Go Pro Killing Tow Pilots!

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Charles Petersen
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Go Pro Killing Tow Pilots!

Post by Charles Petersen » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:57 am

Well, the thread on rec.aviation.soaring on the tragic death of a tow pilot is cause for stating what should be the obvious: don't fiddle with anything while on tow.

The report is at https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.avia ... 006&akey=1

It was an intro flight, and the pilot/instructor looked away from the tug to adjust his video, and got too high, driving the Pawnee into an unrecoverable nose-down attitude.

If you are the pilot flying, on tow, you have one all-consuming job: stay in formation. Let's all remember that :?
They will soar on wings like eagles - Isaiah 40:3`

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James Kingdon
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Re: Go Pro Killing Tow Pilots!

Post by James Kingdon » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:12 am

Chilling.

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Ivor David
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Re: Go Pro Killing Tow Pilots!

Post by Ivor David » Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:57 pm

There was similar accident at SOSA back in the early 70's I believe, although a GoPro was not involved. The towpilot was badly injured but survived. It can be easy to get lulled into "it's just another flight" frame of mind. There are risks with every flight and pilots must regularly remind themselves of this and remain diligent with regard to the phase of flight they are in.
Ivor David

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Stan Martin
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Re: Go Pro Killing Tow Pilots!

Post by Stan Martin » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:39 pm

Years ago, I was distracted for a moment by an aircraft descending and appearing just off my left wing tip. When I looked back, my tow was no where to be seen and pulled the release. So yes, situational awareness is not to be taken lightly.

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Jean Egan
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Re: Go Pro Killing Tow Pilots!

Post by Jean Egan » Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:57 pm

We lost two L-19 in the 70´s while with the Air Cadets in Quebec during the takeoff run. Luckily nobody was hurt. Both gliders went off position and tow pilots stated that they were unable to use the release.

Importance to be ready to release if out of position at low altitudes

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Doug Carman
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Re: Go Pro Killing Tow Pilots!

Post by Doug Carman » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:36 pm

From the report, the video suggests the glider pilot did some very strange things before the rope broke or he fully released: spoilers open, yaw string 45 deg off, then 90 deg off, a release that didn't work apparently because it didn't go back far enough. As tow pilot, I would have wanted to dump him like a bad girlfriend, but I know the tendency to salvage the flight, and if your hand isn't near the release, it takes time. I have had my hand twitching at the release handle when towing with WTI or HFV wondering whether I can clear the fence or trees with the glider attached. Never had to do it, but I was ready.
Ivor's comment is very good. I sort of assume, like driving in Toronto, that everyone is out to kill me. If I'm instructing, I try to instill that in the students. No-one wants a death on their conscience. We do not get to practice these situations, so I think sometimes we need reminders.

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