|Wormingford Airfield, Fordham Road, Wormingford, Colchester,|
Essex CO6 3AQ Tel: (01206) 242596
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As you will no doubt all be aware, recently there were two serious accidents involving club pilots, and one other accident involving damage to a glider at the launch point. These events highlight the fact that despite our good record we are not immune from problems, and without constant vigilance we can expect more of the same. There has been considerable discussion, both in general and related in particular to these events, at both the instructors' and committee meetings, and decisions have been taken that will affect every club member, in our attempts to make sure that no further problems occur. This notice reinforces some of the existing rules, and introduces some changes that we all need to be aware of.
All pilots up to and including Bronze Badge level flying from Wormingford must make sure they obtain a proper briefing from one of the Duty Instructors before flying, even if "off checks". You may not be asked to do a check flight, but you must be prepared to do one if asked. It is your own responsibility to seek a briefing, even if one is not offered. The need for a briefing from an instructor applies also to all planned cross-country flying, even if you have a Silver. Silver pilots may self-brief for local flights only, but bear in mind the prevailing conditions, and consider getting an instructor's briefing anyway.
Pre-solo training cards must now be carried, and completed carefully by the instructors of all pre-solo pilots. They do not replace the logbook (which is effectively a notebook you share publicly with the instructors), but they do provide a quick and accurate way for your progress through the training syllabus to be monitored by both yourself and the instructional team, without the need to read the whole logbook before every flight. This is more efficient, and if your pre-solo training card is well-kept you can expect your progress to be more rapid.
Similarly, why not get hold of a post-solo training card? We have a supply, and those of you with more experience will realise that going solo is just one (albeit major) step along the way. As the responsibility for your own progress gradually shifts onto you, make it easier to progress with a card that will guide your post-solo training into new areas.
Ensure that, at least, every day, you read the daily safety board at the launch point, and, especially if you think you may fly cross-country, the TNWs (NOTAMs) on the board in the clubhouse.
Annual checks are upon us again in a few weeks. Anyone who has not completed all their check flights by April 30th may not continue to fly solo. Apart from the wisdom of keeping current throughout the winter and improving your judgement and skill by flying in more challenging conditions, an early start to your annual checks will prevent delays in the usual mad rush at the start of the soaring season.
From now on, pilots checked out for aerobatics and/or beat-ups will need to be re-validated for these during their annual checks. Therefore your checks may take somewhat longer, but from 1st January 2000 (please note this date - it is not the same as the solo flying deadline), if you have not done the relevant parts of your annual checks you are no longer permitted to perform these manoeuvres. Instructors who are currently authorised to do aerobatics/beat-up checks are Paul Rice, Pete Wilby, and Jonathan Abbess.
Ground handling: there is no safer way to put a glider out of action than to allow it to be damaged by the wind when nobody is in it. Please ensure gliders are properly parked if you leave them even for a second in a strong or side wind. Ensure that the canopies are closed at all times, unless you are standing by the cockpit. Ensure, especially when you are towing the gliders back after a landing, that the wind from behind does not cause the rudder or the ailerons to bang violently - any damage may be serious and may not be detectable until some time during the next flight. When retrieving the K6s, always use the tailskid trolleys - failure to do so causes wear to the grass, concrete and the tailskid spoon, and any attempts to change direction by pulling on the wingtip puts considerable stress on the wing drag pins and tailskid. Sufficient sideways force, or catching the skid in a pothole, could even break the stern post (the bit which the rudder is mounted on). Similarly, use the tail dollies for the glass-fibre gliders.
A reminder that peaked and wide-brimmed hats are not permitted when flying. If you hat has an offending brim, a pair of sharp scissors is recommended, or another hat. Also, do not wear hats with any form of central stud - they can punch holes in the canopy in bumpy conditions, not to mention your head.
Are you signed off for Daily Inspections? If not, and you are a solo pilot, please make sure you seek out an instructor and get signed off. The green logbooks have an item inside the back cover for this purpose.
Our visit to Lakenheath ATC was very instructive. Their military jets travel at very high speeds and are not confined to the Lakenheath MATZ. Although the aircraft have on-board radar, they cannot readily pick up a non-reflective plastic or wood bubble, and the ground-based radar is often set to filter out anything moving below about 80 knots (so they don't pick up motorway traffic). You can reasonably assume that you are invisible to Lakenheath, or if they do see you, they do not know what you are, nor how high. Therefore you might want to consider the wisdom of equipping yourself with a radio that is capable of contacting their Radar Approach Control (callsign "Lakenheath Radar") on 128.9MHz. Their radar covers the whole of East Anglia, and they really do want us to call them, even by telephone on (01638) 524480, if you know where you are going beforehand. All you need say in the air is your callsign, that you are a glider and where you are and how high. Once they know, they will alert their pilots who can then avoid you. Be aware that there can be 100 movements an hour from Lakenheath and Mildenhall at busy times. Also, a reminder not to use 129.9MHz as an air-ground frequency: please use 130.1MHz.
Tractor drivers, please do not use the central link on each of the tractor towing arms: drive straight and hook up the cables as far apart as you can or we will have a cable pick-up. Because this happens extremely fast, nobody should touch any other cable or parachute during any part of a launch, and the gliders must be positioned off to one side so that there is no possibility of the second cable being picked up by the first and the parachute catching behind the wing at about 50 feet - a very serious accident would be inevitable in such a case. If the glider is well off to one side, remember to drag the cable well out in front of the glider before the up-slack.
Some base legs are getting a bit short again. Please bear in mind the reason for having a base leg: the base leg is your last opportunity to make a small change of direction have a profound effect on the position of your final turn. The longer the base leg the more effective a small change of direction will be. During your circuit planning, aim to allow yourself a base leg that lasts around ten seconds. Try counting yourself down the base leg out loud - make neat circuit turns and level the wings after each turn, and if your wings are level for any less than five to ten seconds on the final (90 degree) part of the base leg, that's too short, and you are putting yourself under unnecessary pressure. If you are not sure whether your circuits are as good as they should be, ask for a flight with an instructor.
Finally, you may be aware that Pete Stratten from Bicester has been appointed the new BGA safety man. There are a number of BGA Regional Safety Officers, and we will be getting a visit from our local RSO, Don Johnston, some time soon. We must treat any such visit as an opportunity to tighten up our safety thinking and actions, but we do not intend to wait until the visit before making some necessary improvements, many of which require your co-operation and in some cases restraint and self-discipline. There will be a number of new notices around the clubhouse, and a number of new operational requirements. Please study them, and if you do not understand the reason for any of the changes, please ask me or Paul Rice.
Safety Briefing 1
Safety Briefing 2
Safety Briefing 4
Safety Briefing 5
Safety Briefing 6
Safety Briefing 7
Safety Briefing 8
Safety Briefing 9
Safety Briefing 10