Flying Standard Operating Procedures for Taranaki Gliding Club flying at Stratford airfield

Date: 06-08-2016


General glider ground handling guide lines.

1. Canopies are very expensive so: Don’t put your hand through the clear vision panel to operate the tow release knob. To open the canopy, put your hand through the clear vision panel, operate the canopy release and lift the canopy holding on to the release handle. Don’t leave the canopy open or even unlatched when the glider is unattended. Don’t clean the canopy without water or it will be scratched.

2. When ground towing a glider, use a rope that is longer than one wing.

3. The wing walker should be on the same side as the driver so he can warn the driver if there is any danger of hitting anything unless there is a strong wind in which case the wing walker should hold the upwind wing.

4. The towing vehicle should have the radio off and window open so the driver can hear the wing walker.

5. Always turn an unattended glider side on the wind and tie down the upwind wing.


Stratford airfield has narrow runways and is a licenced airfield which has other VFR traffic. 

6. Don’t position the glider on the runway for take-off until you are ready to go.

7. If another aircraft is landing, either move the glider off the runway or lower the right wing to leave as much room as possible.

8. If present only the wing runner will call/signal the all out as he/she is the one who has the best view of landing traffic. The runways are not wide enough for simultaneous take offs and landings, and all landing aircraft have right of way. If no wing runner is available, signals can be done via radio and responsibility for checking for circuit/landing traffic falls to the tow pilot.

9. All circuits are normally done on the north side of 09/27 and the west side of 16/34. If you intend to do a non standard circuit announce your intentions on the radio twice.

10. If there is any other traffic around the airfield, do not fly in the circuit area and height, unless you are actually flying the circuit.

11. When joining the downwind leg,give a radio call including where on the downwind you are – “early”, “mid” or “late”.

12. After landing either taxi to the side (preferably left) if you have been cleared to do so or move the glider off the runway asap after landing. Don’t hit the lights.

13. Glider circuits should be done below 2000ft (1000ft agl) to avoid conflict with powered aircraft.

14. All glider operations, parking, take-off, landing, retrieval and tow plane back tracking should be done on the left side of the runway in use. Be very careful when crossing the runway to the left side of 09.

15. Always drive vehicles around the perimeter of 09/27. Be very careful crossing 16/34, and when driving around the end of 09/27. Park behind the launching gliders so there is no danger of the glider hitting a vehicle.

16. Be aware of model aircraft flying on the south end of 16/34.


Flying in Taranaki.

17. The airfield is in the Taranaki CFZ and the frequency is 124.65. Always monitor this frequency and keep chat to a minimum.

18. Be aware of controlled airspace especially above 4500ft above the airfield. Look at VNC C6.

19. Overhead the power station is a danger area. It is not a restricted area but be aware of possible strong updrafts from the cooling fans if you fly into this area.

20. A lot of traffic transits through the Stratford area travelling North or South. Give a position report at least every 30 minutes and also when you are aware of other traffic near you.

21. It is recommended that you leave the “bush line” at or above 4000ft to arrive back at the airfield at a safe height.

22. Around the mountain all fields slope towards the mountain. Be aware of this for out landings.

23. Out landing in the eastern hill country on a windy day is hazardous due to turbulence around the hills.

24. Flat paddocks in the dairy farming area can be badly pugged, small and can have single strip grazing wires across them.

25. Don’t assume airstrips will not have stock on them. Most eastern airstrips will have ewes and lambs on them from winter until late November.

26. Flying on days with a strong prevailing westerly and it is calm or a light easterly at Stratford airfield can be deceptively hazardous as a small change in the prevailing wind direction will change local conditions dramatically.

27. Low level agricultural aircraft can arrive at any time.


Tow operations wing runner

28. The wing runner will attach the tow rope when requested by the PIC after the pre-flight checks are complete. No further signals are required from the PIC. The wing runner will move to the left wing tip and check that the canopies are closed, the brakes are closed and locked and it is all clear above and behind. They will then lift the wing tip and give the take up slack signal. When the slack has been taken up the stop signal will be given. Then after a final check behind the all-out signal is given and the wing runner will run supporting the wing tip as far as possible without pulling the wingtip backwards or forwards.


Tow operations glider pilot.

29. When the pre take off checks have been completed ask the wing runner to connect the towrope. No further signals are required from the glider pilot. If you are not happy about something pull the release.

30. On the initial roll hold on to the release knob. If a wing tip touches the ground or good control is not established, release. Only after roll control is established, move your left hand from the tow release to the flap leaver (if there is one).

31. If the tug does not leave the ground by the cross runway on 09/27 (half the runway length) pull the release.

32. There is period of about 30 seconds (longer with a strong head wind) after take-off when the glider will not be able to return to the airfield if the rope breaks – be aware of this.

33. If there is a failure at low altitude make your first turn into wind. If there is sufficient altitude, continue turning and return to the airfield. Otherwise land into wind into a paddock.

34. If the wind favours neither 09 or 27 it is better to use 09 as it is downhill.

35. Only tow single seaters on 16/34 and only if the cross wind is too strong for 09/27. (Until further investigation has been carried out)

36. Start the take-off run as close to the threshold as possible and on the left side.


Tow operations, tug pilots

37. If you are not airborne by the cross runway (half the runway length) release the glider.

38. It is very important that the tow plane is held down to about 6 feet after take-off and accelerated to 60 knots before climbing.

39. No reverse landing by the tug as this is confusing for other traffic as to which run way is in use.

40. Never carry a passenger in the tow plane when towing a two seat glider.

41. Always use a tow rope with a 300 kg weak link.

42. Unless the glider pilot requests a tow straight out, make at least a 90 degree turn as soon as practical.

43. Be aware of the pylons off the end of 09. Either make an early decision to turn in front of them or cross them at a pylon.


SOP’s specific to each club glider. A rating is required from a B cat instructor before flying any glider as PIC.

Twin Astir, WZ

44. This glider to be used for ab-initio training, early solo flying, spin training, BFR’s, ICR’s, trial flights and cross country training and flying.

45. Start the initial take-off roll with the stick in a neutral position and do the take-off run with the tailwheel just clear of the ground. Avoid burying the nose on the take-off roll or it will be slow to accelerate.

46. Operate the u/c lever slowly and carefully and make sure it is locked over centre when down.


47. This glider to be used for early solo flying after at least 5 solo flights in WZ, general solo flying and cross country training and flying.

48. The red handle on the instrument panel is the emergency canopy release, not the tow release.

49. Start the initial ground roll with the stick back. When the nose rises hold it level. Level is surprisingly nose high. If the tow plane takes off before you, raise the nose some more.

Janus B, NN

50. This glider to be used for general flying, cross country training and flying, BFR’s, ICR’s and trial flights but is not to be used for ab-initio training below 500ft.

51. To be PIC of NN you must have a QGP and have done at least 50 hours PIC for local flying or 100 hours for cross country flying. Also to have flown 5 hours and 12 take offs and landings on type or similar.

52. Be familiar with the flight manual particularly the speed limitations with the flaps in the landing position and the VNE. Also the maximum pilot weights including parachutes must be observed.

53. Start the initial take off roll with the flaps in 0 and the stick held hard back. Move the flaps to +8 after good roll control has been established. Do the take-off run with tail skid just clear of the ground – don’t let the nose drop on the ground or it may be difficult to raise it for take-off.

54. Use +8 degrees flap while flying the circuit and only select landing flap when you are sure you have sufficient height. It may be necessary to select 0 flaps after landing to maintain roll control in a cross wind.