In 1997 a group of five talented gliding instructors and tow pilots dreamed of forming a new gliding club in Ontario, a club that was friendly, caring and inclusive. In 1998, Great Lakes Gliding Club was born.
In one short year, a two-seat glider, a tow plane and a field to fly from had been put in place and Great Lakes Gliding Club was born. Our field was and still is located close to the town of Tottenham, just south of Alliston. We bill ourselves as the gliding club closest to Toronto, but we are also the closest to Barrie, Orillia and the Muskokas too!
Since the beginning, we at Great Lakes Gliding Club have always tried to treat our students and members as our founding members had envisioned: care about the students you are teaching and care about their goals, include all members in the planning of events and listen to all.
Early in Great Lakes’ beginning, it was evident that if we wanted to make sure that we continued to fulfill these ideals, we could not allow our membership to get too large. We did not want to become that big club where so many good members get lost as very small cogs in a very large machine. We pride ourselves on being able to see when a person needs some special help and in providing it.
In order to not grow into a large gliding club, Great Lakes limits its membership. On occasion, we are full up and need to implement a waiting list for membership. With attrition this is rare, but it does happen. Please don’t hesitate to inquire.
Great Lakes Gliding Club considers itself a guest of our hosts and field owners, Mike and Cheryl Ronan. As any good guest, we try to keep our hosts and their neighbours happy.
We took our Piper Pawnee tow plane, which came to us as a loud snarling dragon, and had a special quiet exhaust system engineered and fitted. We also changed the propeller to a super quiet, four-blade Hoffmann propeller from Germany. This has resulted in what most say is the quietest tow plane in Canada. Whenever possible, we vary our flight paths on a regular basis to limit repetition over a certain area. Our sport is all about nature’s environment, and sound is just part of it.
We are excited about new developments in the sport of gliding - ships that go faster and further made of super new stronger materials. Self launching gliders with super quiet electric motors and tow planes with electric motors are already out there and being tested and refined. A goal our founders, no doubt, would say was worthy.