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W h a t g o e s o n i n a t u g p i l o t ’s m i n d ? P a g e s 8 , 9 & 1 0

Gransden times April 2009

! ide s n ei ve Fre racti n te tio i In pet ar m Co end l a c

Robert and Andrew return for 2009

Pic: Moltenlight

Buying vs renting, the Archives will change your mind: 2008, a curate’s egg: Motorgliding with Don Lees

The ups and downs of 2008

Wireless Winching - page4

It’s all change on 22

Gransden times - the magazine of Cambridge Gliding Club - Editorial contact:

Contents Wireless winching. Yes, it is the April issue but this is no joke. You and the winch driver in perfect harmony without having to speak to each other. Page 4 One of the club’s top tuggies gives an air to ground commentry on what goes through a tug pilot’s mind. Tugging is a psychological game of second guessing a glider’s intentions Page 8 Our new CFI, Richard Maskell, explains the changes for runway 22. More height with safety Page 11 It’s not all FUN, FUN, FUN. Catch up on the AGM you missed and see what’s planned for 2009. We are already off to a flying start Page 12 For some motorgliidng is about field landing checks and accelerated abinitio training. For others, like Don Lees, motorgliding holds a special appeal Page 16

Plus: Janet Birch becomes our Californian winner: Phil Jeffery ponders the future of competitions: Steve Kaszak explains changes to the launchpoint and rostering. Plus there’s a fully interactive racing calendar for 2009 Gransden Times is produced by for The Cambridge Gliding Centre Ltd. ( All material is the copyright of contributors. The views expressed in Gransden Times are not necessarily those of the Cambridge Gliding Centre Ltd or its editor. For more information contact:

the point of the issue is...


Ed’s bit

ou can always tell when the soaring season has started - the landout phone in the clubhouse rings. This season has started brilliantly at Cambridge with some of the best spring weather I can remember. Indeed, within 24 hours of the AGM (see page 12 if you missed it) Andrew Hulme’s call for Quantitative Easing was answered, and the coffers filled faster than the tanks on an ASG29 on a summer’s day with a dew point of -5C. If you don’t happen to have a “29” then try one of our Discuses on the single seater scheme. If you have the talent, then these gliders can deliver a 750km diploma or a regional competition win. Neil Goudie explains how the scheme works on page 14. How a tug pilot’s mind works is revealed on page eight: even after 300 aerotows, I learnt a lot. However, if winching is your thing then wireless winching (page four) provides an insight into the future. The past, however, is again covered in the Archives on page six. If you are considering forming a syndicate this is a ‘must read’ article from David Howse. We have a new CFI, Richard Maskell. Already Richard has got stuck into the launchpoint and his changes are outlined on page 11. Though Richard has a share in a Duo Discus (72) and a Discus (FFT) rumours that his nomination for CFI was sponsored by SchempHirth are denied. However, he does have huge instructing and management experience and is a GRL Regional winner. He’s earned our support. Finally, Gransden Times has gone interactive. If you see some orange text or advertisement, click it for more details. Thanks for the positive comments on the re-launch. Paul Harvey, Editor, Gransden times April 2009

GT 3

Wireless winching Winch drivers want to get it right every time. Skylaunch now make that more likely with Launch Assistant. Should you and CGC invest in wireless winching?


he situation is all too familiar. It’s a gusty spring day and you haven’t yet shaken off the cobwebs from the winter layoff. Worse, there’s a new winch driver on the afternoon shift who has yet to get his eye in. At 350 feet, the wind gradient sharpens and you find yourself with 10knts of airspeed you didn’t want in an SZD Junior. It was always a frustration of mine as a winch driver that I rarely got to know how a launch had gone; unless it was very good or very bad. Why can’t someone come up with a way of transmitting the glider’s airspeed into the winch cab? I used to think.

What the winch driver sees: engine revs and control lever position. The glider’s airspeed would provide extra feedback about the day.

Well, now they have. And whilst I haven’t flown with the system yet, initial results are promising. But how does it work? Launch Assistant has two parts, a transmitter in the glider and a receivGT 4 April 2009

er in the winch cab. The transmitter bracket at 30 Euros. With the launchis wired into the glider’s electrical point now moved back a little (Page system and its pneumatics plumbed 11) and optimal airspeed giving into the tubing feeding the ASI, to get the glider’s airspeed. But here’s the clever bit. The system is fully automated. When the glider reaches an airspeed over 30knts, transmission of its airspeed starts to the receiver in the winch’s cab. The winch driver can now judge the launch by attitude, cable-bow, engine load and glider airspeed. After 90 seconds, the transmission stops, ready for the next launch. The benefits of the system are considerable. Every glider has an optimal winch speed, i.e. an airspeed which will give the maximum height Now the winch driver can know your speed with safety for a given wing loading in the prevailing conditions. The maximum height there will be more problem is that the conditions change days when you won’t need an aerofrom day-to-day and with height due tow at £29, giving a saving of about to the wind gradient changing during £21 per launch: you don’t need many the day. launches to make the system pay and The winch driver’s skill is to of course you could take the system judge what every glider needs for the with you if you change gliders. As conditions. Launch Assistant gives the system is not essential equipment, the winch driver real-time inforEASA regulations only insist that it mation about the conditions aloft. is fitted according to the makers apFurther, for those converting to the proval systems. Juniors there would be added conThe winch receiver could be fidence that these low wing loading wired such that it could be plugged gliders won’t get too much power into either of our two winches. and over-speed. By the way, one of the reasons suggested The winch driver’s skill is for over-speeding Juniors is to judge what power every that the more reclined seating give the impression of a glider needs for the conditions higher climb angle. Fewer cable breaks are also cited as benefit. Because the airAre there any downsides? Well speed of the glider is more likely to apart from the initial cost there might be optimal, the greater tension on the be an issue of pilots becoming over cable at the top of the winch can be confident in the outcome of the reduced and this should reduce cable launch and entrusting too much of stretch and load on the weak links. the launch to Launch Assistant. There So far there seem to be few dismight also be less job satisfaction for advantages to the system. Paul Dick- the winch driver as some of the job inson, who is our full time winch is de-skilled. On this last point, Paul driver, liked the idea of the system Dickenson disagreed. Also, the winch and saw it as a valuable input into his driver would need to know which judgement. glider had the system and which did What about costs? Each glider not. would need a transmitter installed in The idea has been received well accordance with the manufacturer’s by Bryan Hooson, Richard Maskell recommendations. These cost 145 and Phil Jeffery. Euros. The winch will need a receiver at 195 Euros and a mounting Paul Harvey

Around the club

What’s in a name? Joanna Dannatt explains the

history of the Sigfrid Club and the real purpose of the first Saturday of the month

84Kph. Janet takes up the story: “The first leg went very well only stopping once to climb gaining 1000 feet. The speed on that leg was 91.09 kph. “Feltwell to Chipping Norton was pretty straight forward but there was


ith regret, the Third Annual Luncheon planned for the 7th March had to be cancelled through lack of support. It is hoped to hold an informal buffet lunch later in the season. While writing, I would like to clarify a misunderstanding that I have encountered among some gliding club members. The origin of the Sigfrid Club lay in the intention to provide an easy rendezvous for pilots who had given up flying to remain in touch with the club and its activities, and of course, with old friends who like themselves had stopped gliding, and therefore had no obvious reason to come to Gransden. Hence the first Saturday of the month was fixed as a regular coffee morning for everyone to come along, and it was hoped that any current club members with ten minutes to spare would drop in and bring ex-pilots up-todate with club developements or discuss local problems, and, of course greet old friends. It seemed sensible to give this gettogether a name, and as Sigfrid had died recently, who had devoted so much of his life to the club, it seemed a suitable memorial to call it The Sigfrid Club. But that does not imply that its purpose is tied to the memories of Sigfrid, many and fond as they are. The Sigfrid Club is just an open gathering for past and present club members who care to drop in and have a coffee and a chat. See you there! Joanna Dannatt

Janet Birch wins the California in England


he California in England is a cup awarded for the longest handicapped flight by a female pilot. Last year was pretty grim for gliding but that didn’t stop Janet Birch in her ASW28 completing a 378Km flight to take the award on the 15th August 2008. The task, GRL-Feltwell-Chipping Norton-Didcot-GRL was completed at

Janet Birch in her ASW28, 205 Pic John Birch

some high cover in the west which slowed me down a little. That leg was 163.8 kilometers long and my speed was 81 kph. The next leg to Didcot was very slow as the conditions were quite difficult, so I was rather slow at 56.8 kph. “Thankfully the weather improved on the last leg so it was an enjoyable run home flying at an average speed of 108 kph. “This was an enjoyable flight but sadly rather short for being awarded the California cup.”

Where Now?

You’ve gone solo: Robert Bryce Smith offers advice on how CGC can help you move on


e are aware that many post solo pilots feel unsure what to do next with their gliding. The pre-solo syllabus is highly structured with a very definite goal to aim for! Once solo, though, it is easy to flounder – wondering what to do next. Over the years the club has tried various schemes; post solo syllabus, mentor scheme, advanced courses etc. This has often targeted soaring and cross country flying. However, there are so many different things gliding has to offer. Individuals also respond to a variety of training and supervision. CGC has lots of different training on offer; e.g. field landings and navigation, aerobatics, thermalling techniques, cross country, type conversions etc. Also timely advice can be well

worthwhile. For example, someone getting ready for their Silver Distance might be prompted to get a field landing refresher in the motor glider now and plan to do this flight before mid May as the field states are presently excellent. So we would like all post solo pilots who haven’t achieved their 300 km flight, and want help, to contact Robert Theil on explaining their experience, aspirations, frustrations, and when they prefer to come gliding. Also please indicate the type of training or supervision you best respond to. Robert will then attempt to coordinate the most suitable programme for you. Please help us help you achieve whatever it is you want from gliding.

Where can I

get an aerotow retrieve from? RBS explains the procedure for getting towed out of airfields


e have reviewed aerotow retrieves. It is not club policy to A/T retrieve from farmers’ fields. However I have added a list of “unrestricted airfields” on the Tug Section of the Club’s web site. These can be flown by all of our tug pilots. A few “restricted airfields” have also been added (to be flown only by approved tug pilots). So should you wish to print a copy off and take with you, at least you’ll know that the retrieve is allowed. However, remember you must obtain permission from the owner/operator before calling for a tug. This list also has distances from Gransden – so you’ll be able to calculate the price. The list is not exhaustive – however using a different airfield will require extra planning from the tug pilot (who may refuse the tow). If possible position the glider to the correct end of the runway before the tug arrives – without impeding the tug’s approach and landing. There are also briefing notes on retrieves on the web site.

Barn Dance, May 30th

Well, strictly speaking a hanger dance. The Cambridge Crofters will be playing and there’s a hog roast and bar. The evening starts at 20-00 with tickets at £5, from the office April 2009

GT 5

From the archives This issue’s gem comes from former club treasurer, David Howse, and offers sage advice for those forming a glider syndicate. It was first published in S&G

Perfect Partners? Single sailplane, early 20’s, enhanced winglets, firm yet yielding wingtanks, fast erecting turbo, WLTM loaded, generous partners with warm trailer and GSOH for weekend outings, trips away and lots more! Mail soon with photo of trailer to soar-ring@ Kisses.


nfortunately, trawling for those ideal partners to share your gliding pride and joy can sometimes be a bit hit and miss. Your Editor has, for some reason, selected me to guide you through this potential minefield, although I should say that I feel rather smug on this subject, since all of my gliding syndicates to date have all been deeply meaningful, enriching experiences. No really. Getting to the point, selecting suitable syndicate partners by the Howse method requires close attention to a single, simple technique – detailed and structured observation of your fellow gliding beings. This will be found to be most productive in three key areas of the airfield: the launch point, the trailer park and the bar, but not necessarily in that order. What we are looking for are individuals or groups with very specific traits or habits which may be of benefit (or otherwise) to your fledgling group. Pile your plate high from the following fixed price menu.

Body language Observe different groups carefully as they rig their beloved toys. Close knit groups will usually rig their sailplanes at great speed with minimal comment or discussion. The slickest can even rig in complete silence; with only a few hand signals required to complete the task. It is always possible that partners are not actually on speaking terms but the nature GT 6 April 2009

of the hand signals ought to give you a few clues here? Contrast this model of harmony with the dysfunctional syndicate from hell. Rigging for them is a contact sport, with pushing and pulling, shouting and gesturing, usually ending up with muffled hammering and the sickening sound of something, or someone, or both, getting broken.

Aspirations and Expectations Think ahead. Assuming that you are not going to go syndicate hopping every year, choose partners with similar or complementary aspirations, expectations and budgets. A few examples (fictional of course) might not go amiss here. 1. A syndicate partner mentions over a beer that he thinks an instrumentation upgrade will be required over the winter. You nod enthusiastically, volunteering to shampoo and starch the yaw-string and buff up the balls in the Cosim vario. Your partner, top lip curling with contempt, indicates that the minimum upgrade consistent with safe operation would be an Internet enabled, GPS coupled, fully integrated flight management system with 3-axis autopilot and graphical user interface. 2. You catch your syndicate partners in a conspiratorial huddle around a brochure detailing the astonishing and groundbreaking features of the new Schempp-Schleicher Phallus 3 sailplane. Your love affair with your beautiful ASW19 is still fresh and passionate; feelings only deepened by a whispered telephone number, which turns out to be the cost of the new glider. 3. Your idea of a gliding holiday is a fortnight in Scotland, staggering out to the airfield some of the time, and flying when you feel like it. Your partners favour driving to Spain for 3 weeks, thrashing around huge tasks at just subsonic speeds every day, and talking about it every night. 4. Your partners nominate you as member responsible for the flying roster. You feign reluctance. After a few months

your partners notice that you get all the good days and are doing ten times as much flying as anyone else. Things become ugly, you are accused of wearing out the glider, and your partners signal their irritation by taking the main pin home with them. 5. Your partner is a keen competition pilot. You are equal partners. She (note gender balance) takes the aircraft away to all the competitions and has successfully convinced you of her urgent need to practice in between, on any remotely promising day. You are permitted to retrieve her over vast distances when record attempts go pear-shaped, and have full use of the aircraft in early April and late September. You have full fettling rights during the winter whilst she is hard at work, making up all the time taken off during the summer.

Housekeeping If you are the fastidious, considerate type, be certain that your partners are too. It is not entirely unknown for a keen pilot to abandon their aircraft on the airfield after an epic flight and sprint straight to the bar. Here they will celebrate their success, and regale anyone who will listen with a thermal by thermal analysis of how it was done. This can last all evening, resulting in the aircraft being de-rigged in the dark, in a rush, in a state of reduced consciousness. Unsuspecting partners, rigging next day, will be faced with a cockpit looking like a council skip, flat batteries, the leading edges hosting an insect massacre, and vital rigging tools lying around in the long grass. The tail dolly, nowhere to be seen, will be located on the airfield during the day by the reliable technique of someone driving over it at speed. This all gets sorted just as soaring conditions collapse, and has the cumulative potential to provoke the modern equivalent of pistols at dawn.

Bold pilots Be certain to choose partners who are most likely to keep your lovely glider

in one piece. If you have been anointed with the blessing of an instructor’s rating, then you may already have a valuable insight into the relative airborne skills of your potential suitors. If not then spend some quality time at the launch point on a nice day and observe the CFI or duty instructor closely as pilots lug their gliders into line. A rolling of eyes to the sky may not necessarily indicate a check on conditions. Nervous pacing and nail biting may also betray anxiety about certain pilots’ plans for aviation. Take careful note. Happily nature often appears to contrive to concentrate these ‘differently gifted’ pilots into their own ghetto syndicates. This is excellent news for everyone else, since generally, only one per syndicate will be airborne at a time.

And finally.. Having selected your future partners, you might feel the need to come to some sort of written syndicate agreement, bearing in mind that you will most likely be juggling breathtaking amounts of cash in the course of this exercise. The agreement typically needs to cover such sordid details as, for example, division of shares, allocation of costs, and what happens if someone leaves or joins, or is certified insane.. you get the idea? Collect your thoughts on a single side of A4 paper (minimum font size 12, no cheating). As a rule of thumb: 1. If you need to go to a second page, tear it up, and get different partners. 2. If the agreement needs to come out of the filing cabinet regularly, get different partners. 3. If a partner persists in quoting from the agreement on the airfield, get a gun. Happy hunting. Ed’s note: If all of the above has a faintly familiar ring to it, then start your cross-country flying on the single seater scheme. You will have access to three high performance gliders and you need never meet your fellow partners - if you don’t want to - See page 14

A racing uncertainty

The future of comps at Gransden and the task ahead. Competition entries are down at Cambridge and we are not alone in that. Nationals pilot, Phil Jeffery looks at the options


rompted by the disappointing number of entrants in the last few regionals, our committee are reviewing future options. To this end, the incumbent director Neil Goudie and I, as instigator of competitions at Gransden, have been asked to provide some guidance. To assist us, we would like the views of as many members as possible. The reason for having regionals at Gransden (not permitted at Duxford) was to encourage members to join in as a way of improving CGC’s overall cross-country experience, ability and with it, enjoyment of our sport. This

Those were the days, SKI racing

appeared to be fairly successful as the entry numbers hovered around 60 with a high proportion of those from within our membership. There were additional benefits such as a financial contribution to club funds and, in the views of some, ‘putting Gransden on the map’ whatever that means. Subsequently it was decided to run UK nationals at roughly 3 yearly intervals to take our turn as the BGA was having difficulty finding suitable venues. In recent years the number of entrants in our regionals has fallen significantly. As I write this, there are twenty-four who’ve so far paid a deposit this year. Previously it was not uncommon to have 60 and a waiting list as early as January. So why do we think this is? • The competition calendar now contains more BGA rated regionals • Some of our previous regulars

from other clubs have gone elsewhere when we’ve held a nationals and not returned • The very poor weather in recent years has discouraged people • Other clubs offer better facilities, particularly catering Amongst the options, in no particular order, are:• Stop running any competitions at all Pros – Members will not have to give up their time to run it. The Eastern trailer park will not need to be vacated. No disruption to normal club operations, though much of this effect is a perceived misconception. Cons – Removing the crosscountry training aspect of competitions enjoyed by many to date. No financial contribution to club funds (though the draft accounts say otherwise last year). Remove the competition spectacle enjoyed by many members, including those not taking part. • Run a yearly regionals in the hope of building up entry levels again and stop holding any nationals Pros – Basically the opposite of the above Cons. Cons – The opposite of the above Pros plus no longer doing our BGA share. • As above, but run nationals independently at a different time Pros – No disruption to regionals. Greater financial benefit to the club. Cons – Many more members required to give up their time to run competitions. Worse disruption for members with gliders in the Eastern trailer park. We could always carry on as before with regionals, a nationals every few years and work to improve things. This could allow a reduced size regionals playing second fiddle to one of the smaller national classes or no regionals and a large national class or two smaller ones combined. Please respond to me by email at so Neil and I can ensure members views are reflected in our submission to the committee. Don’t delay, as bid forms for next year’s nationals have to reach the BGA by June and the committee are not renowned for instant decisions. Phil Jeffery

April 2009

GT 7

Up front - a tug pilot’s view Most glider pilots have little interest in powered flight yet prefer aerotows to winch. George Knight from Cambridge gives an insight into what goes though a tug pilot’s mind during the launch


the opportunity to try and get-away early whilst still in comfortable gliding range of the field. (Most of us are glider pilots and well aware of the cost of an aerotow so appreciate it ourselves if we can save a few hundred feet on the tow.) Taking up slack we align ourselves in front of the glider or, if there is a crosswind, a little downwind to minimise weather cocking (the tendency of an aircraft to turn into wind). All-out is given. Depending on the type of radio fitted we may pause at this point to change to Little Gransden’s radio frequency – we have to give them a call on some routes – then it’s open the throttle over two or three seconds to full power (to allow the self-adjusting crankshaft balance weights in the Pawnee time to get in the right position) and we are away. We aim to take off at a relatively low airspeed and accelerate towards the target towing airspeed in ground effect before allowing the tug to enter the full climb. However, in stronger winds with a pronounced wind gradient if we try and fly the airspeed accurately it has the same effect as on the winch – as we climb into the faster air we must pull back harder to avoid over speeding. The resulting, unexpected, very steep climb will leave

aintaining a stable attitude and heading, regardless of what is happening behind you, is the second most important skill needed by a tug pilot to give a ‘good’ tow. Attitude changes to maintain the correct speed are made as gently as conditions permit so as to make life easier for the glider pilot and, in particular, to avoid the rope becoming slack. A ‘good’ aerotow begins well before the signal to take-up-slack is given. What type of glider? Is there water on board (an extra 5 knots will be required)? Who is flying it – what will their objectives be? How high? How fast on tow? Where will they want to be Get high and we’ll make sure our dropped? Is it a soaring flight looking for a thermal, a trial hand is on the release – too high lesson wanting a smooth ride, and you’re on your own a spin check needing to release close to the field or is it an aerotow training flight wanting practice the glider behind and when it catches turns in each direction? Being a mind- up there is a risk of it overshooting and reader helps because you are rarely told! getting too high. This is a killer for tug Next it’s time to assess the wind & pilots so we compromise by starting the temperature. Is there room to take-off climb at a lower speed than we would with this glider in these conditions? If on a calm day and don’t get too excited there is a chance that there is lift about it’s if we end up five to ten knots faster than now time to take a good look at the sky to we would expect be at the same point on decide where the best lift will be and the a calmer day. Once through the wind best way to get there. An ideal is to get gradient we gently bring the speed down into lift at around 1500’ to give the glider to our target. GT 8 April 2009

Pic: Alwin Güntert in a DG1000. Alwin used to be a test pilot for DG

A more conservative aerotow at Cambridge

We don’t mind gliders practicing boxing the slipstream without warning us beforehand – we rather expect it with the two-seaters - preferably above about 700’. Get high and we’ll make sure our hand is on the release – too high and you’re on your own. If a training flight wants to see the various tug-to-glider signals we need to be briefed. Tell us at what height you want to be waved off and we’ll do it; just remember that we never demonstrate a wave off. They are always for real. If we wave you off, whether it was at your request or otherwise, you must always release immediately. (P 10)

Don’t even consider it

a stunning video at


lider aerobatics are nothing new but the Swift Aerobatic Team, led by Guy Westgate, take it to a new level, with the aerobatics being done behind the tug. The team will be near Cambridge on June 7th at Old Warden and at the Little Gransden Air and Car Show on 30th August. Another well known member of the Swift Team is Pete Wells of Zulu Glasstek who flies his Twister in formation with the tug and glider as well as towing. There is

Guy Westgate is towed with wing walker tug plane. The ASI reads 80knts and the altimerter 300ft. Typically they perform between 150 and 400ft. Behind an ‘Extra’ they have towed at 152knts (VNE) in barrel rolls

April 2009

GT 9

If you want to see us waggle the we usually bank a small amount in the or a reporter in a two-seater to be filmed rudder to indicate your brakes are open opposite direction to the glider – tug to in close-up, and stay there for several tell us at what height (above 700’) that you the left if the glider has turned right – as minutes. If you have never done it you plan to open the brakes. When we notice is normal at CGC. We then take about will be surprised how small the control (embarrassingly we don’t always) we’ll 30 seconds to accelerate to 100 knots and and throttle movements need to be. give the signal. You can then close the reduce the power to the brakes and continue the tow. To practice descent setting. Reducing Without the jerk one can continue the ‘I cannot release’ signal by flying out power abruptly can result to the left and waggling your wings – tell in cracking of the air- climbing for a while... us at what height you will be doing it. If cooled cylinder heads. We you do it at any other height we’ll assume aim to descend outside the glider circuit I Want To Be A Tuggie it’s for real. so we don’t descend onto gliders in the To begin you will need to be(come) It is frustrating when you successfully circuit in our blind spot. We then try to a club member, have a valid PPL, at least plan a tow to be in strong lift at say 1,500’ enter the circuit on a base leg at about one hundred hours experience flying light – 1,600’, get a kick in the pants as you enter the thermal… and nothing else happens. The glider is still behind you patiently waiting to reach 2,000’. You have no plan ‘B’. By the time you have got back to the thermal, or found another you will be over 2,000’ and the glider may end up releasing in the blue – cursing you. On the other hand you get to know the few pilots who will take the first sniff of lift at or above 1,000’ and aim to try and find them lift close to the field. Sometimes the routes we take may seem far from ideal to the glider pilot. Because we have a rather effective noise generator in front of us we have to avoid some specific noise-sensitive areas. We also try to vary our routes so that we don’t always fly exactly over the same G Dale in a Duo Discus is retrieved by a Piper just north of Omarama, NZ. houses on every tow. Please bear with “An opportunity to do a retrieve is always welcomed by a tuggie – but rarely by us. the glider pilot..” Another pet hate is the pilot who sneaks away without you knowing, Pic: Moltenlight by timing his release until there is a bit 500’ so that most gliders, who we must aircraft, usually be a current glider pilot of slack in the rope. The tug pilot can give way to, are above us and seen more and be approved for training by the club’s feel the jerk of a glider releasing under easily. CFI and Chief Tug Pilot (CTP). Training tension and will look in the mirror to The lookout is particularly important is conducted on-site by the CTP and his verify release and the direction of the during the recovery to the field because check pilots and will consist of a minimum glider’s turn. Without the jerk one can we are flying fast and descending at about of ten training flights plus about half a day continue climbing for a while, oblivious 1,000’ a minute. By the way, a good of briefings. To convert to the Pawnee you to the world, until the high rate of climb lookout is the most important skill for a need at least five hours towing experience is noticed. There is then a frantic look tuggie to have. and have received differences training for in the mirror wondering if the glider’s Treats! tail-draggers. gone, whether you’re in strong lift or if It’s hard work, but rewarding, when the glider is in low-tow (where it cannot you have spent an hour or two launching About the author be seen by the tuggie). You can tell when gliders and none have returned for relights. An George Knight started gliding at Another pet hate is the pilot who sneaks away opportunity to Dunstable, in T21’s, in 1966 and went solo do a retrieve the following year in a Prefect. After his without you knowing, by timing his release is always Silver C he bought a share in a 15m Dart. welcomed by In 1968, George got his PPL and became until there is a bit of slack in the rope a tuggie – but a Dunstable tuggie on Tiger Moths. He rarely by the joined CUGC in 1984 (after a lay-off) you’ve done it if, after you have landed, glider pilot. On rare occasions there is and got a share in a flapped Kestrel, but the tuggie, very casually, sidles up to you an even better treat on offer when one recently “downgraded to an 18 metre and asks: ‘what height was it when you is asked to carry a TV cameraman to Discus (KPG)”. George has Gold cert pulled off?’ film a glider; you need to formate on the and one Diamond leg, is an AsCat and Once we know the glider has released glider, close enough for the glider pilot, holds TMG and IMC ratings. GT 10 April 2009

CFI news

should be less overshooting by tugs and asked to take the same route. New CFI, Richard gliders. But what of option 3a? When aerotowing from 22, the first Maskell, outlines On quiet days or when the AT grid has few gliders can line up on 22 ready to launched, the winch can be moved back improved launchpoint launch. The remaining gliders should line further for even greater launch heights procedures for runway up in two rows on the western edge of and improved options for landing ahead. 16. This means that tail dollies should be AT point is now moved parallel and 22, which will give us kept close by and gliders ready to move The next to the winch point if the cables are not out. If the cables are out, then the better launch heights, forward as launching progress. AT queue must be moved to the north good efficiency and there is no chance of the tug-glider there is no need to move so combination getting caught up in the maintain our high back in hot conditions cables. Visitors must be escorted out standard of safety via the crop edge on 22 and members


e have looked at all the set up options for Runway 22, and have completed a risk analysis for each. The result is that we are now trying out a new 22 launch point layout !"#$%&'()*'' +,-.&'/01'23$4'-)5'6)7&8-.4'%3' %&'6%9')8#$:$#;'4);5<*'

This aerotow run is also significantly longer than the south side equivalent, and there is no need to move back in hot conditions (tugs lose power with increasing temperature) or zero wind. The extra effective length of runway comes from 2 things. First is that as the peritrack is not at right angles to the 22 run, so we get some extra length on the north side. The second is that the north side run is not obstructed by the farmer’s crop towards the end of the 22. However, visitors must still be escorted to and from the launchpoint via the peritrack. Members are

are asked to take the same route. The final decision on where the launching facilities are placed, rests with the duty instructor. This new system was put together with the flying committee, building on the work Rod Ward did when he was CFI. We will review the changes when we have had some more experience. Any feedback would be welcome. Richard Maskell, CFI, CGC

Option 3a for less busy days over the next few months. The layouts can be seen on the diagrams above and right. The new layout shown in the larger diagram, (Option 3. Standard Set up), is suitable for most situations when we are using 22. This means that we aerotow near the peritrack on north side. Winching now happens on the south side back from the aerotow (A/T) queue but complying with the 45 degree rule which ensures a ground-looping glider remains clear of the aerotow queue. Being a bit further back will also give a bit more height and increase the ‘land-ahead’ options should a cable break. Also, aerotow trial flight visitors will no longer need to cross the runway using the peritrack parallel to 34/16. We also retain the benefits of a longer landing run for the tugs and therefore minimise tug backtracking which gives a faster turnaround. Also, landing on the main runway feels unobstructed so there

The standard layout for launching on 22 - more height with safety April 2009

GT 11

Chairman and the AGM The AGM this year was another slick affair, though 2008 was a poor flying year. Below is how our highly professional committee keep GRL flying through the turbulence


elcome to the new season. We went to seven day a week operations on Monday March 30th (thus ensuring an extra two days in the flying season) and anticipate that it is going to be a good one. The weather gurus are making comments along the lines of “the jet stream has moved north again” and “El Niño is looking favourable”. Quite how that translates into stonking days out of GRL I am not sure, but last nights temperature was near zero, this morning (March 17th) has dawned warm and dry and there is dew on the car. All good local signs for me. I’m planning a 17 hour flight for later today but sadly courtesy of four Rolls Royce engines and Singapore Airlines. At least I won’t

have to rig and DI. The AGM - We covered a lot of topics at the AGM and these will be reported in the Minutes GT 12 April 2009

which will be available on the web site within a few weeks. Meanwhile some key points are:-

New President – we were delighted that Mike Smith agreed to accept nomination as President and was duly, and unanimously, elected. The Security of Tenure – We now outgoing President, Bryce Brycehave an offer from our landlords Smith, has been a stalwart member to renew the lease on GRL for 25 of the Management Committee years from 2012 at a rent which and Directors in many roles since largely meets the criteria set by the at least 1948 and deserves all our Directors and Committee. thanks for his massive contributions There are a number of significant issues which need to be resolved before we can count on it being a done deal. The biggest one of these revolves around a satisfactory treatment of the VAT status on the rent. If it is resolved the problem goes away. If it is not we may face going to Plan B. (Where to the Club over all those years. “B” is a six letter word beginning Without him CGC would not exist with B and ending in G). We are in anything like its current form (if working with the landlords, their at all) and our site at GRL would accountants and HMRC to resolve still be a farm. We owe him an this. Please bear in mind that it’s undischargeable debt. To cap it all not signed till it’s signed but we he still flies better than many of are beginning to allow ourselves to us and he continued to prove that think about long term infrastructure on most Wednesdays and Fridays improvements such as drainage, throughout this past winter. Now that the new season is underway and Bluebell has been through her CoA I am sure that he will continue to make the point. New CFI - Certain Committee posts are extended beyond the normal three year tenure to a maximum of five years and the CFI is one of these. Consequently Rod Ward, having been elected in 2004, had to stand down. We were delighted that Richard Maskell agreed to accept nomination as CFI and was duly, and unanimously, elected. Richard a new ready-rig hanger, a tug has already started work (page 11) hanger, new Club house and other on plans he intends to introduce capital intensive projects which which will build on foundations would be untenable if the lease is Rod laid down over the past five not renewed in 2012. years. The role of CFI is one of the

toughest in a Club the size of CGC and five years is a looooong time to be doing it. We wish Rod well in his “CFI Retirement” and hope he can concentrate on his cross country enjoyment for a bit whilst, hopefully, passing on his immense talents and experience by helping our instructors team to train and improve the flying skills of our membership. Finances - Much to our disappointment the reduction in subscription from a headline figure of £480 allied with a voluntary donation, under the GiftAid scheme, was not supported as well as we had hoped. Only 27 members took it up whilst the majority paid the reduced subscription and made no further contribution. This created a short fall of almost £2,000, which is not sustainable. Consequently the base for the subscription will revert to the £480 headline figure. There is still time for any member who did not participate in the Gift Aid scheme for the 2008/9 season to do so and the additional revenue which that would generate would be very welcome. We made a loss for the year of £12,516. This does not mean that the Club is in financial difficulty (as ill informed launch point and

OFB gossip might have it). What it does mean is that we only broke even before depreciation and consequently were only able to set aside a smaller than budgeted

amount for future re-equipment.

and we need all the new members we can get. There will be a general briefing for helpers at 0900 in the Club House. If you cannot be there by then don’t worry, simply find someone who was to get the details.

Membership – The work of the Recruitment and Retention team led by Tony Cronshaw continues to bear fruit with about 20 new Full Flying Members recruited in 2007/8 – and a further four this year already. Depending Gift Aid was poorly supported on how you count the numbers current with only 27 members taking it up membership is in the region of 155 which is nicely The Open Day is particularly up from about 134 at the same time important this year as we anticipate last year. Surprisingly only one launching the CGC component member has taken advantage of of the BGA Youth Initiative. The the introduction of the £75 credit leaders of all the ATC and Scout for each new member they can groups within about a 50 miles claim as “theirs”. This scheme will radius of GRL will be invited to remain in place as we continue to attend a formal launch meeting and aim for a stable membership 200. extensive advertising and other public relations will be deployed Open Day- The next “big event” to attract maximum participation. is the Open Day which has been The BGA simulator and a number moved from early April to Sunday of the Junior Squad will be on hand May 10th, not least because last to meet and greet and enthuse about year’s was largely rained and gliding. We will need your help to drizzled off (again) – but we still make it a success. The long term managed to sell out the Evening benefits of increased membership Courses. and asset utilisation for CGC and Putting it on is a huge amount of gliding generally are immense and work and we have been woefully this is in everyone’s best interest. short of volunteers for each of the past two years. We all want to go The Season - The calendar has gliding but if you could find time to been widely circulated and I would support this effort that really would urge you to support the numerous events which are listed. These range from the re-introduction of regular cross country courses (which are only made possible because of our employment of two full time instructors), an advanced Cross Country Course being run by Sarah Kelman, the Inter Club League (which we came so close to winning last year) and the Gransden Regionals for which Neil Goudie has promised perfect weather, task setting and catering. It is not (yet) sold out –but we are working on it. Get your application be appreciated. One day out of the in soon to avoid disappointment. season isn’t too much to sacrifice Have a good season - and see you surely? There is nothing like a field at the launchpoint. full of enthusiastic pilots talking to the public to recruit new members Richard Brickwood, Chairman April 2009

GT 13

There’s an old adage: if it floats or flys, it’s cheaper to rent. Neil Goudie looks at the cost of running a glider and how our single seater scheme compares


ome of you might be thinking about buying a share in a glider this year. Owning your own glider gives tremendous freedoms, allows all year access and means you can take it anywhere at anytime of the year to try out other soaring opportunities. Now this all seems like a good idea (I have had shares in gliders in the past) but owning gliders comes with health warnings. 1. Unknown maintenance costs (£200.00 minimum on an annual CofA) 2. Unknown regulatory costs (EASA requirements have been difficult to budget for over last few years). 3. Significant Insurance Premiums (say £1000 on a hull value of £20,000, and with the hull values based in Euros that could shift from year to year. 4. Trailer maintenance issues. 5. Instrument calibration requirements. 6. Difficulty in trading up within volatile markets (the current economic situation has stagnated the market).

A great day for scheme members 7. Depreciation (not normally significant but it only needs a new generation of glider to hit the market and suddenly your ‘hotship’ is ‘notso hotship’. 8. Facility charge of £225 per annum A rule of thumb is that for a reasonably priced glider (with trailer), and GT 14

Buying vs Renting April 2009

in good nick, expect to pay around 10% The glider is yours, for the whole per annum on running costs (insurance/ day, and you can fly for as long as you maintenance etc). So for a 2nd hand like. Your pre-paid time decreases until Discus, say £28,000, on average you will you have flown for 2 hours 40 minutes, pay £2,800 per year on maintenance and on any one flight. That means you could, insurance throughout the lifetime of the potentially, fly 8 flights of over 6 hours glider, bearing in mind that at some time and only just use up all your £640.00 preit will need refinishing. pay. That’s 48 hours for the price of 20! Woah you say....Yes it’s a lot of If you run-out of pre-pay any subsequent money hence people tend to share gliders flights are charged at a discounted rate to minimise the impact. So for the Discus until the 2 hours 40 minutes (maximum example, above, a 4 person syndicate charge for any one flight). will pay around £700.00 a year to keep Remember, your booking rights remain it running and maintained (after you have valid between April and September even forked out the £7,000 capital cost!). if you run out of pre-pay. Yes, so £700.00 a year for unlimited flying sounds like a good deal.....If you did 100 Now, why not join the scheme hours that would work out at £7.00 per hour. 1. Gliders are rigged 80% of the time, Yip, why I am flying club gliders if it is that cheap....but it is not. With, typically, 4 person syndicates how much access will you get if you are 9 to 5 Mon-Fri rat race fanatic. Well let’s say the soaring season starts in mid-Feb and goes to midOct. That’s 9 months (if you are lucky!). That’s 45 weekends. or 90 days. Lets say, on average, only 50% of these days are reasonably soarable, that’s 45 days: or 11 days of potential access if you The Discus, HOM: one of the best gliders ever built fly weekends only. Good one normally remains de-rigged at any luck on achieving 100 hours. In reality my experience of having one time) access to a privately owned glider, when 2. No need to do any maintenance (other you are at the ‘learning’ stage, is that you than to report defects as and when they might do 30 to 40 hours per year. The arise). numbers, and hassle, of owning your own 3. No need to worry about unexpected glider at the early stages of cross-country costs. flying don’t really add up. Cambridge Gliding Centre saw that 4. Access when you want it (the scheme there was this gap in the market of when has limited numbers so that in effect you have gone solo and learned the ba- you have 6 opportunities to fly a glider sic soaring skills but wanted to move into at weekend and 15 opportunities to fly it cross-country flying with better access to during the week). gliders on good days. 5. Good glider access if one becomes The Single Seater Scheme developed U/S. from this idea and has been running 6. No capital costs. successfully for close to the decade. How 7. Ability to take away a glider for 1 week does it work? during 12 month period. You buy a minimum of 20 hours flying. So for hassle free cross-country flying This can either be 1 x 20 hours weekend without the need to worry about other only, or 2 x 10 hours weekday only. issues this is the Scheme for you. This year this is being priced at Download the copy of the Scheme Rules £660.00. (£330 for a weekday share and £660.00 for a weekend share) This allows and FAQs from the web site or contact you to book one of three gliders (a Pegase me for more details (nfgoudie@Hotmail. andtwo Discuses) for a whole day on com). either a weekday or weekend (depending Neil Goudie on what shares you bought.

The smooth running of Cambridge Gliding Club relies on the right people being in the right place at the right time. Steve Kaszak ensures it runs like clockwork


y the time that you read this, it should be possible to book motor glider time on the same web site that handles the two-seater bookings. You will still need to arrange an instructor to match your booking separately, as the motor glider instructors have various ratings that affect the scope of the instruction and check flights are able to perform. When the new booking page goes live, we intend to also provide clearer information to help you contact a suitable instructor. Either the student or the instructor will be able to record the booking on the web site, but if you do phone around the instructors, it might be an idea to have the web site to hand, so that it is easy to mutually select a convenient time and finalise the booking then and there. The “Rosters” section of the web site has also been expanded to a couple of other ways. The site now includes the weekday tug rosters prepared by Jim Walls. Weekday tug pilots are now also able and encouraged to record their swaps or transfers on the web site. I have also prepared a “frequently asked questions” page that covers the rostered roles, how to arrange swaps, and use of the availability options. This is primarily for new recruits, but will also provide an insight into how things are run for anyone who performs one of our roles. There has also been extensive work on behind the scenes to the way that the web site accesses its database (a security measure), and

Who’s turn is it anyway?

to complete the transition of the administration pages to the new page format and programming practices. Work continues on extending the web site to handle the booking of trial flights. Jim Walls has reverted preparation of the weekend Tug roster back to me. Unfortunately I’m not in a position where I am able to take into account all of the extra preferences that Jim used to, but existing availability options on the web site seem to cover the current requirements for the weekend pilots. For the forthcoming season there are some changes to the way that the second tug will be crewed. The chief tug pilot will be allocating the second tug pilot duty to cover the expected need, training, currency requirements and varying pilot qualifications (as the second tug type is likely to vary throughout the season). On the operational front, we are introducing help at the launchpoint in the form of a new role, the launchpoint assistant. Thank you to all of those who have agreed to help out with this new scheme. We have not yet recruited enough to cover all rostered days, but we will be using some of the work commitment that is part of our Cadets and Young persons’ scheme to fill some of the gaps. At the time of writing, the cadet column on the rosters table is empty, but work is going on behind the scenes to organise that role. The extra help at the launchpoint should help us to operate more efficiently. I am aware that the summer roster took a few members by surprise as they had not entered their availability, or in the case of some of the CUGC members, let me know the times they are in the region. Apologies for this, but the

only thing that I did differently was to miss the deadline of the previous issue of the Gransden Times (which took me by surprise when it dropped into my inbox). An email did go out to the main club email list about the pending summer run. This will continue to be one of the methods I use to advertise the pending roster runs. Unfortunately, with over a hundred members performing at least one rostered role, it’s impossible for me to analyse your availability, or confirm your preferences individually. For the record, the timetable to which I work for each roster run is simple. Six weeks before the existing duties run out, I aim to start preparing the next set of duties. I try to open the availability page about a month before that (once I have had our operational dates confirmed). In effect this means that the availability page is open mid-January to mid-February for the Summer season, and mid-July to mid-August for the Winter Season. The Rosters web site also has its own news page. There, I include more detailed information

we are introducing help at the launchpoint in the form of launchpoint assistants about my timescales (and other relevant information about the rosters and the booking systems). Finally, the rosters and twoseater booking part of the web site is in a continuous state of development. If you have any suggestions, or come across something that does not seem to work properly, please do let me know, and in the case of a fault provide as much information as you can. Steve Kaszak Rosters Manager GT 15

Focus on motorgliding

Sometimes only an iron thermal will do Motorgliding for some is more than a means to an end. Don Lees explains its appeal and how to become a motorglider pilot


he National Private Pilots Licence for Self Launching Motor Gliders, quite a mouthful which is possibly why it is abbreviated to NPPL - SLMG. I am often approached by club members and asked. What do I need to do to get a rating to fly motor gliders? The answer can be quite involved as it does depend on the background of the person asking. In a nutshell from scratch with no previous flying experience it is a 32 hour syllabus, if you have a gliding licence then this can be cut down to 10 hours of cross training. Within the ten hours, one hour must be on stall and spin avoidance, one hour on instrument appreciation and one hour of solo, the remaining seven hours can be made up as appropriate. In practice this is mainly concentrating on flying navigation to CAA standards as it is different to glid-

does take a little thought along with the spinney thing up the front on most motor gliders but not all. We have access to the Grob 109, a very powerful motor glider with more than enough dials and switches to impress anyone and the SF25 Falke, which although it has fewer dials and switches is just as much fun. We have been dogged recently with various technical issues over both of the motor gliders, but I am glad to say they are now almost all over come and we should have them both fully operational soon.

So, what are they like to fly?

But with a little practice we can soon get ourselves over the ground even if we do look a bit like moths taking their first few steps. Changing surfaces should we go for maximum bump or maximum rock? All part of the differences training when taxiing. Getting airborne is a great part, no waiting in the launch queue, just line up shove the throttle forward as far as it will go, relax the back pressure on the stick and up she goes. Well the Grob will take your breath away as the rate of climb can

...just line up and shove the throttle forward as far as it will go

Each and every SLMG I have flown is almost without question been very dif- be impressive and well let’s just say the ferent and even within the same type the Falke may take a little longer before you variations can be a little confusing. You do have the same feeling of elation. Having need to spend some quite time just sitting your own built in 10 knot thermal means in the cockpit and looking over the taps. you get to a thousand feet fairly quickly. Where have the put the master switch this Its then time to either set your heading or time and where is the carb heat? just flying away from the airfield for some Most of the flying controls are the stooging around the local cabbage patch same as you will find in gliders but you it doesn’t really matter. It is just great to need to check things like how is the brak- be airborne. ing system set up in this aircraft. Does The rate of roll in the Grob is not this have differential wheel brakes and are fighter pilot response but is certainly is they connected to the airbrakes? Does this not dreadful, the Falke feels more like the motor glider have air brakes or are they two seaters not completely sedate. Stalls spoilers? Why? Well you may encounter is normally fairly and to get a deep stall a difference in pitch and it is just as well you need to approach it quite aggresto think sively. Stick the power on and it feels about it on like you are standing on the tail before Having your own built in 10 knot thermal means the ground you get the nose drop. Some SLMG will you get to a thousand feet fairly quickly... rather than drop the wing at the point of stall and this be surprised can catch some people out. Alas the full ing navigation. in the air. spin is not allowed in our SLMGs, but the There are two flying tests and 6 techAll of the SLMG I have flown have rate of rotation with the engine on can be nical papers that have to be passed and it all been tail draggers is in passing of the technical papers where and as such you do most students of the NPPL run into dif- need to think like the ficulty. It is not that they are difficult it is stick and rudder pijust a long uphill slog taking each of the lots of old. Into wind papers. aileron, stick back, But the rewards I believe far out way stick forward dependthe difficulties, being able to come out to ing on where the wind the airfield and climb into a motor glider, is coming from etc. take off and stay in the air for hours when All of this is fairly there are no thermals, or fly to another new to us if we have airfield land have the obligatory cup of only flown gliders as tea and fly back in the evening is a pure the amount of taxiing delight. we get is not normally The handling of a motor glider is fair- that much and if we ly straight forward and most glider pilots do taxi you tend to get Just jump in and go, the beauty of motorgliding convert very quickly, handling the engine told off by instructors. GT 16 April 2009

spectacular in some of them. Of course the interesting part about SLMG is the fact that you can turn the engine off. With LD’s around 1:20 to 1:30. Our SLMG are closer to the first figure and as I have not had the chance to fly a Stemme I can’t say what a big ship SLMG feels like. In contrast the Rans S4 has a glide of 1:6 but there again no one is claiming that to be an SLMG. Landing as a Glider is fairly conventional and a glider circuit should be flown, although on most types the round out and hold Over the winter we had the use of a Grob which can also aerotow off needs to be higher as they are not so close to the ground as gliders. Do remember to keep it straight with rudder and not to be expect the full gliding experience aggressive with the wheel brakes as endunless the engine fails. It’s also rather ing up on the nose is likely to be expenstrange having the instructor sitting sive. We have had a Falke at CGC next to you and talking with headsets. Circuits and landings in ‘power’ is not for many years. The current one is Then of course there’s the noise. But that much different but expect the critical actually owned by the Scouts. Its for field landings they are fantastic, height go around to make you think. This handling bears little resemblance to a and give a major confidence boost to is where a balked landing is simulated glider but with the engine, any glide cross country flying. It’s well worth and you need to put the airbrakes away, angle can be simulated for practice refreshing your skills every year. change hands and then open the throttle landings into a field or for accelall of which must be under control and not erated circuit learning: just don’t Paul Harvey letting of the stick at any point. Well this is probably enough information to be getting on with. Just one last thing you don’t necessarily need to have an NPPL or the desire to get an NPPL to fly one, they are very useful teaching aids. So if you are having trouble with circuits you can get around ten circuits for the same time it takes to get two in the normal gliders. Or if you want field landing or navigation practice then this is the machine to try them in. The really last thing while we are waiting for the soaring season. If you just want to see what they are like to fly then why not a organise flight over the winter as at least you will get more stick time than a short up round and back down circuit. Don Lees

Fields and Falkes

The Falke: Now is the time to get some field landing practice

April 2009

GT 17

GT 18 April 2009

Pick a field in good time More careful rigging












UK Mountain Soaring, Aboyne

Junior Nationals, Dunstable Gransden Regionals, Cambridge 15m Nationals, Aston Down Two-seater competition - Pocklington Lasham Regionals Standard Class Nationals, Nympsfield Northern Regionals, Sutton Bank Open Class Nationals, Lasham Midland Regionals, Hus Bos

Inter-University task week, Pocklington Bidford 2-seat challenge cup Inter-services, Keevil

...Unflapped Pociunai, Lithuania


18m HB Women’s worlds Hungary

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Labels for continental competitions reflect the country’s flag colour.

18m Nationals, Hus Bos Women’s worlds European Championships... Dunstable Regionals, ... Bicester Regionals, Bicester Competition Enterprise, Long Mynd Shenington Regionals, Edgehill Club Class Nationals, Pocklinton Booker Regionals, Booker

...European Championships - Flapped - Nitra, Slovakia Juniors ...Finland June


Non rated Competitions 6

The calendar is interactive. Click on a competition label text and you will be taken to the site of the organiser.

Regional Competitions 10


Bidford Regionals, Bidford Flapped European.. Junior World Championships, Rayskala, cont..

Eastern Regionals, Tibenham Overseas Nationals, Ocana, Spain

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 9 8 7 6 5 4

Pic: Mark Collins. Production:

Field Landing Integrity

Inadequate lookout Unable to cope with normal problems The field is picked too late Rigging incomplete

Flying the glider must always be the 1st priority Better lookout; technology Better training


Stall/spin, excluding winch launch Collision Landing (on home airfield)

Indication for Fewer Accidents Better training


Winch Launch

Predominant Immediate Cause Incorrect technique and or unable to cope with an emergency Overload, distraction





ne part of the role of Flight Safety Officer is to investigate incidents and accidents, gather all the information and ensure the relevant forms are sent to the BGA and other parties. Anything learnt from the incident or accident is then passed to club members via Flight Safety News. Within two months of being appointed to the role we had two serious accidents during our Regional Competition and in both cases each pilot was seriously injured and both gliders written off. Both of these accidents were caused by spinning on the approach to a field landing. This was not a good start for me. All accident investigations are reactive and whilst there is always something to be learned, I decided, together with the Flying Committee, that we should take a proactive approach to minimize accidents in the future. The first step was to introduce a flight safety audit/review document using a “traffic light” system that enables the club officers to see at a glance where there are issues needing attention. Green means all is well. Amber means we need to sharpen up. Red means immediate action is needed. The audit covers all the items suggested in the BGA check list, plus others that have been added to meet local needs. These items include airfield safety, aircraft safety, operational procedures,

aerotow operations, winching and prevent any of us becoming an accident parachute packing. The document is statistic in 2009.It can be found on this updated on a regular basis by the Club link: Flight Safety Officer and is reviewed by the Club Committee. documents/accidentreview08web.pdf In 2007 we applied to the BGA for Below is the summary on the last page this Audit process to be considered for of the BGA report which shows hazards their Best Practice Award and we were and avoidance. Accidents are placed in delighted to chosen for an award early one of 17 categories but 80% of the most in 2009. This helps to raise the profile of serious accidents are found in just six of The Cambridge Gliding Centre with the these categories. BGA and also helps other clubs who can The guidelines for avoiding accidents now use our idea. in these six categories were published in The second step was to ensure the 2007 review and remain valid. It is that lessons learnt from incidents and not unreasonable to think that addressing accidents are communicated to members. these six hazards could halve current We have used Gransden Times, e-mail accident rates. and Flight Safety News Bulletins, which This year could be a second can be found on the CGC web site to successive year without a fatal accident communicate with members. The Flight if we can avoid collisions and inadvertent Safety News also includes any hot safety spinning, and winch launch safely. It is to items from the BGA. ...80% of the most serious accidents are We also have a found in just six categories Flight Safety slot on the agenda for each CGC Instructor meeting where we review the benefit of every pilot and gliding club accidents and incidents and to decide how if we can achieve this. to comply with any new BGA directives Can you contribute? on safety. The Flight Safety Officer is a Thank you for your support during member of The Flying Committee chaired the last five years and I hope that you will by the CFI, and also has close links with provide full support to Colin, by ensuring the Launch Marshall Team. that all potential as well as actual incidents The next step is to develop a database and accident are reported to him. If these of incidents, accidents and potential issues are not reported then we are unable to so we can see if any trends are developing. identify causes and put corrective action Sarah Kelman has volunteered to help set in place to stop repeats. Also any ideas this up for us. you have to improve flying safety would The above gives an overview of my be appreciated by Colin. work during the last five years, but before I sign off, I ask that you study the BGA Mike Smith, report showing Glider Accidents in 2008. Flight Safety Officer (Retired) Time spent studying this document will be a good investment as it may help to


Mike Smith hands over the role of Flight Safety Officer to Colin Cownden but leaves us with some life saving tips

National Competitions

Belt and braces

The Racing Year - 2009