SOSA COVID-19 update from President Dale Guenter
Well, I guess we can't have a newsletter without a comment on COVID. What can I say? In summary, it sucks. However, the board is cautiously optimistic that numbers and restrictions will be well into decline by the time the runways are ready. Procedures at SOSA will likely be very similar to last year. However, we expect to begin flying as early as runways allow, starting with those who can fly solo without need for check rides, and adding in dual flight as soon as regulations allow. It is not yet clear whether we will have intro flights. We expect to continue this year to have a greatly reduced non-flying member option, as last year. And to have a fee discount if joining with full flying membership by the time of the AGM. Details to follow. And did I mention free vaccines and rapid COVID tests available at the field? (Kidding) So, do plan on another very good year of flying. 
SOSA Annual General Meeting
Saturday, March 6, 2021, noon - 4 PM on Zoom
  • Election of 4 board members, selection of president, discussion of the annual report and finances for 2020, and several discussions on topics relevant to SOSA's strategic direction.
  • The annual report will be distributed in mid-February.


Anyone who has ever been a member is welcome to attend the AGM. 
Anyone who is a sustaining member, with fully-paid 2021 membership is welcome to vote at the AGM. This may be a flying or non-flying membership. Preferred payment is by e-transfer or direct deposit,

Cheques must be mailed to:
SOSA Gliding Club
P.O. Box 81
Rockton, Ontario
L0R 1X0

Due to COVID, Canada Post is slower than normal. Please keep that in mind and try to have cheques in the mail by February 15th at the latest. As mentioned, preferred payment is by e-transfer or direct deposit.

Anyone who cannot be present at the AGM may delegate a proxy on their behalf; this needs to be sent in writing to SOSA Secretary Andrew Corrigan no later than 5 PM March 3, 2021. 
Electronic voting will be available to sustaining members who have registered for this meeting. Registration information is TBA.
Chris Kamarianakis - Newest SOSA Board Member
Chris Kamarianakis has accepted an invitation by the SOSA Board of Directors to fill the position left by Marian Rakusan.

SOSA bylaws state that when a position is vacated for any reason, the Board can appoint a replacement for the duration of that position. 

Chris first got the gliding bug at the age of 14 in the UK at air cadets and was never able to shake it. Emigrating to Canada in 1991, life, kids and work became the priority.  But the dream of becoming a glider pilot never left him. In 2018 the opportunity arose and with the encouragement of Chris Wilson, Chris took his first instruction flight with Bill Vollmer in May 2018.  Six weeks later he went solo and a year after that got his license. Today he's working towards his Bronze Badge and looking forward to XC adventures. During his time at SOSA, Chris has taken on the roles of Chief Field Manager and the all-important role of putting the pool noodles out in the spring!  In January 2020 Chris was invited to joint the board as a non-portfolio member.
(photo by Luc Szczepaniak)

Winter Winching
by Raphael Bravo
Since SOSA got the winch a few years ago, one of the uses it has been given is for continuing flying in the shoulder seasons and in winter, when use of a tow plane is either unsafe due to ground conditions or undesirable due to high cost vs. reward. Winch flying is relatively inexpensive ($6 per launch for 2020), which justifies flying even if the conditions are marginal and short flights are to be expected. It is also safe to use during winter in ground conditions when using the tow plane would be out of the question either due to loose snow on the ground (there is no prop to generate whiteouts) or soft patches on the ground which can be avoided with the glider, but which would be unsafe for the towplane.

Winch qualification and competency have been steadily increasing among members. What used to be a small, hardcore group of winchers has grown over the years, mostly as the winch has become more reliable and the operation has matured, providing more confidence in the safety and procedures. This year the group of winch pilot further expanded with new recruits, some with experience from the air cadets and some coming out of our own winch training program. There is no experience requirement to start training in the winch; in many places the winch is used as the only method of launch for ab-initio training.

One of the discoveries during winter winch operations has been that there is lots of good soaring to be had in a time when we otherwise would not do much flying. In many cases, the winter winch flights are five minute "sleigh rides" up and down (still arguably the most fun you can have for six bucks, as many happily screaming passengers have attested) but it is surprising how many times those flights can be extended to 20 or 30 minutes of soaring under gentle thermals or convergence lift, many times under overcast skies that would not suggest any lift activity. And occasionally we will have glorious days where we can soar for one or two hours in the middle of January, with climbs to 4000+ ft and majestic sceneries.  And in the shoulder season (November/early December) before first snow, some cross-country flights can even be had off a 1000 ft launch, as we found out this fall. 

The other nice side of winter winching is the camaraderie and team spirit it creates. Winching requires a closely coordinated crew for a viable, safe operation, with a minimum of six participants (winch driver, cable retriever, glider retriever, launch boss and-- of course-- a couple of pilots) collaborating and rotating roles to keep the operation going. After a day of flying in the cold, having a beer (or a warm Irish coffee) in the clubhouse and telling tall tales of 1500 ft launches and hours of soaring adds a lot to the fun and club spirit (hopefully something we will be able to do again post-Covid).

Winter winching needs a set of conditions to occur: the ground needs to be frozen, ambient temperature should be at least minus 3C but hopefully above minus 10C, and the field needs to be reasonably clear of loose snow so that gliders can be towed around.  Warmer temperatures can result in a sloppy field and too much cold can be uncomfortable for some of us less accustomed to the frigid temperatures. We also need the wind to be in the proper direction and strength. You can keep an eye on upcoming winch days through Click and Glide.
Above: Chris Begemann at the controls of Jantar BW.

Chris Begemann goes the distance

This is the story of going from landing out 19km from SOSA (more than once), to flying over 519km, all in one season.

COVID presented a unique opportunity for all of us with the luxury of gliding: social distancing from 5000ft, exploring the beauty of Southern Ontario while challenging the forces of gravity using nothing but air currents (and a bit of help getting started from the Pawnees; thank you tow pilots!) 

This was my first full season of flying cross-country. In 2019 I managed a flight a little over 200km, averaging around 65km/h in the Jantar. Fully expecting the technique I developed to carry over to 2020, I set off in the Jantar on my first cross-country of the season. Beautiful cu’s were popping up to 5000ft.  Little did I know, it was a slightly inconsistent lift which didn’t work below 2000ft. After picking up a nice 3kt thermal over SOSA and climbing straight to 500 below base, I raced away from SOSA and through the corridor, likely averaging more than 75km/h. That was the first and last thermal of that flight. Thirty minutes of glory, thinking I’d at least do 200km that day. It ended in a field, in less time than it took me to rig in the morning. Lucky me, the property owners had a pool in their backyard and offered me lunch after their dog ate mine (ed: really?). I told Bogdan to take his time coming to pick me up.The pros did more than 500km that day. My guess is I did 25km, but I was too embarrassed to check.

The next flights weren’t much better. I landed out at Puslinch on a flight which I didn’t even intend on going cross-country, and the gear collapsed on landing. Thanks to Tom, Mark and Odin for helping get it back home!

I figured my first land-out had been caused by shooting too fast, but my conservative flight, which resulted in a land-out in Ken’s backyard, made me think I’d just forgotten how to fly cross-country. The next few flights I stayed close, doing lengths back and forth to SOSA to practice my technique, keeping the flights around two hours. I still had a goal for flying 300 that season, but it was already August and it wasn’t likely to happen. I had one attempt where I ended up short of my second turn point; a last-second decision that I wouldn’t make it back to SOSA before sunset ended that attempt.

My final try of the season was August 19th. I declared SOSA, Toronto Soaring, Lucan, SOSA-- just over 300 km. The cu's popped early while I was rigging and I managed to get to the front of the grid. It was a little early in the day and bases were around 3000 indicated, but I decided to launch to go sniff and get any head start that I could. I was just maintaining altitude near SOSA when Jerzy launched north and the thermals went to him. I matched his path in the climb, left the thermal a little early so I would stay out of his way, and shot straight to Puslinch (sound familiar?). Luckily I found a cloud street in that direction and managed to get there without needing to land immediately. I picked a thermal to climb and Jerzy shot past me a few hundred feet above just bouncing off it. The first leg to TSC was a sluggish 51km/h as it was early and inconsistent. I wasn’t sure I could even make it to TSC. It was overdeveloped with low ceilings and the lift was hard to find. I figured worst case, I’d be having lunch with the Coles, so I pushed on to make the turn point. I got down to roughly 1500 AGL a few times. 

The second leg was infuriating. The lift was strong, but it felt like the sink between thermals was even stronger. It was a little faster at 69km/h as the bases were higher. I had a field picked over Lucan when I got down to 1800 AGL. I was swearing while I circled in 0.2kts at 2pm, supposedly the strongest time of the day. Was it dying early? I wasn’t sure I’d make it back! The weather gods must have listened to my pleas because on my leg back, the bases lifted from 4500 to 7000ft and the lift became much stronger and more consistent. I averaged only 68km/h from my time spent sightseeing the suitable landing fields in Lucan. Seeing SOSA was such a relief.

I figured I would head to York to turn my 300km into a 400. The lift was strong. I averaged more than 90km/h on this leg and only needed 3 thermals. I made it back to SOSA around 4pm, six hours after takeoff, and figured I’d shoot a little past as I still had two legs left that OLC would count toward my total distance. I plugged SOSA into my nav device to see how far away I was, thinking that once it hit 50km I’d turn back, making it a 500. This leg was also mostly spent streeting at 90km/h avg. After getting back to SOSA along a street from Port Dover to Toronto Soaring, I added an extra 20km past SOSA to make sure that if I’d miscalculated I would still get the 500km. There was still an hour and a half left to the day and I was tempted to extend the last leg to Toronto Soaring but it was my sixth and I didn’t want to risk a land-out. Plus I’d been up for seven and a half hours. A few steep turns to burn off 2000ft and I returned to SOSA on my final and best cross-country of the season.

Thank you to everyone who made it possible! What an amazing season with so many amazing flights and new personal records for all of us.


OLC of the 300:

Hangar talks are back!
by Chief Flying Instructor Joerg Stieber

The Zoom Hangar Talks are back, every second Sunday at 1pm (excluding Easter Sunday).

Below are the schedule and log-in details (good for all calls, courtesy of Dave Springford and Conestoga College). As with last spring, we will open the channel 30 minutes early to give participants time to sort out any technical issues (and catch up with friends).

Time: Jan 24, 2021 13:00 Eastern Time
Bi-weekly on Sun, until Apr 25, 2021, 14 occurrence(s)

Feb 7, 2021 13:00--  Ray Wood AND Mark Luscher on Condor
Feb 21, 2021 13:00-- Joerg Stieber on finding lift/reading clouds/maximizing climb
Mar 7, 2021 13:00-- Chris Wilson on landing out – field selection
Mar 21, 2021 13:00--  TBA
Apr 11, 2021 13:00-- Martin Brassard on FLARM
Apr 25, 2021 13:00--  David Donaldson, SAC Safety Officer, on "Covid in the Cockpit" - a discussion on how living with a global pandemic is impacting our ability to think.

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

Join Zoom Meeting

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Advice for the TC Written Examination
by Julia Clitheroe
Now is a great time to get your head into the books, especially since there is snow on the ground and we're  in another provincial lockdown. I was asked to share my exam advice for students who are planning to write the Transport Canada written examination.

The TC GLIDE written examination consists of 50 questions, which you have two hours to complete. The passing grade mark is 60 percent. You can write the exam at a Transport Canada Aviation Office, or you can find an examiner at a flight centre. The exam may be taken on a computer or paper. To study, I used the Study and Reference Guide from Transport Canada, which will list all of the testable topics for the exam. I made sure that I studied each of those topics using the Canadian Aviation Regulations, the textbook From the Ground Up, the Soaring Association of Canada’s SOAR textbook, FAA’s Glider Flying Handbook, and some online resources.

Chief Flying Instructor Joerg Stieber did an excellent job helping students prepare for the exam with his online ground school classes. Every student who took the exam after taking Joerg’s classes successfully passed! I enjoyed the classes and learned a lot. Thanks, Joerg! 

In my opinion, a lot of the questions were quite random and some did not seem to directly relate to flying. So as long as you get 60 percent or more, your mark does not matter or necessarily reflect your flying skills.

For exam day, make sure your brain is at its peak performance by getting a good night's sleep and eating some good food. While writing the exam, don't stress-- take your time. If you spend two minutes on each question, you'll still have time to double-check questions at the end. 

Good luck to anyone doing the TC GLIDE Written Examination! You got this!
White on White - Winter Camouflage (photo by Luc Szczepaniak)
From the May 2006 SOSA News blogspot
(some things never change)

"If you are the last person to fly a glider, it is your responsibility to put it in the hangar. Do not leave it sitting on the grass in front of the hangar for someone else to put away. Avoid using water to wash the bugs, use wax or pre-wax cleaner instead (see LS4 notes).

Parachutes - each parachute has a bag; they get lonely when separated. When you take a parachute in the glider, take the bag and stow it in the baggage compartment. When you land, put the parachute in the bag and return it to the bus. Do not leave the parachute in the glider, especially do not leave it uncovered (ie out of the bag). The UV will destroy the parachutes in no time. How would you like to be left in a cockpit (on the ground) for two hours with the sun shining on you? Do not leave parachutes in the cockpit of the glider overnight in the hangar; return them to the bus. The club has over $20,000 invested in parachutes, help us preserve this investment.

Ballast Weights and Ballast seats - if you fly with ballast weight, remove it after your flight. An unsafe condition may occur if a heavy person gets in the plane after you and does not notice your ballast weight. Return your weights to the bus after your flight, and again do not leave them in the glider overnight in the hangar.

Hangar unstacking - if you remove gliders and towplanes from the hangar to get to another glider at the back of the hangar, return all the gliders and towplanes you removed to the hangar before you fly. Do not leave them sitting outside for the day. This protects the planes from unnecessary UV damage, as well as the potential for wind damage. It also prevents visitors from accidentally damaging the gliders when everyone is up flying and the gliders are left unattended for hours."

If you want to go back in time and look at what SOSA was doing many moons ago, click on the below link.


Allow us to introduce:
Marc Whelan

I've been a SOSA member since May 2018 and I achieved my license in 2020. I joined SOSA because I wasn’t sure I'd be able to achieve the gliding scholarship through Air Cadets. I'm very glad I have the opportunity to train at SOSA, with great planes, instructors and peers. This coming season I plan to work towards a bronze badge and start flying cross-country. I hope to continue my training for years to come and eventually own my own glider. 

Outside of gliding, I am a Flight Sergeant with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets at the 121 Red Arrows Squadron in Guelph. I take part in the Pipes and Drums Band, Effective Speaking Club, Biathlon Team and teach regularly on Tuesday parades.


Extending the flying season with the Condor 2 flight sim
by Ray Wood

Well, Christmas is over. The turkey hangover has long since passed. Now what?

Through the past few months with COVID, we've been sitting around, thinking about all the things we've been missing, with at least three more months of boredom until we can start flying again.

In spite of COVID, many of us enjoyed the great weather we had this past summer for some great soaring days. But as happens every year, summer becomes fall and fall becomes winter. The soaring season comes to an end for most of us.

But for some of us, as one gliding season ended, another began.

I have long been an advocate of using soaring simulators to improve skills. When I was a novice, one of my instructors told me I would kill myself if I did not learn how to coordinate my turns. I purchased a flight simulator program, a joystick and a set of rudder pedals. This setup allowed me to improve my coordination skills to the point that the following spring, that same instructor asked whether I'd "put hairspray on the yaw string before we flew; it didn’t move for the whole flight!”

As I progressed in my soaring career, I continued to use simulators for many different types of training and practice. As I transitioned to higher performance aircraft, I used the simulator to train for cross-country in these types of aircraft.

Before I was bound for Utah for a couple of weeks of soaring, I uploaded a scenery of the area for advance practice. My second day there I flew a 300km declared out and return for a Gold Badge leg in a PW5. 

These are some of the practical uses I have found for simulator training.

Last spring, when I realized that the flying season might not happen at all, I updated the flying program that I was using from Condor to Condor 2. The computer I was operating it on was barely adequate to run the graphics but it certainly got my feet wet and I realized Condor 2 was a much superior simulator and a very good investment. This allowed me to have several hours of simulated cross-country flying before I got into a real glider for the first time in months. I can say I felt better prepared to start flying when it became a reality.

As we headed towards winter this year, I started looking for more ways to entertain myself and keep my skills sharp through the winter with the simulator. In Condor, there is something for every skill level.

The program incorporates flight training. I would recommend enlisting the aid of a qualified instructor to make sure you don't create any bad habits that will need to be corrected later. Pilots already well trained and competent in their flying skills find this a great way to take a low risk approach to learning or improving cross-country skills. There’s a lot to be said for finishing dinner, then heading to the basement for some lively flying with friends. For those of us who are competition oriented, there are a host of opportunities. Log on to Condor Club:

Or to look at a long list of competitions.

Spend a little more time on the site and you realize there's an opportunity to do your virtual Silver Badge, Gold Badge and your Diamond Badge. They make great training to grow familiar with the program. With those complete, you can move on to do distance diplomas.

My focus was to find some competition. I knew that the people from Gatineau Gliding Club had a scenery for their area and were hosting contests one night a week. I reached out to them and they were more than happy to welcome me into their group. After successfully enjoying a couple of flights with this group I began exploring other avenues on Condor Club and tripped over the initials GLGC. They were using scenery that I thought might be an abbreviation of Southern Ontario. It took a couple of minutes for the light bulb to come on-- this was Great Lakes Gliding Club. I sent a message to GLGC via their Facebook page and was invited to join them. It turns out that the GLGC has had a southern Ontario scenery developed for them. Due to copyright concerns, it is not posted to Condor Club. They are willing to share with other Southern Ontario clubs. Reach out to me if you want the link.

Okay, I need to backtrack a little here. I mentioned the equipment that you need. Go to the Condor website for computer specs using the following link:

You will find recommendations for the minimum system that you should be using. It is not necessary to go to a really graphics-heavy computer to get your feet wet. That said, I decided to upgrade my computer. What a difference. Next step, let's talk about joysticks. There are a lot of options out there. I use a very old model that's still in production called CH Flight Stick. The same company also produces a very solid, simple set of rudder pedals. With both of these you now have a good control system. You can get fancier and more expensive but it won't necessarily be better. The CH flight stick is still listed as one of the top joysticks available for flight sims based on it’s durability.

While we're talking about equipment, there are many keyboard inputs for various actions. It can be very clumsy trying to find the exact key that you need when you're flying . The buttons on the flight stick can be programmed for some of the most common tasks. For others, it's very handy to get a small numerical keypad to program for these tasks. While I’m talking about adding computer peripherals, you may start running out of USB ports very quickly. So, a wireless keyboard, mouse and numerical keypad can be a really great idea to help you out in this regard, if you run out of USB ports. Still on equipment, a peripheral that could be very nice is a head tracking device.

Track IR can be a rather expensive addition, if you can find one to purchase. Or it can be as simple as an app on your cell phone, using the camera to track your head location, feeding this to your computer. The combination of Smooth Track on your phone connected to Open Track on your PC is a cheaper alternative.

Condor Club is the home of many of the simulator soaring competitions. It is a great place to go looking for tasks to challenge yourself and build your skills. There is also a function attached to Condor Club for downloading sceneries from different parts of the world. Many of these are almost photorealistic and at 5,000ft will give you the feeling that you're flying over the French Alps. The program Condor Updater, allows you to load these programs quickly and seamlessly as well as patches and updates for Condor and your scenery files. If you want this to work well for you, consider making a small donation to Condor Club and you will receive priority access to their servers. This will save you a lot of headaches with slow downloads. I believe in supporting the organizations that I enjoy using. While flying competitions or tasks with other gliders, it's really handy and fun to be able to communicate. The two groups I've been participating with use a program called TeamSpeak. So for this, a headset with a microphone is another piece of equipment you will need. I realized very quickly in my first Condor competition the value of TeamSpeak, which is free to download. A little tutoring while getting started is helpful.
A function in the Condor program allows you to join as a spectator. This allows you to virtually put yourself in the cockpit of the other person's glider and observe how they're flying, seeing the decisions they're making and is a great tool for cross-country coaching. I believe it is also good for flight training. There are two things many students struggle with: the aerotow and the approach for landing. I can tell you that the aerotow in Condor is more difficult than the real thing. If you master it in Condor, real life will be a cinch. The other thing that I see many students struggle with is judging their approach. Imagine being able to put yourself airborne start at the start of the circuit or even just at the turn to final to begin your practice, overshoot, undershoot and flaring. I believe this could be a great asset as well for many students. I will apologize to any clubs that feel they are losing revenue from all of those aerotows. Hopefully it will pay off as reduced landing gear maintenance.

There is a bit of a learning curve so I would encourage anybody who's interested in getting involved in flying Condor to reach out to someone they know who's already involved.

Here's a good primer:

Now if you'll excuse me it's almost  time for my next virtual competition flight. See you at the field. Or maybe I'll see you in the air virtually.


The Condor Southern Ontario scenery has been updated and is now available through the Condor updater website. Please join me on February 7 at 1:00 PM for a Hangar Talk on getting started with Condor.
Intro flights can be rewarding

Late last year, Herrie ten Cate had a lovely phone call from a young man who told him that a ride in the LK changed everything for him. Click on the link for the full article.
Aircraft Maintenance update 
 by Director Angelo Quattrociocchi

Despite COVID's best efforts, SOSA was still able to run operations in 2020, which brought with it some of the typical maintenance tasks.  There were of course also the normal annual activities to do including inspections.  Most gliders had the annual inspections done near the end of the season, but a few (including the new K21s) will need this done early this coming season.  One of our LS4s (AOS) was sold late in the season, as was one of the towplanes.  

We have started a few initiatives, including changing over the battery connectors to improve electrical system reliability, organizing the inventory, and a minor restoration of the Puchacz.  The spoiler and trim control rods and placards in ZCA were long overdue for some TLC, and Peter Cheney took on this project.  See the before and after photos.  Thank you Peter.

Thanks again to everyone who helped in any way with maintaining our fleet.

Above left: Corrosion
Right: Restored Puch cockpit
Puchacz rehab
by Peter Cheney

The Puch spoiler pushrods were structurally sound, but severely rusted and pitted after many years of sliding through their guides and past the arms of countless pilots. The easiest way to restore them would have been to take them out and take them to my workshop, where I could sand, prime and paint them. Unfortunately, the rods are considered part of the aircraft’s primary control system, so taking them out and reinstalling them would have forced us to pay for an AME to get involved. So I came up with a plan for refinishing them in place. I lined the cockpit with plastic sheeting to protect it, then sanded down the rods with Scotchbrite pads. I applied several coats of John Deere heavy-equipment primer with a brush, then smoothed the primer with fine sandpaper after it cured, The final color coats were sprayed on with a can of rattle-can metal paint. With both paint and primer, I cycled the rods forward and aft to reach as much of them as possible, and let them cure between steps. These restrictions added time, but the result was optimum given the limitations. I finished it all off by taking out the seats and giving both cockpits a serious cleaning with my Festool shop vac, which has a nice collection of detail nozzles and brushes - it’s the Ventus 3 of vacuums!

Above: Kent Pasincky and instructor Chris Wilson after landing at Puslinch
(just before they rode away on horses and robbed the stage coach)

Bronzed Badgers – 2020 Outcomes
by Rob Russell

In 2019 my primary objective in helping out with the Bronze program at SOSA was to separate the instructional duties from the organizational effort.  In 2020 my objective was to improve retention of recently-licenced glider pilots who might be tempted to buy a sailboat instead of progressing to cross-country soaring.

Much to my surprise, the bronze badge program in 2020 resulted in the recruitment of additional licenced pilots to the club – most of the participants had a wealth of Power, ATPL or Cadet experience, but whom I hadn’t even met before.  This challenged a few of the curriculum assumptions that most participating pilots would have good familiarity with the club’s fleet, operating procedures, instructor body and pre-licence training material.

Very fortunately for me, the efforts we had invested since early 2019 really paid off – participants who were brand new to SOSA were able to review all of the bronze training lectures from the Winter Hangar Talks on their own time very quickly. I’m very grateful to both Chris Wilson and Joerg Stieber for their willingness to be recorded!

Each participant in the Bronze program has their own progress tracking card (XC PTR), and tracks their own progress towards their goals – most items can be signed off by any SOSA instructor (2hr soaring flight uploaded to OLC, 10hr PIC, rigging, etc.), and only two items require a check instructor (GPL and 3 precision landings in a Junior).  Even the dual flight exercises to Puslinch can be signed any day by any SOSA instructor!

If you’ve ever landed at Puslinch, you’ll understand how much more fun it is if you have a golf cart waiting for you. So, on the weekend of August 29th, we sent up a golf cart and tried to get as many participants through those exercises as possible.  Eight participants were able to sign up for that weekend: Chris Kamarianakis, Kent Pasincky, Peter Kupčević, Reza Darvish, Peter Mabrucco, Dennis Guay, Brad Boundy, and Igor Sek. 

Getting the golf cart on to the trailer Gary Baker built is always a fun challenge!

We started Saturday by rigging and gridding the fleet early, and then completing all of the pre-flight briefings for the exercises in the clubhouse’s sun room with all the windows open, desks spread apart, and everyone masked, COVID-style.  All the participants had to take the day’s predicted winds and calculate how much altitude would be necessary for a final glide from SOSA to Puslinch, as well as a final glide on the way back with the opposite wind.

Although Jeff and Annie Keay had already headed to Puslinch on the Saturday morning to help with ground handling, the weather didn’t improve enough for us, and we scrubbed the launches.  Instead of the in-flight exercises, we worked on rigging, de-rigging, and trailering exercises instead.

We started Sunday the same way; Greg Pattinson drove the golf cart up to Puslinch for the first shift of ground handling.  XPY launched at 11am, and quickly learned some lessons about Puslinch float plane operations – Greg also learned that we should send up a cane for rope handling, which Jeff and Annie took for their shift in relieving him.  Because they had been two of the first participants to fly to Puslinch and back, Dennis Guay and Brad Boundy took the 3rd shift of ground operations at Puslinch before bringing the golf cart back to SOSA.  Alan Daniel and Dave Springford took care of most of the towing at SOSA, with Dave bringing KXJ to Puslinch for those launches. 

Although Chris Wilson and Dale Guenter were our lucky instructors for the Puslinch flights, I’d also like to thank Rafael Bravo and Malcom McLaren who had also volunteered to instruct all day at SOSA to minimize the impact of the day on the pre-licence students.  Thanks to everyone’s efforts, we were able to complete 8 round-trip Puslinch flights with just two gliders between 11am and 4pm!

Of course, with an hour of free time between coordinating things and the new member welcoming BBQ, I jumped on that opportunity to tag along with Julie Clitheroe for her first RNV flight and first OLC claim:

Some more thanks here for the efforts of Chris Kamarianakis in putting together that celebratory BBQ at the end of the day, I hope the bronze participants all shared their stories with the pre-licence students! 

To join in on the Bronze Badge program in 2021, just jump in to the #BronzeBadgers channel and start doing the homework. If you’re checked out for local flying in the Junior but not checked out for XC in the Junior, I’ll probably also be emailing you to join the party.


Golf Cart Operations Team at Puslinch Lake

Annie Keay (right) supervising (and putting up with) her father Jeff Keay.


SOSA pilot Doug Bremner remembered
by Doug Scott

One of my absolute favourite fellow club members was the late Doug Bremner. 

He was just a naturally good guy with lots of stories.

"So I was about sixteen, out in Saskatchewan chasing rabbits with my father's Curtiss Jenny and suddenly, there's this fence right in front of me, closing fast. Well, maybe not 'fast', I WAS in a Jenny."

Now, if you're the one listening to this story, even if you're not a pilot, there's a number of questions you might want to ask here....

Also, he flew beside me (read: above me) the very first time I flew solo far enough not to be able to see the airport. Well, of course I couldn't see it. I got really low. 

Doug said that when he left work he was given a fairly large lump sum, which he used to buy a '55. About ten years later, a guy said that if Doug had invested the money he would still have it and it would be worth a lot more. Doug agreed with him. The guy then asks if Doug regretted his decision. When Doug told me the story, he got an ear-to-ear grin and said enthusiastically, "Not for a minute!"

SOSA grounds update
by Director Sergio Correia

As we look forward to planning and prepping SOSA grounds for the 2021 flying season, I’d like to take a moment to express my gratitude to all who contributed large and small in making 2020 possible.  We know the familiar lot that keep the clubhouse, equipment and field in tip top shape (Diane, Malcolm, Ray, Tom, Gary, Shirley, Will, Brad, Dave.…) and the many more unnamed and unrecognized members who like exemplary scouts and guides, endeavor to leave SOSA better than they found it. 

As flying waned late in the fall the work-weekend tasks that were staggered to ensure physical distancing were also completed.  As a finale, Gary Baker agreed to lead the sale of the Massey Fergusson 135 tractor that the Kubota replaced early last year.  To attract the best possible price, he took it upon himself to tune it up, got it running and with the help of a few friends, drove it up to Bryan’s Farm Equipment.  Gary’s efforts resulted in tremendous interest and a flurry of bidding on Boxing Day as reflected in the price realized price.
The tree clearing project led by Will and many "lumbarjack" friends on RWY 21 removed obstacles and will reduce the potential of ground incursions in this area. The ideal next step will be to use a bulldozer to clear the stumps and the board is considering options. Given the area is very wet during in the spring, completion of this project will likely be schedules for late summer or fall 2021.

Kudos to Brad Muir who kept our mowers, golf carts and Gators moving this past year.  He even managed to restore one of the golf carts that was going to be harvested for parts.  After several bus rescues at the flight line this fall and to improve start-up, Sergei installed a power outlet on the exterior of the large hangar. It’s now easy to connect the block heater at the end of the day. Will was working on a start up/shut-down checklist to ensure smoother running, which is to be posted prominently on the bus.

Malcolm and Will continued to keep a watchful eye on grounds.  A windstorm in mid-November caused roof tiles on the clubhouse to fly away and the small aluminum shed sustained roof damage. Both have been repaired.  Carl Juergensen’s repairs to the same shed this past summer weathered the storm! 

Coordinating with Hydro One, several trees were trimmed, and one cut down in the north campground by the large hangar due to interference with electrical wires and to keep us safe.
I want to acknowledge the many members and their many and varied skills who don’t hesitate to contribute to address issues without being asked – these folks manifest as mysterious elves who lurk unseen long after or between long cross-country flights to tackle a flat tire, a broken Gator or failed grass cutters and help make it possible to fly the next day.  Having said this, if there is a project beyond a simple fix that you have the expertise to lead, please continue to keep respective portfolio directors informed to ensure costs, liability and safety protocols are considered before proceeding.  As I look forward to building on our fantastic grounds volunteers and establish a grounds crew for the upcoming season please drop me a line if you have the skills to maintain or operate grounds equipment, want to learn to do so or have a project in mind.

Tractor repair and a ferry flight
by Gary Baker


The recent auction sale of our Massey Ferguson 135 farm tractor involved an interesting problem solve.

Over the last year or so, our 135 developed a serious reluctance to start and/or continue running once started. Normally, the correction is to change fuel filters, primary and secondary, then bleed the air out of fuel lines at the injector. This should result in the cylinders seeing only calibrated amounts of raw diesel and one’s work clothes being saturated with the wonderful smell of diesel fuel. Significant lesson: Never let a diesel engine fuel tank run dry!

The filters were changed and installed carefully with all new gaskets and “o” rings properly placed. One caution here is that the bottom of the primary is made of clear glass and subject to breakage when dropped or over torqued. Experience (ahem) shows that the best way to install is to put on quite loosely and then tighten just enough to stop the leaking of fuel.

With the filters now in place, the fuel should gravity feed to the filters and on to the injection pump. I discovered the hard way that our tractor is not equipped with a hand primer pump but relies only on gravity feed to prime the fuel system. The filters did in fact fill overnight (first clue - slow filling filters )...but no joy with starting or for that matter, bleeding the air out of the lines. Fuel lines were removed and traced back to the fuel tank. The fuel tank valve or petcock was very difficult to remove while on the tractor so off came the tank to remove possible contaminated fuel. Here is where we arrive at the root cause of the problem. The petcock was very slow to drain the tank. With the petcock removed, the tank drained in no time. The petcock was blown out with compressed air but when reinstalled, very quickly bunged up. It seems the petcock was missing a vertical finger screen. It took a couple of tries but a new screen was secured. Hard to believe a simple finger screen couldn’t last for 40 years!

Will, Malcolm and I got the tank back on, and now with good fuel flow, managed to bleed the air and got the beast to finally fire up.

I was concerned with how much we were spending to get the tractor to market what with the filters costing $18.78 and the filter screen setting us back $7.73. We also might be looking at some heavy trucking costs of $150 per hour if the tractor could not be driven to market. I believe we were expecting a few hundred dollar from the auction sale at Bryan’s.

I drove the beast over to Puslinch on Dec 6, taking the back roads and only having to be on Highway 6 for a few minutes. The tractor was handed over to Nader of Bryan’s Auction after demonstrating the front end loader would operate. Nader advised we might get $2500 for the tractor as is. Quite pleased it fetched $6150 on the Boxing day auction!

Glider Usage
by Andrew Corrigan
One thing about isolating during COVID-19 is the amount of free time I have. The spare time has allowed me to look at how we use our gliders.  Hopefully the vaccines are available soon…
Below are charts of how Sosa uses its glider fleet. The origin of the data are the Flight Tickets from 2016 to 2019. This provided four seasons of data with a total of just under 7000 flights. 2020 has been deliberately omitted because it’s not a normal year. 
As you can see the K21’s are the gliders flown the most. In the four seasons they flew 4538 flights with a total of 1505 hours.  This shows SOSA's gliders are predominately used for training. 
The graph above is skewed because some glider types have more than one aircraft.  To correct this the chart below breaks down the yearly usage per single glider. 

Single Aircraft by Type - Yearly Average: 2016 - 2019
To better understand utilization, the data has been broken down to (1) glider per each type.  For example, there are (3) K21’s and only (1) Puchacz.  The graph below shows the yearly average of (1) K21. 
Training Gliders - From the graph above you can see the K21 and Puchacz have a high volume of flights and a lower number of hours.  This data makes sense given training flights are roughly 20 minutes.
X-Country Single Seaters -  You can see the Discus 2 and LS4 have a lower number of flights and a higher number of hours.  Again, this is reasonable since these ships have longer flight times because they are flying cross-country. 
Junior –  The ratio of Flights vs. Hours is very close. Down below are more details on how we are flying the Juniors
Duo Discus - The bars indicate this glider is not being used for cross-country because of the ratio between the Number of Flights vs. Hours Flown. It has a higher number of flights than hours.  It’s flown more like a trainer than a cross-country glider. Further analysis is provided below. 

Duo Discus: C-FRNV
The Duo first flew at SOSA on May 26, 2017.  For the purpose of this analysis, it has been flying for (3) seasons (2017-2019). 
The data shows this glider is being underused for cross-country. Specifically, the Duo does not have a lot of cross-country flights.  
    Stats 2017 - 2019
Aircraft   Flights    Hours
C-FRNV 376     250
Breakdown of Data (2017-2019)
  • (38) Cross Country flights* with a total of 117.7 hours (10% of flights)
  • (325) Flights with a time of < 1.1 hours (86% of flights)
  • (127) Intros (Flight Time 0.3 to 0.6 hours)
  • (279) Flights < 0.6 hours**
*Assumption that a flight time > 1.5 hours is a cross country flight.
** This includes (152) Winch Launches
Summary of Data
The data shows a yearly average of approximately 112 cross-country flights with a total of 40 hours. However, most of the flights are Intros, winch launches, or within glide distance.  The Duo’s cross-country abilities are not being used.  
Side note: In 2020, the Duo was the primary glider I flew. Never did I wait to fly the glider and most times I was the one pulling it out of the hangar at noon.  

Juniors: C-FSXN, C-PNN, C-GZCA
Currently SOSA has 3 SZD-51 Juniors in the fleet. The yearly average for a single Junior is 41 flights and 47 hours between 2016 to 2019.
Stats 2016 - 2019
Looking at the Data for (3) Juniors (2016-2019)

The amount of data is a good sample size for the Juniors. There were almost 500 flights over four years. This brings credibility when looking at how the Juniors are used by SOSA. 
  •     (7) Flights > (5) hours (1.4% of total flights)
  •   (12) Flights < (5) hours > (4) hours (2.5%)
  •   (31) Flights < (4) hours > (3) hours (6.4%)
  •   (55) Flights < (3) hours > (2) hours (11.3%)
  •   (79) Flights < (2) hours > (1) hours (16.2%)
  •   (76) Flights < (1) hours > (.5) hours (15.6%)
  • (228) Flights < (.5) hours (46.6%)
It appears 21.6% of flights are badge attempts and 62.2% are local flights of one hour or less.  These local flights will be pre-licensed students, winch, and flights within gliding distance of the field. The majority of these flights have the same characteristics as the K21’s.  They are short flights not going very far away from the field.  Given one K21 does (378) flights per year and a Junior does (47) flights, the Juniors are underused.  

This year C-FAOS was sold leaving us one LS4.  The question being asked is “What are we replacing AOS with?”.  The plan has always been for the Discus 2 to replace an LS4.  So, we will not be adding another single-seat high performance glider to the fleet.  The data supports this approach. 
Since C-FAOH has the most flights and total hours between 2016-2019, it shows the highest use for one high performance single-seater.  Roughly, it’s 50 flights and 100 hours per year. (Easy math).  The first year we had the Discus 2 it flew 53 times for a total of 102 hours.
If you look at the yearly average of a high-performance single-seater based on two LS4’s, the total number of flights is 37 and 78 hours. Again, the Discus 2 outperformed these numbers. 
Therefore, selling C-FAOS won’t impact our operation. 

 Stats 2016 – 2019
Hopefully you found the data as interesting as I did.
Stay Healthy,
Andrew Corrigan
Above: Chief Tow Pilot Dave Springford pondering who took his pillow. (Photo by Luc)
Towing update 
from Chief Tow Pilot Dave Springford

XWI is now back at SOSA and ready to tow in the spring.  It has had the engine torn down and inspected as a result of the prop strike this past summer.  While the engine was open, the overhaul shop (Aerotech) found corrosion up at the top end of the engine, most likely as a result of the plane having sat idle for several years before we purchased it. For an additional $3900 above the insurance claim, we had all of this fixed so the engine should be in great shape for the next 2000 hrs. Aerotech did the majority of the engine break-in on their engine test stand before they shipped it back for installation on the airframe. When I picked it up, I did a couple of more hours of break-in and changed the oil to install the winter anti-corrosion oil. The engine will need to be on mineral oil for the next 50 hours

BWY was taken to Kovachiks the second week of November for a 50 hour inspection. A cracked #2 cylinder head was found as well as cracks in the muffler. I also  sent over a box of bolts so they could replace all of the bolts that hold the main gear to the fuselage. While doing this they found significant wear in the mounting holes, so besides replacing the bolts, they also had to add new bushings to account for the wear.  BWY was  flown back to SOSA in early December. It will require a short engine break-in this spring before it can be used for towing and will also require mineral oil for the next 50 hours.  

KXJ's engine is running well after its tear down and almost complete overhaul last winter. It is also on mineral oil until the spring when it should reach 50 hours since overhaul. During the summer, I noticed that the ailerons were quite stiff. Under the floor boards, there is a tube that connects the front and rear sticks.  This tube runs through a couple of bushings that had become gummed up with old grease and dirt. I was able to flush the old grease and dirt and relubricate. The aileron force is now back to normal. 

Winter preserving oil is installed in all of the towplanes and they are now grounded until the spring. 
Local MP David Sweet not seeking re-election

SOSA Boards have over the years made a point of cultivating positive relationships with our local municipal, regional, provincial and federal politicians regardless of their political stripes. If the club has to deal with an issue like noise complaints, it's nice to have our elected representatives know who we are, as a way to resolve issues before they become problems.

Our local Member of Parliament David Sweet has announced that he won't run for re-election. 

See link for details.

We look forward to inviting our new MP for a visit to SOSA after the next election and post-COVID.
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Trigger Warning
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