Rattlesden Gliding Liaison Committee
This committee was established as a condition of the planning permit granted to the club by Mid-Suffolk Council. A great deal of public anxiety had been expressed at public meetings in Brettenham and neighbouring Parishes before the planning decision 3 years ago and it was hoped that closer liaison between the club and its neighbouring parishes might help restore good relations. The committee was established with representatives from the club, the Borough Council and local Parish Councils.
It was clear that representatives should monitor the views of their local communities and report developments to them. Since the start we have warned of upcoming events at the airfield such as the occasional firework testing and aerobatic training for Apache pilots. Now that Wattisham is used by police and air-ambulance helicopters with their unscheduled emergency flights, the RAF have needed to find other airfields for such training. I learned that, when driving on the main runway, cars must keep to the right hand side. The runway is an emergency landing place for civil and military aircraft in trouble, a fact I have found quite alarming when I drive there.
The main problem that has come before the committee has been the dropping of tow ropes between tug plane and glider. Initially thought to be pilot error this turned out to be a fault in the factory setting of the tow hook on the tug. This mechanism incorporates a safety release rather like a ski-binding and the fault has now been rectified. Luckily the 5 or 6 ropes that were dropped seem to have caused no damage - though I did here of one relatively near miss. There is much more chance that a rope dropped in a field damages a combine harvester. The odds on personal injury are astronomic.
The committee submitted a favourable report on the clubs activities to Mid Suffolk Council at the end of the clubs 2 year provisional permit and that permit was made permanent. It was agreed by the committee that meetings should continue beyond the original 2 years. The Council agreed and stipulated that the committee continue.
Martin Frey of the Liaison Committee reported to the Annual parish Meeting that there was a proposal to build a workshop for refurbishing elderly gliders between the two big hangars. The meeting greeted this news very favourably - expressing a distinct preference for being overflown by well maintained gliders.
I think the committee has been useful and would like to thank Penny Otton, councillor for Felsham and Rattlesden, for her experienced guidance, and the members of the club for their hospitality and openness at all times.
If you have any queries or problems about the gliding club please ring me - 01449 736 833 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org