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!"
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.
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).
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.