Sky Sailing Operating Procedures


You Must Show

Proof of: Currency, BFR, Sign-off.

You Must Carry

Pilots Lic., or properly endorsed Student Certificate &/or Logbook. YOU MUST have signed both: Lease agreement and Release.


All Pilots must have flown within 60 days, and must meet FAR requirements for carrying passengers. Students must have flown within 30 days with an Instructor & must have the 90 day sign-off as required by FARs.


Due to the severity of Cross winds, Sky Sailing, Inc. will, at its option, require Cross wind sign-offs of all renter pilots and will enforce no flights in any cross wind as needed.

Max crosswind for the GROB is l2 MPH.

No Flights outside of a 10 mile radius without specific approval from Sky Sailing instructor. If you were to lock your spoiler 1/2 open and keep them there and could not make it back to Warner, then you are too far away! Remember when there is lift assume there is twice as much sink. It is extremely rare that off-fields happen on no lift days, why?

No Aerobatics without permission and logbook endorsement from Bret. NO LOW PASSES in rental aircraft.

Any Schedule cancellations of less than 24 hours or NO-SHOWS will be charged $20.00 per scheduled hour, except in the case of bad weather (which is not an excuse for not calling, remember that then the weather is poor where you are, it is most likely great here!). NEVER leave aircraft unattended if untied.

Always lock the canopy when closed. Do not leave canopy open when unattended.

All Pilots


Do Not drive any autos on the runway. Please use the access road around the runway. Be sure to lock the gate. No cars north of the Hangar.

Maintenance area is off-limits to all except airport employees.

All Private Owners are responsible for securely tying down their trailers & sailplanes. ALWAYS check the pattern (all directions) before pulling/walking across the runway. PILOTS are responsible for their own adapters/weak links.

When you get in line be sure to check with the lineboy for launch sequence. BE READY to launch when tow plane arrives. Be ready to go as soon as the slack is out, this includes your check list (and emergency check list). Release check done during pre-flight.. ALWAYS get a "CLEAR" and thumbs up from line boy before giving the take-off signal. DO NOT MOVE THE RUDDER on or near the runway until you have a "CLEAR" and you are ready for take-off.

Remember: Good ground handling procedures saves sailplanes, in turn they take care of you! ON EAST WIND DAYS be as far back as possible (ie start at the very end of the runway)



AS soon as the line person hooks you up, they will lift your wing. Level wing signals the tow pilot to take out slack. If you are launching with no line person, the signal to take out the slack is; closing your canopy.

DO NOT EVER WIGGLE YOUR RUDDER IN THE LAUNCH AREA UNLESS YOU ARE HOOKED UP AND READY TO LAUNCH. The tow pilot cannot tell if the rudder wiggle is the front glider or further back.

Always be prepared to release if you are not ready to launch or you encounter a problem. CHECK your release prior to getting into line, we don't have time to do a release check with the tow planes engine running.

Be familiar with all Sky Sailing signals and standard SSA signals.

Use an Emergency Checklist and be ready for an early tow release. Know your options, winds and make your decisions as to altitudes etc before you ever start your take-off roll. BE SURE to signal your intentions to the tow pilot or you will be towed straight out or to some area of lift. We rely heavily on standard tow signals. If the tow plane thermals and you do not want to thermal on tow, you will have to wait until they turn out. Use of a tow signal from then on you will have to use steering turns.

In The Air and Patterns

Release: Tap next to altimeter for accurate release alt. After release make level right turn. REMEMBER cloud clearance as per FAR 91.105. Towplanes must avoid 30 nm TCA limits. NO thermalling in the pattern approach or area below 5000'msl.

Use correct patterns and altitudes unless your situation warrants an abbreviated pattern, you will be asked why?

No Reckless Flying, ie low pass into busy pattern, buzzing, aerobatics in an illegal area etc. We aim to have fun, but be safe and consider the other pilot may be on his/her first solo! THE Pattern begins on the 45 deg entry, Pre-landing check list should be completed by then, in fact you should start your Pre-landing check at 1,500 agl.

Do Not360 or 270 in the pattern for any reason.

Do Not use spoilers down wind unless in lift, try to keep a fairly constant airspeed and straight ground track at approx 200-300 fpm decent. Always try to use a 1 /2 spoiler approach from base leg to landing. Always assume a first solo student is in the other aircraft.

Do Not extend downwind beyond the first hills (26).

You should always leave the option of closing your spoilers and landing long to avoid a tie-up. ON final, try to stay with the same landing area, ie if you line up for the paved runway try to stay on it, you may have a glider just behind you who would then opt to land in the grass strip. ON Final, allow margin for a 50' drop in the wind gradient on windy days!


All Pilots should plan their landing at or beyond the displaced threshold. ALWAYS clear the runway ASAP after landing.

Do Not turn towards parked gliders, your brake may not work always give your self an out. GROB renters will roll out straight.

Do Not drag or touch your wing tip until you are stopped.

Renters must have the stick all the way back when the skid touches and keep it there until stopped (unless doing emergency stop with the skid)

Sky Sailing, Inc. highly recommends a nose high or low energy landings for all aircraft.

Low energy landings are required on all Sky Sailing, Inc. equipment!

Landing Off Field

Renters- If you land off, remain with the sailplane and try to have someone call or drive by the airport. If you must leave be sure that the ship is secured. There will be a minimum charge for retrieve of $100.00 plus any damage. Retrieve cost is figured by employee hourly time, vehicle usage and down time.

Try to radio by way of relay to Sky Sailing so that we know what is happening and can assist your ground crew.

Do not cut any fences! If fences must be cut, cut in the middle between the fence posts. (it is easy to repair)

Be extremely kind and thank the owner of the field. Do not get upset with them under any circumstances and it will work out, after all you are the uninvited quest!

Except under rare circumstances it is an example of very poor judgment to land off-field on a local flight! However, once you must, do not hesitate, remain calm and do a normal pattern so as to not injury the aircraft. This is the situation where your LOW ENERGY landings you have been doing is very important. Your off-field is now a learning experience! And aren’t you glad you Always Spot Land!

By the time you are 1,000' agl you should be setting up a pattern to land, do not wait and run out of options.

Sky Sailing, Inc. will attempt to post a current list of bad or poor landing areas which might look good from the air, but are glider benders. Please let us know of any of this type.

Ground Handling

(Or the care and feeding of the sailplanes.)

As you found in the air, your instructor is allowing you to become more responsible. Just as planning is important to the successful outcome of any flight, judgment, knowledge, planning ahead and care also play an important role in moving the aircraft.

The first step in any safe flight is a complete preflight (including assembly), which in addition to an inspection of the sailplane includes: familiarization with the functions of the controls, performance limitations, weight and balance, outline of the proposed flight, and knowledge of the current and forecasted weather.

Be sure there are no other aircraft competing for the spot you are moving to (i.e. CLEAR in all directions, before pulling out). Decide where you will position yourself for take-off to have sufficient runway, considering the sailplane, towplane, winds, and temperature. Just as the checklist saves lives, complete and through pre-flights save lives, damage to hulls, and egos!

Once airborne, there is very little (if any) damage done to the sailplane unless the airframe is overstressed, unlike a power aircraft, which is affected by vibration and sonic wear. The hardest thing on the sailplane is the release, many feel it is good to pull back on the stick then dive and release. This is NOT a good procedure due to the strain on the tow plane tail, tow release and tow rope. It is important to not release under heavy load. To properly release, be sure the area is clear for the tug & you, don’t release under load or while you are moving up in relation to the tug, slight nose down is fine (a small BANG is fine!). Ground handling, however, is definitely a separate case. You must exercise your common sense when moving any aircraft to avoid injury to others or damage the aircraft! An important area to save wear on the aircraft is the skid, get the skid up as soon as practical and hold it up on landing as long as you can. This save skids, runways, vibration to the aircraft frame, and the instructors nerves!

In the case of a Schweizer 2-33, even though we call them Schweizer tanks and they are possibly over built, they can still be damaged by improper preflight/ground handling. Before preflight it is your responsibility to determine wind direction and strength. It is recommended that your first walk around be done with the outboard ropes still tied down. Check the cockpit, skid, tires, struts, fuselage, tail section, bottom of wings, ailerons, rudder, elevator, etc. When you remove the rudder locks you must place them behind the sailplane (by the fence) so someone, won’t unintentionally push or pull a sailplane into them. To check the upper spoilers put one wing down (upwind wing first) check this spoiler, then lower the other wing (never drop, always ease it all the way down). Once this wing’s spoiler has been checked you have the downwind wing down (unless there is a strong wind, more on that later). Why do we do this? As you walk around you do not want the wind to lift one wing and slam the other one to the ground. To let the wing down you should be holding some substantial part of the wing when it touches (do not just let go, not even a foot!). It is very important that the trailing edge is never lifted or pushed on.

What Are You Looking for on Pre-Flight: The most obvious thing you are looking for is a blatant problem, but a complete pre-flight looks into all areas which make the aircraft unsafe. Some important thoughts: Is there any object which could slide/move to block a control (including trash under the seat, cushions, loose seat belts)? Be very critical! Any loose rivets, holes in the fabric, missing cotter pins or nuts, strange paint indicating corrosion, loose feeling or improperly assembled controls, cracks in the aileron hinges or other cracks without stop drilled holes, worn skids or parts? It is realized that you are not a mechanic, but most problems are very obvious and do not become dangerous for a long, long time and if found early these problems are easily repaired. Report immediately any problems with the aircraft. We cannot repair what we don’t know about, use the SQUAWK SHEETS which are available in the OFFICE.

Where to Pull/Push: Footsteps, front handle, inboard close on stabilizer (if going backwards), inboard strut by bolts, frame on instrument panel, bar between seats. No-Nos: Do not lift, push or pull anywhere on the trailing edge. Wing tips may be lifted, but are not for pulling. To turn a sailplane that has no swivel tailwheel push down on the front handle or lift on the tail (except "T" tails). Do not push on the fiberglass nose. To put the nose down to climb in use the front handle, not the tube by the seat or the step, and to balance while getting in place your hands should be over the reinforced area of the instrument panel not 6 to 8 inches forward where you might notice cracks have started by others pushing there. NEVER, NEVER leave a sailplane untied or unattended. If you must leave you must have someone watch the ship for you. These procedures are not just for wind gusts or thermals, but also for an emergency moving of ships for one of many reasons. Do not place objects on the canopy including tape. Never Put Duct Tape on an Aircraft, this honor is reserved for mechanics only.

When pulling your sailplane out, if possible have a wing walker on the upwind wing. In winds under 15 mph you may pull sailplanes out with downwind wing down. When moving backwards remember the wingtip wheel might catch in a hole and be amputated. The same situation you face when your instructor catches you! In strong winds, you must have help.

If you land in very strong winds (25+) do not get out of the sailplane, this will keep the nose down (lower angle of attack) and you maintain control using the flight controls: open the spoilers, and keep the nose down with forward elevator. The ground helpers will move you and tie the sailplane down with you in the pilot seat.

The seat belts can do great harm if tossed out or onto the canopy or wing. Therefore, watch where the belts are placed. DO NOT just toss them off your shoulders. The 1-26’s are especially prone to this and the wing takes the punishment - a smooth, strong wing is something which you may wish to use later, especially in turbulence and at high altitudes or even low altitudes. One way to pull out the 1-26 or 1-36 is to stand on the side the canopy opens to (side with hinges), reach in and pull with the shoulder straps with the canopy open. You must however, be careful when moving a ship with the canopy open, so that it cannot come loose or slam shut. (some ships like the GROB must have the canopy shut when moving). When stopped, the canopy must be closed and LOCKED so the wind cannot open it abruptly (canopies run in the thousands, of your dollars, that is!). If the wind is not a problem is ok to leave the canopy open, but it is best to close and lock it!

Other nice things to do: wipe your feet, dry if possible, wipe off rocks and mud, don’t step on cushions, make sure that there are no sharp objects in your pockets, watch hitting the instrument panel with your feet, remove buttons from the top of your baseball cap. Use smooth and full rudder signals for take offs without hitting the stops (if you think about it, when you slam the spoilers or bang the rudder, you must be hurting something. So take care of the sailplane and she will take care of you). Do not step on or kick arm rests or seat panels. Turn over the cushions that are in the sun to avoid the dreaded burned posterior.

When you get out on the line and you are ready to take-off you might notice that you have too many cushions. Please remember that the cushions are very expensive. If there is no lineboy available to take the cushion back to the cushion box and you have to remove a cushion please do NOT treat them as frisbees and fling them, this really destroys the cushions, please just set them down where it is clear that no one will roll over them, just set it down easily. Think about what you are placing it on (Try not to put it in the mud or on an oil spot, etc.) This calls for common sense like everything we do around aircraft.

I’m sure that you’ve noticed that most of the sailplanes do not have swiveling tailwheels. Those that do not have a swiveling tailwheel must be lifted or turned over the ground by pushing the nose down. This prevents digging a ditch with the tailwheel.

On takeoff without a wing runner, you should have the wing down toward the center of the runway. This is because when you start moving, you initially start pulling towards the downed wing. Also it gives more room for other landing aircraft. One trick to remember when you are taking off without a wing runner is point the nose about twenty to thirty degrees towards the down wing. What happens is as the tow plane starts rolling, his initial pull will actually straighten the sailplane and this faster lower wing will help to lift the wing.

On the completion of your landing roll out, do what you can so a wing will not just drop. Close spoilers gently (if you hear them close it was too hard) and do not let the tail drop as you get out. On the roll out Do Not Attempt to stop near other aircraft, remember it is very difficult to judge your wing span and distance (or lack of distance) from other objects!! As your roll out stops you should (except in cross winds) have your nose parallel to the runway, and the stick all the way back.

When you tie-down your sailplane after landing use the back (facing towards the road) tiedowns first. Very often somebody will come back, land and park in the front spot. This means that the next person has to untie the one which is already tied down so they can slip the wings under and over to park. This is quite unnecessary as well as discourteous. After-landing checks should include: inspect the tiedown area and make sure that your ship is correctly tied down; remove your number; extra cushions; any trash; and your ballast. Note any problem areas, and complete a Squak Sheet if necessary.

Before each takeoff, as part of the requirements of knowing the performance limitations of your sailplane, you should know the length of the runway for that condition. In other words, if you have a strong wind you don’t have to worry as much about the runway length whereas if you were taking off with a tailwind on a hot day you would use a lot more runway, especially in a heavy sailplane. This is one consideration you need to think about and get additional instruction in as necessary, possibly even stop the tow pilot and talk it over. You are or will be the Pilot in Command.

There are many days, especially weekdays, that the sailplane’s canopy is not clean. You want to be sure that the canopy is clean before each and every flight. This is important to you. The proper way to clean the canopy would be to wipe the dust off with water and our bare hand, then put the canopy cleaner (not too much!) on the canopy and using a clean soft cloth, remove the canopy cleaner always in the direction that the wind would flow over the canopy. If you wipe circles on the canopy, you are going to scratch it in circles therefore the sun will pick up on the scratches from almost any angle and create more glare than necessary. So always wipe in the direction of the wind both inside and out. Again it is extremely important that the cloth you use is clean with no oil or dirt. Be sure it is a canopy cloth, not a shop cloth.

When adding ballast, be sure that there is nothing blocking the SAC ballast compartment, and then you must secure the ballast bar with a pin/bolt. If you are adding weight under your seat, be certain that it will not slide out and block your controls. When removing ballast do not throw it on the ground, it is your responsibility to remove your ballast and return it to the proper place.

As you can see, everything pertaining to ground handling is very logical and based on common sense and courtesy. Given time you would figure all of these accommodations out on your own. But as we have a limited number of sailplanes, we appreciate your efforts in taking care of the equipment. We at Sky Sailing hope you understand and will abide by these practices.

Remember: Saferty is no Accident!

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