Early in 2020 we faced a potentially dangerous threat not on the ground but in the air due to the introduction of the new Farnborough airspace. Having worked on this project for over seven years and being central to the negotiation of a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with Farnborough and the CAA we were able to continue to make use of our traditional inbound and outbound routes using a simple procedure and enabled through the introduction of transponder equipment in our gliders. The agreement between ourself and Farnborough is unprecedented in UK gliding in that it included free supply of transponder equipment and also went some way towards covering the installation of such equipment in gliders at the club.
By fitting some of these units at no charge we have been able to build up a fund which will help us to enhance further the club fleet going forward. The installation of transponder equipment is well advanced but there is still some way to go, nevertheless the number of gliders making use of the Farnborough airspace will be substantially higher in the coming year than it was during 2020 for many reasons.
As Chairman I have always placed a strong emphasis on the club and its members but also a strong focus on financial strength.
This has enabled us to improve the club, its fleet and facilities in ways many other clubs only dream of and during 2020 has allowed us to make progress on our new classroom project. Sadly, serious incompetence in the Horsham District Council delayed commencement of this project and consequently bad weather has impacted the construction process somewhat and has the potential to cause further delays in early 2021. It will not be until the roof is in place that construction can proceed regardless of the weather we are faced with.
We took the decision to make the classroom as large as it was practically possible to enable it to be used for a wide variety of purposes. Our immediate focus however, will be to enable the on-site training of new instructors as the growth of our club is constrained primarily in this area.