|Wormingford Airfield, Fordham Road, Wormingford, Colchester,|
Essex CO6 3AQ Tel: (01206) 242596
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Alarmingly, I have not got round to producing another of these notices for about a year, so (perhaps in part prompted by the visit of our Regional Safety Officer) here is the latest edition. However, in fact the main reason for doing one is that it has apparently become necessary.
It's not that there is anything much new to say in this edition, more a feeling of frustration that some of the old safety culture seems to have slipped lately, and I don't know why. It may be just my paranoia, but it may be worse than that.
The immediate effect of the number of safety-related incidents we have suffered lately is the increased amount of very tedious paperwork I have had to do, and whilst some of this has come from external sources such as rogue helicopters flying through, some of it is definitely our fault. There have been the same old things time and again, and I can easily tell that I have had enough of being Safety Officer by the feeling I get when I see some things going on this airfield that are the result of an apparently complete absence of forethought. If you are going to survive in an aviation environment, or even a fairly technical one, with machines and other dangers about, you need to think defensively. I don't mean that you never do anything hazardous (or none of us would fly at all) but I mean that you have to actively look for ways in which the things out there are trying to hurt or kill you, and then maybe you can deal with them.
Stupid things, like walking across the runway in a straight line from the clubhouse, with your back to the approach, never looking round. Silly things like ignoring the fact that a shard of cable is sticking out from the hook end waiting to slice off the next person's finger. Ignorant things, like believing that your flying is so very good that you are exempt from the rules that govern normal safe flying behaviour. Boring things like crashing and making me do yet more paperwork. Can you tell that I have had enough yet? Poor wing-holder lookout. I could go onů
So, I have updated some of the club's more important operational documents and collated them on the web site (the web version will always be the definitive and latest version), and I am in the process of gradually collating folders containing all these relevant documents, the first of which has been put in the launch vehicle. The other documents in it will be updated in due course. It is for everyone to read, whenever you get the chance, and whilst they are all necessary documents (unless you are an anarchist), I strongly insist that you study those that concern operational matters with extreme care. If you do not do so, and you have an accident, and if you survive it, you may find your insurance company is very unhappy to know that you have been negligent and therefore contributed to your own fate.
But that is not all you have to do. You have to constantly look, in considerable detail, at everything you do once you are here (and some things you do outside the airfield, such as anything that affects your fitness to fly), and then you have to work out how what you are doing could possibly be dangerous. Not how it IS dangerous now, but how it COULD BE or could become dangerous. Then, if you can think of a way in which it COULD BE dangerous, you do something to make sure that it CANNOT be dangerous. A possible danger is a hazard, and it is your job to minimise hazards for both yourself and everyone around you. I cannot do it all.
There is now a new Communications Manual which everyone who uses any radio system here should read thoroughly. Irrespective of anyone's preference for the use of various types of communication systems, we have two (in general) very reliable radio systems (though of course such reliability should never be taken for granted), but the main problems I have heard lately have been due to unclear signalling, poor radio technique, and general dithering at the microphone, from both ends of the field. I know we are mostly amateurs, but we can do better than this, all of us, myself included. Attendance at my recent communications talks was frankly derisory. Most of you must think you know it all already.
I have been so furiously typing that I have hardly stopped to re-read sections of this, and writing it has felt much like letting off steam, so if I have offended anyone's delicate sensibilities I apologise in advance, but I do not apologise for pointing out to you what I see as a general decline in forward thinking, safety planning, and in executing some of those many little tasks that we all need to do to keep ourselves and our friends safe. I have already encouraged people to re-read my previous safety notices, which are now on the web site and the Burble Room, but judging by the low "view count", few people have yet bothered to do so. Presumably those who have not bothered know it all already too.
We are moving into the winter fairly soon, and equipment, weather, and frustration all tend to get worse, so treat it as a matter of personal pride that you are going to think defensively and act assertively to keep your gliding club as safe as possible. We have an excellent club and it would be desperately easy to ruin it by having a major accident caused by what I feel is the current level of complacency. If you now think that I will always be looking over your shoulders at whatever you are doing, then good, I will have done at least a small part of my job.
Safety Briefing 1
Safety Briefing 2
Safety Briefing 3
Safety Briefing 4
Safety Briefing 5
Safety Briefing 6
Safety Briefing 7
Safety Briefing 8
Safety Briefing 9