Chairman’s Chat Steve Williams Contents

I hope that you all had a good Christmas and I would like to wish you all a happy new year with good soaring and cross country flying in 2018. 2017 has not been a classic year, but had some good flying days. Let’s hope that the weather behaves itself and the jet stream settles in the right place to give us good cross country flying throughout the soaring season.

It is good to see some of our keen pilots developing and progressing towards cross country flying, which is what our sport is all about. Thanks to Paul Fritche and our other cross country coaches for their encouragement and inspiration. We need to do more 2 seater cross country training in the coming year and encourage more of our 2 seater owners to take one of the developing pilots with them to see how it is done!

We have had some ridge flying over the past months and hope for more in the early months of 2018, but we must be wary of the state of the field as it has been very wet recently. We did some verti-draining of the southern launch point at the beginning of 2017 which showed some improvement in field drainage and we plan to repeat the exercise early in the New Year.

There is still no ruling from the CAA on the TAG Farnborough airspace proposal. TAG Farnborough has requested a meeting with us, but are not offering any concessions or anything for discussion. We are keeping in close liaison with other concerned parties including the BGA, Lasham and the GA community. As I have said before, this is still a wholly disproportionate airspace grab by Farnborough. We will keep you informed when we receive the ruling from the CAA and what happens next. Thanks to Craig Lowrie for his continued work and engagement in this process.

The clubhouse extension and refurbishment is progressing with Building Regulations approval nearly complete. We have prepared a detailed scope with input from all key players and it has gone out to bid to three local builders. Bids will be received at the end of the year and reviewed early in the New Year.

One area that we did not expect was that we have had to apply for a variation to our Alcohol Licence, as the size and shape of the clubhouse building will change. This turned out to be a bit of a saga, but we are close to getting the revised Licence. One condition during the application review period was that we had to have notices of our application put up at “no more than 50m intervals” around our property boundary. We went back to them and pointed out that we are an airfield and it will require 44 notices on posts around our perimeter to comply! They allowed us to put one on the gate one on the clubhouse and one inside.

A tarmac strip has been installed between the hangar apron and the workshop. This, along with the purchase of a one man rigging aid to move the wings round to the workshop, has made de-rigging and rigging of all gliders so much easier and should result less back pain!! Thanks to Will Greenwood for organising the tarmac and Paul Tickner for organising the rigging aid.

Foam extinguishers have been added into the fire truck and we have also added powder extinguishers to each of the gator buggies. the large fire suppressant foam tank system has returned from being re-charged following the FES Shark battery compartment fire. We are working on mounting this on an alternative trailer as the original trailer got damaged during the response to the fire.

The LS4 HPL has not yet gone to Poland for re-finishing. We have been working with the company in question to clarify dates and will let you know when this when details have been finalised.

Finally I would like to thank all the volunteers who work for the club and make it run smoothly and safely. We are a volunteer run club and the contribution made by all volunteers is greatly appreciated.

Happy and safe flying in 2018