Author: Burt Compton
From Bob Wander's "Gliding Mentor" series
Paperback, 44 pages, many illustrations and black and white photos
Dimensions: 8.43 x 10.87 inches (214 x 276 mm), Copyright 2006, Fourth
Table of Contents #1
Table of Contents #2
About the Author
Burt Compton soloed in 1968 and is a "Gold Seal" Glider Flight
Instructor. He is one of 200 Master CFI's nationwide as designated by
the National Association of Flight Instructors. He has flown dozens of
types of gliders, ranging from training gliders to racing sailplanes. He
also holds a Commercial Certificate in Airplanes and Seaplanes and is a
Flight Instructor in Airplanes.
Towpilot Manual was written to advance the skills and enhance the safety
of all towpilots, present and future. The accent is on safe practice
throughout, and even veteran towpilots will discover valuable safety
enhancement techniques in this book.
This towpilot manual is a compilation of aerotow procedures used in the
USA. I have gathered information based on established methods and my own
experience as a towpilot since 1970. I have flown more than 30 different
types of gliders on aerotow at more than 30 different soaring sites,
including my own glider flight school, Miami Gliders Corporation.
Earning a glider towing endorsement can be very rewarding. The towpilot
is an essential element in the sport of soaring, and assumes a
substantial amount of responsibility for both the towplane and the
glider being towed. Many new towpilots are not themselves glider pilots.
From the towpilot's perspective, the aerotow emergency scenarios can
sometimes be very subtle and unusual, not seen in any other type of
flying. The energy, momentum, and dynamics of two aircraft attached by a
200-foot rope can lead to some dangerous situations. To ensure safe
operation, the risk must be managed by discussing the situations that
may suddenly develop into an emergency, and by maintaining awareness of
the options available to the towpilot during every phase of flight.
I recognize that approved aerotow procedures may vary depending on
geographic location, airport environment, and types of towplanes and
gliders used. When you are preparing the "towpilot flight ops" book for
your organization, study the manufacturer's Pilot Operating Handbook (POH)
for the specific towplanes and gliders that you operate. In addition,
study the SSA Soaring Flight Manual chapter on aerotow to review
recommended aerotow procedures.
Finally, I dedicate this manual to every towpilot who has ever towed me
aloft, and to my mentor, Fritz Compton.
Towpilot and Glider Flight Instructor
President, Miami Gliders Corporation, Miami, Florida.