How I Got Hooked

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Charles Petersen
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How I Got Hooked

Post by Charles Petersen » Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:38 am

Back in ~1968, I was the Photo Editor for the University of Western Ontario student newspaper, The Gazette. The local TV station approached me with a great offer: make some 'Canadian content' to qualify them for the new regulations, and in return, they gave me a wind-up Bell & Howell 16mm turret lens camera, a case of film, and a press card. Yes, a press card, - a backstage pass to almost anywhere (e.g. Led Zepplin, Canadian Grand Prix, etc). But I knew nothing about movies; the protocols are different from still photography. So I set about watching National Film Board movies from the library, trying to reverse-engineer the principals.

And I borrowed one fateful evening this https://www.nfb.ca/film/flight/. I set out to try this gliding sport, found SOSA, flew in one of their Blanik L-13's, and WOW.

I joined SOSA (special rate for students, - also a special priority, - none) and began my training. Seven weekends later I had taken three lessons and decided I would never become a pilot at this rate. So onto my bucket list went gliding, until one of my sons took training at York. When I visited and found I could get as many as four lessons a day, I signed up on the spot. And Ulli just posted this on r.a.s; so good to see it again a half-century later.

A short and beautiful film...
​Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight.... do not go gentle into that good night. - Dylan Thomas

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James Kingdon
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Re: How I Got Hooked

Post by James Kingdon » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:18 am

Lovely! I wonder what were the v-tails that featured? HP I'm guessing. Searching around, maybe 12A? The groups of three in formation look awesome. *sigh* - early December and withdrawal is already kicking in :(

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Charles Petersen
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Re: How I Got Hooked

Post by Charles Petersen » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:03 pm

The details are posted on r.a.s. at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic ... NRQw9F_hr8

Most of it was filmed by Montreal Soaring Council, and some apparently out of the then permissible Banff airstrip.

According to Ulli, the gliders included Std. Austria SH-1, Sisu and HP-11
​Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight.... do not go gentle into that good night. - Dylan Thomas

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Dennis Medland
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Re: How I Got Hooked

Post by Dennis Medland » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:15 pm

A small world.......in 1967-1969 I and 2 other friends ran a small news report/paper format....as a small business at UWO. We called it INFORMAT and had it printed in Bellville (cheapest). All the advertising contracts, collections and drop-off of papers, to banks, convenience stores etc. was done by our staff.(read the 3 of us). All of this while doing just enough time at university to keep up the grades! It was a very popular item with students and would disappear quickly where we dropped it off. As we graduated; so the paper died.

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Charles Petersen
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Re: How I Got Hooked

Post by Charles Petersen » Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:28 am

The Gazette was printed at the Times Advocate in Exeter, just north of London. Wednesday night was layout night, where we stuck down the IBM Selectric copy and black holes for the photos on wax covered ruled paper, from which the plates were burned after a few intervening steps.

Cutting edge technology, it was then...

I recall those days every time I fly using Lucan (home of the Black Donnellys) as a turnpoint.
​Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight.... do not go gentle into that good night. - Dylan Thomas

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Ivor David
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Re: How I Got Hooked

Post by Ivor David » Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:17 pm

I think Charles may have started something here.

I took my first flight in 1965 with a college friend at a local airshow in Swansea, Wales. I can't recall the aircraft 172? I think, (I almost didn't happen because when we asked the price it was 1 pound each, we said we were poor students (the truth) and could not afford that and started to walk away. He then shouted after us "OK, you can both go for one pound". Being in the air made a big impression on me, and apparently my friend well since he went on to fly for BA (then BOAC). I could not afford power lessons so when I saw an ad in the local newspaper (this is the connection to the newspaper tales by Charles and Dennis) inviting anyone interested in forming a gliding club to go to a meeting at a local pub so I went along. We agreed to proceed but had no glider so we spent 1966 raising funds by selling tickets for a balloon race. The one that went the furthest would win the prize - I think it went well into England Anyway we raised enough to buy a T-31 for 350 pounds and the club started flying in 1967. I had my first flight - a winch tow to about 500ft. I recall the steep climb now as if it was yesterday, and I logged a "generous" 3 minutes Every flight I had in the T-31 was like a simulated rope break - none over 650ft.. I soloed on Aug 8, 1967, and have an engraved mug from a local pottery to prove it. I came to Canada in October the same year, got Walter's name from someone at Brampton Flying Club, and joined YSA in 1968 You know the rest.
Ivor David

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Charles Petersen
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Re: How I Got Hooked

Post by Charles Petersen » Sat Dec 15, 2018 8:01 pm

Well, Ivor, I had my first flight in a light aircraft in 1959 at the Barrie Winter Carnival. My friend and I took a steam train to Barrie's Kempemfelt Bay, and there was a guy who claimed to be ex-Luftwaffe (with an accent that gave credence to that claim) offering rides in a 3 seat taildragger.

He gave us quite a ride: " So, this, we called the 'falling Leaf'". Alternating slipping turns, it was. Must have made an impression!
​Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight.... do not go gentle into that good night. - Dylan Thomas

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Tony Firmin
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Re: How I Got Hooked

Post by Tony Firmin » Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:52 am

OK,OK here is a picture of me on my father's knee in, I'm guessing, 1948. My first flight was around 15, with Ann Welch in the T-21 at Lasham called 'Daisy' :)
Tony_earlyglider.JPG

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Dennis Medland
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Re: How I Got Hooked

Post by Dennis Medland » Sun Dec 16, 2018 2:06 pm

OK, I can't resist.........Ivor.....the meeting to form a club was at the local pub. Many great decisions were and are still made at the local pub.
Charles mentions a steam train....wow, it's been a while, but I have to admit catching a steam train to the Exhibition in Toronto. That huge puffing steam monster (I was only about 7 yrs. old), scared the daylights out of me. My mother held my hand and forced me to stand up close so we would get a good seat on the ride from Oakville. Bloody terrifying.
And Tony........what a great photo!
My first flight was out of Guelph in a red 87 hp. old tin can. I can't even remember what type; maybe an Aeronica Champ? It was like flying a tractor and didn't really light the fire although there definitely was a "lasting impression".
Finally, "the falling leaf"; do you think we can add this to our training next year? You first!

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Charles Petersen
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Re: How I Got Hooked

Post by Charles Petersen » Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:05 pm

Tony, - you were a cute toddler!

What happened?
​Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight.... do not go gentle into that good night. - Dylan Thomas

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Mark Lightfoot
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Re: How I Got Hooked

Post by Mark Lightfoot » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:30 pm

Seeing Hugh's glider on display at AvWorld and a passionate young fellow selling intro rides got me to the field ostensibly for a bucket list flight but ultimately, Charles Petersen was the culprit who rescued me from the dark side.

How did he do that? His very welcoming orientation mixed with oodles of information were great. But the kicker was when that rapscallion gave me the controls and directed me towards a juicy looking cumulus cloud. Bank now! Hold it. Hold it. That VSI thing pointing up... altimeter going up... but no engine! Up, up and up we went.

Charles, you had me at: "Well done Mark, you just climbed a thousand feet."

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