August 2021
The member-focused newsletter of the Southern Ontario Soaring Association


Welcome back to Windsock! SOSA has had a remarkable summer-- finessing our ongoing COVID situation, aggressively pursuing flying and training, reintroducing intro flights, making improvements to our club grounds and happily, having a safe and exciting summer despite some significant challenges and events.

Thanks to all for your continuing engagement and encouragement!
You just can't keep a good club down

by Dale Guenter
Pandemic, rain, intense humid heat, burning tractor, bird strike, rain. And still, so many great flying achievements. Great work, SOSA. Who knows what the fall will bring? With luck, we'll just keep doing what we're doing and maybe get a few more stellar days.

With all the unpleasant places to be right now, SOSA feels like a bit of an oasis. As usual, we will do our best to squeeze all the juice we can from the season, and keep things running safely.

Don't forget to be at the Summer General Meeting and BBQ we hope to hold outside at SOSA on Saturday September 18th around 5 PM. Details to follow. 
Tow pilot shakes off big bird strike

We're delighted to report that tow pilot Owen Hoelscher is recovering nicely from a frightening incident that happened on the last day of our cross-country training camp week in late July. Returning from a tow and on base for a landing on runway 18, at about 500ft AGL and 100mph, his Piper Pawnee struck a large turkey vulture, which penetrated the windscreen and struck him in the face, shattering his sunglasses and tearing off his headset. Shaken and bloodied, but maintaining control of the aircraft, he landed safely and was taken to hospital to be evaluated and treated for cuts and bruises. The Pawnee has since been repaired. The vulture, not so much.

You can hear Owen's riveting first-hand account of the incident on Herrie's Thermal Podcast, here:
A season of progress!
Julia Clitheroe, seen in this photo from last year, celebrated her Silver flight
shortly before heading off to her new chapter at Royal Military College. She says she's already been berated by her drill sergeant for spending too much time staring up at the clouds.
by Joerg Stieber
Chief Flying Instructor

August was quite a month for milestones.
  • Rydel Hemmings was accredited as a new SOSA instructor;
  • John Estey did his first solo;
  • Darek Andrzejewski got re-licensed as a glider pilot;
  • Deepak Mathur passed his licence flight test (with flying colors!);
  • Peter Kermack passed his Transport Canada test for his private pilot's license.
And, during our mini-acceleration week: 
  • John Estey, Mike Quigley and Will Goodwin transitioned to the Juniors;
  • Andrea Bone and Brad Muir successfully re-soloed;
  • Ryan Sullivan obtained his glider passenger rating. (Ryan routinely carries 100 or so passengers in his job at Porter, but they usually don't sit in the front seat.)
Congratulations to all for well deserved achievements!

And as we wrap up August, this just in from Paul Parker, via Click and Glide:

Congratulations to the 47 SOSA pilots who have logged more than 300 cross-country flights so far this year to move SOSA to the number one club position in Canada. Together we've logged a total of 69,271 km. Montreal, at 64,900 km, is in second place.

The cross country camp at the beginning of August moved us up to number one and the extra flights since then have maintained the position. Well done!

In comparison to previous years, this is our third best total (2016 and 2020 were higher).
There are still a few more weeks in the season, so keep soaring.

Fly safe! Have fun!

August cross-country clinic a hit

by Rafael Bravo

The SOSA 2021 cross country clinic was held the week of August 2-6; after a dismal month of July
weatherwise, we got lucky with what has been (so far) the best four days in a row of soaring this summer.

The clinic was well-attended, with 13 participants and seven instructors active throughout the week. Although the clinic was targeted to licenced pilots with a Bronze or Silver badge trying to progress beyond the invisible rubber band that keeps them within gliding range of the club, this year the participants had a wide range of experience-- from early solo students to private owners and pilots with gold distance flights.

We were also lucky to have a participant from London Soaring Club (Jesse Miller) who brought his immaculate ASW-20 with the objective of carrying out his Gold distance flight, and a guest instructor from Rideau Valley Soaring Club (Carsten Schraeder), who brought his interesting ASW-24E self-launching glider.

The weather during the week was so good that we didn't have time for lectures (to the relief of some of the participants I guess…), as virtually every minute of soarable weather was used. The clinic had several elements: the main component was dual cross-country flight where an instructor would fly with a participant on task; the most advanced students would go on a “shepherded” flight, where the instructor and the participant would each fly single seat gliders, with the shepherd (hopefully!) guiding the participant around the task while providing guidance by radio and by indicating thermals and routes visually.

One important component of the clinic was the daily briefing, where the flights and any interesting occurrences from the previous day were discussed, the instructor/participant pairings were agreed upon and the tasks were set. Different tasks were assigned based on the glider performances (ASK-21/Juniors, high performance singles, Duo…) as well as participant experience levels. Tasks ranged from the racetrack course all the way to 300+ km for the high-performance singles.

Due to the great weather, there were many notable achievements: James Wood got all three legs of his
Silver badge in one flight. Jesse Miller from LSC attained his Gold/Diamond distance flight, several 150
km+ flights in K-21s. Every single pilot in the clinic had more than one and in most cases up to four long
distance cross country flights (either solo or dual).

Gliders participating in the clinic flew 8,552 km during the week (i.e. more than 2,000 km every day of the clinic)! Friday was not soarable but was a good day to dot some I’s and cross some T's with participants finalizing different parts of their bronze badges: spot landings, outlanding exercises at Puslinch Lake, etc).

The flying moved us from second to first place among Canadian clubs in the OLC.

I don’t believe that there is another club in Canada (and perhaps North America!) that can mount a clinic
like the one we had this year. The combination of first-rate equipment, experienced XC instructors and amazing volunteers and participants (tow pilots/wing runners, etc) is hard to match. At several times in the clinic we had five two-seaters on task simultaneously! (three K-21s, the Duo and the amazing Arcus T that was generously volunteered to duty by Hans and Dale) as well as three high performance singles being shepherded by three instructors in their personal gliders. On several days some of the instructors did 200+ kilometer flights in the same day, landing mid-afternoon to change students and go on task all over again.

Many thanks to all those who attended, instructed or helped during the week: Greg, Deepak, Jeff,
James, Oliver, Emerson, Kent, Will, Ian, Peter, Jesse
and Rydel as participants; Dale, Hans, Joerg, Herrie, Chris, Rafael and Carsten as instructors as well as towpilots Dave, Owen and Herrie. Thanks also to Diane for keeping the runways in great shape and to all those that helped us launch the grid every day.
Intros are back!

After a long pandemic layoff, the "do not enter" signs have come down and intro flights are back up. 

Membership director and intro coordinator Mo Attia says we've had more than 15 intro flights so far, operations have been seamless and the reviews have been outstanding:

"The majority of intro flights are taking place on weekends, as expected, and we're now moving to limited mid-week flights. Thanks to Angelo, Bob and Greg for making this possible. Some of the comments from our happy customers:
  • "The flight was amazing. Angelo was great in explaining how it all worked and answering my questions."
  • "It was so much fun. We really enjoyed it. Also people there were very friendly. We had a great time."
  • "Thanks for a great experience yesterday. I can’t stop thinking about it."
Thanks to all of you for making our guests feel welcome at SOSA. I'm currently coordinating upcoming intros and will post a notification (on Click and Glide) once our guest list is confirmed. For all current intro pilots who are not actively instructing, please email me - we need your help.

John Estey steps up as new Dean of Students

From John:

I believe my role as the Dean of Students is to assist all students to navigate their way through the club so they can progress their flying ability and enjoy the many things the club has to offer. I am here to answer any questions or address any issues you might have.

While I have met most of you there are some names that are not familiar to me.... You can e-mail me directly at or call my cell 416 558- 2432.

I am looking forward to a great second half of 2021 at SOSA. See you on the flight line!

Toasted Kubota is toast
On July 19, SOSA’s two-year-old Kubota tractor was lost to fire.

Diane Léonard was driving the small tractor near the northern windsock when smoke started to billow out of the instrument panel.

She describes what happened: 

“What normally would take 6 hours to do all 3 runways with the Massey 255 (it cuts 15 feet across compared to 5 feet with the Kubota), I was approaching 7 hours and still inching along at the north end of 36. I had gotten off the runway to let the tow pilot take-off with a glider on tow. I was located near the windsock between runways 18 and 21 when I noticed smoke coming from the seam of the hood of the Kubota. The hood was too hot to touch. I knew this was not a good sign and I should leave asap. I took the key out of the ignition, ran to the main hangar to grab a golf cart and get to the clubhouse to call 911. I  signaled to someone at the flight line to let them know I was safe. By then the tractor had caught fire and they were all well aware. The time between noticing the smoke and actually seeing flames was about five minutes.”

An insurance claim has been submitted and an adjustor had a look at the tractor before it was towed
"Little Free Aviation Library"
now available in the clubhouse
You may have noticed a sky-blue bookshelf in the clubhouse. Many of you may also have noticed “Little Free Libraries” in your neighborhoods.

The concept is: borrow a book, leave a book. The SOSA Little Free Aviation Library operates along the same lines, but on an aviation theme. Members are encouraged to leave and borrow aviation books, magazines and/or videos.

But please, leave the dog dish, fire extinguisher, first aid kit and automatic electronic defibrillator. We need those right there....
Cargo shorts and carabiners:
 a bad combination for both safety and fashion

Earlier this summer, pilot Herrie ten Cate heard a noise at the top of a winch launch but believed it came from the cable back-releasing.

Shortly afterward-- while winching was still going on-- Herrie discovered he was missing a carabiner from the side pocket of his cargo shorts. Winch launching was halted until the carabiner was found on the cockpit floor of the K-21. The potential for a foreign object to jam controls is a real danger. Making sure that all items are secure is important before flying and that includes objects that can slide out of cargo shorts. (Yet another reason to ban cargo shorts. Herrie is Dutch. Wooden shoes, wooden head, wouldn’t listen.)

(Editor's note: Send your complaints about the Dutch joke to Herrie directly; it was his. And actually it was Herrie who insisted on suspending operations until the mystery was solved. Key lesson here: Listen to that little voice in your head and investigate if you think something's not quite right. Cargo shorts below not exactly as illustrated.)
Emergency crash tool kit

A clear plastic bin marked “Emergency Crash Tools” is now on the flight line bus. These tools are there to be used in case of emergencies only. Please don’t remove the tools from the box.

We could still use some additional tools, including:
- Fire proof gloves
- Cable/chain cutter(s)
- Saw for fiberglass
Lamb Rustlers

On the night of Saturday, July 24, a half-dozen lambs were stolen from the farm at the corner of Cooper Road and Highway 8. Our visibly-upset neighbour was seen inspecting the knocked-down fence at the south edge of runway 10-28. Unfortunately, it appears the thieves may have used SOSA property to access the farm and steal the lambs. A reminder to be vigilant and make note of any suspicious activity on SOSA property. Hang 'em high, we say.
Alan Daniel departs for British Columbia:

Long-time SOSA member Alan Daniel and his wife have sold off, packed up and moved on to Penticton, BC. It took a couple of trips before Alan had all his toys, including his glider, relocated to B.C. He says he had concerns about moving during the pandemic but found that everything went smoothly.

A recent update (such as it is): “Unfortunately I haven't been doing much flying. With the weather, driving back and forth to Ontario and with the fires, I've had only had three flights. Consequently I don’t have much to report!”

We'll keep you posted on further updates.
African Lion Safari Protests

Animal rights protestors have been outside the entrance of the Safari, trying to bring awareness to
their objections to conditions in the park. The local constabulary has been keeping an eye on the peaceful

Here’s a link to the Kitchener Today news story:
Transport Canada action against Spectrum Airways
for near miss over SOSA:

A hearing into a near miss over SOSA has been settled. The details are confidential but the legal representative from Transport Canada, Melodie Legace, stated in an email: “What I can tell you is that the regional enforcement manager agreed on the settlement terms, which are really good."
Transport Canada also asserted that the pilot understands the severity of his actions and their potentially fatal consequences: "We have stressed the fact that this should not happen in the future and ensured we have a commitment towards future compliance.”

On Monday, June 1, 2020,  SOSA glider pilot Herrie ten Cate encountered a single engine aircraft
while in the high-key and entering the downwind for runway 21. The incident was reported to Transport
Canada and an investigation was launched. The other aircraft was flown by an instructor from Spectrum Airways in Burlington. This training organization has over the years used SOSA to train for forced landings and missed approaches even though they were repeatedly asked not to.

Below is Herrie’s account of the incident that was submitted to Transport Canada:

"I was returning to Rockton from a flight to the south. I made a radio call at 5 NM out on the Rockton airport frequency of 122.725 that I was returning to the Rocktonairport and would join a left downwind for runway 21. I called again as I entered the downwind leg at which point my FLARM started beeping a collision warning. A single-engine green and white low-wing Piper aircraft flew under me (+/-300 feet) just as I was
crossing Highway 8 on my downwind leg. It appeared the Piper was on a right-hand base for runway 36. It then did a missed approach on 36 before leaving the area. I tried contacting them on the Rockton airport frequency 122.725, with no success. At no time as I was approaching the Rockton airport or while flying the
circuit did I hear any radio calls on the airport frequency from the Piper aircraft. After landing, the witnesses on the ground informed me the Piper's registration was C-GGGH. I also checked my radio and confirmed it was set to the correct frequency. There was also a NOTAM in effect stating we were operational. It's my view that the pilot of C-GGGH failed to follow proper radio procedures at an uncontrolled airport. The whole thing was more than a little bit disconcerting. I was on the Rockton airport frequency for at least ten minutes before the incident. Rockton airport is a private airport with PPR noted in the Flight supplement and the Piper should not be using the airport and at the very least they should have been on the airport frequency and using the radio."
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.

Please get in touch with story ideas and articles.

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