Information for clubs

Making your Trial flights accessible to deaf people

While we are keen to help clubs where we can, we recognise our resources are limited in how much we can do. However, at the same time, it is incredibly easy for clubs to make their trial flights extremely accessible for any deaf people who may wish to buy a trial flight voucher, and the aim of this article is to show you how you can do this.

What do I need to know?

The good news is that this can be done for the princely sum of £5. What you will need is a suction-mount mirror which can be purchased from large automobile stores or online. You can try searching for the Summit RV-30 mirror.

Suction-mount mirror

One caveat to bear in mind is that the suction mount can and does fail. As a result, you should have a cord attaching the mirror securely to a part of the glider as illustrated in the image. Be mindful of where you attach it in case of emergencies where the canopy may need to be jettisoned.

Communicating with a deaf person

There are several tips for communicating with deaf people. But the useful ones to remember out on the airfeld are the following.

    • Be mindful of the location of the sun – the deaf person will find it easier to understand you if the sun is facing you or from the side. Never speak to the deaf person with the sun behind you.
    • Face the deaf person while discussing the trial flight with them
    • Don’t speak with your face looking away from the deaf person

Pre-flight patter

When you run through the pre-flight patter, be mindful of the fact that the deaf person cannot look in multiple directions at the same time! So when you illustrate glider operations, be sure to explain to the person face to face prior to demonstrating the controls. Keep in mind that it may help the student if you illustrate certain concepts visually with movement of your hands.

Also, it may be best to explain the ground run in advance, instead of as you go along.

Agree on a suitable signal for evacuating the plane – but realistically speaking, if the person in front, who can see you in the mirror, sees you jumping out, they are likely to follow you out as well!

When the canopy is closed, check that the mirror is adjusted properly and that the person in front can see you in the reflection.

In air

Bearing the above section about communication in mind, face the front and look in the direction of the mirror when speaking. If the student is comfortable and you are comfortable in letting them have control, keep in mind that you can get their attention by shaking the stick gently. If you wish to tell them to perform certain manoeuvres or to look in a certain directions, you can again use pre-agreed hand movements (be mindful of the restricted view the student will have of you in the mirror) to show the student what to do.

Back on ground

Give yourself a mental pat in the back and let  know if this document was of use!