Flying Sites

SOGGI is pleased to announce that both our flying sites are once again available for us to use, but there are New Rules, based on COVID-19 restrictions.  Please be sure to read and understand these additional field safety rules before going to the field, and be prepared with the additional materials you will need to bring, before you go.  Opening the fields is only possible because we agreed to have a practice in place to mitigate COVID-19 infection.

The following applies to visiting the thermal field. At the slope please social distance and, if more than 10 people are on the slope, separate at least 20 meters between groups.

  • Don’t visit the field if you feel unwell or have been in contact in the last 14 days with anyone known to have COVID-19
  • Bring hand sanitizer with you and sanitize your hands before opening the field box or touching anything in the box. 
  • Bring your own pen to write in the logbook.
  • Park on the Hwy 6 side of the entrance, near the storage box, with at least 2m in-between vehicles
  • Set up the pit area in one line parallel to Haldibrook Rd. with at least 2m between the wing tips of your planes and anyone else’s. Your individual pit area will be behind your own vehicle. Leave enough room between the line of parked vehicles and the pit line for vehicles to enter/leave the parking line . You can just assemble/disassemble planes at the rear of your vehicle if you wish but do not leave anything there and move out of the way if a vehicle wants to pass.
  • Maintain physical distancing of 2m throughout your stay on the field
  • Don’t touch anyone else’s planes or equipment unless there is agreement between the parties involved.
  • If more than 10 people come to the field, the 11th person will be required to park on the side of the entrance away from Hwy 6 and pit behind their vehicle there. A second pit area will be established on that side of the entrance.
  • If more than 20 people come to the field the 21th person will need to stay away until someone else leaves
  • The pit area(s) and the flight line will be restricted to a maximum of 10 persons

Please also note that because it is still early in the season, the field condition could still become unsuitable (i.e. if we have a lot of rain) and Green Horizons may consequently request us to hold off until it improves.

Members are encouraged to use the message board to indicate when they intend to go flying. In the present circumstances where we are limiting the number of persons on the field to 20, the message board may be useful to indicate if you will exceed 20 persons when you arrive.

We welcome visitors at our flying sites. However, please be advised that the Landowners’ permission to fly at these sites is limited to members of the Southern Ontario Glider Group, and to our accompanied guests. To make arrangements to fly as our guest, please Contact us beforehand.

Thank you, and we look forward to your visit !

Soaring at Sod Farms

Green Horizons Sod Farms

SOGGI thanks Green Horizons and sod farm owners for their support over the years in allowing SOGGI to fly on their fields.


It’s a nice day. The sun warms the countryside unevenly, creating point-to-point temperature variations. These temperature variations create 3 dimensional air circulation patterns that include areas of rising air (“Thermal Lift”). The pilot’s task is to fly the model sailplane into that “Lift”, so that the model will be drawn upwards by the Lift. This ability to climb without an engine is called “Soaring”.

Sometimes lift is scarce, so a protracted search for lift may be required. The spectacular ability to glide for great distances and for long periods of time is the defining characteristic of a good model sailplane. But if there is no Lift, then even the best sailplane will be forced to glide back home for an early landing.

Usually, lift is encountered within the first few attempts and half-hour soaring flights are relatively common. The pilot must be able to see the model clearly in order to steer it, and this is what defines his flight path’s boundaries. A repetitive zig-zag search followed by circling in lift can add up to a distance of many miles, all occurring within the area visible to the pilot.

Competitors at a SOGGI Open Contest, Thanksgiving October 10, 2015.

Before any search for lift can begin, the model must first be launched to an initial altitude of several hundred feet. For “pure” sailplanes, the launch effort is normally provided by an electric winch, or by a rubber bungee cord (more properly called a “Hi-start”). This launching tackle must be laid out on the ground parallel to the prevailing wind direction, so that the launch can be made squarely into the wind.  Launch altitude is reached within a few seconds, at which point the aircraft is released from the launch line. The sailplane’s search for lift then begins.

After the launch-line drops to the ground, helpers retrieve the line to prepare for the next launch, and to prevent entanglement with the launch lines of other nearby winches.

Sod farms provide a large flat area that is free of obstructions, making it easy to lay out the launching tackle and to retrieve the launch lines.

And just in case you are caught far from home and struggling for altitude, it’s comforting to know that you can  land nearly anywhere on a sod farm.

Sod farms can also accommodate some other soaring aircraft types, for example those with on-board electric propulsion systems, discus launch sailplanes, or even rubber powered freeflight models. “Freeflights” have no radio control system, but simply drift downwind while circling continuously. Even without an interactive means of control, they can still land safely on our large unobstructed flying sites. Click on Our Model Aircraft for more details concerning SOGGI’s various aircraft types and their launching methods.

Permanent markings and/or physical infrastructure are not permitted on the sod surface. Other techniques for organizing our field operations have therefore been developed. Considerations that go into the day-to-day set-up of our field operations are discussed on our Safety page.

Soaring at Sod Farms

On July 12, 1985, Jack Nunn of Midhurst Ontario flew 2 hrs 47 minutes at the Central Ontario Glider Group’s sod-farm flying site near Cookestown, Ontario, to set the current Canadian Open Thermal Duration Record for all sailplane classes.

In the 3 decades following Jack’s achievement, model sailplane design methods and construction materials have made spectacular advances, as have our radio control systems. The time would now seem ripe for someone to challenge the Canadian record.

Slope Soaring

Strong winds tends to disperse thermal lift, and this can make sod farm soaring impractical until calmer air returns. Luckily,  thermal lift is not the only type of lift available. SOGGI also maintains a Slope Soaring flying site.

When moderate to strong winds encounter an upward sloping surface, the wind is deflected upwards. By standing on top of a hill and throwing your sailplane into the deflected wind, the sailplane can rise with this upward air movement. However, beware of the back side

 of the hill, because there the air goes downwards.

SOGGI leases this slope flying site from the Hamilton Conservation Authority.  
Landings can be a bit tricky, and slope soarers are normally constructed to withstand some abuse.

On a windy day, slope lift is typically concentrated and relatively uninterrupted. Given the right airplane, a skilled pilot can execute complex aerobatic maneuvers and/or have long-duration flights on the slope.

Slope Soaring Facts

FACT #1:  The Canadian Absolute Duration Record for ALL types of R/C Sailplanes, is currently held by a slope soarer. On August 4, 1986, Robin Galway of Ottawa flew non-stop for 8 hours 47 minutes at a slope site near Montreal, edging out the previous record of 8 hrs 15 minutes set by SOGGI’s Stan Shaw in 1986.

FACT #2: The current World’s Absolute Speed Record for ALL model airplane types is held by a highly specialized R/C slope soarer flown by American, Spencer Lisenby. Using a cyclical looping maneuver known as “dynamic soaring” it reached 545 mph (877 kph) on June 9, 2018 at Bird Springs Pass, California. (The world’s fastest jet turbine powered model aircraft reached 770 kph on Aug 21, 2017). SOGGI’s modest slope site is unsuitable for attempting dynamic soaring records, but it is ideal for gentle fun flying.

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