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Old May 5th 08, 05:04 AM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
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Posts: 995
Default Close call -- glider ops

Glider pilots are taught to keep their wing tips out of the grass. With only
one centerline wheel, and the lessons you took, you can understand that.
Smooth gravel or pavement is more forgiving than grass and sod, that stuff
likes to grab things and getting your wing pulled back from a lever 7.5
meters from the tire, a little force has a lot of leverage.

Cross wind take offs are "tricky", no less than in the ATLAS you fly. A wing
caught in the grass on take off will hopefully be no worse than a ground
loop, not a cartwheel. Pilots are taught that if control is lost, pull the
release, let the tow ship go, he's just making it worse anyway. Hopefully if
they don't release, the weak links in the tow rope will break and the tow
plane/pilot while upset about being jerked around.. will fly off safely.

Hopefully is was a 180HP S-Cub, and not a 150HP model. We traded our 180HP
Scout for a 235HP Pawnee and have upgraded that too 250HP. Better
accelerations and climb out.. there is nothing like Horsepower to a tow
pilot. Better accelerations mean better roll control for the glider earlier
into the take off run, that first distance after the wind runner can no
longer keep up, until you reach flying speed can be vulnerable in x-wind

Glider pilots kiting high on take off have killed more tow pilots than a
glider with a wing down ground looping.

and Tow Pilot

"Jay Honeck" wrote in message
news:[email protected]_s22...
We flew to Ames, IA (home of "That Other State College in Iowa") today to
schmooze and have lunch. Conditions when we got out of the hotel at noon
were breezy/gusty, 12 to 20, but pretty close to right down the runway,
and the sun was shining. At the end of another sell-out crazy weekend, we
NEEDED to fly.

Ames is home to an active glider operation (Mary and I took some soaring
instruction there a few years back), and today was no different, despite
the wind. Ames' Runway 19 was less than optimal, with a gusty cross wind,
but I managed to squeak 'er in without too much turmoil. We were all glad
to be back on terra firma, however, after a very bumpy descent.

As I was standing on the wing stretching, enjoying the spring sunshine, I
observed the Super Cub tow plane starting down Rwy 19, trundling along
with the trainer in tow. In the blink of an eye, the cross wind lifted
the glider's port wing, causing the starboard wing to dip. The glider
caught the wingtip (I was too far away, but it *looked* like in the
grass), causing the glider to momentarily get sideways.

The tow plane's tail, already airborne, jerked down hard -- but just as
quickly as we could gasp -- the glider's wings straightened up, the tow
plane started to fly right, and they were soon clawing for altitude.
Another cartwheel averted...

I shook my head as I jumped off the wing, amazed at how close a thing
aviation can be. We're always on the brink of disaster, it seems...but
most of the time things work out...
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
"Your Aviation Destination"