Pre-takeoff checklist

Nearly half of all glider fatalities occur during the first few seconds of flight.

Most of these can be avoided by an observant, well-trained wing runner.



Note: This list does not lend itself to a simple acronym, but should be memorized and practiced by anyone responsible for launching a glider.

There are four general categories of safety when launching a glider by aerotow.


The Area. The Aircraft. The Tow Plane, The Launch


The Area

Are other aircraft taking off or landing?

When preparing to launch, the wing runner has several opportunities to enhance safety and prevent accidents:

 Are people or obstructions creating distractions or hazards?

Make bystanders move away to reduce distractions.

The Aircraft

Tail dolly off?

CAC accomplished?  (Critical Assembly Check - includes PCC - Positive Control Check)

Ask pilot before entering the cockpit: “Can I help you perform a critical assembly and positive control check?

Ballast weights required? Be especially alert when small, or very heavy people sit in the front seat.

Seat belts attached?

Observe the pilot performing common checklist items.

The Tow Plane

Condition - Tires, flaps, condition (Pay attention as it taxis into position.)

Tow rope (Inspect & Show end to glider pilot before connecting )

Walk to wing tip.

Canopies locked?

Dive brakes locked?

Flaps in logical position?

The Launch

Air traffic & runway clear.

Take up slack.

Level wing (balanced) on pilot signal.

Give “Go” signal on pilot signal.


     Composed by Tom Knauff

January 2013


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