Risk Management Plan for recreational towing operations
by Had Robinson and others
A. Towing is done on Highway 9, west of the abandoned go-cart race track.
B. Minimum pilot rating is P2 with ST (surface tow) rating
C. Information communicated to pilots before each tow
- A tow on Hwy 9 is the same as pay-in tows at the turf farms. Pilot should ignore the tow vehicle and, instead, focus on keeping the tow line just in front perpendicular to his glider.
This requires a continual glance up at the left and right tips of the glider wing and then a look at the tow line.
- Forward inflation: Pilot will bow when he is ready. The winch operator will begin to apply (and then increase) the tow force. Pilot should resist the tow force as long as he
can. Tow operator may signal when it is time to go.
- Reverse inflation: Winch operator will not begin the tow until the pilot turns and faces forward with the glider over his head and stable. This is the signal that all things are a
- First 100’ of vertical tow will be done with minimum force in case of line break.
- Inform pilot that he must be prepared to land at any time. The road is a safe place to land right off launch as it will be clear.
- The pilot should not get in his harness until he is at least 100’ off the ground.
- Focus on keeping the glider and tow line perpendicular.
- We will not tow until there are no vehicles in sight on the highway.
- During the tow, let the glider drift with the wind direction. It is not a problem if the glider does not center over the highway.
- Pilot may release from tow at any time. Normally, the winch operator will let pilot know via radio when the end of the tow line is approaching.
- The winch operator will give a countdown for the release from tow when the
- Do radio check with pilot before launching. Pilot must lock radio into the respective frequency.
- NOTE FENCE ON BOTH SIDES OF HIGHWAY RIGHT OF WAY.
- Pilots may land on the highway if it is clear in both directions, on the dirt road just north of the highway, or anywhere else, north or south of the fence. Winch operator
can inform pilot if the highway is clear of traffic.
- Pilots may go cross country in any direction but should radio coordinates of
proposed landing area while still in the air to the winch operator.
D. Winch operator checklist
- Run tow line all the way out on ground to check for knots and snags
- Install SPOT communicator in drogue
- Check that tow line is tracking correctly through winch
- Warm up winch engine in preparation for tow line rewind
- Make sure hydraulic control is at minimum force
- Assist pilot in laying out glider and checking for knots, debris, and cravats
- Connect pilot’s tow bridle to tow line
- Ensure that correct weak-link is being used
- Check pilot’s glider connection to harness
- Check pilot’s hand positions are correct for either forward or reverse launch
- Do not begin tow until highway is CLEAR IN BOTH DIRECTIONS
- Lock radio to chosen radio frequency (new for summer 2017)
E. Towed Pilot Checklist 123ABCD
- 1 chin strap
- 2 karabiners
- 3 straps (leg, leg, and gut)
- A air?
- B being?
- C clear? (lines and launch direction)
- D radio check?
F. Inventory of man-made and natural hazards at pay-out location
- There is a fence 50’ from the center of the highway on each side.
- There are no natural hazards.
- West of the abandoned race track we can tow almost 40 miles (if needed) without hazards other than the fence.
- There is sparse traffic on the road. It is easily visible from both directions.