Tow Tips

Some thoughts on learning how to be towed for newer glider pilots.

First, think of it like flying formation.  If the tow plane banks, match their bank.  If it is level, keep your wings level.  If the tow plane is level but you’ve gotten off to the side, just yaw toward it.  Yaw, don’t bank, or you’ll likely overcorrect.  Bank mostly just to get the wings back to level.

Remember also to look for trends.  Trends are more important than location.  If the tow plane suddenly zooms upward perhaps due to an updraft, you do want to correct but remember that you’ll be experiencing the same updraft soon too.  So point the nose up HALFway toward where the tow plane is, then when you get to that same updraft you won’t have as much to correct back down.

The goal is to make rapid but small corrections.  If you ever start getting into ever larger oscillations, level your wings, take your hand off the stick for 3 seconds, take a deep breath, and try again – staying relaxed.

Another way to think of it is to ‘shoot the towplane’.  Point toward it at all times.  The instant it starts to drift from your sights apply a small but rapid correction.  Think more about pointing at it than trying to stay behind it.  Most of all, it just takes practice to anticipate and calibrate your brain and muscles so stick with it!