Close call -- glider ops
Dropping the Right wing on the initial part of the tow is not to
uncommon for the glider as it hits the prop wash of the tow plane. I
suspect it would be the Left wing when towing behing a towplane with a
non US standard direction prop.
Additionally we often practice non-wing runner takeoffs where we start
with one wing on the ground. This is Ok in most trainers but not
recommended in some high performance gliders or on many unpaved
The glider getting sideways is not normal, but in a crosswind can
happen to some extent until the glider gathers enough speed to have
adequate rudder authority to counteract the cross wind.
The tow planes tail jerking down does not seem to unusual, unless you
mean it slammed to the ground. The glider can pretty easily change the
direction of the tow plane. If either pilot thought there was any
danger of losing control they should have released. If the glider did
turn sideways enough to lose control the Weak Link on the tow rope
should have broken.
You are correct that in flying we are often, especially during take-
off and landing, only a split second from changing from being OK and
normal to Not OK and Abnormal. This is where mental practice and
physcial practice as appropriate of the things that might go wrong
can save the day.