The Wallaby Ranch

Aerotowing at the Ranch

ready to tow

What is aerotowing?

"We don't need mountains to fly down here in sunny Florida. We use specially designed ultralight airplanes (which we call aerotugs) to tow hang gliders up into the sky. The gliders release almost half a mile above the surface, and then go looking around for rising air currents to ride. Aerotowing means you can get more flights per day with much less effort. And unlike with mountain sites, you can take off and land safely no matter which direction the wind is blowing!"

   The Wallaby Ranch has taught more people to aerotow than anyone else. We provide a complete study guide on aerotowing. Topics include: Equipment, launching flying under tow, turns on tow, weak link failures, glider release failures, flying with the rope, oscillations, signals, release and what it takes to solo.

keep the wheels of the tug on the horizon

What it takes to solo aerotow

Everyone is different. A conversation with the ranch staff will determine the individual needs of each pilot. Some pilots will need only the Introduction to Aerotowing, others multiple tandems. Many advanced and master rated pilots have opted for a tandem as the best way to learn this new skill. Our first and over-riding objective is safety. The expectations and demonstrated tasks to go solo are - Follow the tug and set up a conservative approach (both without assistance from the tandem instructor).

Training Policy
At the Wallaby Ranch, we are very conservative with regard to safety, and would rather do it right than cut corners, even if cutting corners meant making more money or saving ourselves some extra effort. We pride ourselves on producing the best-trained hang glider pilots in the world. Therefore, we maintain a few rules about how and when we conduct training operations.
We only do tandem training and first-time solo flights when the air is still and calm, which usually means early in the morning and later in the afternoon. Flying in rougher air is frustrating and counterproductive to a beginner. This is not as convenient as flying in the middle of the day, but it is more beneficial (and safer) for the students.
We recommend that our students transition slowly and cautiously from entry-level gliders to higher-perfomrance gliders, one step at a time, and furthermore we require that all transition flights be made in smooth air. We want to keep you safe and happy, so you will keep coming back year after year.