By Craig Lowrie
As we head towards the end of the year, the weather seems to have suddenly taken a turn for the worse and the warm days have been replaced by more unsettled and seasonal weather. Sadly, winter is not far away once more.
I don’t want to spend to much time looking back on the turbulent 2020 as I covered the road that our club took to navigate this in some detail in a video meeting which I presented in August 2020 and which you can watch this by selecting the link below :-
Since then, we have had a good September with lots of flying, including some thermal and also some good ridge flying.
I am proud to watch how well we all have pulled together to maximise the opportunity that exists in these tough times and I doubt that many UK clubs have done so well. As an example, I visited a club just last week which was only just starting flying again in September. Having skimmed our numbers, I would say that the combined three months of July, August and September will have seen similar levels of club flying to that achieved in 2019. A truly remarkable achievement in the circumstances.
Clearly, our trial lesson income will be significantly down for 2020 although even that is improving now thanks to the efforts of a small team of Instructors, supported by our excellent Launch Point Assistants. A BIG thanks to those who have made this happen, and whilst it may seem irrelevant to some, please remember that trial lesson income does a major job in keeping our flying fees low. Without it we would need to charge members much more.
I have mentioned several times recently our shortage of instructors, mainly due to the COVID Pandemic, but regardless of this, it is critical to always be developing new instructors (and tug pilots) so that we are able to fully roster the days we want to fly.
When I was young (that was a while ago), I was honoured to be ask to become an instructor and would never have dreamt of not fully taking up this offer. In our search for new talent to help spread the load and ensure the continued operation of our club, we have approached a number of suitable candidates within the club, but have almost universally been refused.
This is a major concern for if everybody refused to help when asked, the club would quickly go downhill and I feel we are at that tipping point.
So, I would like to add my weight to Duncan’s plea to ask that solo club pilots come forward to help our club through these tough times. The minimum requirements for a Basic instructor is 50 hours P1, Silver C and to be at least 16 years old.