A Tale of Two Takeoffs
On Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 11:12:11 AM UTC-4, wrote:
I may have missed it, but I didn't see any comment on holding wheel brake as the tow plane takes out slack.
Good point, JJ. Overruns often run over the rope and trigger a back release, which gets everyone excited on a tense contest launch grid.
I cycle the dive brakes in and out repeatedly so the wing runner knows they're out intentionally. As the slack comes out, I hold them out to apply the wheel brake, then ease it off to release any tension on the rope before we roll. Neither I nor, I'm told, tow pilots want a slingshot launch where the glider holds the wheel brake as the tow pilot applies power, then releases it suddenly.
At Nephi, it was the tow pilot who appeared to be powering up, then releasing the brake (in a tricycle gear towplane, btw, so no risk of nosing over if the rope broke). I wouldn't have thought that was a bad technique. But because we were all at max gross, that seemed to stretch the rope briefly before the glider started to move, which then snatched it off the line and (I assume) surprised the inexperienced wing runner.