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Airfield Safety

Gliding is widely recognised as one of the safest of the 'action' sports and most insurance companies acknowledge this by applying no loading to participants (in contrast to most 'dangerous sports'). Accidents in the sport, although they do happen, are extremely rare. However it needs to be understood that flying accidents of any sort are liable to have severe consequences and because of this everyone involved has safety considerations uppermost in their minds. You can rest assured that everyone at the Scottish Gliding Centre is safety-conscious.

In common with every other gliding club in the UK the Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) is personally responsible for all flying activities. In addition one of the directors of the Scottish Gliding Union has responsibility for safety matters anywhere in the club or on the airfield.
You need to be aware of the following strict rules before participating in any flying activities or indeed before even visiting the club.

  1. On arrival at the club make yourself known to the front-of-house manager or some other staff member who will look after you. Do not attempt to make your way around the airfield alone.
  2. Vehicles are restricted to the approach road and the club car park unless otherwise authorised. In special circumstances such as a disabled person it may be possible for you to take your vehicle 'airside' but this is strictly with express permission and under the guidance of an escort. Be aware that it is unlikely that your normal vehicle insurance will cover you 'airside' and the club will accept no liability.
  3. Portmoak is an active airfield and aircraft are liable to take off or land anywhere at any time without warning. Do not cross open areas of airfield without authorisation (and usually this will mean with an escort). Remember - gliders fly almost silently and you cannot hear them approaching.
  4. Do not touch parked gliders unless authorised. Despite gliders being extremely strong, certain parts of them are easily damaged by careless handling. Apart from the obvious expense, a damaged glider may present a danger to some future pilot.
  5. The winch is capable of launching a glider weighing up to half-a-ton well over 1000 feet into the air in around 20 seconds and if you are in the way it will have no difficulty in launching you as well. Stay well clear of the winch equipment and cables whether or not it looks as though they are in use.
  6. Please remember propellers can kill and there is a saying in flying circles that 'all aircraft bite fools'. Do not go anywhere near a powered aircraft without an escort.
  7. Enter and leave the aircraft only when instructed. Your instructor will make sure that it is safe for you to do so and will show you where you can safely put your hands and feet.
  8. No smoking is allowed near powered aircraft or the refuelling area. Note that the refuelling area is near the tug hanger which is the first building you come to on your right when entering the airfield before you arrive at the clubhouse.
  9. In flight, do not touch any controls or switches until advised to do so. This should need no amplification. You will be able to take control of the glider in flight but of course there are times when it is simply unsafe for an inexperienced person to do so.
  10. When instructed, buckle the straps tightly and keep them on throughout the flight and after landing.  Remain seated and strapped in until instructed otherwise.
  11. Your pilot will be a British Gliding Association rated instructor. As well as looking after your safety he is keen that you should enjoy your flight and may perhaps consider learning to fly yourself and perhaps joining our club. Please do not hesitate to discuss any points with him.