Sailplane & Gliding
April - May 2006
Few of us relish growing old but it is, as the French actor Maurice Chevalier famously observed, preferable to the alternative. When we look at our own club, we can all identify those more mature pilots whose flying puts ours to shame. Yet pilot age is still becoming a topic for heated debate. That isn't just because the gliding population appears to be an ageing one; it’s also because recent age-related insurance limitations seem to ignore the wide variation in individuals’ abilities. In the first of two articles for S&G, Alistair Nunn and Gordon MacDonald seek to approach the question from a scientific angle, looking at how the human brain ages, and what the implications might be for glider pilots. Their second article, later this year, will address some of the practical considerations that may follow. At the tender (or ancient?) age of 40, all this editor knows for sure is that S&G readers will have strong views on the subject. As always, please tell me what you think.
A few weeks ago Gordon, this time wearing his CFI’s hat, rang me to say his club had just had a winch launch incident that could have been copied from a diagram in the February-March issue (Time for lateral thinking, p20). What’s more, the entire incident was captured on camera, and Paul Haliday’s striking photos of those six eventful seconds should be required viewing for every winch pilot. They illustrate just some of the key points raised by the BGA Safety Initiative on p26 of the December-January S&G. Incidentally, if for any reason you haven’t read yet that particular article for the wider perspective on winch launch hazards, now’s the time to get hold of a copy – before you next take to the skies.
On the subject of the Safety Initiative, its chairman, Patrick Naegeli, has added a new voluntary role to his portfolio. His election as chairman of the British Gliding Association was announced at the very successful BGA weekend in March, which is also reported in the April-May S&G. The new BGA Duo Discus X, which replaces the BGA Duo that was involved in a road accident last year, was on show at the event along with the UK’s first Antares motorglider, the DG-1000T and a LAK 19T.
Also in the April-May issue, Debb Evans interviews former NASA test pilot – and still a civilian test pilot at 70 – C Gordon Fullerton about landing the biggest, most expensive glider to arrive back on earth: the Space Shuttle. John Allison reviews European regulatory issues; Mike Cross briefs us on getting NOTAM from the AIS website; Carr Withall provides the annual update on airspace developments together with the basics that all glider pilots should know; Kelly Teagle describes the gliding movement’s first women’s development day; and Platypus pays tribute to S&G’s long-standing cartoonist, the late Peter Fuller.
Andy Perkins tells Debb Evans why he glides; Phil Bowtell outlines why Winter Wednesdays have worked at Lasham and finally, to whet your appetite for the coming months, John Weddell of East Sussex describes the best moment of his flying career so far – achieving two legs of his Silver after a frustrating summer-long wait.
The UK thermal soaring season has started. Carpe diem.
Editor, Sailplane & Gliding
Old age and glider pilots
Alistair Nunn and Gordon MacDonald have put together this thought-provoking article on the implications of ageing
Where we are today
Huge changes in how aviation law is made across Europe are affecting gliding and many other air sports. S&G is reproducing this speech, made by Europe Air Sports President Sir John Allison in February this year, to update you on the issues that we face
Phil Newman reports on how using the internet to support winter group flying led by Dave Bowtell has paid dividends
The world’s fastest glider
It’s worth millions, starts its final circuit just below Mach 1 and the entire world switches on to watch it touch down. Debb Evans asks pilot C Gordon Fullerton what it’s like to fly the fastest glider on earth
Helen Evans reports on the British Gliding Association’s 2006 annual get-together, which saw Patrick Naegeli take over as BGA Chairman from David Roberts and four new members join the Association’s Executive Committee
Six eventful seconds
A few weeks ago this incident made the pilot in command use all his available flying skills to prevent an accident – and Paul Haliday captured it in one-second time-lapse photos. Gordon MacDonald examines what was happening
One team, one aim
Kelly Teagle decided to go to a British Gliding Team women’s event at Bicester – perhaps the largest ever meeting of British women glider pilots – and now reports on what it was like, while Liz Sparrow, British Team member and event co-organiser, with Rose Johnson, outlines why she got involved
NOTAM: a brief guide to getting airspace right...
Mike Cross explains how to brief yourself on airspace for the area or task you’re flying
Update: gliding and UK airspace
Carr Withall, chairman of the BGA Airspace Committee, provides a brief assessment of 2005 and the annual reminder on airspace knowledge that all pilots should have
Airline pilot Andrew Perkins had three Diamonds at 21 and was the youngest-ever BGA Regional Examiner at 22. He’s been sharing his passion for the sky by telling Debb Evans why he glides…
When liberation day came
John Weddell of East Sussex describes the best moment of his flying career to date – achieving two legs of his Silver after a frustrating summer-long wait
Also in this issue:
British Gliding Association news; From the BGA Chief Executive; New BGA Chairman elected; your letters; BGA Technical News; BGA Communications News; BGA Development News; Book review of Competing in Gliders; Digital Gliding Gallery; club news; BGA Badges; obituaries; incident and accident summaries; AAIB update
Tailfeathers: Plat pays tribute to his long-standing cartoonist, Peter Fuller, who died earlier this year