PHOTOS: An aerial tour from Vernon to the Monashee Mountains

PHOTOS: An aerial tour from Vernon to the Monashee Mountains
PHOTOS: An aerial tour from Vernon to the Monashee Mountains
PHOTOS: An aerial tour from Vernon to the Monashee Mountains
PHOTOS: An aerial tour from Vernon to the Monashee Mountains
PHOTOS: An aerial tour from Vernon to the Monashee Mountains
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)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

The Vernon swimming pool is closed Friday. (morning star file photo)
Swim, skate and play fees rise 5% in Vernon

Weekend hours also reduced as rec centre struggles with fewer people and fewer funds

A member of the Okanagan Mission Secondary School community has tested positive for COVID-19. (Google Maps)
Another COVID-19 case confirmed at Okanagan Mission Secondary school

Interior Health has confirmed a member of the school community tested positive for the virus

A concept rendering of the proposed Costco at the corner of Baron, Leckie and Springfield roads. (WSP Global)
Contentious Kelowna Costco relocation moved to public hearing

Costco looking to move less than a kilometre away to build a larger store with more parking, gas bar

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
104 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

IH is reporting the new numbers since Friday, Nov. 20

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest B.C. premier tells Okanagan girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

RCMP pictured at a motor vehicle incident during snowy conditions. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B&E, stolen car in Vernon lands Whitehorse man in cuffs

Suspect takes off on foot in attempts to evade arrest

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Penticton Search and Rescue along with the Penticton Fire Department located and airlifted an injured 21-year-old female hiker Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. (Mike Biden photo)
Penticton search and rescue airlift injured hiker off mountain

There has been an unprecedented amount of calls for search and rescue this year

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read