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Welcome to Instinct Windsports

The purpose of this doc is to let existing pilots and advancing students that are new to Instinct Windsports know how we operate

Our Focus:  From a teaching stand-point, from day-one, we focus on getting our enrolled students through our training in a swift and efficient manner with the sole purpose of getting them signed off for their aero-tow rating so they can join the local aerotow clubs SOGA.  We teach with our Vortex tension-controlled electric winch for first stages and then either on a hydraulic winch or our Vortex for higher tows and (optional) step tows.  

Teaching Mandate:  We teach in small class sizes to focus on the students at hand. We require all students to register for each session so we never have more than 4 pilots per instructor at anytime.  This is for maximum efficiency and maximum focus.

With our focus on creating pilots for our community and our efficient modern training, we have turned out more rated pilots into our clubs than any other school in the area in less time AND at less cost to the students.  We may not operate full-time but we are much more successful growing Ontario's rated pilot base.

Tandems:  We don’t allow our "student-teaching-time" to cross with our tandeming times.  We currently aren't offering tandems on a regular basis anyways so this isn't an issue.  This is due to shortage of trained crew and the lack of a suitable site to reliably schedule tandems.  When we DO do tandems, we allow graduated students to fly during tandem time was well but they need to book into our tandem schedule to reserve a spot (additional fees apply).  We may do tandems out at SOGAs field for student instructional purposes.  Please ask.  

Schedule:  All of our training sessions are events listed in our Instinct Pilots Facebook group.  We usually post confirmation of all sessions in those events the day-of the event.  You shouldn’t come out if there is no confirmation notice.  If there isn’t a confirmation, we have likely forgot (good or bad) - please message us and we will let you know.  If there is already 4 students signed up, signup anyways and state your intentions.  We may cancel other students (or you) if the conditions or type of winch out isn’t suitable for whomever is signed up.  Don’t be offended if you get bumped - it just means the conditions are suitable for you to get safe, productive flying in.  You are still more than welcome to come out and watch/help/learn!

Glider Rentals: 

  • Alpha 180 & 210 are $15/flight ($75/day max)
  • Falcon F2-140, F2 or F3-195 are $25/flight ($100/day max)
  • Falcon F4-170/195 is $40/flight ($100/day max)
  • Litespeed RX3.5 $75/flight ($125/day max)
  • No sharing of day-rentals between pilots
  • 50% of rentals fees can be applied to purchasing that specific glider

Rental Glider Damage:  Damage is billed at (at least) 2x the cost of the parts that need replacing.  This is to cover the time it takes to repair and wear-and-tear it puts on the glider.  This goes even for downtubes as cumulative downtube breaks takes its toll on a glider

Clinics and one-off tow fees:  Landing Clinics, landing practice, AT cart launching & step-towing is not part of any of our training courses.  Per tow fees apply ($20 per straight tow, $35 per step-tow). 

Day-fee of $35 is applicable to all pilots & students that are not currently enrolled in the Full-Cert course.  This goes to cover land-owner costs, winch-operator & winch transportation costs.  This can be seen similar to a club membership fee.

Releases:  We don’t have many 2-stage releases.  Try to bring your own or return ours to exactly where you found them.  Major beer penalties will ensue if you take them home with you.

Vortex Towing:  I am surprised that students that come to us from other schools are surprised we use a turn-around pulley for scooter towing.  That is the way I was taught scooter towing at WillsWing’s scooter tow clinic hosted by BlueSky hang gliding.  It allows for your instructor, who is also your tow operator, to be right beside you when you launch - not 1000’ (or more) away from you.  It is so they can instantly abort your launch if something isn’t right during launch and provide you with accurate launch critique.

Visiting STUDENTS (different from rated/graduated pilots):  We find it tough for new pilots (students, grads of other schools) to just drop in for training.  It often takes a visit or two to get in our groove...we just don't know what you may know (or not know) and of course every school operates different. 

We have two options...just come and tow (for the above mentioned rates) and see how you progress with a little guidance and advice from our pilots - BUT we first recommend you take our online Stationary Winch towing course.  It is a small fee and has a great deal of information.  It will make better use or our in-person time together as we don't have to verbally go through it with you the day you show up.

If you plan to come out often, we HIGHLY suggest you plug into our standard training program.  We have electronic, on-line, almost self-help training the outlines our entire process.  If you buy-in to this process, we provide written debriefs after every session and give you better guidance and advice while away from the training field.  We charge a $199cdn fee the first calendar year ($99 subsequent years) for that and get access to all of our checklists from day one through to high tows.  It does NOT include the aero-tow course and all tow fees and glider rentals are additional cost as well.

Airspace:  We do operate just outside of Waterloo Region International Airport (YKF).  You need to have your HAGAR to legally fly higher than 2200’ AGL at our sites (at High Perspective it is 700'agl).  If you don’t have it, we won’t tow you higher than 2200’.  The aerotow clubs’ Class E airspace starts at 2200’AGL so you need it to fly there legally anyways.

Communication:  For all winch towing, radios are NOT allowed.  They are old technology, most pilots aren’t licensed to use them and they are not open-mic, two-way communication.  We only allow cell headsets and highly prefer the use of our blue-tooth helmet headsets as they are cord free (ear buds fall out of ears when taking off) and are noise-cancelling (eliminate all wind and winch noise).  The ones we sell are slim enough to go in any helmet and pair with any bluetooth phone in minutes.  If you gamble with using a wired headset, wrap your mic with paper towel and tape to reduce the wind-noise.  If the wind-noise ensues on ONE tow and the winch operator can’t hear you, you won’t be allowed to tow again with your headset.  Open mic, two-way communication with pilot and winch op is imperative.

Step-towing process:  Our process is likely different than other operations.  Of course we are open to changing our ways but we expect you to adhere to our process and guidelines.  There is no hiding that step-towing is considered the sport’s most sensitive (ie risky) form of towing.  Those that have done it a thousand times make it look easy but it is quite involved.  We now have a mandatory online step-towing course that you are required to take each year to ensure you are current and up on any process advancements.  Much of it is common sense but there is a more technical side of step towing (at the bottom of the doc) that has helped us “step-out” in tricky conditions.  Master it and you will be rewarded with more soaring than you will get anywhere else in the area.