For some time past I was thinking about the aerotow course but as I had a surgery I have just started to learn it at the end of July. This was the beginning of the summer camp in our aero club. Unfortunately the weather was bad here as it rained almost every day. Saturday was the first day of the camp and the weather was still nice (sunny, but very hot) so I started the course this day.
Before the first take-off I had a small theoretical course (1-1,5 hours). The first aerotow was a display by the tutor but in the air I had the chance to follow the tug and it was not as difficult as I had imagined.
After the second take-off I had to follow the tug during the turnings also, it was a bit more hard. After the fourth take-off I had to do everything and follow the tug on the ground too! Wow, this needed a lot of concentration as "Apollo Fox” is quite a slow plane and the wing of the glider can fall to the ground easily. However, I learnt it quickly as I practiced a lot in Condor.
On Monday I continued the course but just in the afternoon because at lunchtime a storm was very close to the airport. I felt that I should have been very good: if I do well, I can have my first solo. The first aerotow this day was one of the most difficult aerotows: we did a lot of spirals and I had to learn the proper use of flap when the tug pulls me off. The wind was strong, there were some thermals so I was all of a sweat. But I was happy as Condor was really useful, I didn't have to fly plus "lessons".
I did almost the whole course with a young instructor and I should say thanks to him: he was very patient and gave me detailed explain about everything. Another instructor checked me before my first solo and he also said that I am very good!
So let’s fly alone. I had thought that it would be very stressful. No, this was not the same as my first solo. (real first, I mean first winch) The wing fell to the ground, but I solved the problem and in the air I didn’t have any mistakes. Adrenalin may helped me to feel self-confidence.
During my second aerotow cross-wind tried to set back me but I knew that I am alone so I should solve it on my own. I told myself: "This is just the task you have done several times. I don’t have to look at my hands. Naturally, I can do it.” This technique was successful.
Unfortunately my longest flight during this course was just 17 minute-long but the weather was really bad so it’s no surprise. I had an other interesting aerotow during the course: I could not follow the tug beacuse of the wind so I decided to unloose the rope. The tutors didn’t tell me a bad word, it was a correct decision.
All in all, I am very happy that I didn't have to take extra lessons and I will be able to use aerotow later. (I am planning to do more aerotows this year cause it’s almost impossible to have longest flights by winch.)