Chairman’s Chat Steve Williams Contents

WOW summer has arrived! When I last wrote for the magazine we had just had the AGM and it had been snowy!! Since then I am very pleased that the weather has improved and the amount of activity has increased significantly. However we do see that on some days, when maybe the cross country prognosis is not as good as it could be, not many members are coming to the club, even though there is still good flying to be had and it is great for training.

The weather conditions last week were exceptional with great cross country distances being achieved, particularly on Thursday(21st) and Friday (22nd). There were many great flights, but ones of particular note were Craig Lowrie with a 807km flight, Graham Smith with a 750km flight and James Hiley who did a 500km diamond distance flight in a Libelle (except alas, there were too many turning points (Mark Fisher)). Well done!!

The clubhouse project has been revised after the discussions at the AGM and we now have contracts in place for windows and cladding and we are also close to finalising a contract for the roof. We also have two builders bidding on the internal refurbishment work. The windows and the cladding are likely to be installed in the latter half of August and we are working on the roofing to follow shortly afterwards. We will need to vacate the clubhouse for a period during the internal works but will let you know once we have dates. We will keep you informed through Newsy Bits as things progress.

At this moment there is no news of a decision by the CAA on the Farnborough airspace change proposal, but we are expecting one soon. Once we know the decision we will let you know and will assess the outcome and what actions (if any) need to be undertaken.

There have been some autonomous drone trials north of Ditchling Beacon. The danger area detailed in the NOTAMs would be very disruptive to ridge flying when in operation as it intercepts the downs. The club has written to the company with a view to re-positioning any future danger areas further north, away from the downs, to minimise impact on ridge flying operations. We did note that a national newspaper headlined the success and safe outcome of the autonomous drone tests, but failed to say that all other aircraft were completely excluded from the area! Never trust what you read in the press, except for this magazine of course!

The club Astir Syndicate (HOT) is up for its annual renewal at the end of June. There are 6 spaces and so far 2 spaces are filled, so if you have a red card and would be interested in joining the syndicate for the coming year, please let me know. This is an ideal way to build hours ready to progress into a private syndicate as your flying develops. The syndicate fee is £300 per annum, after which you only pay for your launch and then you can fly for as long as you like.

The motor glider is going well,but underutilised, so if you are a motor glider pilot I would encourage you to fly it or get a check flight if it has been a while. If you are looking for cross country training or field landing exercises please contact either myself, Les Blows or Bill Ettridge. Any member wanting a flight to look at airspace or what it is like along the downs can go for a trip with any qualified and current motor glider pilot. Those wanting to do motor glider licence training need to talk to either myself or Paul Barker in the first instance.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who helped to organise and run the longest day event of 16th June. The weather was not perfect but excellent for winching and we managed to achieve a total of 95 launches, through winch, aero tow and motor glider. I would particularly like to thank Maggie Clews and her helpers for all the excellent catering during the day (very important) and for the BBQ in the evening. I would also like to thank Rob Golding who organised the event, did the posters, organised the bouncy castle and did an excellent job cooking on the BBQ all evening.

So let’s all enjoy the rest of the soaring season, with some great flying and some great cross countries.    ………………………………..Safe flying