Scope and Purpose

The scope and purpose of this course is to provide standardized tow pilot training producing safe and competent tow pilots.

Overview of Aerotow

A glider is pulled aloft by a tow plane using a tow line, normally 200-foot in length. At a predetermined altitude the glider will release. The glider will normally make a level or slight climbing right turn to clear the tow line. When assured that the glider has released, the tow pilot will clear for traffic and make a left turn. The tow plane will then descend as rapidly as engine cooling permits, land, and prepare for the next launch.

Preparation for tow

In addition to a thorough tow plane preflight inspection in accordance with the pilot operating handbook (POH), several other details require attention.

Proper fuel planning is essential since the tow operation will normally be flown with a full or best power mixture setting, causing fuel consumption to be higher than normal cruise flight. Aircraft performance considerations may require the tow plane to be operated with less than full fuel tanks. An appropriate procedure to determine the exact amount of onboard fuel is a must and familiarity with the fuel consumption of the specific airplane used for towing is essential. While not required by FARs, it is recommended the tow plane land with a minimum of 30 minutes of fuel at cruise power.

The tow hook must be inspected for proper operation daily, prior to tow activity. There are two types of tow hooks used in the United States, a Tost (European type) or Schweizer (American type). The most common type of tow hook installed on American tow planes is the Schweizer tow release.

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09/24/2000 8:03:28 PM