Flying Midweek

Fed up in the garden, fancy doing something else during the long summer evenings. Why not come along to the site on Wednesday evenings, from the beginning of May to the end of August weather permitting and fly. If we have no groups booked in there will be normal club flying. There will also be the opportunity to learn to use the winch, drive the tractor etc. If you know of a group of friends, work mates (6 to 12) that might like to have a go at flying let the Board members know the date. You will also be responsible for getting a crew together to ensure the night goes smoothly. Five is the minimum required.

Safety Report

As you probably know I have taken over from Robert Tait the post of safety officer. My objective will be to make Easterton as safe as possible without losing its special friendly atmosphere. If any one sees any thing they are worried about concerning safety issues can they let me know about it ASAP so that the problem can be sorted soonest if possible. It may be possible you wish to remain anonymous, if so then put your observation in an envelope and address it to me and pin it to the notice board. I hope to have a box on the bus where safety things and suggestions can be put. Obviously, if the problem involves a flying matter then the duty instructor or CFI should also be informed as has always been the case.

Angie, your friendly Safety Officer


I would like to take this opportunity to say a VERY BIG THANK YOU to you all for the lovely gift of the EW flight recorder/barograph. I will find it most useful and look forward to collecting cross country traces on it depicting journeys to various fields and also back to Easterton

Welcome or Really Welcome, That is the Question

I recently went on a "Welcome Host" course organised in Huntly. I wondered how it would benefit us at HGC, thinking more with my Safety Officer hat on about things like duty of care etc. How wrong I was. I was the odd ball at the course with all the others involved in the accommodation trade as B&B or self catering. As an aside, I found none of those present, even the course presenter, knew we existed!! However there was a great deal that was relevant to our situation.

The whole thing was about portraying a friendly, welcoming, helpful atmosphere and manner to visitors so that they felt wanted and would like to return. There were discussions about the best way to get to know your visitor, e.g., how to put a person at their ease by asking friendly questions you know they can answer, e.g. have you flown before, where have you come from, are they on holiday or on business etc. If they are foreign, try greeting them in their native language, e.g. bon jour, guten tag, etc - Anne knows loads of these so could teach us a few. If the visitor is a family with kids, it often works better if you talk to the kids first as they are more likely to be less shy than the adults. Offering a coffee or tea often works wonders to help breaking the ice.

There was a section on making impressions. Did you know that 68% of customers stop dealing with firms because the sales staff and others giving service are indifferent and show little interest in them or their problems? How often have we been indifferent to our visitors, not intentionally, I am sure, but more likely because we are trying to do too many things, or about to help get someone launched. We have to remember these visitors are often potential members. We must make them want to come back by being as friendly and welcoming as possible. A smile costs nothing and actually uses less muscles than a frown. A smile helps you too. Try a smile and you will have a nice feel inside too. The "Whistle a happy tune" scenario in the "King and I" definitely works. Little things count for a lot. How we treat each other when visitors are around (or not) is important too - we should treat each other as if we are customers, ie politely and courteously - definitely no bollocking! ( I just talk to folk sort of gently!). We also had a section on communication. Did you know 55% of communication is by non verbal means? These include body language and facial expressions and how people say things, e.g. voice tone, enthusiastic vibes or being bored - all in body language. Have an open mind when listening, don't have a preconceived idea and don't have a prejudice, you will often end up getting a red face if you do, and lastly listen all the way through. Listening properly is jolly hard work when done properly. Did you know that thinking & listening is 7 times faster that speech, so it is easy to let your mind wander, especially when there is a nice thermal or accessible wave about, while listening to someone droning on. Bad news if it is a visitor especially.

We had a session on different types of visitor in relation to dealing with complaints. The worst type of visitor to deal with in this scenario is the "nice visitor". He/she is the one who comes, does whatever and goes away, but didn't get proper service. They do not complain right away. What happens next is that when (she talks to someone else the verbal comment is definitely not helpful, like "no I didn't like it for what ever reason and don't recommend it". I wonder how often that scenario happens in gliding. Maybe the day is not up to it, or the launch a wee bit frightening because the P1 hasn't explained fully what to expect, or they weren't looked after properly while waiting for the flight. How would you like to be treated if you were to visit another site. That is how we should treat our visitors, just like the way you would like to be treated.

Here are a few questions relating to hospitality for you to ponder over. Give your self a score 1 to 5 for each. The higher the score the better you are at it. They can relate to our situation quite well.

1. I serve the public courteously & promptly

2. I know my business products & services well

3. I make a point never to interrupt customers

4. I look at the complaining or unsatisfied customer as a challenge

5. I get personal satisfaction from being professional in dealing with the public

6. I consciously check the impression I give the public non-verbally

7. I am very careful & aware of my cleanliness and grooming at work

8. I work co-operatively with others

9. I listen with an open mind

10. I spend more time listening than talking

How did you do?

Put yourself in their place. Pretend you have gone through six months of saving, three months of planning, a few weeks of organising, hours of packing and then have driven 200 miles and one of the desires is to come gliding. A warm welcome could do wonders, couldn't it? In other words do unto others what you would have done to you.

Angie - a better host, I hope


RAF Lossiemouth very kindly gave a lecture to the club during the April ASH week on their operations and how we fit into the equation. Daryl Heasegrave (Senior Air Traffic Controller) gave the presentation and was assisted in answering questions by Rob Wymar (Deputy Senior Air Traffic Controller) and Squadron Leader Dave Postlethwaite.


The talk was very well received and I hope it cleared up any miscomprehensions that people may have about why we have to phone Lossiemouth at the start and finish of flying.

A little bit of history for you. Way back in the Dallachy days we were more or less in the way of the instrument approach to Lossiemouth. They were aware of this and kept aircraft out of our way. When we moved to Easterton we then got in the way of their Tain Departure Lane. Angie initially negotiated weekend and Bank Holidays for winching permission and came up with the Letter of Agreement. ASH weeks were Notamed weeks in advance. The next stage was Notaming 24 hours ahead and informing Lossiemouth of our intention to fly the next day. Finally, last year, we received seven day a week winch permission without having to Notam ahead. We only have to phone Lossiemouth before we fly. Effectively, we have finally become ‘Part of the furniture’. The evidence of this is the circle on all the radar screens in the control tower that depicts Easterton’s airspace.

Angie has put a huge amount of work into this over the years. It is safe to say that if it had not been for her we would not enjoy the freedom to fly any time, any day, that we have now.

The most important things to remember from the presentation are:

LOSSIEMOUTH DO NOT ROUTE ANY AIRCRAFT THROUGH OUR AIRSPACE (2000’ above our ground level, 2 NM radius from the centre of the site) even if we have not telephoned to say we are flying. Any infringements are usually caused by aircraft from other airfields that are not talking to Lossiemouth Control. They do however route aircraft above it and just outside it!

Their only interest is in flight safety and collision avoidance. To help with this, when we phone to say we are active, they monitor 130.1. A quick radio call to LOSSIEMOUTH stating your height and position if you are close to cloud allows them to route any aircraft on an instrument let down away from you. It is not mandatory and you do not need an RT license to do it. 99 times out of 100 they will not use the information but if it avoids one accident it is worth it. An example of what to say would be ‘Lossiemouth, Glider Hotel Yankee Juliet at 5000 feet over Dufftown near cloudbase.’ They may reply by repeating what you have just said as confirmation. If there is no reply try once more and carry on soaring!

When they want to release a Tain Departure they call on 130.1 a couple of times. IF THEY RECEIVE NO REPLY THE TAIN LANE IS ASSUMED TO BE CLEAR AND THE JET IS ROUTED BETWEEN ELGIN AND US AT 1000’ AGL!!! Our letter of agreement with Lossiemouth which we must legally adhere to states that any glider operating in the Tain Lane area MUST carry a serviceable radio set to 130.1. The Tain Lane area is between 2NM north of us and Elgin. If you are in the area and cannot guarantee to stay above 2000’ then you need to reply to the call ‘Lossiemouth, Glider XXX, Tain Lane NOT clear’. They will adopt an alternative route to avoid you. The actual agreement states we must be above 1000’ but you need to be able to guarantee it which is why I say 2000’. If you are clear of the area you do not need to reply. Incidentally, if you are in circuit to the north of the site you are clear of the Tain Lane so do not call.

We have a very good relationship with Lossiemouth and we want to keep it that way so please try and adopt these procedures. They are not interested in controlling us, they just want to know where we are.

New Accounts System

I would like to let people know that I am experimenting with an alternative method of working out members' accounts, which will save me hours of writing up individual accounts in longhand, and will eliminate arithmetical errors.

Instead of the old loose-leaf book, I will print out about once a month an extract of everyone's account, and pin a copy to the notice board in either
the bus or the caravan. I hope that this will be more efficient - and that folk will find it just as easy to follow.

It will mean that there is always a list to consult, whereas I often had the book at home with me, which meant it was not available for consultation.

Once the new system has run for a few months I'll be happy to consider any feedback and suggestions for improvement.


Highland Gliding Club
Easterton Airfield
United Kingdom

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