- Some Gliding Safety Procedures at Leongatha Airfield
The Air- and Non-Air-Side. The runways of the Leongatha Airfield are delineated by Gable Markers and Cones. The Air-Side is the area within all these markers and includes the bitumen RW 04/22 and the gravel RW36/18, includes the taxi-ways to and from the runways and hard standing areas adjacent Worrayl Air Services.
The only personnel permitted within the Air-Side are those actively involved in the launch, flying or recovery of an aircraft. All vehicles, visitors, the Pie Cart, gazebo and other equipment will be placed outside the Gable Markers and Cones,
Visitors. Visitors should be escorted from the Hangar to the flight line via routes to and from generally outside the Gable markers. At some point, vehicles will have to cross one or both runways 08/22 or 18/36. They must stop and ensure that no aircraft are on landing approach or about to take off. Once clear, they may cross to gliding operation area.
The order “STOP”. Anyone at any time may call “STOP” in a clear loud voice if an imminent or hazard close-by is noted. Everyone must stop what they are doing and wait until the reason for calling a stop in operations has been clarified.
An advisory-only call should be made by radio if it involves a conflict between aircraft in the process of taking off or landing in the circuit that does not appear to have been observed by the aircraft involved.
If a conflict specifically involves a glider at the launch point and prior to its becoming airborne on the winch, the glider tow rope must be released. If the winch launch is in progress, it is the responsibility of the Pilot in Command to fly the aircraft in accordance with prevailing conditions.
With an aero-tow launch, once the slack is out of the rope and the tug is accelerating, that launch can also be stopped, but as for a winch launch under way, there will be a point where the decision is only the tug or glider pilot’s to make.
Towing Gliders on the Ground. Ropes and dollies are used to tow gliders to and from the hangar and launch point, sometimes by the nose, other times by the tail. Where a wing walker is needed, that person must be on the right side in relation to the vehicle towing so the car driver can see the walker. The wing walker is primarily responsible for keeping the aircraft behind the towing vehicle and to maintain a lookout for hazards such as pot holes and runway gable markers.
Launching the Glider. The glider crew and the launching person (Wing Runner) are all who should be present at the glider. For an aero-tow, a signaller about 50 – 80m ahead of the tug aircraft repeats the signals of the Wing Runner as these are more easily seen from the tug cockpit.
Wing Runner. It is the responsibility of the Wing Runner to ensure that all persons are clear of the launching aircraft and that no order to launch the aircraft is made until s/he has checked that the area into which the launch will take place is clear and most importantly that no aircraft is in a landing configuration behind and therefore blind to the glider pilot that may conflict with the glider to be launched.
All visitors and others may watch from a safe distance outside the airfield Gable Markers. Photos from closer are quite OK provided they are completed BEFORE the glider is attached to the tow rope and they have retreated to behind the gable markers.
Pilot in Command (PIC). The PIC is responsible for the glider (and its passenger/crew member in a two-seat aircraft) and all matters relating to the flight of the glider. The PIC must ensure the aircraft is fit to fly (DI in the Maintenance Release, etc), and carry out the ABCD checks outside the aircraft and the CHAOTIC checks inside the aircraft. The PIC is responsible for the security of ALL harness/es and the canopy/ies. When the crew is ready for take-off and the canopy/canopies are closed and locked, the tow rope may be then attached at the command of the PIC (and never before the canopies are closed!).
Launching Officer (Wing Runner). The person to launch the glider must be present throughout the time the crew is doing their checks and as a safety measure, is to check the canopy and harnesses appear to be secured properly. While the crew are doing their take off checks, s/he is not to interrupt the flow of those checks but only to observe they are done. When asked by the PIC for the “Small Ring”, the tow rope is attached by the smaller of the two steel rings at the end of the tow rope, saying so to the PIC. When the small ring is in place in the Tost tow hook (Belly hook for winch: nose for aero-tow), the Launch Officer will call “Close”.
The Launch Officer must then assess that the take-off can occur without interfering with any other aircraft traffic on the ground or in the air, especially astern of the glider as this is the blind spot of the PIC. When it is clear, above, around and especially behind the glider, the Launch Officer will call “Clear above and behind” and then ask “Are you ready for take-off?” from the PIC. The Pilot in Command, once the “All clear above and behind” has been given, may then initiate the launch procedure by calling “Ready to Launch” or similar. The launch may not be initiated until the PIC gives the order.
For a Winch Launch. When the affirmative is received, the launch officer will move to the wing tip to level (warning the winch driver that a launch is imminent) and straight away rocks the aircraft so that it can be clearly seen from the winch. This is the visual “take up the slack” signal that the PIC will also make by radio on the local CTAF (126.7 MHz). When the slack is taken up, the wings are held horizontal and as the glider gathers pace, the Launch Officer runs with the aircraft so as to assist keeping the wings level until ailerons become effective. In cross wind conditions, this is especially important. If the launch is to be stopped for any reason the call “STOP” with an “UNHOOK” order to the PIC is made and the wing is put to the ground when the rope is released.
For an aero-tow launch. The wings are placed level and an underhand wave is carried out to initiate slack take-up by the tug. If a signaller is ahead of the tug aircraft, this assists the tug pilot. When the rope is taught, an overhead wave signalling the “ALL out” can then be given and the tug will proceed to take off.
1. Persons new to the Club must be supervised at the launch point by an experienced member until competent and their GFA log book endorsed.
2. The GFA MOSP 2 (OPS 002) is the reference for these safety and the other regulatory matters