Angles And Forces While Turning On Tow


  • D. Tannhauser


Aerodynamics, Design, Training, Coaching


To quote D. Piggot (Sailplane & Gliding, Dec. 1972) 'aerotowing is one of the more difficult aspects of gliding to teach'. Because of this there are also many different philosophies on how to fly on tow. It seems that part of the difficulty comes from the unusual combination of forces acting on the glider - aerodynamic forces plus the pull of the rope connecting it to the towplane. I would like to discuss one aspect of this - the forces acting on the glider while turning on tow, and how these forces affect the attitude of the glider. The results are not revolutionary, but mignt help some pilots to improve their flying. At least they will know what they and the glider should ideally do. In sum, to fly a glider correctly on tow, in a turn, we have to point its nose somewhat outside the circle and, in theory, maintain a very slightly smaller bank than the towplane. The sample calculation show that the difference in bank is usually negligible, i.e. for correct flying keep the wings parailel to tliose of the towplane.