January 2015: Scooter Towing

Sunday 1/3/16 12:30 to sunset
N Wind 5mph ~light~
High Cirrus clouds were pushed South, giving way to a glorious sunny south Texas winter day.
Early, there was a strange sighting of an unknown flying object in the West sky, heading upwind…

Cowboy Up was running tandems for the most part of the afternoon as Chris, Mak, and I caught up with Ingo, Sir Rich, Mick, and Jo Anne who have all made it back safely from trips abroad. AT student Pablo was in the mix as well.

Sir Rich has done an extraordinary job getting the scooter tow running, and it is running like a sewing machine. Starts right up and purrs. I was there to help him earlier on and it was running like a dog on its last legs. Now its silky smooth… But let me back up a little bit. Before the engine even started we had a briefing with Bart who got us in the right mindset. See, thus far neither Sir Rich or I had ever flown on a scooter tow system….somehow Rich said that he heard that I was flying pretty good lately and I was going to be the first one to fly. I admit, I was nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. But Rich talked me through it first with exactly every step that we were going to take.

Before we started that scooter Rich pulled me as he ran and I just practiced running with the glider just as Mick and I did at the L/D contest. I had butterflies in my stomach thinking of so many variables…”ok lets just run with the glider”, i thought. I have to mention the quality of the field at KARM today…when Tiki tweeted “field is wet, no flying today” she really meant it. It was a perfect field for some tackle mudfootball…not really “ideal” for an LZ. Anyways, I shout to Rich go go go, and he starts running to pull me on my test run with the glider…and on my second step my foot sinks into the mud and the suction pulls my foot right out of my sneaker. It was a sloppy mess, everyone who went out there got in the mud and standing water, you couldn’t avoid it…so I tightened up my laces and went for a couple of successful runs with the glider.

At this point, everyone is down at the south end of the runway, in the quagmire of a field. Chris, Mak, Sir Rich, Pablo, Mick, Ingo, …and there is much discussion about the proper “technique” that should be employed here. Jo Anne is walking off after the dogs… The discussion is going around and around…where should your hands be? should he be pushing out? if this happens what then? What about if this happens? yahda yada yada …. I know everyone is just looking out for my best interest…but I was just ready to get the scooter started and have a go. Sir Rich was eager to hook me up for a pull…I was just ready to get that first one over with….

Finally, pulled up tension, wings level, deep breath, go go go! Rich’s goal was to get me about 1meter above the ground to get accustomed to the pull of the winch. It was awesome!!! I was smiling ear to ear after the first slow and low pull. I eventually worked up to about a 15′ flight…but our goal wasn’t height, it was steady flight. Anyways, I ended up having about 8 tows and they all were great…Makbule had 3-4, Ingo had 3.

My over all impression is positive with the scooter towing rig. We had good conditions, and we just took baby steps the whole way. It was just like launching at the dam…in that you step through the glider to get running. I can’t wait to get a real tow on that thing now!

I was really glad to have Sir Rich and Mick and Jo Anne and Ingo back home at the airport. It really really felt good to have some club towing today!!!