May, 2021
The member focused Newsletter of the Southern Ontario Soaring Association
May 25 - Photo Peter Cheney
Provincial Restrictions on "outdoor" activities Lifted
After seven or so weeks of a provincial "stay at home" order, gliding has re-started at SOSA. Just before the May long weekend, the provincial government ruled that it was safe to resume many outdoor activities. Eager SOSA pilots didn't need to be told twice. SOSA is now back in limited operation.

The usual SOSA Covid protocols still apply. For up to date information, go to the SOSA Website and check on Click n'Glide.

Check flights and instructional flights are on hold. The BOD is desperate to open the club to all flying but must operate under the framework laid out by the provincial government. 

June 2nd is the next date to watch out for, as government announcements could make dual flying legal again. The BOD will put out any new information out on Click N'Glide. 

The covid protocols will change often. For now the club is using what club President Dale Guenter sent to the membership via CnG on Friday May 21st. This includes the camping revision.

Other updates:
  • If all goes to plan, the Puchacz will have cables replaced and be ready to fly for the weekend of May 29th.
  • Chief Tow Pilot Dave Springford is working with a number of promising candidates for mid-week towing. Some of them need to be trained in gliding, others need to be checked out. Eventually, there will be a dedicated mid-week tow pilot but in the short run we will have to improvise. Tow pilots are encouraged to sign up for mid-week availability via Click N' Glide.
by Joerg Stieber,
Chief Flying Instructor

Let’s be Safe!

Assessing and, where possible, mitigating risk is part of every pilot’s life. In a recent interview, astronaut Chris Hadfield said that during critical phases of space flight, he never allowed himself to be sidetracked by peripheral issues. He always focused, he said, on the next thing that could kill him and how to deal with it if it happened.

One risk I want to address this year, is runway incursions. When you set foot or drive on the “airside” of the SOSA airfield, you need to maintain full situational awareness. In other words, everywhere east of the large hangar and south of the south campground. Situational awareness is being fully aware of everything that is going on around you in the air and on the ground. The runway we are flying off is called the active runway. However, before you set foot on any runway, you need to look both ways and upwards, remembering that an airplane could be coming in on any runway at any time, even if SOSA is not flying. Gliders will come at you silently. But it could also be a power plane with technical trouble coming in for an emergency landing. It happened here a few years ago.

If you're talking on your phone or texting, you have zero situational awareness. Never be a cell phone zombie! Leave your phone in your pocket and pay attention! If you need to make a call or look something up, make sure you are in a safe area where you cannot get hit be a plane or by a wing when a glider is being rotated. At the flight line, a safe area is being within arm’s length of the bus, ideally on the side facing away from the runway.

When walking or driving from the clubhouse parking lot to the flight line for runway 36, you need to be aware that you are crossing runways 21/03 and 10/28. Both runways could be used any time by gliders which might have gotten low in their circuits. So again, look both ways before you set foot on any of these runways. If you are driving, stop the car and get out to look.

Another hotspot is the north end of runway 18 when you cross over near the windsock on your way to the flight line on runway 21. Aircraft on a right hand downwind to 18 are typically below the tree line. Beware! Be safe! And have a great season!

Just before the last lockdown, Rafael Bravo knocked off the winter rust and took DD on a very nice early season cross-country rip. The following is his account:
On April 4 we had flight operations at SOSA after check rides conducted a couple of weeks previously; the earliest regular operation I can recall in many years. We were limited to single pilot flying due to covid restrictions, which meant that I was free to fly XC since there was no need to do any instructional/check rides. The forecast from the night before was for 2-3 kt thermals to 4500 ft with light winds over most of the task area, with soaring conditions starting after noon and continuing past 5pm on a completely blue day. The same day’s forecast update also showed a ridge of higher thermal heights and strength on a north-south band about 10km wide going from north of Lake Erie to south of Collingwood, possibly an artifact of the XCSkies forecast.
It was fun to see all the activity in the club after the winter layoff, with almost every glider in the club fleet being readied for flight. I was also surprised not to see any of the private gliders being rigged and I wondered if I misread the forecast. I rigged DD after the winter layoff, while assisting a separate crew rig PNN and debugging issues with other gliders that had not flown in a while. I was able to take off around 12:45 pm and joined a gaggle of two Juniors and a K21 over Lion Safari. After scratching there for a while I started going north. I punched Toronto Soaring as a waypoint in XCSoar, and the thermals' strength and height matched the forecast. A low point over Hwy 401 with a good thermal to put me back on track, and then on to south of Fergus (not very fast, still trying to size up the day, and with zero visual cues on a completely blue day), when I got an indication that the higher “ridge” was actually there, with a good 5 kt thermal up to 6000+ ft. Made it to Toronto Soaring (the only place with a few small Cu’s in the whole area). Now south to Woodstock, out of the high ridge and taking again 2-3 kt thermals to 4500 ft, but with the wind at my back. A low point over Woodstock, but saved by the quarry southeast of town. Then point back to SOSA to cash in, make final glide and keep it safe; but when going east I entered again the high ridge area and was able to climb back to 6500 ft. Now I got greedy and wanted to get the nice round distance of 300k, so I veered south to the Hagersville turnpoint. Back into mushy air, so I hit the turnpoint and turned around, now 1500 ft below final glide, late in the day (around 5 pm) and second-guessing my decision to hit Hagersville. Finally I found a climb, got part of the final glide back, and was able to go into the known good air to get the rest of the final glide. Back at SOSA with room to spare at 5:15 pm. The flight was scored as 318 km@75 km/h on the OLC, best flight in Canada for the day (duh!), although with a red stamp due to issues with the igc file.
We have learned that there are very soaring good days in early spring. Back on March 7 we had a winching day, and we had excellent thermaling conditions starting at 10 am and continuing up to 4:30 pm. I always wondered how to make use of those conditions given the soft field at that time of the year. Can we negotiate an alternate winter location for local flying? (XC flying would be limited by the soft conditions of all landable fields other than paved/maintained runways). 

The Canadian government has brought in a “luxury” tax on new private aircraft, including gliders, priced at $100,000 or more. Ottawa expects to generate some $640 million in new revenues over the first five years when the proposal is combined with a tax on boats costing more than $250,000 and cars more than $100,000. 

Calculated at the lesser of 20 percent of the value above $100,000, or 10 percent of the full value of the aircraft, the tax would apply to the sale for personal use of aircraft retailing for more than $100,000.

The business and general aviation communities wasted no time in responding, slamming the move as counterproductive at a time when the government is struggling to reboot the economy.

SOSA chief flying instructor Joerg Stieber has set up a Google document "Why a Luxury Tax on Gliders is a Bad Idea". He's looking for your creative and positive ideas to support this statement in order to build a comprehensive list of points against this tax, which SOSA and hopefully the Soaring Association of Canada can use in their response to this pending legislation (it's not carved in stone yet.)

The way Joerg sees it, the goals are:
  • Eliminate the luxury tax on gliders or raise the threshold to $500k – we could still settle for $250k like boats;
  • If that fails, make sure club gliders don’t fall under the definition of “personal use aircraft” and are therefore not subject to the tax;
  • While we're at it, try to get a tax break or subsidy on gliders as zero emission aircraft.

If you want to contribute to Joerg's document, here is the link:

By Hans Juergensen

We have a completely open reporting, self reporting and anonymous reporting system at SOSA. Any incidents, accidents, safety concerns regarding anything at SOSA that you feel is a safety issue can be reported. It is intended to improve safety, not place blame. It is intended to be non-punitive. (If however air regulations or SOSA standard operating procedures are blatantly ignored or violated, we may have a quiet word with someone.)

This reporting system is called the “blue book,” literally a blue three ring binder, located on our flight line bus. (Not the “ blue book” file from the US government about UFO reports from the 1960s. However, if you do see a UFO you actually should report it in the blue book.)

These days, most blue book reports are sent to me directly at my personal email:

I will take reports, talk to you about more details and interview pilots and witnesses to get the most accurate picture of the occurrence or concern as possible.

If immediate changes are required in our operations I will contact the board of directors or the chief pilot. If not, I may just have a discussion with the appropriate people to see how matters can be resolved. 

In the past, I gathered all these and submitted an annual report at the end of the season in preparation for our AGM. It was suggested that it would be better to post these as they happened on the SOSA website so that we all may learn what is going on and how these will impact our future operations to avoid a re-occurrence. This is a great idea that has now been implemented. 

When reporting, please include as much information as possible in plain English, including date, time, weather conditions, aircraft involved, pilot(s) involved, other witnesses and anything else that paints a most accurate picture.

If you would like to see previous reports for some light reading, just visit the SOSA website and navigate to the members section under “ more.” 

Remember, we are all on the SOSA safety team.


Hans Juergensen or 519-823-6713

(Eds note: Hans is a long time glider pilot, tow pilot, aerobatic pilot, Harvard pilot, commercial pilot and parakeet trainer.)
Tow Pilots Wanted

by Dave Springford
Chief Tow Dog

I've built a Google sheet to allow you to sign up for weekend towing shifts for the summer. 

Please sign yourself up for the weekend towing slots.  

There are two slots each day:  AM (0900 -1400) and PM (1200 - 1700).  Both slots are 5 hours long and there is a two hour overlap in the middle of the day so that on good and busy days we have two towplanes running at the peak time.

For the AM slot - arrive early enough (0800) to be prepared to do the first tow at 0900
For the PM slot - arrive early enough (1100) to be prepared to do your first tow at 1200

If the demand is not there for two towplanes at mid-day, work out between yourselves at what time you will switch over (nominally 1300).

(Please note that when signing up for towing slots, you cannot sign up for both slots on one day, as this would mean there would not be a second pilot for the overlap.  However, you may certainly sign up for two slots on one weekend.)

At the moment, there are only 18 towpilots on the roster and 146 towing slots to fill through the end of October.  This means each of us will need to sign up for 8 slots.  I hope to get 3-4 more young pilots checked this year, but it won't happen early.  For now, fill in June and July and at the end of June we'll fill in Aug, etc.

It has been two years since most of us have had a towing check flight, so before you tow, please contact me and we will look at the requirements to safely get you towing this season.  I would like everyone to do a flying tow check, but we will see what is possible.

With what we now know about covid transmission, I think we can relax the one pilot per plane per day protocol that was in place last year, but the more we can spread pilots between planes the better.

Google sheet is here:


by Andrew Corrigan
SOSA Secretary

At the 2021 AGM there was an amended motion regarding mileage. The motion stated “The mileage rate is to be review by the Board and determine what rate should be charged when personal vehicles are used for club business.” 

On April 7th, 2021 the Board reviewed this motion and determined the current rates are justified. Furthermore, the financial impact on the club is insignificant. Therefore, the current rate will not be changed.

Also at the 2021 AGM, the President committed to looking into concerns a member had regarding SOSA's accounting practices. This allowed the motion for an Internal Audit to be unanimous. 

The Board met on April 7th, 2021 and agreed to consult with an Accountant to get an opinion regarding our practices to determine if the member's concern has merit.


2020 National Awards for SOSA pilots
The SAC AGM on 20 March 2021 included the award ceremony where pilots from across the country were recognized for their outstanding achievements and contributions to gliding in 2020.

SAC Awards Chairman Bruce Friesen announced two national awards for SOSA pilot Jerzey Szemplinski.

In addition, Instructor Tom Coulson came second in consideration for the Walter Piercy Trophy – Instructor of the Year.

Canadair Trophy – best 6 flights of the year

The Canadair Trophy is presented to the pilot who achieved the highest total score for six flights within Canada. The OLC scoring system is used to determine the flight scores, and the OLC year is used as the surrogate for the calendar year. 

Jerzy Szemplinski – SOSA Gliding Club
There is a saying, “When given lemons, make lemonade.” Cut by COVID from his passion for competition – at which he has had considerable success at the national and international levels – Jerzy turned his soaring skills to the alternate challenge of maximizing soaring performance on the given day. That is what the OLC measures, and again Jerzy excelled. During 2020, Jerzy garnered a total of 4633 OLC points with the best six of his numerous excellent flights. All of those six flights were flown in his ASG-29 in 18m configuration, launching from SOSA. Details of his flights are as follows:
  • August 19: 814 points 796 km 99 km/hr
  • August 6: 792 points 766 km 95 km/hr
  • June 29: 789 points 773 km 96 km/hr
  • July 31: 764 points 741 km 98 km/hr
  • June 14: 739 points 713 km 98 km/hr
  • July 14: 735 points 702 km 87 km/hr

It is worth mentioning Jerzy’s total during the 2019 OLC season was “just” 19,197 points. His two national trophies this year continue an outstanding record of excellence in Canadian soaring. Congratulations Jerzy! 
BAIC Trophy – Best Flight of the Year

Pure glider: Jerzy Szemplinski − SOSA
Jerzy flew the highest scoring flight in Canada by OLC rules for a pure glider. That flight earned 814 OLC points, from a distance of 796 km including a triangle of 577 km.

Says Jerzy on the OLC pilot comments, “A very long day.” Indeed, in both senses of the word!

(Source: SAC 2020 Annual Reports)
As many of you are aware, Youth Flight Canada owns a Std Jantar glider that is located at SOSA to enable youth cross-country flying at low cost at the club.  

This will be the 6th year of operations for the Jantar at SOSA and last year it flew 100 hours with one of our youth members claiming his 300 km gold distance flight and a 500 km OLC flight while flying the Jantar.

This year there are a couple of one-off maintenance items as well as the annual insurance premium that will result in about a $2500-$3000 operating bill for the year.

To support this youth program, I am soliciting donations to Youth Flight Canada from SOSA members. Youth Flight Canada is a registered Canadian charity and is able to issue charitable receipts for income tax purposes for all donations received to support the Youth Jantar.

Anyone that would like to donate can do so by using one of these two methods:

1. Bill the amount to your SOSA flying account and then top-up your SOSA account. Email me at with the amount you would like to donate and I will compile a list and send to Tom to debit all accounts in one go.

2. Interac e-transfer sent to PLEASE use Jantar as the answer to the security question.

Thank you in advance for your support of this youth program at SOSA.

Dave Springford

2021    SOSA Executive, Officers & Directors

President - Dale Guenter
Treasurer - Tom Coulson
Secretary - Andrew Corrigan

Chief Flying Instructor - Joerg Stieber
Chief Tow Pilot - David Springford
Chief Safety Officer - Hans Juergenson

Maintenance Director - Angelo Quattrociocchi
Airfield Maintenance Director - Sergio Correia
Membership Director - Mo Attia
The SOSA Windsock is written/edited/published by:

Herrie ten Cate and Jeff Keay. Herrie has had a single dose of AZ and, as of May 26, Jeff has had the full meal deal. Jeff hopes his second dose will help with his consistency on circuits.

Please get in touch with story ideas and articles.

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