PHOTOS: An aerial tour from Vernon to the Monashee Mountains

Doug Sperlich, 24, owns and maintains a 1963 airplane which he keeps at the Vernon Airport. On Jan. 4, 2020, he’ll make his way to Antarctica to work as a first officer for Calgary-based airline Kenn Borek Air. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

In little over a week’s time, Doug Sperlich will begin a two week-long trek to Antarctica. There, the 24-year-old pilot from Enderby will work as a first officer, flying researchers and logistics teams around the frozen continent.

But when he’s not working behind the yoke of a 6,000-pound Twin Otter, Sperlich enjoys taking his much smaller airplane for a whirl around the North Okanagan – while both awing and terrifying a Morning Star reporter in the process.

Mid-morning on Boxing Day the sun broke through in Vernon. That afternoon some low patches of clouds crept in and by 3 p.m. the conditions were perfect for a jaunt over the Monashee Mountains in the Lumby area.

The cabin is a cramped fit for two, and the takeoff was a touch wobbly as the $30,000 plane hit turbulence in the initial ascent.

“Let me know as soon as you’re feeling sick,” Sperlich said, careful to gauge what sort of manoeuvres he can do with a first-timer.

In just 20 minutes we’re over Lumby and the Monashee Mountains are growing larger. The plane skims over the low cloud formations before Sperlich starts another ascent – this time up to 9,000 feet.

Circling the mountains, Sperlich decides to test his passenger’s stomach.

He makes what looks like a subtle movement of the controls and suddenly the plane turns on a dime, its wings perpendicular to the ground. The rocky formation next to us is jutting upwards towards us such that the mountain and the aircraft appear to be on a collision course.

Sperlich then levels the plane and perspective snaps back into focus.

After a few more loops the mountains are turning pink and purple – and not purely from dizziness. The sun is waning and there’s just enough time to land before dark.

Feet firmly planted back on Earth, this reporter is left with his head still in the clouds.

READ MORE: Enderby pilot to make second journey to Antarctica

READ MORE: Vernon airport prepares for plane crashes


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Son of Stomp planned for July in Silver Creek

Previously the event was held in Sicamous for 30 years

Word on the street: How do you spend a snow day?

When snow cancels school and your boss tells you to stay home,… Continue reading

Sports Shorts

Keep up to date with local sporting events and news segments Curling… Continue reading

Photo reminds Salmon Arm resident of connection to former drama teacher Justin Trudeau

Prime minister remembered as being as a funny, larger-than-life person

Dining moose a welcome distraction at Salmon Arm campus

Pair feast on willows, unperturbed by onlookers at Okanagan College

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Update: Collision halts highway traffic west of Revelstoke

Drive BC also reported a vehicle incident 10 km east of Golden.

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

Priest Camp near Summerland was created in 1845

Agreement formed between Grand Chief Nicola (1793-1859) and Father Giovanni Nobili (1812-1856)

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Most Read