President – Sean Christie
Unfortunately, this year’s flying has been impacted significantly by all the water. We started the season off with record rain fall for southern Ontario and it has not let up. Our season start was also impacted by our new neighbour to the north who purchased the Seraphim property. In his enthusiasm, to start to drain his property and prepare the land for farming, he widened the culvert connecting our 2 properties and flooded the north end of runway 21. Part of the issue was that the culvert that runs through the treed area, between runways 18 and 21, was so overgrown that the water was not draining well. All the culverts on our property have been neglected through the years and need to be addressed. Through discussion with our neighbour, we agreed to share the cost of having a backhoe clear the culvert to improve the water flow. The work was completed in one day and at a cost of approximately $500 to SOSA. Once the work was completed, the drainage drastically improved and the neighbour’s property was completely drained within a week and that is even with a few days of rain mixed in. This solution worked so well, we are planning to have the backhoe return to complete similar work on the southern culverts by runway 36 during the fall work weekend.
Our big announcement is that SOSA has successfully bid for the 2019 PanAm Soaring competition. This will be a fantastic opportunity for SOSA to showcase our club and soaring in Canada. With the hosting of the 2019 PanAms comes the added responsibility of hosting the Canadian Nationals and the Pre-PanAms in 2018. The organizing committee is quickly coming together, but there will be many volunteers needed to help with the planning and running of the events. You will see more information on this in the future.
The proposed dates for the two contests are as follows:
2018 Canadian Nationals/Pre PAGC
- Official Practice - July 30 & 31
- Contest days - August 1-10
- Reserve day - August 11
- Official Practice days - July 29, 30 & 31
- Official Opening Ceremonies - August 1
- Contest days - August 2-13
- Closing Ceremonies - August 14
Over the winter months, the Board will be taking on several large discussions including fleet replacement for the future, member retention and a few other topics. There may be one or two surveys will we be asking members to complete to help with collecting feedback and input into decisions.
Safety Committee – Bill Vollmer
Malcolm McLaren has joined the Committee.
All blue book entries have been reviewed by the Committee and are ready to be put up on the Club web site.
Pilot Safety Meetings were held May 17 and June 13. Forty-one members attended the May meeting and 23 members attended the June meeting.
Discussions were had concerning the need to recommend a policy on a plan to close the club when severe weather is expected.
Two Safety Bulletins were issued and a NOTAM sent out to the members.
An Aviation Incident Report was sent to the Aviation Operations Centre concerning a private plane flying at 700 feet through our downwind for RWY 36 while gliders were also on downwind.
NAV CAN contacted us about a close contact between a glider and Jump Plane operating east of Cayuga. Cayuga Dive City is new and not posted on any maps yet. Nav Can asked us to inform our members about the location of the operation and to be aware of the NOTAM issued. A Safety Bulletin was issued to the membership with that information.
Treasurer – Mark Luscher
Greetings from Kentucky, where I and my son Darin are on a father-son road trip hoping to catch the solar eclipse. I’m sorry I can’t be with you, but I would like to share a snapshot of where we are financially as a club.
I want you to understand, please, that the numbers I am sharing are preliminary and unaudited. Consider them to be a reasonable reflection of our income and expenses to this point in the season. There are some very important numbers excluded from the analysis: Depreciation expenses are not incorporated into this snapshot. They are usually calculated at the end of the season and will be in the ballpark of $75,000. Further, the numbers do not incorporate income from the sale of the 505. On the other hand, the numbers incorporate all the insurance expense for the season, and a good proportion of our land tax.
First, the bottom line. We appear to be running profitably so far this year, with income minus expenses at $70,000. This compares to $77,000 for the same period last year. We all know that this has been a slow season, so this good performance in such a poor year appears to relate to a few factors, among which that with decreased flying, our operational expenses are correspondingly reduced, and that we have experienced a lack of aircraft damage this year. Safety first!
Further explanation of the inputs that have led to this result follows:
Glider revenue is slightly increased this year compared to last, at $51,500 compared to $49,000 in the same period. This may reflect more members taking time packages, though I have not verified this from the data in Free-flight.
Membership revenue is significantly increased, at $79,000 compared to $68,000 in the same period last year. This is very good news and demonstrates that the recruitment focus of the club this year is showing results.
Intro revenue is down by about $4000 at $19,000, and is at risk of a more significant shortfall in the second half of the season unless we are able to both attract more intro traffic and find volunteers able to foster the midweek intro program in September and beyond.
Non-Flying revenue is down by $14,000 at $7,600 versus $21,600 last year; I have not determined the reason for the large contribution to non-flying revenue last year but believe it was extraordinary income and that this year’s number is within range of expectations.
Towing revenue is significantly reduced, at $36,000 compared to $47,600 last year, commensurate with our slow season.
Overall income is $195,500 compared to $209,500 last year.
On the expense side, Admin expenses are slightly improved at $19,000 compared to $20,000 in 2016.
Membership service fees including advertising are reduced from last year to $20,000 from $23000, while operations expenses including runway and grounds maintenance are roughly unchanged at $6000.
Glider expenses are down, at about $31500 compared to $36000 last year. Insurance is the largest contribution to these numbers, with repairs and component replacements making up the balance.
Towing expenses are down at $34,000 compared to $41,000 last year, which includes a decrease in Fuel expenses to $18,500 from $24,000 in 2016, (not corrected for inventory on hand).
Outside of these revenue and expense numbers, which result in the $70,000 income I have already reported, there are few other financial data points I’d like to share.
The sale of the 505 netted a profit of about $60,000, which is not included in these numbers.
On the cash side, the club is in very good condition, with cash including reserves of about $500,000. The gross income from the sale of the 505 remains liquid and needs to be transferred to a GIC -- the fault of your treasurer not getting around to it yet, but this will be done soon and is part of our continuing focus on maintaining reserve funds for fleet renewal.
No very significant expenses are considered in the near future other than a potential re-skinning of BWY in the off-season which is under discussion and will be considered against the dedicated reserve funds and the 5-year maintenance plan.
Flying Operations / Chief Flight Instructor – Martin Brassard
We have had the worse weather in at least twenty years. However, members especially our newest members are showing real enthusiasm and are flying quite regularly. This is very exciting to see. I believe we have improved our attitude around the club and especially at the flight line and would like to thank everyone for making SOSA a fun and safe place to be.
Last season we began changing how we run the flight line with the “Hot Glider” concept. It is working very well and I find that we have had the best flight line efficiency that I can remember. Everyone is helping and making sure we respect the others and keep the line moving.
This season we implemented a new student training schedule. Pre-solo student training happens on Saturday and Sunday mornings, Tuesday evening and Friday evenings on the winch. This is a work in progress but is working quite well. We will evaluate how to improve and fine tune this new approach. I strongly believe that it’s the way to go.
Unfortunately, weather hasn’t cooperated once again for Acro training. We’re not giving up and will keep trying. We need to coax a few pilots almost ready to become acro instructors to take the plunge. Right Hans, Tommy?
Later in September we will have our precision landing contest. It was a huge success last year and a lot of fun. There will be separate classes for licensed pilots and non-licensed pilots. A club BBQ will follow at the end of the day.
I would like to thank the CFI team, Chris Wilson and Dave Springford for the support and hard work they are doing behind the scene. All you see is our team effort.
Marketing – Mark McDermott
SOSA’s digital marketing campaign continued beginning in May, 2017.
The following data was provided by Peter Hickey of Marketing O2, the advertising firm that designed the campaign and revised the Club’s website.
The campaign uses Google and Facebook to showcase the Club to viewers defined by Google as Adventurers/Trill Seekers.
This advertising has been restricted to the Golden Horseshoe region.
The advertising consists of a “ribbon” displayed between Facebook messages.
If the viewer is interested in learning more about SOSA, he/she clicks the ribbon and is forwarded to the SOSA website.
Each forwarding click costs SOSA $1.05.
Thus, the campaign is restricted to the Golden Horseshoe as data from 2016 showed that this is the principal “catchment” region.
From May 1 to July 31, 2017, SOSA’s advertising ribbon has been shown on Facebook to 183,059 viewers.
4,303 viewers clicked through to the SOSA website.
- 1,930 aspiring pilots
- 1,756 thrill seekers
The actual number of viewers is greater as an unknown number do not click through immediately but direct click to our website later on.
Once aware of SOSA’s website, traffic on our website shows:
- 11,805 sessions by 7,999 unique users, i.e. this reflects direct click through later on and multiple visits.
- vast majority of visitors from the GTA
- 4,615 visitors investigated our “Try Flying” pricing page
- 1,017 investigated our “5-Flight Package” pricing page
- 126 visitors signed up for our Learn to Fly Guide and are now receiving automated e-mails encouraging them to trial the Club and purchase a 5-Flight Package
SOSA branded t-shirts and golf shirts and hats will be available shortly.
New signage has been prepared for the Club entrances..
Ground School course files are now available to all members via Google Drive
A SAC submission will be made in December, 2017 to receive 20% of the Club’s total SAC dues in support of marketing initiatives.
Many thanks to those who have participated in SOSA’s marketing initiatives.
- John Brennan
- Martin Brassard
- Farid Ibrahim
- Rafael Nunes
- Rob Russel
Membership – Rafael Nunes
The total number of members has increased for the second consecutive year, and while still in August, I expect the number to be 10% higher than last year. The current number is 125 flying members.
While part of this positive result is due to the acquisition efforts, part is caused by smaller attrition/loss of current pilots. I would like to thank Martin Brassard for creating a very positive an open attitude both at the flightline and at the club in general.
Rob Russell with his orientation sessions and an organized welcome information package has made easier for new members to understand and navigate within the club.
Another positive aspect to the students is the organized instructional time on Tuesday and Friday evenings, as well as higher focus on students on Saturdays and Sundays.
On the visitors’ side, we will have a smaller number of intro flights compared to last year, which was an exceptional season. We’ll also adjust the mid-week intro schedule based on the small availability of intro pilots.
The next event at SOSA is the merged Mudbowl / Provincials contest, during the labour-day weekend. I also hope we can organize the precision landing contest, later in the year.
I hope the information helps. If you will NOT make the details for public view, these are the actual numbers:
We currently have 125 flying members (9 more from last month).
From the flying members, there are/were:
- 82 Licensed pilots
- 06 Solo
- 37 Pre-solo (not considering progress of 4 solos that occurred this year)
Compared to 2016, SOSA had an increase (so far) of 8 members, even if we had 29 members from 2015/2016 that did not renew.
2016 Total: 328
2016 Intros up to 18/Aug: 159
2017 intros up to 18/Aug: 118
5 Flight package
2016 Total: 18
2016 up to 07/Aug: 12
2017 up to 07/Aug: 9 (there were 12, but 3 of them become full members before their first flights)
Total flights 1594 – by 18/Aug/2017
Aircraft Maintenance – Gary Baker
Passing of Chris Eves - Memorial being planned for Chris by XU Aviation at London Airport. XU Aviation remains a going concern.
Becker radios – one installed in ZH, other still available. Microphone in ZCA found incorrectly wired. Situation corrected.
Dollies – Subject to redesign in October, Fabrication in Winter. Will be seeking help of club design Engineers to critique revised concepts. Current core components to be utilized. Someone was kind enough to find 4” diameter heavy duty casters to replace the 3” casters on the “Pickle Fork”.
Housekeeping – 12 sort bins purchased and contents of stainless steel and grey cabinets in main hanger organized.
Spare canopy rails received from Wings and Wheels.
- ZH wheel brake seems to be operating
- YE wheel brake adjusted by XU Aviation, front seat belt assembly replaced with new unit.
- PY wheel brake seems to be operating.
- Rudder pedal adjustment cable, Rudder cable segment replaced and front Tost release cable replaced by XU Aviation. Canopy issues continue. Retainer cable for canopy fabricated and installed.
- Transponder installation reported incomplete.
- ZCA - Top of fuselage damaged by horizontal tail tang as a result of improper loading of glider in trailer on retrieve. To be dealt with at Annual inspection time.
- SXN - Top of fuselage damaged by horizontal tail tang as a result of improper loading of glider in trailer on retrieve. Returned from XU Aviation after annual inspection, in time for Labor day weekend. Damage to top fuselage addressed at XU.
- PNN – Canopy side window replaced
- Problems continue with S80 computer problems which are frustrating. Luke working issue?
- Seat belt assembly in DW replaced. Previous harness was quite new but hard to adjust, advertise and sell to a private owner member?
- Landing gear elastomer “donuts” on AOS checked at XU Aviation, plan to replace on Annual. Need to signal XU aviation to order parts.
- BWY to Kovacheks for repair. Flap pulley assembly attached to fuse lower cross member tore top half of cross tube open. Expected back this weekend. Potential project to re-fabric entire fuselage. Preferences: Run as a project, complete by mid December so aircraft can be stored in our hangar. Detailed discovery process. Detailed quote for fabric work and for discovery work.
Grounds – Bill Vollmer
New Club signs have been created and are ready to be set up at the club main entrance. Warning signs are ready be put up on the small hanger.
Airfield markers (noodles) have been replaced.
The grounds have been cut at a safe height throughout the season.
Small hanger doors track has been adjusted to allow doors to close completely.
Golf cart has been repaired so no purchase of a new cart is necessary thanks to the efforts of Brad Muir.
Hydro One placed new warning flags on the electric line at the north end of runway 36.
The streambed running from the north east corner of 1144 Cooper Rd. to the culvert and from the culvert to Cooper Rd. has been cleared. Payment to the contractor will be shared between the farmer Derek Brouwers and the Club. The bargain was struck between President Sean and Derek Brouwers.
Trees and underbrush are interfering with the hydro lines running from Cooper Rd to the main hanger and Cooper Rd to the club house. The firm that trimmed the trees in the camp ground last year has been contacted by Dale Guenter to trim back the effected foliage.
On neighbouring properties two areas could be cut back to make landing at the club safer.
Lilac bushes at the end of runway 010 on the other side of Cooper Rd.
Trees to the east of runway 36 close to Highway 8.
The streambed running along Highway 8 at the south end of 1144 Cooper Rd. still needs to be cleared.
New BBQ has been purchased and assembled by Rob.
More repairs on the Massey Ferguson tractor will be necessary to do with excessive oil leaks.
The main hanger floor has not required maintenance this year because the tow pilots are conscientiously placing drip pans to catch gasoline leaks.