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Aerotowing and Tug Upset

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:50 am
by Richard Walker
The local BGA has recently sent out the following report (given in toto although it is targetted more towards instructors) about a tug upset when aerotowing, which did not occur in the NE area, but which provides food for thought:

'An accident report this week concerns a tug upset at 6/700ft, recovered at 400ft. Unbelievably, the glider pilot was "a very experienced pilot in several forms of aviation including tug pilot" ...... fiddling with his switches / vario!! At 600ft!?
Obviously a potential fatality. Complacency in the extreme with this pilot risking the life of a tug pilot to set up his vario!!

I can't do better than to quote from the club CFI's report, "I consider this type of accident as very serious and that it is more likely to occur to the more experienced pilot "confident" that multi tasking on aerotow is ok. Clearly it is not!"

Complacency is a killer as we know. Can we spot it on check rides or when monitoring club flying from the ground? Does complacency in one field cross over to another? I ask the questions, I don't know the answers.

Fortunately this incident was not in our area but we need to stay ahead of the game if possible. I guess that as supervisors we need to differentiate between incompetence, inconsistency and complacency, each requiring a different solution. It's not easy, Bloggs uses all his guile to mix and disguise the three!! He really is out to get us!'