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Aug 292019
 

Hi again,
Last week was Task Week and we all had a very good time.  We flew on more days than we didn’t and had conditions ranging from very nominal to a strong racing day.  Interestingly, the days were mostly won by different people each day which made for a good competition.  To prove the point about the tasking and scoring system, the overall winner was Tim Brunskill in a 15m glider.  Holly won a day when she not only did her first solo field landing but also gained the longest and the highest flight of the day.  Three Duos helped to give cross country experience to a number of less experienced pilots including Ray Lewis and Holly, who also managed to win a day as P2.  The organisation was good, for the most part better than the weather. Hazel in Control was trialling a new system of locating landouts using What3Words (Google it) and WhatsApp with logger traces either entered on the club ladder or emailed in.  It worked very well.  The catering was incredible as ever and Helen and her team worked their socks off to keep everyone happy.  The Juniors entertained us all musically and brilliantly, followed by our resident band and supporting cast, at the end  of Task Week Party which was very well attended.  The only disappointing element is that there were not more entries.  Particularly as the outstanding response from the last members’ survey was that you wanted more cross country training and coaching opportunities.  In spite of that no one wanted to do either of the course weeks set aside specifically for cross country training this year and we could easily have accommodated twice the number of Task Week entries.  All I can say is use it or lose it.

I regret to tell you that I have, over the last few weeks, received a number of letters and emails complaining about behaviour in the club and at the launch point, between members and from members to visitors.  These complaints range from verbal abuse to extremely offensive language.  While we have young people with us on the airfield and in the clubhouse we all need to be mindfull of our responsibilities to them.  What some may regard as banter others may regard as bullying, intimidation and offensive behaviour.  Please think before you speak.  If you have issues with anyone at the club raise them with a committee member first.

Your duty teams this weekend are:
Saturday:  Neal Clements (No 1), Charles Carter (TLs), Peter Orchard (winch), Glyn Macarthur (LD)
Sunday:  Clive Crocker (No 1), Charles Carter (TLs), Peter Orchard (winch), Charles Page (LD)

Membership Cards
I have been asked by the CFI to remind you all that from September 1st, this Sunday, you will be asked to show a valid membership card at the launch point.  If you can’t you will be refused a launch.  Its not hard, just ask in the office if you don’t already have one and put it in your glider, or your pocket, or wear it around your neck.  As has been explained before, the main purpose it to make sure you have paid your subs (you might be surprised by how many people fail to pay promptly at the beginning of the membership year) and, more importantly, to show that you have a valid medical.  Flying club or private gliders without either one of these may invalidate the insurance in the event of an accident.  But don’t forget in reality it is the pilot’s responsibility to ensure that they comply with the medical requirements.

Ellen’s Party
If you are attending Ellen’s party this weekend, Helen would be grateful if you would let her know as soon as possible so that she can anticipate numbers.

Happy landings
Jon Hall
Chairman

 

Aug 212019
 

Hi everyone

Well, Task Week is well under way and glad to see quite a few pilots taking part, though it would be good to see more.  We have had three good flying days so far, yesterday being very good indeed.  It started out a bit iffy but, as the afternoon went on, became a strong racing day with some of the bigger wing gliders completing a 250k task at speeds in excess of 90kph.  Today was scrubbed due to an encroaching front and lots of top cover cutting off the early thermals and bringing a stream of showery weather from the south west.  Thursday is not looking great at present but Friday has some promise of a task with light, mostly southerly winds.  The end of Task Week Party will be on Sunday night with live musical entertainment and a great spread from the kitchen.  If you want to attend please let Helen know by ringing her directly, or the office, so she knows how many to cater for.

Your duty teams at the weekend are:
As it is still Task Week over the weekend there will be no pre-booked club instructional training flights but if there are instructors around able and willing you may be able to get a flight.  Steve Male is No 1 Saturday and Sunday and Roger Andrews on Monday with Stephen Alexander driving the winch.  Charles Carter will be doing trial lesson flights on Saturday and Denise Hughes on Sunday.

Club Newsletter
The summer edition of the club newsletter was published at the end of July this year but a few people are telling me that they didn’t receive it.  This may be because our mailing list is not up to date or you have changed your email address without telling the office.  If you did not receive the summer edition in your inbox please first check your spam and junk folders then let me know at chairman@midlandgliding.club. I will be sending the same version out again shortly, hopefully to pick up those that missed it last time, so please let me know as soon as you can.

Membership Cards
I have been asked by our CFI to remind you that we will firmly be implementing the membership card system from 1st September this year.  You should have been given a membership card and a plastic case when you renewed your membership in April, but if you didn’t get one, or you pay by direct debit, or have lost the one you were given, do get in touch with the office and ask for a new one.  The cards not only show that you are a paid up member but also confirm that you have a valid medical with an expiration date, both of which are a legal requirement for you to fly from our site.  You may be asked by an instructor or the launch director to show your membership card at the launch point.  Without it you may be denied the right to fly until you can.  I know this sounds bureaucratic but as a club we cannot afford to have an accident where the person involved is not a member or doesn’t have a medical, as either of these will invalidate the insurance, or send a young person on a first solo flight without a medical declaration having been signed by a parent.

Next week
is course week 10, run by Dave Crowson and Neal Clements.

Happy landings
Jon Hall
Chairman

Aug 162019
 

Hi all,

Hazel Turner will be keeping a watchful eye over all pilots taking part in Task Week that starts tomorrow and we have embraced modern technology to locate you in the event of you landing out.

To make this work, you need a couple of things –

1/ A smart phone with the what3words app and Whatsapp loaded and allowed to use your     location.

2/ Hazel Turners contact details loaded into WhatsApp – 07500472778.

3/  Ideally, your retrieve crew need the what3words app on their phone.

 

Here’s how it works.

You land out, open up the what3words app and assuming you have a signal, it will locate your phone, on the bottom of the phone screen is a “Share” symbol, tap the share button then tap the WhatsApp symbol. On the top right hand side of the next screen is a magnifying glass or search symbol, find Hazels number, tap the white/green arrow symbol that then loads the information into WhatsApp then tap the white/green arrow to send.

It sounds complicated but it is very simple.

Once Hazel gets your information, she can locate your retrieve crew, give them the What3words code and they can come and get you. The great thing is that the app follows the phone in real time so if you move location, it updates the retrieve crew.

PLEASE ENSURE IF YOU GO ON TASK-

A/ YOU LET HAZEL KNOW.

B/ IF YOU LAND OUT, LET HAZEL KNOW.

C/ IF YOU LAND BACK AT THE MYND, LET HAZEL KNOW.

Have a great week, fly safe and have fun.

 

Cheers Rob

Aug 152019
 

Hi everyone
A word in your ear about Task Week.  When I joined the club in the late 1980s Task Week was a big deal.  Pretty much everyone who was the slightest bit interested in cross country or competition flying took part, in a range of gliders from K6 to Discus, with everything in between and including most of the club fleet.  Many families came up for the week and brought their children with them.  The place was busy and we all had a lot of fun.  It was Task Week that got me interested in cross country flying, though I wasn’t very good at it for a long time.  But every year I got a little bit better at flying tasks and landing out, sometimes not very far away.  The advantages of Task Week for all of us are:

  • Someone else tells you each morning what the  weather will do
  • Then someone else tells you what task to fly
  • Then someone else tells you what NOTAMS are active in the task area
  • There are always lots of people to help you rig
  • If you are new to cross country flying there are lots of experienced pilots to explain and help
  • You can compare your performance against others
  • If you land out there are always people who will come and get you (once from Silverstone in my case)
  • There is always food available when you get back
  • These days there are quite a few high performance privately owned two seat gliders available in which you may be able to blag a seat with an experienced pilot
  • The evenings in the bar are always fun as you compare notes with those more and less successful than yourself
  • You learn about how to thermal better
  • You learn about how to fly at the best speed between thermals
  • Sometimes you learn about gaggle flying
  • You learn about final glides (and how not to do them)
  • There are prizes every day
  • You can enter every task on the club ladder
  • And all this for a very nominal entry fee that just about covers the cost of the day prizes.

The main objective of Task Week is to encourage and enable pilots to improve their Cross Country flying and introduce an element of competition to prepare pilots to move on to other, more formal, competitions if they so wish.  For 2019 the format will follow that which we have developed over the past couple of years:

Entrants will be divided into classes by the pilots’ previous Cross Country experience and achievements. They will then compete against each other within their classes, on tasks devised specifically for each class. The overall result being decided by a pilot’s performance within their individual class. This approach puts everyone on an equal footing,  you just need to be consistently well up the order in your class.  If you have not done much cross country flying this is an ideal opportunity to stretch yourself. Full briefings are given every morning to make the whole experience as straight-forward and rewarding as possible.  Not to be missed for any pilot wishing to improve their Cross Country skills.

Need I say more?  This year’s Task Week starts on Saturday and runs to 25th August with Monday 26th August in reserve.  Book in via the Office.DSC_6122

Your Duty Teams This Weekend Are:
Saturday:  Steve Male (No 1), Charles Carter (TLs), Guy Hartland (winch)
Sunday:  Steve Male (No 1), Mark Wakeham (TLs), Guy Hartland (winch)

Club Rules
May I remind you all that the club has a set of rules, often established by the members at an AGM, that are designed to make the club a better place for all of its members, not just for a few.  One of the things that has been brought to my attention recently is the presence of dogs on the airfield.  The club rules state clearly that dogs are allowed on the airfield but must be on a lead and controlled.  Uncontrolled dogs are not tollerated anywhere on the airfield.  However no dogs are allowed inside the clubhouse at any time.  Just as I would not expect members to harass dog owning visitors if the dogs are properly controlled I do not expect members to break the rules about not having dogs in the clubhouse.  Of course rules can be changed but the way to do so is at an AGM.

Happy landings
Jon Hall
Chairman

Aug 092019
 

I should have said in the earlier blog that if you would like to fly with Julian or myself the only requirement is that you have a bronze badge with a cross country endorsement.  If you have a navigation device such as an Oudie or Kobo you should bring it with you as part of the flight will be a briefing on what you need to do before you fly. After the flight we will do a de-brief  to consolidate what you have learned.  Hope to see you there.
Jon

Aug 092019
 

Hi everyone
Sorry this is a day late but I have just returned from the Challenge Cup competition at Husbands Bosworth.  The comp doesn’t really end until Sunday but the weather for the rest of the week looks unflyable so I came home early.  Driving home I was thinking about gliding competitions and why they are a good thing to do for cross country pilots.  Firstly everything is organised for you.  You get up, put the glider on the grid, have breakfast, and go to briefing.  At briefing they tell you what the weather is going to do, if there any notable NOTAMS, what the task is and even what time you are going to launch.  Apart from setting up your nav device and drawing on your chart it is pretty much all done for you.  All you have to do is fly the task.  Then of course you are flying against a huge range of experience and skill from first timers to nationals pilots.  It is a brilliant way to compare your skills against others and a chance to listen and talk to successful winners to learn what they did that you didn’t.  Then of course you are flying from another airfield in a different part of the country so you are navigating around what may be a strange landscape and finding your way back to the airfield.  You have to get used to using the radio and listening out to calls from competition control and may need to talk to controlers at other airfields, to cross an ATZ for instance.  Then, after flying, there are all the social aspects of meeting new people and sharing a drink over exchanging gliding tales.  also you learn how to fly with a large group of gliders, sometimes in the same thermal.  This is a skill that has to be learned but is well worth the effort.  Sometimes there may be fifty gliders in a single thermal though this rarely happens.  On scrubbed days there are often workshops, discussions and lectures on aspects of gliding that are always useful and educational.  So I recomend comps to everyone, but think about starting with something small like Rockpolishers, our interclub league, and move on to Task Week where you can compare your skills against your friends in a friendly atmosphere, then do a Regional and eventually try a Nationals.  It really is great fun and makes you a better pilot.

Task Week
Talking about Task Week it is not far away taking place between 17th – 25th August with Monday 26th August in reserve.  Details on the website.  I shall be flying the Duo KA during the week and will have a seat available on some of the days so if you are interested in sharing a day and learning a bit about how you prepare for and fly a competition day send an email to chairman@midlandgliding.club and I will compile a list, first come first served, and let you know in time if there is a chance to fly.  Julian Fack will also be flying his Duo and there will be opportunities to fly with him.  Get his email from the office and tell him you are interested.

Your duty teams this weekend are:
Saturday:  Walter Bauman (No 2), Charles Carter (TLs), Geoff Dailey (winch), Laurant Duval (LD)
Sunday:  William Brewis (No 1), Walter Bauman (No 2), Geoff Dailey (winch)

Instructor Meeting
Tomorrow evening, Saturday 10th August at 1700.

Happy landings
Jon Hall
Chairman

 

Aug 012019
 

Hi everybody
The first of August, traditionally thought of as the height of summer, everybody on holiday so less work to do and an opportunity to do more flying.  The nights are inevitably going to get longer now so take advantage of what are still long days to do as much gliding as you can.  Lots of activity around the club not only keeps the treasurer happy but keeps the atmosphere lively and makes it more attractive to members and visitors alike.  A lively and busy club is more likely to attract new members and new members is what this club needs to secure its future.  From those new members come volunteers.  What makes any club successful is the handful of volunteers that that run it.  I say a handful but when you count up who does what, it is clear to see that it takes a great many people to keep the club functioning.  The committee does an incredible amount of work behind the scenes, often unoticed, dealing with the everyday administration of a business, a club and what amounts to a charitable non-profit organisation.  Others help to maintain the assets, such as the fleet, the trailers, the buildings and the grounds, while yet more help out with promtions, advertising, press relations etc etc.  As our membership has declined over the last twenty years, in common with most other gliding clubs worldwide (there were 9500 glider pilots in the UK in 2000 and about 7500 now) then the proportion of the total club membership that is needed to volunteer to keep it running has increased.  For the large part I see the same people doing the same necessary work around the place as I saw back then and this is unsustainable as we all get older.  The club needs skills such as engineers, graphic designers, photographers, marketeers, financial advisors, lawyers and solicitors, people with experience of gaining grants and writing reports as well as launch directors and instructors.  I’m pleased to say that our instructor cadre is increasing thanks to the sterling efforts of the CFI and his deputies but we still need more and lots of help from others.  So if you have a useful skill, or just time, especially if you are under forty, talk to one of the committee members and find out what you can do to keep this club healthy and growing.  But it is apreciated if the flying field can be regarded as a committee free zone.  We are all members because we want to fly after all.  Some of the things that make a huge difference are: cleaning the gliders before they are put away at night, clearing the site of rubbish and dead machinery (thanks Julian for your work on this), keeping the club trailers clean and in legal working order, maintaining the buildings, decorating.  I could go on at length but I guess you have the idea.

Your duty teams this weekend are:
Saturday:  Mike Witton (No 1), Matthew Cook (No 2, Peter Orchard (winch)
Sunday:  Simon Adlard (No 1), Matthew Cook (No 2), Charles Carter (TLs), Liz Adlard (LD)

Rockpolishers
A successful last weekend at Aston Down with three first places and a second over the two days.  Well done team.

Instructor Meeting
The next instructor meeting is at the club at 1700 hours on the 10th August.

Photographs
We depend for our promotional material largely on photos from members and I have a significant archive but they are getting to the end of their useful life having been used many times.  If you have any images that you think might be useful for advertising or posters or on the website and you are happy to sign over the copyright to the club and agree to their unrestricted use for club purposes please send copies to me at this email address in as high a resolution as you can muster.  Any file format will do.

Dave Wedlock getting excited on launch.

BGA Club Management Conference
A reminder that the this will take place at the deVere Staverton in Northamptonshire on Sunday 17th November.  It is intended for those that take part in the management of the club so Chairs and Vice Chairs, Treasurers, CFIs and Club Technical  Officers as well as those interested in the promotion of Junior Flying.

And finally ….
Does anyone have a PowerFlarm unit that I could borrow for a few days?  My one is playing up and I am trying to fault find.  The last thing to check is the Flarm unit itself.  Any help much appreciated.

Happy landings
Jon Hall
Chairman
MGC