Getting a second tug out on a good cross country day

As you know we are a little short of tug pilots at the moment, due to a couple of our tug pilots having to give up tugging, and current issues with the CAA/EASA making it impossible for us to bring new tug pilots on board at the moment. Because of this we only are currently rostering one tug pilot for during the week, and one (morning and afternoons) at weekends, with the occasional standby pilot. The rosters can be seen at (weekends) and (weekdays).

We recognise that this can cause particular frustration to keen cross country pilots on good days, especially when one tug pilot is on duty all day, which means we can’t bring the afternoon tug pilot out early and thereby create additional launch capacity.

Our professional staff do try to keep a lookout for good cross-country days, and to bring on an extra tug pilot (or start the afternoon tug pilot earlier) on those days to help keep launch queues down to a minimum and to make use of our two tugs. However, they are not infallible, and we recently had the case of members having to wait a long time in the queue on a good day, which limited their ambitions for the day, when with a little bit of planning ahead we could have got a second tug plane out to reduce the wait.

So to help the club help you out, if you are planning to do a big cross country the next day or day after, please ring the office on 01767 677077 and they will do their best to get a second tug pilot out on the big days we all look forward to.
Whilst we can’t guarantee finding a second tug pilot every time one is requested, calling the office beforehand will certainly make it more likely that we are able to do so.

Many thanks for your help.

Kind regards


Mutual Flying (and cross country coaching)


At our meeting about Mutual Flying during the cloud rally we had a useful and lively discussion.  Needless to say the audience was rather heavy on keen XC pilots, but since the rules state that both pilots should have a valid XC rating, maybe this was not too much of an issue.


Chris presented a few slides setting out the rules and responsibilities for mutual flying, and then moved the meeting on to a general discussion.


The main points raised in the discussion were initially focussed on the desire to use mutual flying as a vehicle for cross-country coaching. We have a separate cross-country coaching initiative for this, using designated cross-country coaches – currently mostly instructors.


However, nobody really seems to know who the cross-country coaches are, apart from Andy and Robert, and we asked Colin Cownden to draw up a list of those who he was prepared to approve, which could include both instructors and experienced cross-country pilots.


We then moved on to discussing what is involved in mutual flying in club gliders, and where this could be of interest to members.


First we clarified a few requirements:


– Both pilots to have XC endorsement

– Pilots to have one-to-one briefings by an instructor, before becoming eligible for mutual flying

– Both pilots to discuss their plans with the duty instructor on the day, and get his/her approval to fly

– Pilots to agree in advance who is going to be P1.  If one is an instructor, she/he doesn’t have to be P1, as long as this is clearly agreed by both parties.

– P2 MUST have confidence in P1’s judgement and flying!  If not, don’t fly with them.

– P1 must fly from the front, and do all flying below 800ft

– Local soaring only. (As defined by the flying rules)

– No aerobatics


Then we talked about why Mutual Flying can be a fun thing to do, as well as the benefits to the club of greater 2-seater utilisation. (Last year, there were only 2 days on which we had all four 2-seaters in use)


There was a lot of useful discussion on the risks associated with hand-over of control and the risks that arise under stress when there is no significant cross-cockpit grading (i.e. no significant seniority difference between the two pilots) These issues will be covered in the individual briefings.


We concluded by agreeing that if we were to make this happen effectively, a number of steps needed to be taken.


1) We need to identify those members who would be interested in doing it, make this widely known, and set up a system to ensure they obtain a one-to-one briefing in advance.


2) Members who are interested need to pro-actively seek a briefing from an instructor, in advance of planning any mutual flying.


3) If there is sufficient demand, we need to simplify the process of reserving a two-seater on the booking system.  (It can already be done, but it is a bit complicated, and not obvious.)


If this is of interest to you, could you please drop an e-mail to Chris at

expressing your interest and giving a few pointers on what you see as the benefits.


Meanwhile anyone interested to receive XC coaching (or in delivering XC coaching), please email Colin Cownden (copy Robert Theil and Tony Cronshaw) to make known your interest for the remainder of this season, and ongoing for 2019.


Many thanks


Chris Lewis

Winter aerobatics

With many thanks to Martin Whitehead and Graham Spelman, our winter schedule of aerobatics training will be re-starting in October.


Weather permitting, aerobatics training will take place on most Saturdays during this period as follows:-


  • October: 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th
  • November: 3rd and 17th
  • December: 8th, 15th and 22nd
  • January: 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th
  • February: 2nd, 9th and 23rd
  • March: 2nd, 9th and 16th


Four slots will be available each day (two in the morning and two in the afternoon), and as last year, will be bookable through the normal two seater booking system under the instructor “AEROBATICS TRAINING”.


Whether you are starting aerobatics from scratch (you don’t need to be solo to start learning aerobatics), want to brush up on what you learnt last year, learn some new moves, get your aerobatics badge, keep current in the winter months, and / or improve your flying coordination, aerobatics training is a great way to meet other like-minded cub members and have fun gliding in the winter months.

Booking slots are already filling up. Go to to book your place.