SEAMS News Archives

News from the Editor September/October 2015

I make no apology for wheeling out the black band again. This time not for a member but to remember those people sadly caught up in the Shoreham Air Show disaster. This event has not only rocked the community of Shoreham but also the Vintage community as a whole, which shows the great gravity of the situation.

What many members will not know is that Ian Sampson had been working on a display of engines at this event. This year was to be a try out so only a small band of faithful members were asked. In the event, due to concerns over fire risk from petrol and radio interference from vintage magneto’s the display was going to have to be static, something that was not considered acceptable, so the display was cancelled. This was perhaps just as well given the events that unfolded. I have spoken to a few people that were present on the Saturday and all have said ‘this is something we will never forget’.

So what implications will this event have on us ? Hopefully none but as I write this, Airshows can now only be flypasts with NO aerobatics until further notice. What could it have ? Well dependant on what, if any restrictions are made permanent by the CAA will give an indication of what could happen in a future disaster in the Steam and Vintage game. OK so no such disaster has occurred yet, but with more and more folk getting involved that have absolutely NO engineering background or experience and/or an overly positive ‘I can’ attitude, I see it as only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt or worse. I have already heard of instances of flywheels coming off this year at shows and have seen it happen in the past. That no one was hurt is a miracle.

Alright then, blow the public, we will go private. Private gas ups have the same risks as a public event. This was brought home at a private do, where a flywheel on an engine came loose. Fortunately the engine was stopped before it departed but there were several folk close by that might not have had the speed or presence of mind to escape had that flywheel come off!

I’m not suggesting we wrap everything in cotton wool, with everything there is a risk and especially with something that is old. We just need to be vigilant and if you see something you don’t like, sing out! Don’t walk away.

Ian Sampson has very kindly offered to take over the position of editor, but this surely can only be temporary as Ian already does so much for the club. We really need someone else to step forward to do this job. It takes me between 4 to 8 hours to put together each issue. A more literate person could probably do it in less. Also needed is INPUT. We have a great team of contributors but they are small in number. We tend to write about the same events each year, could you add something different?  Do you have some photos you could share ? …or stories about anything engine related ?

Now is the time your club needs you!

On a more positive note, we have had some good events over the Summer,  Fetes, Steam Rallies and dedicated Engine Shows. It will soon be time for our own club rally held at Fishers Farm Park, lets hope it is another  success. We also have the Autumn ploughing matches and harvesting shows to look forward to. John Peters advises that this years Hurstpierpoint Ploughing Match is to be held at Trusslers Hill Farm, Blackstone and is accessible from both ends of Blackstone Lane. The date for the diary is 3rd October, please let him know if you intend to participate.

All change at the top. As you will see from the nomination forms we have a new person standing for Chairman. With Jon Foster’s interests moving more in the 4 wheels direction of late, he has felt he does not have his ‘finger on the pulse’ so to speak. He has therefore decided to step down a notch and take up the position of Vice Chairman and will continue in his position as Acting Secretary. Thank you Jon for all your help and guidance over the years and we hope will continue for many more. Jumping up into top place is Steve Rowland, a well known and respected enthusiast in the area and already our Vice Chairman. Steve is looking forward to the challenge but admits a busy work schedule will mean he might not always be available for club events. I wish both of these candidates all the best and hope they are nominated to their respective positions.

Finally, having read the above, I would like to ask you to join me in sitting quiet for a minute, and remember those poor souls that lost their lives at Shoreham Air Show.

Mark Tewkesbury
Retiring Editor