"BIRD ON A WIRE"
Photo by Annie Keay
SOSA's 2021 gliding kicked off on Sunday March 7, thanks to a largely snow and ice-free yet still frozen field. The hangar doors were pried open, the winch lumbered down to the far end of runway 36 and 27 launches took place in light westerly breezes, a flawless blue sky and the steady throttle hands of Will Nyland, Poul Hansen and Rafael Bravo. Thermal activity was lively, so there were several hour-long flights and heights of 4,500ft MSL. A great way to start the season. Fingers crossed for a dry spring and continuing good weather.
SOSA 2021 Annual General Meeting
By Herrie Ten Cate
The 2021 SOSA Annual General meeting-- on Saturday, March 6-- was the first in the club's history held as a videoconference, due to the COVID lockdown. Sixty-four people attended, of whom 35 were sustaining/voting members.
While the Zoom format offered a few technical challenges, chaos was averted and things proceeded as planned with President Dale Guenter and Secretary Andrew Corrigan presiding. Directors presented their portfolio reports and addressed questions.
The 2020 Board of Directors determined that in view of the ongoing pandemic, it made sense to stick with the existing team, which ably guided the club through its successful 2020 flying season. The BOD was unanimously re-elected by a grateful membership.
Dale sent a note to the membership shortly after the AGM:
"This board has had a long, challenging, rewarding stretch already and some directors are looking forward to relinquishing their posts by 2022. You, the members, will need to be thinking carefully through the 2021 season about whether it might be time for you or someone you know to take a turn at the helm. Think, talk, encourage-- it's all up to you."
(Members who are interested in joining the board should get in touch with serving board members to find out more. Most long-term members have served on the board.)
There was some lively debate over two issues: Former president and honourary life member Dixon Moore expressed his concerns over the issue of internal versus external audits. After some discussion about the relative cost-effectiveness of both, the matter was resolved to the group's satisfaction; the audit process will be reviewed by the board. Later, Dave Springford initiated a discussion about the appropriate rate of mileage ($0.40 versus $0.20 per kilometre) to be allowed for members driving personal vehicles on club business. It was agreed that the board would also take this matter under review.
A few more details:
The 2021 Board of Directors are:
President: Dale Guenter
Secretary: Andrew Corrigan
Treasurer: Tom Coulson
Aircraft: Angelo Quattrociocchi
Membership: Mo Attia
Grounds: Sergio Correia
Member at Large: Chris Kamarianakis
We have about 70 flying members paid up already, biggest in a long time.
Operations for 2021 should be more “normal” than in 2020, especially as large-scale vaccinations begin to take hold.
The club has ordered a DG 1001, fully aerobatic two-seat trainer. Arriving for the 2023 season.
Aerobatics will happen this year, subject to the constraints of the pandemic.
Similarly, we hope to reintroduce intro flights and will attempt to avoid peak training periods.
The capital plan will be refined to align with the major expenses we can predict and need to prepare for.
By Joerg Steiber
Chief Flying Instructor
Spring Check Flights
To satisfy insurance requirements, everyone who did not have a dual check flight after July 1st, 2020 will need a Spring Check Flight at the beginning of the season. For licensed pilots who had their check flights after July 1st, we will apply the same criteria (100hr/300hr/Currency Barometer) for self-checks as last year. However, these pilots need to make sure to get a dual check flight before the anniversary of their 2020 check flight.
Licensed pilots please complete the 2021 Currency Survey: https://forms.gle/uG68QdEZA46WanQq7 It only takes a few moments. Thanks to Bill Vollmar who has again volunteered to prepare the Check-out Books ahead of time. Licensed pilots and solo students please email photos of your licences, permits, medicals and endorsements to Bill Vollmar at firstname.lastname@example.org For details look up Bill’s email of March 7th on C&G.
Start of the Season
Currently, the runways are in good shape, considering the time of the year. If we don’t get a lot of rain, we could be flying early this year – April thermals are really good.
We are tentatively planning to get a head-start with Spring Checks, from a hard surface runway, possibly Brantford.
Following on the heels of the hangar talks, we will have Zoom refresher courses on: Take off and Tow, Spins, Side Slips, Circuit, Final Approach and Landing, so you can hit the air soaring.
We are currently looking into reviving our flight simulator and using Condor in a meaningful way to supplement flight training. Ray Wood will be the point-man.
Coming out of the gate, we will organize students and instructors in COVID “bubbles” again. As more of our members get vaccinated we can open this up. However, last year showed there is a benefit of assigning a primary and a secondary instructor to every student.
We cannot plan for you if you are not present!
A number of you have not yet joined and may be sitting on the sidelines. This makes planning difficult. We need to decide now how many and which gliders to insure for the season. If you plan to fly this year, please join and pay for your membership now. (There will be no discount for joining later this year.)
See you on the flight line!
Additional Spring Check Out info from the CFI
Since we are postponing Spin Checks this year, the Spring Check exercises have been expanded to include spin avoidance and spin recovery practice.
• Location and function of the wheel brake actuator in each glider type that the pilots will be signed off to fly?
• Review signals on tow.
• Review spin entry and spin recovery in detail – point out difference to spiral dive.
• Wind – direction/gust.
• Emergency response – low level rope break – options considering runway and wind.
• If the glider gets out of control during take-off – release immediately!
• For the first 500 ft of tow: FLY THE AIRPLANE! No adjustments to instruments, pedals, vents, etc. Do not allow yourself to get distracted!
• Ground Exercise – pilot and instructor in the glider.
• Pilot demonstrates the control movements in the correct sequence to enter a spin - instructor monitors and notes errors. (Attention: Instructor makes sure that the rudder does not get pushed hard (banged) into the stops).
• Pilot demonstrates the control movements in the correct sequence to recover from a spin - instructor monitors and notes errors. (Attention: Instructor makes sure that the rudder does not get pushed hard (banged) into the stops).
• Pre-take-off and landing checks done (fail the pilot if he/she forgot to do it).
• Observe initial take-off roll (no wing drop).
• Smooth lift-off, no PIO, correct position behind tow plane.
• Box the wake.
• Simulated thermaling turns 45° at constant speed 50kts at least one full circle.
• Steep turns 60o bank at constant speed (pick the appropriate speed – what is the stall speed at a 60o bank angle?). Instructor to watch closely for any tendency to get into an inadvertent spin i.e. letting the nose ride up in a turn, airspeed below the green arc, etc.
• If there is still sufficient height: Slip (ground track straight line along a line in the terrain. (Not a “fail”
• Circuit entered between 750 to 850 feet AGL.
• Approach speed on final must be within +10 and -5 kts of stated airspeed.
• Turn to final not lower than 300ft AGL.
• Land in one third of the runway length if pilot lands in half, s/he will be signed out for solo flights only.
• Good airmanship.
Demonstrate knowledge of airspace (i.e. Corridor, Hamilton and Waterloo airspace).
This document can be downloaded at this link:
BGA Currency Barometer: https://www.dropbox.com/s/eb2mz8qczo44hrh/currency-barometer.pdf?dl=0
New kid on the block with a Libelle
By Kent Pasincky
I was approached by the always persuasive Herrie ten Cate to write this article and given three prompts on what to talk about: What do you do, how did you get into gliding, and what are your plans for the Libelle.
So, to start off, my name is Kent. I’m 21 years old, and I joined SOSA during the 2020 season. Before that, I was with York Soaring for a couple years. I’m a college graduate and a licensed car salesman at the Toyota Dealership in Fort Erie.
I got into gliding through the Air Cadets. When I was little, my older sister decided to join the local Air Cadet Squadron. She became quite accomplished and many of my family members were very proud of her. Not wanting to be the little brother that gets left behind, I decided to join as soon as I was old enough. I quickly learned about the existence of gliders and other small planes (although I wasn’t a huge fan of all the marching and lecturing). A few years later the two of us graduated the program, a little better at ironing and with our licenses. Afterwards she went on to follow a path in rotor and fixed wing aviation whereas I decided to keep on gliding as a hobby and working at the dealership as a job. We are both still somewhat involved with the cadet program as civilian instructors, myself with the flying site in St. Catharine’s and she in North Bay.
As for the Libelle, my involvement with that particular aircraft was an interesting series of events. I decided last winter that I really wanted to go further into gliding and wanted to get a plane. I was looking at a H201B in California that looked great and was just refinished. Unfortunately, the aircraft had some messy paperwork from an airframe-to-serial-number switch in the 90s. As a result, it was unlikely to pass a Canadian airworthiness inspection, so the plane stayed in California.
After that disappointment, Dave Springford mentioned that there was a H205 which hadn't flown in a few years sitting next to the small hanger. As luck would have it, the owner was a family friend. After talking for a bit, the owner and I came to an agreement to get the plane flying again.
My current plans are to have fun in the plane and to see just how far I can go. Last year I was able to complete my silver badge and hope this coming year to get one or two requirements for the gold done. The only thing that really concerns me about the H205 Libelle is the lack of clearance between the belly and ground when landing out. The aircraft was already damaged once in the past because of this and I really don’t want it to happen again.
In any event, I look forward to good weather and a great season of flying.
Remembered: Hans-Werner Grosse
From: The Thermal Podcast Episode #21
Hans-Werner Grosse was a gliding legend…the closest thing to a gliding deity. He recently died in Germany at the ripe old age of 98.
During his gliding career, he set at least 50 gliding records.
In 1972, he made a remarkable free distance world record flight of 1,460.80 km, from his home city of Lübeck (West Germany) to Biarritz (France). This distance was and continues to be awe inspiring.
Gliding author and coach Bernard Eckey knew Hans-Werner Grosse and also flew with him. The Thermal Podcast's Herrie ten Cate spoke with Bernard about the life and times of Hans-Werner Grosse.
HtC: Hans-Werner Grosse - what made him such an amazing pilot?
BE: Well, I think it comes down to his unrelenting drive to explore the frontiers of our sport. I think he was never satisfied with any of his achievements. And he always looked for opportunity to improve on past performances. And in the end, this made him go to Central Australia, and I think that was in the in the early 80s. And that's where he set the bulk of his 50 or so world records, but later he flew out of Newman and that's a relatively small mining town in the north west of Australia. And if I'm not very much mistaken he never won a world championship. But he came close…
HtC: I think he placed second…I read somewhere.
BE: Yeah I think you're right he came second once. But later he abandoned competition flying in order to focus on long distance flying and on setting records.
HtC: You flew with him in Australia?
BE: I didn't fly with him in Australia I flew with him in Germany. But anyway, long distance flying, that was his real passion. And that is where he undoubtedly excelled the most.
HtC: Well, there's that famous story of that record I think still stands to this day. The flight that he made from Germany to Biarritz in France.
BE: Oh yeah, that really shook the gliding world. We mustn't forget that, that record was established in a Schleicher ASW 12, a very early fiberglass aircraft. And when you compare it with today's ships, it has a rather modest performance. Still, he flew from the far north of Germany via Holland and Belgium into France and actually landed close to the Spanish border. I think it was somewhere near the town of Biarritz.
HtC: And it was 1,500 kilometers I think in the end?
BE: Yeah, just under 1,500, I believe, and this record stood for well over 30 years, and it’s still the only flight of his distance in normal convective conditions. I mean, we had a pretty good flight by an Australian pilot in ASG 29, he did 1,400 kilometres but didn't break Hans-Werner’s world record from 30 years ago. And these days, people travel to South Australia and Patagonia, to be more precise to fly wave, and that has resulted in Hans-Werner’s world records being broken.
HtC: Now this flight that he did 30 plus years ago I understand on the continent of Europe that that flight record still stands.
BE: Oh yeah, very much so. And I believe that the, what this flight did is still largely underestimated to this day. It has inspired a whole generation of pilots, including myself and it has also served to attract more people to our sport no question about that.
HtC: I read somewhere about that flight that he landed near Biarritz in southern France and would have kept going, but was a bit apprehensive because Franco was still in power in Spain, and he could have made it further, but was worried about crossing into an unknown country.
BE: Yeah, not only that I believe he also was concerned that he ran out of maps. And he also feared that the flight wouldn't be recognized if he landed in Spain for some reason but I'm not entirely sure of that.
HtC: Now, earlier you mentioned you flew with him in Germany. What was that like?
BE: Oh, I tell you that was a real eye opener. I still remember it to this day. We kept in touch over the phone and I left at four o'clock in the morning or something to get to his place in Lübeck, and all the way to Lübeck it was drizzling, and we had a very, very low cloud base. But when I got to him and he then showed me his private weather station with all the satellite receivers and rain radar and all these other gadgets, totally unique in those days. And then he said, don't worry Bernard. We can fly later in the afternoon. But I had my doubts because the sky remained totally overcast and gray. And in the end we went to the airport, got the ETA ready and launched in the ETA at Lübeck Airport, between airport traffic taking off and landing.
HtC: Now let me interrupt for just a sec…this glider the ETA…this was a unique one-off 31-meter glider that he was involved with and helped build. Tell me about that.
BE: Well it wasn't really a one off I think that builds a total of five or six and Hans-Werner was certainly the initiator of this program. And, and it was a 31 meter glider, self-launcher and two seater. And, yeah, I flew it. It wasn't the most agile of gliders, but in a straight glide and relatively low speed it was just remarkable performance.
HtC: And this is the glider that you went up in with Hans…what was the flight like?
BE: Ah, it was, it was phenomenal because I didn't think we could do more than just a bit of local flying. But, yeah, we took off when it was still totally overcast. And when we climbed through about two or three thousand feet he spotted the sunlit spot on the ground and went for it and found the thermal there. And then we had enough height to glide into a sandy patch of the country. And we spent the whole afternoon there. Fantastic.
HtC: And what was he like as a man was he was he a talkative kind of guy, was he friendly? How would you describe him?
BE: Oh, he was. Yeah, just one of these people that makes friends easily. He was a great mentor, he was happy to share his knowledge and expertise with anyone who showed interest. And when I flew with him I just couldn't believe that he passed up one weak climb after the other, and then sometimes we got down to 800 feet or even lower. And I got a bit nervous and was suggesting that we get the engine out, but he always found the lift, lift again and we eventually went all the way, near the Bremen airport. And then when we went home, I got to fly this truly remarkable ship.
HtC: Let's go back in history a little bit. I understand he learned to fly in the 1930s as a teenager, like so many German pilots did at the time. What can you tell me about that?
BE: Yeah, yes. He was certainly one of these young men that learned to fly in the Hitler Youth. And yes, that shaped him of course, he, he even crashed a glider when he was only 15, or 16, years of age, but he recovered. And in his teens he was then by the German Air Force converted into a bomber pilot.
HtC: I did read about that. I mean, almost all German glider pilots at the time…I mean that's how Germany was training its air force at the time, and they all got shuffled into the Luftwaffe.
BE: Oh yeah, yeah well that was the idea by the Nazi regime. They trained them up in gliders and then that turned them into fighter pilots and bomber pilots.
HtC: Hans-Werner, you mentioned he crashed a glider but I understand he was also shot down at one point I think flying a bomber somewhere in the Mediterranean.
BE: Yeah, that was during the war years. I think you're right, he was shot down over the Mediterranean, and he again got injured so I understand. And when he recovered, he was then sent off to Scandinavia and finished the war as a pilot in Norway I understand.
HtC: So the war finishes and I guess he has to make a living and he starts, providing for his family and then he gets back into gliding and that's when his real gliding career started is that right?
BE: Yes, I think he was one of these remarkable men who was not only a top pilot, but he was also a very smart businessman. So when the war ended, he saw an opportunity to set up a business that mainly deals in more casual and less formal clothing and together with his wife Karen, they set up a retail shop right in the historic center of Lübeck. Lübeck is a medium sized town in the far north of Germany. And both of them worked hard to turn that into a successful business, which in the end allowed him to glide in places like Australia.
HtC. He seems to be one of these almost super glider pilots. In the German gliding/soaring world, where would you put him..is he right at the very top?
BE: Oh, undoubtedly, And, I mean, he was a true pioneer and these days. There are other people who have made a name for themselves. For instance, Klaus Ohlmann he was sort of behind the Perlan Project and he has now broken his records in Patagonia. But Hans-Werner Grosse was definitely the person that everyone looked up to in Germany.
HtC: You have considerable flying experience all over the world and you learned to fly in Germany.
How will you remember Hans-Werner Grosse?
BE: Well, how do I remember him… he has inspired so many people, not only in Germany, but around the world, and everyone has looked up to him and he was not only a good pilot but he was also a very modest man who never sought the limelight. And he was doing a lot of work behind the scenes and one of the examples is he was sort of helping a lot with the online contest. At the age of, 75 was made an honourary member of the German national team. He was made an honourary member of the German Aero club. And he received so many accolades. I've lost track of them all.
HtC: Well, Bernard thank you so much for telling us all about Hans Werner Grosse. I feel like I've really gotten a bit more insight into this amazing pilot.
BE: My pleasure. Anytime Herrie.
Radio check 5/5
SOSA's radio license examiner
By Charlie Honey
I've started conducting these exams remotely using Zoom.
Chris Kamarianakis was the guinea pig for the first one, so hopefully we have worked out all the bugs for the rest of you. The exam takes 30-45 minutes and consists of reviewing a multiple-choice exam over Zoom, followed by a short, verbal, practical test. Application forms and proof of identity can be sent to me using a secure link, to avoid sending sensitive information through email. It takes about four weeks to get the licence back to you.
All the requirements and knowledge required for the exam are covered in the Study Guide published by ISED Canada, which I can send you upon request. I will also be doing a hangar talk in March, which will cover anything you would be expected to know for the practical test.
For those looking to get this done before the flying season starts, please let me know via email, or through Click and Glide.
As SOSA's newest Accredited Radio Examiner, I would like to reach out to all those interested in obtaining their Radio Licence (Restricted Operator Certificate - Aeronautical) this year. It is one of the requirements for the Bronze Badge, but you don't need your glider licence to get it. There is also no cost involved.
Pilot Currency and Safety
By Matt Watson
Toronto Soaring Club
former Safety Chair, York Soaring Club
An important component of our Safety Management System (SMS) is the collection and analysis of incident reports. Through this system, lessons learned can be shared among the club membership and we can all benefit. Thank you to everybody who submitted reports and suggestions, thus contributing in a significant way to our club’s safety.
One significant factor that our reporting system has highlighted is that of pilot currency/recency; that is, how often a pilot flies and/or how recently he/she has flown. Not surprisingly, there seems to be a correlation between an individual’s currency/recency and how well they respond to unexpected abnormal situations. I’ve used the analogy before of playing a musical instrument: if we haven’t practiced in a while, we can expect to be a bit rusty. So currency (actually, the lack thereof) is a recognized threat to safety.
What can we as members do to mitigate this threat?
Last fall I was talking to a couple of warbird pilots and the topic of currency came up. It is particularly an issue for them because of the type of flying they do: the airplanes in question are not flown very often and the pilots fly many different types, each with complex and varied aircraft systems, and often unique, sometimes undesirable handling characteristics. The two individuals I was talking to are highly experienced test pilots, each with a wealth of experience and skill on a wide range of aircraft types. Their ideas about currency are worth sharing.
First of all it’s important to recognize and acknowledge the situation in the first place. This requires some humble self assessment, something we as humans are not always good at. One way of self assessing is to ask yourself if you’re mentally prepared for an emergency. If you had to do a check ride or flight test, how would you do? Hoping that everything will go well and that nothing will go wrong during the flight is asking for trouble. Being mentally prepared beforehand will in all probability have a significant impact on the outcome of a serious event.
If you haven’t flown in a while, you can go a long way to improving your safety by “chair flying.” At work, when we are training to fly a different airplane type, we are given a large cockpit diagram. We use this as a tool to practice going through normal, abnormal and emergency procedures. By the time we get in the simulator the procedures have already been practiced in the “paper trainer” so that we get the most out of our valuable and costly simulator training.
In the 1950s, Dr. Biasiotto of the University of Chicago did a famous study related to visualization. He split his study group into three subgroups; the first spent an hour per day throwing free throws from the foul line; the second mentally visualized doing so; and the third did nothing. After a period of time all three groups were assessed. Not surprisingly the first group showed a marked improvement in their performance, while the group that did nothing showed no improvement. Of special interest was the group that visualized making the shots. They showed almost as much improvement as the group that physically practiced the activity. This is important for us as pilots because it means we can compensate to some degree for lack of currency by practicing our procedures prior to coming out to the field to go flying.
So what does this look like?
To start with, find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed so that you can mentally review procedures uninterrupted. Start off with a normal flight, from take off to landing, mentally going through each step as you would in the aircraft. Visualize each step in your mind’s eye. An example would be thinking about where you’re going to scan for traffic during your SWAFTS check, and during the rest of the circuit. After a couple of normal flights start adding abnormal situations. Have a list of them you can go through such as; the tow plane rejects the takeoff in front of you and you’re airborne; a cable break at 100 feet, another at 200 feet, etc.; cable breaks at different altitudes with different winds; different runways; your canopy pops open on takeoff; at 100 feet; at 1000 feet, etc; on downwind you notice a glider in front of you and one outside you on a wider downwind. You get the idea.
By taking an hour or two to practice these scenarios at home you’re increasing your odds of having a better outcome if something unexpected happens and you haven’t flown in a while. It’s a good habit. Another benefit is it frees up spare mental capacity for both normal and abnormal operations. By doing many of the repetitive things automatically your mind will be free to react to the abnormal. Effectively you’re flying more often, experiencing more normal and abnormal situations, so you’ll be better prepared to handle them when you actually go flying. It works. The warbird pilots I mentioned earlier spend hours at home, as well as sitting in the cockpits in the hangar, practicing procedures over and over until it’s second nature. The payoff in safety is real. Plus it’s free!
At York Soaring we have a large fleet of gliders available to us. If a pilot hasn’t flown in a while there is no additional cost to going up with an instructor for a refresher flight, even if you don’t technically require one. If during your self assessment you feel you might be a bit rusty it’s worth serious consideration.
Soon we’ll all be doing our spring checkout flights. Chair flying is a great way to prepare, getting our heads back in the game. It’ll make the checkout process go more smoothly, as well as making it safer for each individual as well as for the operation as a whole. Pilot checkouts aren’t just about checking boxes on a training card. They’re about regaining and demonstrating competency through preparation and study, and chair flying is a great tool to help us get there.
Thanks, and fly safe,
2020 Proving Grounds Update
By Paul Parker
Congratulations to our SOSA Proving Ground Leaders for 2020:
Charlie, Irek, James, Rob, Gregg, Alex and Malcom!
Twenty-five SOSA flights were recorded on Proving Grounds this past season.
The pilot of the fastest flight is noted for each category below:
Racetrack (ASK21/Junior) monthly:
Charlie Honey (x2)
Racetrack (LS4/Duo) monthly:
Charlie Honey (x2)
LS4: Alex Depoutovitch
Junior: Gregg Pattison
Discus 2b: Malcolm Maclaren
The Proving Grounds program was introduced at SOSA in 2020 to encourage pilots to develop their cross country skills. We have been using the local racecourse for practice for years, and this online calculator provides prompt feedback on your speed for comparison to other flights.
The fastest flights around the racetrack were recorded in June, but the soaring and learning did not stop there. I have listed the pilot with the fastest flight in each month (June, July, August, September) to encourage flights throughout the season. Not surprisingly, the highest speeds (handicapped too) were recorded in our higher performance gliders, so I also provide results for two glider groups (ASK21/Junior, LS4/Duo).
Every flight offers lessons to its pilot.
However, there are a few highlights that I would like to share.
Lesson 1: Practice.
Charlie Honey demonstrated the benefits of practice as his fastest handicapped speed around the racecourse was in September. He gets the practice leadership title for getting the fastest racecourse monthly speed title four times in four different aircraft: ASK21, Junior, LS4 and Duo Discus.
Lesson 2: Progression.
Gregg Pattison recorded several racetrack flights including the fastest racetrack speed in July. He then stretched his wings to complete Triangle 1. Having proven his ability to leave SOSA and return, he then took the next step to complete his 300km Triangle.
Congratulations to all of our pilots.
Looking forward to seeing many more Proving Grounds flights in 2021.
2020 Proving Ground Leader (Racetrack) by month and glider group
ASK21/Junior kph speed handicapped. LS4/Duo kph speed handicapped
June: Charlie Honey 78 Rob Russell 90
July: Irek Sek 72 Gregg Pattison 85
August: Charlie Honey 57 Charlie Honey 77
September: James Wood 69 Charlie Honey 80
2020 Proving Ground Leader (Triangle 1)
LS4: Alex Depoutovitch
Junior: Gregg Pattison
2020 Proving Ground Leader (Triangle 2)
Discus 2b: Malcolm Mclaren
The SOSA Windsock is written/edited/published by:
Herrie ten Cate and Jeff Keay. Please get in touch with story ideas and articles.