Aviation Maintenance Workshop: Call for volunteers

Dear All,
Following the poor financial outcome in 2018/19, followed by a wet winter, and the subsequent impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the management committee has decided to move to a fully volunteer-staffed operation in the aviation maintenance workshop.

The existing core team of Robert Verdier, assisted on a voluntary basis by Dave Collins, Peter Cunnison and John Poley has done sterling work over the years, keeping our club gliders airworthy and legal.  In addition, a larger group of Inspectors and ARC signatories have supervised and assisted private owners with their annual maintenance too.

Robert Verdiers contract as Glider Engineer ended on April 30th, and through a consultation process he has been informed that his contract will not be renewed. We thank Robert for his many years of active service and support of the club, not only keeping our aircraft flying, but encouraging and training new inspectors.

Julian Bayford will be taking over as workshop manager on a voluntary basis from the 17th August, working with the rest of the voluntary team and with Chris Lewis, who remains in the role of Chief Technical Officer reporting to the management committee.

Whilst Julians responsibility will be for the overall management of the aviation maintenance workshop, we are asking for the active support of club members as follows:-

Workshop tidy up and transformation

  • During his many years of support, Robert Verdier has brought much of his own equipment and tools into the club. Robert will be working with Julian and Chris to clear out his belongings from the workshop area, and identifying any key items which will need to be replaced.
  • We will then need volunteers to help clean and refurbish the workshop to make it into an aviation maintenance facility that we can all be proud of. This will include re-decorating the facility, possibly painting the floor, upgrading the office, and upgrading the spare parts stores for both club and private gliders.
  • During this process we will also assess what additional investment will be required for tools and equipment going forwards. We will be reviewing the daily workshop hire costs (currently £13/day/glider) in view of this additional investment to upgrade the facility.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, the workshop can only be used for glider maintenance only. All maintenance of other club (or private) equipment will need to take place elsewhere (e.g. the Romney Hut).

Annual maintenance of the club fleet

  • We have a number of qualified inspectors at the club, and we will be asking them to lead the annual maintenance process of one or more of the club gliders over the winter.
  • Julian and Chris will be working with the team of inspectors to build a schedule for the maintenance of club gliders over the winter.
  • We also need the help of club members (of all ages and experience) with the maintenance of our club gliders, under the supervision of the inspectors in charge. This is an ideal way to learn more about our gliders, build up your skills, and enjoy participating with other club members over the winter to help the club.
  • We will also be expecting our professional instructors to help out in the workshop on non-flyable days, when they are not involved in other club development activities.

Day to day maintenance of club gliders

  • We will be calling on our team of inspectors to help us with day to day maintenance of club gliders, for example with an inspection after a heavy landing. Given that there will not always be an inspector on site, and that they may also have other priorities (e.g. preparing for a 300+km task), for more complex matters there may now be a little delay in arranging rectification, but for straightforward maintenance tasks such as the replacement of a tailwheel, we will also be able to rely on our instructors to help out (under SDMP rules) when time allows.

Maintenance of private gliders

  • Under the Self-Declared Maintenance Programme (SDMP) recently introduced by EASA, we actively encourage our members to carry out the maintenance of their own gliders, either on their own (if they are already an inspector), or under the supervision of one of the club’s inspectors. This typically takes one or two days in the workshop, and is a great way to learn about your glider.
  • Day to day maintenance tasks can normally be carried out by the owner of the aircraft under the SDMP. If in doubt, or when you need a second check or inspection, ask one of the club’s members who are inspectors. A list is shown at the end of this announcement.
  • Given the level of work involved in transforming the workshop, together with the uncertainty of the available capacity of the workshop in the new mode of operation, it has been decided that the workshop will not be available for 3rd party work on gliders until further notice (i.e. for a member to pay another member to carry out work on their behalf).
  • The booking of gliders into the workshop will be controlled by Julian Bayford.

Training & Development of a new group of inspectors

  • We are keen to develop a new cadre of inspectors within the club. We believe that this will provide a new and exciting dimension to membership of the club, and great opportunities for learning and developing friendships. We welcome people of all ages and backgrounds. If you are interested, please contact Julian Bayford or Chris Lewis. 

We believe that this change is a very positive step forwards for the club. We will create an aviation maintenance facility that we can all be proud of, a positive and supportive atmosphere for working and learning, and one that we hope will also encourage and support the continued development of the social side of the club.

Many thanks in advance for your support in making this a reality.

Pete Joslin          Chris Lewis                                Julian Bayford

Chairman             Chief Technical Officer                  Workshop Manager (from 17th August)

Current list of inspectors

Peter Baker Dave Collins  Gavin Goudie

John Poley

Julian Bayford Peter Cunnison Andrew Johnston

Robert Verdier

Rebecca Bryan Alan Dibdin Chris Lewis

Robert Welford