Thursday, November 7, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013 Auto Tow Day

Visibility: Excellent
Wind: Light out of the North.
Altitudes: 700 ft. AGL
Time Aloft: 5 to 7 minutes off Auto Tow.
Max Lift: Some zero sink
Temperature: Low 80s max.
Comment: Tow plane down. Auto Tow Day declared.
Tow pilot: Jeff Richardson volunteered his Powerful 4WD Suburban for Auto Towing, and did much of the driving as well.

With the tow plane out of action for Saturday, October 26, and the annual club meeting/dinner on tap for the evening, a group of us got together and decided to put on an auto tow day. Jeff Richardson volunteered to loan us the use of his powerful 4WD Chevy Suburban, which turned out to be more than adequate for the job. In fact, some of the highest launches we've had over the years in the 2-33 were achieved thanks  to the power and acceleration Jeff's vehicle provided.  Arriving early around 9:00 a.m., we had a ground school attended by myself, Jeff Richardson and Andy Reistetter and John Harbick. We then deployed the rope, walked it and installed the hinged tow vehicle release and line on Jeff's truck. We spent the rest of the day until dusk doing auto tows. Arriving a little later were Steve Kline, Jan Zanutto, Harold Gallagher, Dan Gudgel, Jim Rickey, Bart Klusek,  and Martin Cansky. At Bart's urging, we also decided to get out the GAPA for some auto towing.  Everyone got some auto towing experience. Bart, who trained in Ireland on winch launching in the earlier stages of his soaring, has already been signed off for ground launch for some time. Bart  flew the GAPA several times. He caught a thermal on one flight,  and had zero sink for a while. Dan Gudgel flew with me in the 2-33 Big Bird,  and then flew the GAPA on at least 2 or 3 auto tow flights that I saw.  Flying in the 2-33 with me were Jeff Richardson, Peter Sahlberg, Jan Zanutto, Andy Reisteter, John Harbick, Martin Cansky, Jim Rickey, Steve Kline, and Harold Gallagher. Most people got 2 auto tows and some got 3. Somehow,  Jim Rickey got only one flight  due to an unfortunate oversight during the mix up as we traded off driving, tow car spotter, wing runner and tail holder-downer duties.  We  used radios for communication, with an orange signal bat for an emergency stop launch signal should radios fail. We are going to look to change to a pure flag based system next time, as radios can be subject to interference, tuning the wrong frequency and some other issues.  Jan took some video of the day's action,  which you can see at these links:

2-33 on Auto Tow

GAPA on Auto Tow

Following the Auto Towing, everyone adjourned to the clubhouse for our annual meeting, dinner and awards presentation. I neglected to record all the awards,  but hope to edit this page and include them soon. Or else another blog page may be created just for the awards.

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