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Lesson 6d - Rope Breaks

Lesson Objective

During the normal course of operating gliders on aerotow, the rope occasionally breaks before the pilot desires to release from the towplane.  The aim of this lesson is to immediately react to the rope break and land the glider in a safe manner.   The term PT3 (Premature Termination of The Tow) is often used instead of "rope break" to include all modes of failure included in this lesson plan.  Ideally, the candidate will have performed at least three PT3 flights, each one in a different mode of flight.  At around 50 feet (with straight ahead landing).  At or around 200-300 feet, for a 180 return-to-base, and above 300 feet for an abbreviated pattern. 

Regulatory Requirement


  • Rope breaks below 50 feet, at 200-300 feet and above 300 feet

Completion Standards

The student must be able to:

  • discuss the actions taken during a rope break and stop below 50 feet
  • perform a simulated rope break between 200 and 300 feet (and safe return to the field)
  • perform a premature termination of the tow above300 feet, landing where appropriate
  • make radio calls, as appropriate
  • maintain a safe speed and bank angle during the return to the field
  • judge heights and lands the aircraft safely without instructor intervention.

Prerequisite Study

Recommended Study


Next Lesson: 6e -- Pilot-Induced Oscillations
Previous Lesson: 6c -- V-Speeds
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