Contents Chairman’s Statement Continued

By Craig Lowrie

With the Annual report complete and also the AGM (which will have happened by the time this newsletter comes out), it is hard to find too much to say, except I hope you read the first of these and attended the second. As we are doing the AGM using zoom for the first time in the 90 years history of our club, it will be recorded so you can look back and view it at your convenience.

Also, by the time you read this, we will have restarted general flying at the club, starting with the club instructors and also the more experienced club solo pilots where able, to regain their skills and currency by flying solo, locally at first.

Following the rules laid down by the Department for Transport (DFT), we cannot begin to fly with two pilots in any glider or plane until the 12th April, and Duncan has to fly with some of his instructors so the return to two-seat training won’t occur exactly on that day but will be a more gradual process. Duncan will open up training slots as capacity becomes available but with a goal to be generally released by the 19th April (assuming the weather plays ball).

Fortunately, we really haven’t missed very many good days in the year so far. I don’t think there have been any classic ridge days at all, and with the thermals just beginning, we can consider ourselves fortunate that we have not had to endure the pain of watching a classic thermal day from the ground (I can only think of one reasonable day so far), and will be very close to ‘Unlocking’ at the point where we‘Locked-down’ in 2020.

 Overall, I remain optimistic regarding 2021 and we have prepared extensively to make sure we are ready to make use of the weather that we have. As you probably know, we only need two tugs at any time, but usually have one available on a contingency basis, but this year our Pawnee (PY) is waiting for new engine mounts which should have been here in February, so we are slightly exposed here.

Whilst the UK is moving through its 4-step ‘Unlock’, I am becoming slightly concerned regarding what is happening in Europe. Although the UK is an island, any relaxation of our borders might trigger a third-wave which might result in more lockdowns here. I hope the Government will take the sensible approach here to allow us to progress with the UK-Wide lockdowns whilst keeping our borders largely closed to unnecessary foreign travel. I think we can see the consequences if we don’t.

Back at Parham, our new classroom project is almost done and will likely be there by the time you read this. I am so impressed by the job our builders have done. I found this company from ‘Check-a-trade’ where I was able to read many positive reports from others who had used them before, and I have to say we have not been disappointed. Terry (the boss), Drew and Paul, have done an outstanding job and given us a facility which will be useful for many years to come, starting with our ability to run our first on-site instructor course, to help reverse the trend of declining instructor numbers. I instructed myself for over 10 years and can recommend it to anyone with enough experience. PLEASE come forward to help the club in this area by contacting Duncan, our CFI.