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Old 02-21-2010, 08:22 AM
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RickM RickM is offline
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Default Aerotow document

I created this to hand to a first time tow pilot before their first tow. Please make suggestions to improve it.

RULE NUMBER 1: If at anytime things start to feel uncomfortable, RELEASE! The natural tendency is to try to fly it back to position, but until you have more experience you don't know how far you can get out of position and still have the ability to correct it. You can get into a lockout very quickly and the longer you wait to release the worse the situation will become, so always err on the side of safety.

If you find yourself in any of these situations, release, land, we will review the flight, and try it again.
  • You get so low as to be in the prop wash
  • You get so far off to the side that the tow rope is getting close to the front wires
  • You start oscillating from side to side (PIOs)

On the cart you should do a final check. There is a checklist on the bar in front of you.
  • Through your leg straps?
  • Carabineer locked?
  • Towline OVER the cart?
  • Cart wheels straight and pointed in the right direction?
  • No loose parts or lines that could snag the cart?
  • Keel support at the correct height for your glider?

Grab the rope and hold it to the base tube of the glider. This will keep you in the cart until you are ready to launch. The tow will start by the tug taking up slack in the line. Check the wind, and when you are ready the tug is given the signal by radio or someone will swing their arm in a circle. As you gain speed, the front wheels of the cart will begin to get light and may actually lift. At this point you should release the rope and push out slightly to fly out of the cart. When you leave the cart be prepared to immediately pull in (maybe A LOT) to stay low (10 to 20 feet) until the tug lifts off. As soon as you notice the tug starting to rotate, start easing out on the bar so that you will climb with tug. Keep the wheels of the tug on the horizon, stay straight behind the tug (in line with the keel) and if the tug makes any turns stay pointed at the tug (donít cut the corner or swing wide)

  • As the cart moves forward it is possible to steer it by jerking the cart to the side you wish to turn
  • It is better to stay in the cart a little longer than necessary than to try to fly out of it too soon.
  • If for some reason you are still in the cart when the tug lifts off, fly out of the cart and release as soon as possible
  • Many people are not prepared for how quickly the tug climbs when it leaves the ground and suddenly find themselves way below the tug. If this happens, release, we will review the flight, and try again. See rule number one.
  • If you find yourself off tow be sure to check that you donít have the towline. The tug pilot may have released you if you got too far out of position. If so the towline will be trailing behind you, you wonít see it, and could snag something on landing.

The tug needs more airspeed than the glider so you will be pulled in to stay in the proper position (wheels on the horizon). If you need to correct to the left or right you will want to bump in the proper direction. If you hold it until the glider corrects, it will over correct and you will find yourself oscillating back and forth (See rule number one). If the tug pilot does not like your position, he will point in the direction he wants you to move. The signal to release is moving an arm up and down. If you see this signal, release right away even if you are not at the attitude you would like. The tug may be having a problem. If you would like a tow to a higher than normal altitude, arrange this before the tow. If for some reason you would like the tug to release you, swing an arm up and down, (same signal the tug uses). If you are disoriented after you release and are not sure where the field is, watch the tug, thatís where he is going.
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:06 AM
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SBX614 SBX614 is offline
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This is great, Rick. Thanks so much for posting it.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:57 AM
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Matt Dittman Matt Dittman is offline
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Default safety tips

Thanks Rick for the thread. I made a few calls this morning to see what the unit cost might be. Does not look to hateful. One suggestion I have is short and sweet.
I will look over it and offer any ideas I might have. Keep it coming. This is a great start.
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:12 AM
Posts: n/a
Rule number 1A: Don't forget to pay the tugpilot and hopefully bum a beer in
the process.

Rule 2: Always think the weak link is going to break and what to do if it does.

Last edited by Joe; 02-21-2010 at 11:16 AM.
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