Duty Guide


A Guide for Duties at Harris Hill

Download the guide in Microsoft Word format here.

Updated June 2012


  1. 1. Duty roster and Job Descriptions

  2. 2. A Guide for Line Workers

  3. 3. A Guide for Log Keepers

  4. 4. A Guide for Cash Persons

  5. 5. Tow Pilot Duties

  6. 6. Commercial Glider Piots


1.1   General

Work duty assignments will be communicated through the duty roster, the schedule of weekend work duty assignments.  The duty roster will be issued monthly from April through October by the Duty Roster Committee, and mailed to each member at his or her address of record. It will also be posted on the HHSC website. The Junior Organization will coordinate with its advisor and the Manager of Summer Operations and issue work schedules for junior members assigned to line duty during the summer operations.

Members anticipating a schedule conflicts should notify the Duty Roster Scheduler prior to publication of the duty roster, usually by the middle of the previous month.  The Scheduler will try to accommodate these requests if possible, but may not be able to accommodate every request.

1.2Flying Duty Assignments

While all active members can expect to be assigned some duty each month during the soaring season, the assignment to flying duties such as Commercial, Tow Pilot, or CFI is a privilege, not a right of membership. Members can be removed from these flying positions for a variety of reasons at the discretion of the Scheduler, the Board of Directors or the Vice President of Safety and Training.

Be sure to check all columns of the duty roster for your name.

1.3Other Duties

All members need to be able to perform the line, log, and cash duties described below. Seek knowledgeable help before performing these duties solo. Read the descriptions of all the duty assignments. This cross training makes our operation safer and more efficient.


The responsibility of a Line Worker is to assist in managing the flight line, and to help the glider pilots in readying the aircraft for flight, correctly connecting the tow rope, and assisting in launching the glider.

2.1 Responsibilities

A.Helping with moving aircraft - in and out of the hangar, on and off the runways, and elsewhere as needed.

B. Connecting the tow rope to the glider.

C.  Running the wing during the start of the takeoff run.

D.  Helping out with crowd control.

E.  Direct support to the Commercial pilot, Tow Pilot and log keeper - help out where needed.

F. Know and use the SSA Standard American Soaring Signals.  A copy is included with this Manual.

All of the above tasks are critical to our operation, and some can be dangerous if you don't know what you are doing.  Don't try to do this job without training, and don't be shy about telling the Log Keeper that you are new on the job.  Ask for help and you will get it.

2.2 Cautions

Be very careful when moving aircraft in and out of the hangar, particularly when close to other aircraft.  They are remarkably easy to damage if bumped against each other.  Always have an experienced person help you with the close work. 

Never try to move an aircraft by yourself.

Take care of the tow ropes.  Examine each one for knots, frayed places or other damage when you take it off the reel.  If you find any damage tell the Glider Pilot and/or the Tow Pilot, and take the rope out of service.

Help keep the aircraft clean.  Position a bucket filled with water next to the flight line at the beginning of the day.   As time allows remove bugs and dirt from the aircraft.

If there is any wind, or if there may be some later, do not leave the aircraft unattended, even for a short time.  Tie them down, if needed.  Keep the canopies closed and latched.  Keep the brakes on and locked while parked.  Wind or prop wash from the tow planes can blow the aircraft into each other or actually overturn them.  They are your aircraft, and repairs cost you real money.

2.3 Duties of Line Workers

Be ready to help get gliders off the runway after landing.  If there is other traffic needing the runway, you may have to move quickly.  But always look for other aircraft on final before walking on a runway.  Look in all directions!  Gliders can come at you from any direction.  LOOK BEFORE YOU RUN.

Line up gliders for takeoff no closer to the east edge of the pavement than the first set of contest markings.  Don't go too far west, as the field is needed for landings also.

Help the Commercial Pilot get the passengers into the aircraft and strapped down. 

Always remember that the front end of the tow plane will kill you.  Stay away from it.

We aren't kidding or exaggerating.  The propeller of the tow plane can kill you.  Dead.

When using a non-reel type towrope, be careful of rope burns when holding the tow rope as the tow plane taxis into position.  Use gloves or a towline hook.

Hook up the tow ring as directed by the glider pilot, and never before.  Do not use a Tost ring on a Schweizer hook.  Know the difference.

Your major job during hookup, taking up slack, and the start of the takeoff run is to support and help the glider pilot.  Do what he or she tells you to do.  Do not hesitate to point out things the pilot may not be able to see. You have the wider field of view, so scan the pattern for other traffic and point out traffic you see. Check the security of the canopy and that the spoilers are down and locked as necessary.

Be ready to help refuel the tow planes, as speeding up this process can greatly improve our efficiency as well as make the waiting passengers happy.  Stay away from the propeller of the tow plane. Always ground the tow plane before fueling.

You should help coordinate the movement of passengers to and from the flight line. This is a joint effort with the Cash Person, Log Keeper and commercial pilot. When passengers and their well-wishers are sent down to the line for a ride, greet them. Direct friends and family members to stay clear of the flight line prior to the arrival of the tow plane at the glider. Keep waiting passengers well back from the runway and tow plane taxiway.

You are an important representative of the HHSC to the public.  Make sure that all your contacts with passengers are friendly, helpful, and informative.

Read the Guidelines for the other specialties with which you will be working. That will help make things clearer to you.

3.0Guide for Log Keepers

The main responsibility of the Log Keeper is to keep an accurate record of the flying activity at Harris Hill.

Maintaining accurate records on the Sailplane Daily Flight Record is of great importance to HHSC.  Not only does it provide the billing records for a major source of our income (tows and rental of aircraft by members), but it constitutes the legal record of flight time on our sailplanes, by means of which we schedule the required maintenance and inspections.

3.1 Duties of Log Keepers

You can work most effectively from near the flight line, but this is not a rigid rule.  At times, the log is kept from inside of the office. Sometimes pilots flying on weekdays will need to log their own takeoff and landing information.

If you don't know a pilot’s name, just ask.  Don't be embarrassed, just ask.  It is important for billing that the right names get in the right slots.

A major responsibility for you is to coordinate the movement of passengers to and from the flight line. This is a joint effort with the cash person, line workers and the commercial pilot. Use the radios available in the office to limit the number of people at the flight line. Purchasing a ticket does not grant full access to wander about unescorted on the airport.

When passengers and their well-wishers are sent down to the line for a ride, greet them. Introduce the person going for the ride to the commercial pilot. You or the Line Person should direct the other friends and family members clear of the flight line prior to the arrival of the tow plane at the glider. Keep waiting passengers well back from the runway and tow plane taxiway.  Deal with passengers in a friendly, professional, and informative manner.  Help track the sequence of ticket numbers, so that the passengers are taken in the right order.

Keep the flight log accurately and legibly.  Use a ball-point pen and make sure that the yellow sheet copies clearly.  For the following notes, refer to the example of a Sailplane Daily Flight Record.

a.  Date and number the sheet.

b. The left column is normally used to designate the person responsible for paying the tow and sailplane rental charges.  Record here the name of the student pilot, pilot, or passenger ticket number.  If someone else is to be billed or if two people are sharing the costs note that in the far-right column.

c.  Use the next column to record the name of the instructor for training flights, or the name of the commercial glider pilot for passenger flights.  You can also use it to record the name of the second member in cases where the costs are to be shared. 

d.  Record the last three digits of the tow plane N-number.

e.  Record the tow pilot's name or initials.

f.  Record the tow release altitude planned before takeoff.  This may be changed in flight, but it is the responsibility of the tow pilot and/or the glider pilot to tell you of the change.

h.  Record the number on the tail of the sailplane.

i.  Record the time of takeoff to the nearest minute.

j.  Record the time of landing to the nearest minute.

k.  Figure the total time of the flight when time allows.

n.  This column is used to note the price received for the passenger flight ticket, necessary only when there is no Cash Person on duty and the payment is received by the Log Keeper. 

o. Use the area below the columns to record the names and amounts received from members paying on their accounts.  This is often done so that they can get current with their bills and be allowed to fly.  All money or checks received must be placed in the cash box for proper recording and deposit.  The same applies to non-member tow fees and check flight fees as covered above.

p.  The bottom of the log is for office use.

You can be a help to your fellow members if you remind them to sign the back of the white log sheet so that they receive credit for working, but you are not responsible for seeing that they do so.

When serving on the morning shift and being relieved by the afternoon Log Keeper, be sure to fully brief your replacement on the status of the operation.   Be sure he or she knows how many passengers are waiting and who they are, which sailplanes are being used for passenger flights, which are being used for instructional or personal flying, and how many are currently aloft.

At the end of the afternoon shift put the yellow copy of the log sheet in the three-ring binder you will find in one of the desks in the office.  This function is vital, as these sheets are used by Operations to schedule maintenance and inspections.

You are an important member of the HHSC public relations team.  It is critical to our program that you meet the public in a professional manner, greeting them with courtesy, assistance, and accurate information.  When too many tickets have been sold, and your passengers are getting grumpy because of the long wait, your powers of diplomacy are going to be tested.  Do the best you can.  Work with the Cash Person to make things as smooth and professional as possible.  And keep your cool.

4.0A Guide for Cash Person

The responsibility of the Cash Person is to act as a source of information for the public on the topics of the sale of sailplane ride tickets, including ground safety, and to record money paid by members or charges to private owners. The key to success in the cash duty position is to set and manage the expectations of customers.

The Cash Person’s tasks are:

1.  Sales

a.  Sale of passenger tickets for cash/credit

b.  Exchange of gift certificates for ride tickets

c.  Refunds of passenger tickets

d.  Sale of sundry items (T-shirts, hats, etc.)

e.  Fees to club members or private aircraft owners

f.  Tow tickets (during contests and special events only)

2.  Interaction with general public

a.  Answering phone or in-person questions from public

b.  Hours of operation (10am- 6pm); last ticket sold no later than 5:30

c.  Cost of sailplane ride tickets

d.  Differences between high performance and trainer glider

e.  Managing queue of waiting sailplane ride ticket holders

3.  Communications

a.  With sailplane ride ticket holders to ensure they are ready when their turn comes

b.  With flight line log keeper to ensure ride ticket holders are on the flight line when a glider is available and not too early

c.  With pilots calling the ground radio in the office on Harris Hill frequency

4.  Safety

a.  Briefing sailplane ride ticket holders of ground safety procedures

b.  Ensuring proper escort or control to the flight line

5.  Emergency

Calls to fire and ambulance services in the case of an incident

4.1 Ticket Sales to General Public

A.Proper form of payment for a sailplane ride is either cash or credit card (VISA/Mastercard only).  No personal checks are accepted.

B.Cash sale

i.Collect the proper amount depending on the type of sailplane ride. See current rates in the appendix for the proper price to charge for a ride.

ii.Place the cash in the cashbox.

iii.Remove a sailplane ride ticket (usually kept in the cash box under the plastic insert.  Safeguard the tickets as they are the equivalent of money!

iv.Record the following information on the Cash Box Log Sheet.  (If no cash sheet exists, locate one and start a new one or use a blank sheet of paper) to record:

-Ticket number

- Amount of sale

v.Inform the passenger about safety procedures, expected wait time and so forth.

C.Credit card sale – Use the credit card scanner if possible. 

i.Scanner sale.

a.Instructions for use of the scanner should be on the desk near the scanner or hanging up on the wall. 

b. In general, a sale is performed by swiping the card and following the instructions on the scanner.  Manual entry is possible if the magnetic strip is not scanned properly.

c. Wait for the approval code to appear and the receipt to print out.

d. Tear off the receipt and ask the customer to sign the top copy, keeping the yellow bottom copy underneath to record the signature.

e. Place the top copy in the cashboxfi. Remove a sailplane ride ticket (usually kept in the cash box under the plastic insert.  Safeguard the tickets as they are the equivalent of money!

g. Record the ticket number on the cash sheet.  If no cash sheet exists, locate one and start a new one or use a blank sheet of paper to record:

-Ticket number

-Amount of sale

ii.Manual credit card sale (scanner does not work)

a. If the scanner does not work, be sure it is plugged in and no one is using the phone line.  Ensure the phone line is plugged securely into the scanner.

b. To perform a manual sale, locate the imprinter and carbon copy receipts in the main office. 

c. Place the card on the imprinter, insert the carbon copy receipt and move imprint the card.

d. Ask the customer to sign the receipt and place the top copy in the cash box, giving the bottom copy to the customer.

e. Remove a sailplane ride ticket (usually kept in the cash box under the plastic insert.  Safeguard the tickets as they are the equivalent of money!

f. Record the ticket number on the cash sheet.  If no cash sheet exists, locate one and start a new one or use a blank sheet of paper to record:

-Ticket number

-Amount of sale

4.2 Exchange of gift certificates for ride tickets

  1. A.    Gift certificates are sold only at the National Soaring Museum.  Direct customers who wish to purchase a gift certificate to the NSM.

  2. B.  When a customer presents a gift certificate, you must collect the certificate.  Certificates are like cash and should be treated as such.

  3. C.  Issue a sailplane ride ticket to the customer and record the ride ticket number on the gift certificate. Example:  “Issued ticket number xxxx”

  4. D.  Place the gift certificate in the cashbox underneath the cash drawer insert.

  5. E.  Record the ticket number on the cash sheet and note in remarks that it is in exchange for a gift certificate.  Make sure to record the gift certificate number as well.

4.3 Refunds of sailplane ride tickets

  1. A.  Sailplane ride tickets do not expire.  If a customers request refunds for their ride tickets, inform them that tickets are valid indefinitely and ask if they would like to keep them and come back another time.

  2. B.  If they still want refunds, you may refund the tickets to their credit cards or in cash.  If there is not enough cash in the cash box, offer to refund to their credit cards.  The credit card machine should have instructions for how to issue a refund.

  3. C.  Be sure to refund the proper amount!  If a refund is for a basic trainer ride, the amount is less than for the high performance ticket.

  4. D.  Collect the ticket and place in the cash box underneath the drawer insert. 

  5. E.  Record the refund and the ticket number on the cash box log sheet.  Example: “-$70.00, refund for ticket number xxxx”

4.4 Sale of sundry items (T-shirts, hats, etc.)

  1. A.  Sundry items such as t-shirts and hats are recorded similarly to the sale of a sailplane ride ticket.

  2. B. Record the amount of sale and form of payment (cash or credit) and the item(s) that were sold in remarks.  Example:  “$20.00, T-shirt”

4.5 Fees to club members or private aircraft owners

  1. A.  Fees to club members or private owners are recorded similarly to the sale of a sailplane ride ticket.

  2. B.  A list of fees for club members or private aircraft owners should be located in the office.

  3. C.  Locate the appropriate fee(s) and record the name of the person, the type and amount on the cash box log sheet.  Example: “$40.00, 2,000 foot tow, J. Smith”

4.6 Tow tickets (during contests or special events only)

  1. A.  During contests, pilots will purchase a tow tickets that they will give to the line personnel before hookup.  Details on how to handle these sales may vary and the steps in this section are very general.

  2. B.  Collect payment (cash or credit card) and issue the appropriate ticket.

  3. C.  Record the type of ticket (2,000 foot tow, 3,000 foot tow) and amount on the cash box log sheet.

4.7 Mid-day deposit

Any time there is a large amount of cash in the cash box, take what ever is not needed for change along with the cash sheet and deposit the money in the lock box. Note the money kept out for change on the old deposited cash and on the new cash sheet.

4.8 End of day close out procedures

  1. A.  At the end of the day, place all cash and gift certificates in an envelope along with the cash sheet(s).

  2. B.  Note the date on the envelope.

  3. C.  Tally the cash and credit card receipts to see that the total agrees with the cash sheet.

  4. D.  Place the envelope in the lock box in the sailplane hangar (on the right hand wall near the entry door).  The contents of the lock box are picked up periodically by a designated official.

4.9 Interaction with the General Public

Be friendly, clear, and accurate in giving information to the public when they inquire about sailplane passenger tickets.  Be careful not to be misleading in your desire to respond to them - if you don't know the full answer direct them to someone who does.   You are our first contact with the public, and our success depends to a large degree on how you greet and inform them.

Frequently asked questions by the public

You will be asked lots of questions, but a few crop up again and again.  We have developed certain standard answers you must use so that the public gets the same information no matter who is on duty;

1.  How much is a ride? 

High performance rides costs more than the basic trainer. Fees for rides are posted on the display board near the main entrance.  Since the record shows that 8 out of 10 people choose the high performance flight over the basic trainer, despite offering 2-33 flights, the correct answer is "$XX in the high-performance sailplane - and we also offer flights in the basic trainer for $YY".  It is not correct to say something like "$XX or $YY, depending".  That is confusing and misleading, and has led to some awkward situations where customers thought they had been talked into the cheaper flight when they really would have preferred the high-performance flight.  Do not push the basic trainer on them, as 80% of them don't want it, and pushing them that way will not be doing them a favor.

2.  What is the difference between the high-performance plane and the basic trainer? 

a.Both rides last about the same amount of time, however, the high performance is a modern, sleek, fiberglass glider while the basic trainer is steel tube and   fabric construction.

b.The high performance glider will go a little farther on a given flight.

c.The high performance glider is quieter, less drafty and more comfortable.

d.The high performance glider is nicer looking than the basic trainer.

e.Most passengers choose the high performance glider.

It would be easy to mislead the customer by saying that they are essentially the same.  In a sense they may be to you, but remember that your understanding of soaring is much more sophisticated than the average person's.  You would be hard-pressed to prove that the "quality" of the ride is better - that is a judgment you must let the passengers make for themselves.

3. How long will the ride last?

A ride lasts 15 to 20 minutes, depending in part on the weather.  Once in a while you get a difficult customer who thinks this is a guarantee, and takes exception if the flight is cut short by bad conditions.  You, the Log Keeper and the Commercial Pilot can decide if another flight or a refund is the best solution to that one.  The best thing to do is to try to make clear at the outset that the time is only approximate and always weather dependent.

4.  Can two of us go at the same time?

No.  The sailplane seats a commercial pilot and one passenger.  A parent cannot have a small child sit on his or her lap. Do not be sarcastic; it is not at all as obvious to the general public that there is only 1 passenger seat as it is to us.

5.  What are your hours of operation?

We are open from 10 am to 6 pm weekends April through October.  During the summer, late June through Labor Day, we are open 7 days a week at the same hours.

The last ride ticket is sold no later than 5:30. It is better to come early because we may be booked to capacity by 3 pm.

4.10 Communications

The communications responsibilities for the cash office are threefold:

1.  Communicate with sailplane ride ticket holders to ensure they are ready when their turns come.

If there are a lot of passengers queuing up, consider using the whiteboard to track them.  Using the whiteboard accomplishes two things:  first you are able to keep track of who is in line and how many tickets to sell, and second it allows passengers to see exactly how long their wait is.  Record the following:

Ticket number, name, cell phone number (if available), status (etd 2:15pm, airborne, etc).

Recording the cell phone number will allow you to call the passengers if the line begins to move faster (e.g. if a second commercial pilot begins flying passengers).

2.  Communicate with the Log Keeper to ensure ride ticket holders are near the flight line when a glider is available.

Use the handheld radios for coordination with the log person.  This saves you steps and will help you to keep track of which tickets are flown.  In general, the idea is to keep the next two rides down on the flight line ready and waiting for the next flight.  Using the radio will enable the Log Keeper to let you know when to send the next passenger and also allow you to keep close tabs on the takeoffs so you will know when you can sell another ticket.

3.  Communicate with pilots calling the ground radio in the office on Harris Hill frequency.

Leave the radio on and tuned to 123.3 MHz.  Leave the volume up enough to hear a call, but not so loud that it interferes with conversation at the sales window.  We advertise in large letters that we monitor this frequency, so we should do it.  Do not use this frequency or 123.5 MHz as a field intercom.  These are assigned aviation frequencies, not CB.

4.11 Safety Duties of Cash Position

The cash office person is the first link in the safety chain.  The general public knows next to nothing about airfield safety and you are the first contact with the Corporation to let them know about the hazards and rules for the airport surface.

When selling tickets, be sure to inform passengers that the surface of the airfield is a hazardous place and let them know the following:

1.Wait inside the fenced area.  Do not wander outside of this area unescorted.

2.When it is time for their rides, you or a club member will escort or send them down to the Log Keeper.

3.Let them know that there are propeller driven tow planes that cross from the runway to the hangar for refueling frequently and to keep their eye out for any aircraft they walk near, assuming the pilot cannot see them.

4.After the sailplane ride is over, stay with the pilot and the sailplane.  Do NOT wander out on the runway.  Sailplanes are silent and are not always easy to spot when landing.  Obey the commercial pilot’s instructions after the ride.

5.Photos may be taken when getting ready for the ride but bystanders must be clear of the runway before the tow plane taxis up.

4.12 Emergency Responsibilities of Cash Position

As the closest person to the phone you will mostly likely establish communications with the club members searching or on scene and emergency personnel. You and all club members need to be familiar with the emergency response plan in Chapter 6.

4.13 Advice for Cash persons

1.  This job is in large part a case of managing expectations of passengers.

2 tickets = 30 minute wait.  3 tickets = 1hour wait.  4 tickets = 1.5 hour wait.  5 tickets = 2 hour wait.  Explain to the passengers the length of the wait facing them.  Unless there are extra commercial pilots willing to stay on and fly the tickets you are selling, that fifth ticket will have a 2 to 2.5 hour wait.  Be sure they understand.

2.  When you have 5 outstanding tickets, cut off sales and explain the situation to those   who inquire about tickets. 

Talk to the Log Keeper and ask for his or her advice if passengers are pressing you to sell them tickets.  Make sure they know the wait will be lengthy and if bad weather develops flying might be cancelled entirely that day.  This is a source of potential confusion and unhappiness, so be careful you don't create a problem for yourself.  Yes, you are going to turn away some potential customers, but we simply cannot fly all the people who want to buy tickets - there aren't enough pilots.

3.   Record the sale of tickets on the Cash Box Log Sheet. 

      In fact, record the sale of ANYTHING on the cash sheet.  The idea is to leave a trail          of what you did and why you did it.  The cash sheets are usually in the podium the cash box sits on.  Otherwise, take a look around for them.

4.   If you don’t know what you are doing and are lost, call for help.

Ask a nearby club member or the Log Keeper, or consult the operations manual. It’s not hard, but can be a little frustrating if you don’t know what you are doing.  Explain to customers that this is your first day and you will find out how to do what they are asking but please be patient.

5. You are not in a contest to sell the most tickets! 

Selling 20 tickets before noon is not an accomplishment, it is a mess that will take the rest of the day to clean up and may cause long-term harm to the Corporation through bad public relations.   Nor are you in a contest to beat the weight of public opinion and sell more basic trainer flights than high-performance flights.  Such activities do not help the public and they do harm the HHSC.

6. Alert the Log Keeper if you see a big crowd developing. The Log Keeper may want you to get on the phone and call for commercial pilots to help out.  You may need extra tow pilots also.  But remember that these volunteers can't be counted on to stay for any great length of time.  The only pilots you can count on are the assigned duty roster pilots - one commercial and one tow.  And one commercial pilot can fly two passengers per hour, at best.

7. Many visitors will be unfamiliar with the area.  Use the county map on the desk to help in giving directions.

8. Suggest a visit to the National Soaring Museum to people with long waits.  Currently, a sailplane ride ticket entitles the holder to free admission at the museum (only the ticket holder, NOT family members).  The Museum and a demonstration flight with us are part of the same experience. Take their cell phone numbers in case their turns come up.

9. Group Reservations - Refer all requests for group reservations to the Vice President for Operations or, in summer, to the Summer Operations Office Manager.

10. Keep the office neat, clean, and tidy.  Clean up any mess, even if you didn't make it.   It's your office; take pride in it.

5.0Tow Pilot Duties


1.To act as pilot-in-command of a tow plane during the launching of gliders by aero-tow, utilizing the information and observing the rules as outlined in "A Guide for Sailplane Towing from Harris Hill" as included in this Manual.

2.Practice and observe the FARs and all aspects of safety relating to this area of operation.

3.Advise and assist others involved in HHSC operations as needed, to ensure that the operation is safe and efficient, and projects a good public image.

4.Consult with the Safety Investigation Committee in matters of safety.

5.The tow pilot will also help in getting the aircraft out of the hangar and returning them there, keeping the aircraft clean and neat, keeping the logbook when the operation is short-handed, and ensuring the tower has been contacted at the beginning and ending of operations.

5.1 Check-Out Procedures for PA-18 Super Cub

1.Present credentials to the Chief Tow Plane Pilot

2.Upon approval by the Tow Plane Committee, fly front-seat dual with a tow pilot designated by the Committee.  A reasonable number of such flights will be flown to determine that the applicant's proficiency is sufficient for flying from Harris Hill. (It is not Corporation policy to train applicants in the flying of tail-wheel aircraft.  We expect that the applicant’s previous experience qualifies him or her for this task.)

3. Before flying the tow plane, the applicant will read and become familiar with the PA-18 Flight Manual.

4.When recommended by the designated tow pilot, the applicant will fly two or more check-flight tows with an HHSC CFI-G/CFI-A.  Upon successful completion of the check-flights, the CFI will properly endorse the applicant's logbook.

5.2 Check-Out Procedure for the PA-25 Pawnee

1.The pilot must have at least 50 tows from Harris Hill in the Super Cub as pilot-in-command.

2. The pilot must read and become familiar with the PA-25 Flight Manual.

3.As no dual is possible, an in-depth pre-flight briefing by an HHSC CFI-G/CFI-A is required.  The pilot's logbook will be properly endorsed. A high-performance aircraft endorsement is required.

4.Before towing a glider, the pilot is required to make one or more flights to become familiar with the handling qualities of the aircraft (stalls, slow flight, take-off and landing attitudes, etc.).

5.3 Tow Pilot’s Role in Passenger Safety

The tow pilot’s judgment is critical to the safety of our operation. Never start the tow plane without first clearing the propeller. Visually check that the area is clear. Remove ear plugs and headsets and yell “Clear prop!” Wait and listen for a response. Only when all is clear, start the engine.

Never hurry when taxiing in congested areas. Be smart by saving time and fuel in the air. Ground operations must be conducted cautiously. If a group of people, be it club members or spectators, are gathered about the launching glider, stop short, turn the tail of the tow plane around, and let the line workers pull the tow rope to the glider. Never bring the prop anywhere near people who are not directly involved in the operation. If necessary stop the tow plane and wait for people to clear the line.


Know and use the SSA Standard American Soaring Signals - a copy is included in this Manual.

Use your mirrors.

Assess the situation - Before any tow find out what kind of flight it will be - sailplane demonstration flight, instruction, personal, trainer or higher performance, etc. 

Passenger Flights - In good soaring weather release should be at 2000 feet, otherwise at 2500, within easy gliding distance of Harris Hill. For passenger flights there is no reason to tow near the approach/departure corridor at ELM. Make tow patterns to the south and southwest

Instructional and Novice Flights - The tow should provide a balance of straight flight and turns to the left and right, all within close gliding range of the field from the release point.  Be prepared for some difficulty in holding climb attitude, airspeed, and direction while the student learns to hold the proper tow position. 

The instructor should inform you before the flight of any unusual maneuvers such as a rope break demonstration or extreme tow positions including boxing the wake.  But he may not have time or remember, so be prepared for the unexpected.

Be alert always for a novice glider pilot kiting too high on take-off.  Be ready to release the glider at once as this situation can force your nose into the ground very quickly, leaving you no time to recover.  If in doubt, release - his chances of finding a safe way to land the glider are much better than yours of surviving an impact with the ground.

Personal Flights - The pilot may request a specific point where he wants to release. Stay back from the approach/departure corridor at ELM. Do not tow over the ELM airport unless above 3500 ft MSL.

If you are towing a high-performance single-seat sailplane, check whether the pilot is carrying water ballast, and if so, what speed he or she requires.  Keep to the requested airspeed, as water ballast substantially raises the stall speed of these aircraft.

Acceleration and Takeoff - Clear the pattern yourself before beginning the tow.  When starting acceleration for the 2-33, advance the throttle slowly, giving a few seconds for the prop wash to reach the glider and give him some airspeed to allow a little control authority before you give it full throttle.  This gives the pilot enough elevator to keep from banging the tail onto the runway.  High performance sailplanes are either tail-draggers or have a different tow-hook configuration, which allows more rapid acceleration (the normal two seconds minimum for throttle advance).  As soon as you have enough airspeed and can begin to climb, climb straight ahead, continuing looking out for aircraft on approach. Once outside of the normal glider pattern, begin a left turn. A right turn out may also be used. Stay outside of the normal tow plane pattern in this case. Stay well clear of any traffic approaching ELM for Runway 6 or departing Runway 24.

Airspeed - Once you have determined the right climb attitude to maintain the tow speed needed, concentrate on holding attitude not airspeed.  Airspeed will fluctuate in turbulence and thermal conditions, and chasing the airspeed needle will be frustrating to you and the glider pilot. Holding a constant attitude will yield a constant airspeed, not vice versa.

Tow speeds for the 1-26 and 2-33 should be 60 to 65 mph indicated, no faster.  Higher performance aircraft will require 70 kts (75 - 80 mph).  Keep your eye on the mirror for a signal from the glider pilot that your speed is too fast or too slow.  Your airspeed indicator may not agree with his.

Tow Pattern – Normally plan to drop the glider between Harris Hill and the TV tower or between Harris Hill and the Monastery. When you tow too close to the ELM approach/departure corridor, you may cause a conflict. Also gliders without radios will have a limited area in which to search for lift.

When taking off to the north with a south wind, go a little farther from the brow of the hill before beginning your left turn to clear the sink down the front of the ridge, but not so far as to interfere with traffic for ELM. 

If the glider pilot wants you to go left, he will go out to the right and stay there, pulling your nose to the left.  Turn for him.  Do not get confused and turn in front of him, as this will quickly put a lot of slack in the rope, leading to a potentially dangerous situation.  Although this seems obvious, turning the wrong way is a common error on the part of novice tow pilots.

Be sure that the glider pilot really wants you to turn.  If it is an instructional flight he may be beginning to box the wake, and having the tow plane turn at that point may confuse the student.

In good thermaling conditions, thermals will be marked by one or more sailplanes circling.  Tow your glider to the thermal, or close to it, staying outside the thermal if there are other aircraft at your altitude.  Do not tow into a thermal directly below a circling sailplane.  Do not tow the glider too far downwind.

Most of our tows are to 2000 feet above Harris Hill.  The glider pilot should tell you the desired release altitude before take-off, but some may forget or change their minds if conditions are weak, and hang on for an extra thousand feet.  On the other hand, if you encounter good lift part way up some pilots will unhook to try it.  Just be prepared.

Efficiency - Try to tow in lift, not sink.  This saves time and fuel.  If you know you have an experienced glider pilot behind you, circle gently in available lift.  Do this carefully, as too tight a circle will crack the whip and break the rope, even with the most experienced glider pilot. 

Lean the mixture a bit on tow. Be careful not to over-lean the mixture. This can cause engine damage.

Consider a release point that allows you to return to the field without the use of cruise power. This saves tow time and fuel by allowing a quick, efficient return to the field.

Descent - Be sure the glider has really released before you begin your descent.  Visually confirm that the glider is free by looking in your mirrors or back along the tow plane to spot the free end of the rope.

Reel in the tow rope when slower than 100 mph. Any faster and you can do damage to the reel motor.

When you are sure you are free and have cleared yourself, begin the descent with a descending turn to the left.  Do not chop the throttle, but pull the RPMs slowly back to about 2150, keeping the airspeed about 110 mph in the Cub, and 120 to 125 in the Pawnee.  The cylinders are hot from the full-throttle, low-airspeed tow.  The point is to let the cylinders lose this extreme heat relatively slowly, and to avoid shock-cooling them, which is known to cause them to crack.  These are your engines:  mistreating them costs you money.

You can save a lot of time by holding the suggested descent speed right into the tow plane pattern, slowing on downwind or base to flap extension speed.  You do not need to waste fuel by flying a 45-degree entry and a full pattern at 60 to 80 mph with flaps down.  With proper care you can descend directly into the downwind or base leg and reduce speed there.

Always visually clear the area as you descend.  In a maximum effort descent you will be losing altitude at better than 2000 fpm.  You MUST be sure you are not dropping down on another aircraft.  Constant vigilance is your only protection.  If there are sailplanes below, flatten your descent and find a clear area to descend well away from other aircraft. 

Always look for an opportunity to give way to a sailplane, especially in the pattern.

When using a fixed towrope, remember that the tow ring may be as much as 100 feet below your aircraft.  Be sure you are high enough over the spectator area that the ring is not a hazard to people.  At 60 mph that ring could kill someone.  Be sure you are descending when you pass over the parking area, not dragging the tow plane in on a flat trajectory at low air speed, as that configuration will make the tow ring hang down even farther.

Read and use the SSA Standard American Soaring Signals.  If you need the glider to release, rock your wings. If he cannot, he should fly to the right and rock his wings.  You should then fly back to the field and release the towrope, which then becomes the concern of the glider pilot. 

Before you become a tow pilot read and be familiar with the procedure for both aircraft being unable to release as covered in the Glider Flying Handbook and elsewhere. 

After landing, taxi and shut down so as to avoid blowing prop wash over other aircraft and spectators.  

HHSC allows a second person in the tow plane only for orientation and checkout of new tow pilots and for photographic missions which are for the benefit of the Corporation.

6.0Commercial Glider Pilot

The commercial glider pilot is the pilot-in-command for HHSC passenger flights and is a public face of Harris Hill our customers in the community.

6.1 Required Qualifications:

1.FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate with Glider Rating.

2.Meet currency requirements of FAR Part 91.

3. Comply with the following HHSC qualifications:

-Minimum of 50 flights and 15 hours as glider pilot-in-command from Harris Hill.

-Have demonstrated ability to fly safely in the Harris Hill environment, including the following:

-Landings to north and south, with head and tail winds.

-Downwind takeoffs to the north.

-Landings and take-offs with strong cross winds.

-Knowledge of ELM landing and ATC procedures.

-Knowledge of local micro-meteorology.

-Knowledge of weight and balance computations by reference to cockpit placards and flight manuals.

-Knowledge of Harris Hill operational procedures.

-Have satisfactorily completed a HHSC commercial pilot check flight with a CFI-G.  The candidate pilot must have his or her logbook so endorsed and his or her name added to the list of qualified commercial glider pilots.

6.2 Responsibilities:

1.  Act as commercial glider pilot for HHSC passenger flights.

2.  Observe and follow all applicable FARs and HHSC regulations.

3.  Greet and converse with each passenger in a friendly, informative manner.  Provide a safe, enjoyable, and educational flight for each passenger.

4.  Assist and advise others on the HHSC team to insure a safe, efficient operation that projects a good public image.

5.  Assist in the ground handling of the aircraft, including getting the aircraft out of the hangar and putting them away.  On windy days tie aircraft down before leaving them alone, even for a short time.

6.  Assist in maintaining and cleaning the aircraft when not flying.

Note:  Acting as commercial glider pilot for HHSC is a duty, not a privilege of membership.  Authorization as a commercial glider pilot for the Corporation may be revoked at any time in cases of unsafe flying or unsuitable public behavior.


Passenger Safety

As commercial pilot you must accept the next passenger from the Log Keeper or Cash Person. Ensure that the passenger is kept in a safe area, preferably in the glider until launch.

With the help of the Line Workers and Log Keeper, clear friends and family away from the runway and back to the spectator area prior to the tow plane’s arrival for hook up.

After landing, move the passenger and glider out of the landing area as soon as possible to avoid interference with other landing aircraft.  Keep the runway clear.  Conduct or guide the passenger across the active runway in a manner to avoid interference with the launching operation and to maintain safe conditions for all.

Flying Skills

You are required to be current before reporting for HHSC duty.  Failure to do so may result in your name being removed from the list of qualified commercial glider pilots, or other action by the Board.

Take periodic dual with a CFI-G to help identify and correct bad habits.

Use the opportunity of your many landings to explore the flight envelope of the ship you are flying, always remembering that SAFETY COMES FIRST.  This experience will be invaluable when you have that inevitable rope break or encounter that bottomless sink.

Strive for minimum energy landings.  Use appropriate approach speed for conditions, but bleed off excess speed before touching down.  A gentle landing will be greatly appreciated by your passenger AND the glider.

Passenger Relations:

Your purpose is to represent the HHSC professionally, to demonstrate the art and technique of motorless flight, and to put the passenger at ease.  Some helpful hints are:

-   Introduce yourself. Ask the passenger's name and where he or she is from.

-   Explain the operation and function of the controls and instruments. A good technique is to delegate this job to the line personnel. This allows you to get strapped in and complete the before takeoff checklist.

-   Explain what to expect from the impending flight, e.g. the sudden drop of the ground when you reach the brow of the hill, that you will tow to 2000 or 2500 feet and that you will release the tow plane, and so forth.

-   Explain the purpose and philosophy of the HHSC, e.g., our not-for-profit and voluntary nature, that the field and facility are provided by Chemung County, our relationship with the County, the Junior Organization, etc.

-   Be sensitive to the passenger's reactions to the flight itself (some will love demonstrations of stalls and steep turns, while other will become quiet and queasy in the shallowest of turns) and tailor your flying to suit the passenger, no matter how good the thermal or ridge conditions.  Try to recognize the difference between airsickness and fear.  At least one symptom, the passenger becoming very quiet, is common to both.

-   Fear can be overcome to some degree by clear, calm explanations of flight maneuvers and conditions.  Airsick passengers need a smooth, quick return to solid ground. Be sure a motion sickness bag is handy, and fly so you will never need it!

Ground Delay

Minimize the ground delay for the tow plane.  Be ready to hook up and go when the tow plane arrives.  At Harris Hill passenger rides are normally inserted into the launch order. Use some discretion here. If two tow planes are operating or if the next passenger is not immediately available, it may be more appropriate to insert the glider flying the next passenger in the third or fourth takeoff position.

Ask the line worker to strap in the passenger while you prepare for take-off.  Good organization can prevent holding up the launch. But if you are still not ready when the tow plane arrives you, as pilot-in-command, are expected to assert yourself and finish all necessary preparations including the before takeoff checklist prior to launch.

Tow Altitude

In soaring conditions when there is lift, do not tow above 2000 feet above the field.  Go to 2500 in poor conditions to afford the passenger an adequate flight.  But look for lift, and if the tow pilot takes you to a good thermal, consider getting off early to save fuel and time for the tow plane.

Radios and ELM ATC

On routine passenger flights stay well back from the extended centerlines of the runways at ELM. A perfectly enjoyable ride can be given over the Harris Hill plateau. This is a great help in maintaining our relationship with ATC.

If you want to explore more of the sky or do not want to limit your options, have the forethought to take along one of the handheld radios or put a battery in the glider if it has a panel mounted radio.

Flight Duration

Don't promise the passenger a specific flight duration.  Your target should be 15 to 20 minutes.  Describe the flight in the high-performance glider as faster and farther, and in a more modern sailplane, but not necessarily longer or better. 

Avoid longer flights.  Never exceed 25 minutes with a passenger.  Passengers will discuss and compare flight duration, which can lead to customer dissatisfaction.  In addition, on busy days longer flights mean fewer flights, and therefore less income and more unhappy people waiting on the ground.  When there are other passengers waiting, keep the flights to 20 minutes. 


Advise the Log Keeper and or Tow Pilot of any special conditions or problems requiring action. Conditions such as spectators on the field (especially at the north end), a needed change in landing direction, tow speeds too slow or too fast, too rapid acceleration for 2-33s, or the approach of bad weather may become apparent to you first. Speak up and tell someone.