End of the Line - Glider Pilot's Aerotow Manual
Author:  Murray Shain
From Bob Wander's "Gliding Mentor" series
Paperback, Many black and white photos, 40 pages, Copyright 2006
Dimensions: 8.31 x 11.0 inches (211 x 280 mm)
Table of Contents #1

Table of Contents #2
About the Authors

Author's Notes by Murray Shain
Anyone watching a sailplane for the first time may get the impression that soaring is a carefree sport. Gliders appear to fly so freely and gracefully through the skies that much of the really intensive work sailplane pilots and crews perform is invisible to casual observers. 

Mastering the aerotow is one of the more challenging tasks that the soaring newcomer must acquire. In every other category of aircraft, whether airplane, rotorcraft, lighter-than-air or powered lift, a pilot is concerned only with the handling of his or her machine. In gliders launched by aerotow, the glider pilot needs to control the glider and simultaneously pay close attention to the actions of the towpilot and towplane. 

Learning to fly steadily behind a towplane may seem strange at first. But with a little concentration and practice, you'll master it, as do the many hundreds of people each year in the United States who learn to soar.

The Federal Aviation Regulations stipulate that a student pilot (in gliders) trained to launch by aerotow must receive and log flight training for the following maneuvers and procedures:

  • Launches, including normal and crosswind
  • Emergency procedures and equipment malfunctions
  • Inspection of towrope rigging and review of signals and release procedures
  • Aerotow procedures
  • Emergency operations, including towrope break procedures

This book will help you understand and master each of these items. 

As you read this book, stop occasionally, sit back, and absorb what you have just studied. Then, re-open the book and continue. If you study this way, you will get maximum benefit from this book. 

If you are a glider flight instructor, I hope that you will find my book useful for training your students, and that you will recommend it to them. 

The terms glider and sailplane are used interchangeably in this book. Most pilots prefer the word sailplane. The FAA uses the term glider. 

Murray Shain

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End of the Line

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