t
understand that terminology, it’s merely because you’re not a Facebook user.

Don’t forget, though, that Facebook can be pretty insecure, and
everything you say is visible to a lot of people. For that reason, the
Club page is moderated and monitored.

Safety Matters

You may have noticed that Gillette’s new razor, the Fusion ProGlide,
has a tag line ‘turns shaving in to gliding’. Whilst it is not specifically
mentioned in our operational and safety procedures, please do NOT shave
whilst gliding – it will not enhance your flight in any way.

On a more serious note, I make no apology for the Wire being used to
disseminate safety updates and reminders to members. We have a duty of
care to everyone, members and visitors alike, to ensure that we always
operate to the highest possible standards of safety.


Winch Matters

Dyneema Maintenance

A recent cable break gave an example of what I expect to happen in
future. It is easy to publish guidelines, “best practice”, etc. but
here it is happening for real. In the near future the testing equipment
will be stored in the clubhouse, ready to use. Shortly after that a
manual showing how it is done will be produced so that any one who is
interested can join in the fun!

David Searle, Winchmaster

Email from Ian Kennedy

A section of rope is in your pigeon hole. I had a cable break yesterday
on the right hand drum while launching the Junior on a blue strop. The
aircraft was at about 800 feet and the cable broke close to the winch.
The launch did not look fast, nor the pilot appear to be pole bending.
The conditions were steady NNW at about 10 knots. We were launching
from the stub, so a fair bit of crosswind. I cut out a couple of metres
either side and re-spliced. Marked with red tape. No further problems.

Email from the Winchmaster

I tested two samples, one from each piece. The first was 10.9kN, the
second was 9.4kN. I tested another sample of the weak one which gave
10.4kN. The conclusion is that the strength within quite a short span
of rope is rather variable. As a chain is only as good as its weakest
link, I will arrange for a section to be replaced. I am using 10.0kN as
the criterion, so that a black weak link should go first.

By the way, 10kiloNewton is within 2% of 1000kilogram force, and the
tensile test machine is calibrated in kN, so that is what I use now.
The 2% error is in our favour relative to a black weak link, whose
actual strength is 9.81kN

Email from the Winchmaster

Just to finalise our correspondence, I have replaced the section that
you had repaired. It was a 65m second hand section of 12 strand yellow
Marlow rope. I have used a similar length of the same make of rope
which has been tested to 15.4kN at one end, and 13.8kN at the other. It
has 2 splices near the middle which had been checked at 14.2kN. So the
final result is 4 splices in a relatively short compass, but all the
replacement rope has been calibrated.

When we are using tested lengths of second hand rope, I don’t mind how
many splices we have, as long as we know the strength of each segment.
Our testing method effectively tests the overall strength including a
splice, so there is no adjustment to be made for the reduction in
strength due to the splice.

At £1/m for new replacement rope, it makes sense to use whatever
effective life we have left in our large stock of used rope.

Flying Diary

Here are a few important dates in this season’s club flying schedule.
The full diary is on the Club web site.

2nd May 7-Day operation starts in earnest
21st May Sutton Bank
18th June Camp Hill
1st August Club Flying Week
9th September 7-Day operation may end


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