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Managing Visitors, Air Experience Students and their Guests


The purpose of this Safe System of Work (SSOW)] is to define how the SGU manages visitors to Portmoak Airfield to ensure their safety.

Generally there are 4 different types of visitor to the airfield. They are:

• Members of the public visiting to watch the gliders and visit the clubhouse for refreshments or a meal. • Contractors working on the site or making deliveries, includes officials from enforcement agencies. • Air experience students and their guests. • People from other clubs.

By far the most difficult to manage are the air experience students and their guests.

The Airfield is so arranged that visitors can drive to the clubhouse car park unescorted and in relative safety. If an aircraft is refuelling, the barrier will be down and the access road closed during the refuelling operation. There is signage on the entrance road detailing that this is an active airfield and no visitors are to go beyond the carpark without a briefing and/or an escort.

The hazard

The hazards on the airfield are detailed in the main site risk assessment. The hazards are:

  • Moving aircraft landing and taking off.
  • Aircraft propellers.
  • Winches, high speed cables and parachutes.
  • Flammable liquids.

Procedures for visitors to go beyond the clubhouse and carpark

Members of the public are not permitted beyond the carpark and club house.

a. Contractors working on the site or making deliveries, includes officials from enforcement agencies

Generally speaking, contractors and official visitors will be escorted by a club member or official during the whole course of their visit, if they need to proceed beyond the car park. Contractors working on site for any length of time will have a separate SSOW.

b. Air experience students and their guests

  • Air experience students and their guests will already have been in contact with the club and will report to the Office Manager or the member on duty in charge of air experience flights in the club house.
  • They will receive a briefing from the office manager and (if flying) will complete medical and insurance documentation.
  • They are then directed to the clubhouse canteen to wait for an escort to the launch point.
  • A club member from the launch point will collect the visitors and proceed to the launch point.
  • At the launch point, the visitors will receive a further briefing on the hazards at the launch point and what they should do to remain safe. Particular emphasis is to be placed on remaining in the near vicinity of where they have been parked and that they must not move until they have spoken to a SGU member or instructor (identifiable from the badge they will be wearing). The brief should include the risk from the tug propeller and the tow rope. They must be reminded that gliders are silent and they may not hear the glider on approach.
  • When the instructor is ready, the visitors are directed to the relevant glider by the SGU ground crew. The person who is to fly will receive the BGA brief. Their guests may look at the aircraft, take photos etc. as the student is prepared by the instructor for the flight.
  • Once the glider is ready for launch, the SGU ground crew will ensure all other visitors are located safely. The glider will then be launched as per normal SGU and BGA operating procedures. The log is completed by the ground crew.
  • This pre flight procedure is repeated for all the remaining flights.
  • On Landing, the SGU ground crew will recover the aircraft back to the launch point (unless it is a hangar flight). The student will walk back with the aircraft and the instructor.
  • Once the certificate is completed, the visitors will wish to leave. The SGU ground crew will then escort them back to the clubhouse. The visitors may have to wait for this.
  • Hangar landings are treated in the same way, except the glider is returned to the hangar rather than the launch point.
  • After the last launch, the launch point is packed up and the remaining visitors are escorted back to the club house, where they can see the hangar landings.

c. People from other clubs

These visitors will be familiar with airfield operations and will require a brief from an instructor as well as their site checks.

Information, instruction, briefing and authorisation

Members wishing to bring their own visitors on to the site will have to ensure they are escorted and briefed in accordance with this SSOW.


The senior/duty instructor on the day is responsible for the safe operation of the airfield and for the safety of visitors


Approval and Review Certification

Date Name of Assessor / Reviewer
31-08-2003 A Gordonb, approved by N Irving
5-7-2018 W Rossmann
24-1-2021 W Rossmann
safety/ssow02_-_visitors.txt · Last modified: 2022/02/13 13:43 by wolfr