The Refugio Soaring Circle is based at Rooke Field, Refugio, TX.
The Club is a nonprofit and the CFIG’s as well as the Tow Pilots are all volunteers.
Club aircraft include a 2-33, a 1-34, and an IS28B2 Lark. We tow with a Super Cub.
Creating a safe and sustainable XC culture takes more than the Proving Grounds, but it helps.
Of course, Proving Grounds provides an easy to administer, strategic development path for pilots interested in flying XC to identify the steps toward success and confidence. Confidence both for the pilot and for the club – especially if at least the first few flights away from home will be completed in club aircraft.
I’m in a DG-1000S, outside of gliding range to the home field for the first time, I’m getting low, but I’m with the club CFI and XC virtuoso Chris Gough. All of my brainpower is consumed to make decisions based on very little experience in this situation, but I’m working through the issues and figuring it out with expert guidance.
The Winnipeg Gliding Club is comprised of approximately 35 members and is located abut 45 minutes southwest of Winnipeg near Starbuck, Manitoba. In 2019, the club celebrated its 60th Anniversary and also received two brand new PW6 gliders in that same year as well. The area around the Winnipeg Gliding Club is ideally suited for cross-country as most times of the year there are excellent fields for off-field landings. Flights of 300 kms are easily accomplished in Manitoba with flights of 500 kms possible on good soaring days as well. The best months of the soaring season are May & June when it is not uncommon to experience cloud bases to 9 or 10 thousand feet.
The three Proving Grounds tasks at the Winnipeg Gliding Club are Larry’s Loop, ABBA & M&M. Larry’s Loop pays homage to the late Larry Morrow, a long time member of the Winnipeg Gliding Club who passed in 2019. The task skirts the outside of the ‘Main Area’ which is special airspace within the Winnipeg Class C Terminal Airspace that Nav Canada has granted us use of. The second task, ABBA is a tour of Areas A & B which are also special areas of airspace within the Winnipeg Class C Terminal Airspace that Nav Canada has granted us use of and finally, M&M visits two small Southern Manitoba towns of Miami (yes, there is a Miami in Manitoba) and Morris which are familiar landmarks for seasoned WGC cross-country pilots. We are hoping to leverage the Proving Grounds initiative with our new PW6 gliders to encourage cross-country development within the club.
The Lethbridge Soaring Club (LSC) is made up of a dedicated group of enthusiastic aviators operating from the legendary Cowley Gliderstrip, known as ‘Canada’s Diamond Mine’. The Cowley airstrip has a storied history and sits a couple of dozen km east of the Livingstone Range, a 35 km north/south knife-edge ridgeline that creates tremendous wave opportunities recognized with special airspace allowing gliders to FL280 (and above with clearance). With an east wind, the Livingstone Range provides thrilling ridge soaring opportunities.
There are also fantastic thermal soaring opportunities out into the Prairies, down to the US border and through the eastern ranges of Canada’s majestic Rocky Mountains.
Join pilots at the semi-annual ‘Cowley Camps‘ – the 10 days into the Heritage Holiday Weekend (early August), and the 10 days into Canadian Thanksgiving. This should be a requisite pilgrimage of all Canadian gliding pilots – to honor and celebrate the hard work and sacrifice of the pilots who worked to create the ‘Cowley block’ and continue to set records in Canada for altitude and distance.
The LSC Proving Grounds is made up of 3 triangles that build on each other – 73, 115, 166km out into the Prairies.
Come and fly at Cowley, primarily a winch site (other than during aforementioned camps), and regularly offering tremendous flying opportunities.
The Edmonton Soaring Club (ESC) operates off of a grass strip near the town of Chipman, Alberta, northeast of the city of Edmonton.
ESC is an innovative club with a number of tremendous programs to develop pilots, especially youth – the host of the oversubscribed ‘Western Canada Youth Development Camp’. Leaders at ESC liked the idea of a program to support XC pilot development, especially one that can stand the test of time, and requires little to no management by members with too much management obligation as it is.
The Cu Nim Proving Ground is where the scoring platform began. Inspired by the MayFly gliding contest held for decades at the Gatineau Gliding Club, Cu Nim looked to establish static tasks to create a common language of flying for novice pilots – tasks with names, vs a list of turnpoints.
Duly inspired by the time rankings used by the BBC program Top Gear, the club posted 3 task boards with magnetic strips to record and reorder top times per task as they were flown.
Through the 2018 flying season, this framework was turned into a Python bot that would test an .igc file against the defined tasks and return the time for a successful task flown, and with that a scalable platform with these shared benefits became available to all gliding clubs with similar challenges – how to develop soaring pilots from solo pilots.
Synthesizing feedback from SOSA, the bot was updated to include the ‘Racetrack’ task variant since even the smallest task originally required distance from the field that required a FAI Silver leg to have been flown, and the goals of the Proving Grounds are to build pilots into XC pilots, so it cannot be a prerequisite.
The Cu Nim Proving Grounds includes a racetrack bound by airspace limitations to the north and two triangles to the SE where many of the best thermal flights from the club launch toward, making pilots comfortable with the first leg into the open prairies.
Come to Black Diamond, Alberta and see if your best task time is fast enough to make the Task Board!