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Summary of flying for Sunday 22 July 2012
Total Hours0h 35m
Best Height Gain2,300 feet
Total Flights2

After a bright and early arrival, I was keen to help set-up the airfield. The grass in the field used for towing was well over a foot long and an attempt to mow it only flattened it down. I personally didn't fancy being towed head first through this at 20 mph so wasn't keen to fly with the field in this state. Fortunately, the field to the north was more suitable and after a short conversation with the farmer, we set-up there.

This field is directly next to the South Downs Way and it wasn't long before our activities drew the attention of those passing by. John McB, wasn't flying after a recently crash so kindly volunteered to operate the bats throughout the day.

Eventually my turn came and I reluctantly stepped onto the launch trolley. After I had completed my pre-flight checks, the launch began. The first 60 seconds everything felt good and the glider tracked nicely behind the tug then I began to really struggle. I was unusually low behind the tug and was jostled about all over the place. I was just about to release when tug pilot signalled me to do so - I assumed he also had a difficult time towing me! I released and everything calmed down, I was at 997 feet, not the target 2,000 feet so turned to the left and headed back to the field wondering why the tow felt so awful? Was it my glider? Did a thermal unsettle me? I had no idea, but didn't have too much time to contemplate it as I headed downwards.

As I passed downwind of the landing field I managed to connect with a small snotty thermal and managed to dice in and out of this for quite a while and worked my way from 400 feet, up to 600 feet above take-off. I tracked back and forth along the South Downs Way and extended my flight for around 20 minutes in this weak lift. Eventually the lift diminished and I landed.

It was at that point I was told that the tug pilot said I was un-towable and that he wouldn't tow me again. I was happy to call it a day there and then as I too found the whole experience a little un-pleasurable and seriously began to contemplate if aerotow was for me.

I returned to launch and assisted Ozzie into the air. As he ascended it looked like he too struggled and he was flying a rigid wing! When Ozzie and the tug pilot were down they debated what was going on. It was evident that something wasn't right! The tug struggled to generate power and was flying close to stall and Ozzie, like I had, struggled to keep position behind the tug. This all sounded all too similar to my flight!

It was at that point someone started to examine the tug and noticed that the air filter had become detached from the engine. This most likely resulted in the tug being a little underpowered and was probably a good explanation of what happened to me and Ozzie.

With this new knowledge, the tug pilot re-considered towing me. A couple of hours later, I was back on the launch trolley being towed back into the air for my last flight of the day. This time I experienced some minor height oscillations but completed a successful tow to 2,300 feet. On the way down, the air was silky smooth and I enjoyed a gentle glide back to earth. I was glad I had that second flight and speaking with the tug pilot afterwards, we discovered that my Sting is quite sensitive to the towing air speed. 40 mph appeared to be the optimum, slightly below that I sank, and slightly faster, I out climbed the tug!

Flying Log(s)

TypeAerotow Launch
DateSun, 22 Jul 2012 - 12:00
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
SitePlumpton Aerotow
Duration00h 20m
CommentsAwful tow; very hard to control glider. Fault with tug found after I landed after early release. Flight maintained in thermal for a short time.
Height Gain1,000 ft
Total Hours53h 26m

TypeAerotow Launch
DateSun, 22 Jul 2012 - 15:00
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
SitePlumpton Aerotow
Duration00h 15m
CommentsSSE-SSW; blue - smooth tow & final glide back to launch.
Height Gain2,300 ft
Total Hours53h 41m

Total Flying Statistics

The total flying statistics up to and including 22 Jul 2012:

Total Hours53h 41m
Longest Flight1h 20m
Gliders Flown4
Unique Sites Flown20
Best Height Gain3,000 feet
Total Distance20.4 km
Furthest Flown13.4 km
Total Flights217
Hill Launches101
Winch Launches99
Aerotow Launches17