The practices we learn in flight training and the operating procedures of the club are intended to afford a safety margin which allow us to make a mistake or two without compromising safety. The paramount realization for each of us is that any action we take which reduces the safety margin has serious injury or death as possible consequences. Soaring is a sport we do purely for fun, a conservative approach will bring more fun for us all in the long run.

With this in mind, the following procedures are to provide guidelines for operation within the club. In some cases, deviation may be appropriate, these procedures are not intended to replace good judgment.

Club Officers:

Ron Leonard, Mike Haynes, Sampath Samarasinghe

Club Instructors:
Ron Leonard, Bruce Meacham

Safety Culture

Club Officers and Instructors are encouraged to discuss discretely with any club member what they believe to be unsafe or inappropriate behavior and correct it in the most positive manner possible.

Any club officer or instructor may revoke a member’s flying privileges for unsafe behavior.

Club members are encouraged to take action to ensure the safety of the operations. Actions as simple as putting a wing down to stop a launch, keeping visitors off the runway, refusing a tow on a frayed rope are all good examples. We all need to play our part in keeping the club safe.

Check Outs

  • A club instructor’s approval is required for each club member to fly each club glider. Preferred documentation is a note in the club member’s log book.
  • A qualified club tow pilot may check out a new tow pilot to tow in the club’s tow plane. Our insurance requirements for tow pilots are currently identical to the FAA’s requirements for qualification.


  • In addition to meeting the requirrements of the FAR’s club members should get approval from a club instructor in the current calendar year to fly a club glider. Preferred method of documentation is a note in the club member’s log book.
  • Tow pilots are requested to annually take the SSF’s on line tow pilot training course.


  • All operations are expected to be performed in accordance with appropriate FAR’s.
  • The Soaring Flight Manual published by the FAA should be used as a guide for items not directly addressed in the MSA Operating Procedures.
  • Club members are strongly encouraged to have and periodically review the following reference materials:

Ground Handling

  • A preflight with reference to a check list should be performed on each aircraft prior to its first flight of the day. The pilot performing this inspection should not be disturbed.
  • Gliders should never be left unattended with the canopy opened.
  • The Ka-6 and Libelle should not be pulled by the wing tips, please pull from the bar in the cockpit or the shoulder straps.
  • The 2-22 has a swiveling tail wheel and wingtip wheels so it can be rotated by one person.  For all other ships, at least two persons are needed to rotate the gilder; one on the wingtip, and one to raise the tail to ensure the tail wheel/skid does not overstress the fuselage.

Weather Limitations

  • Flying activity should not be conducted if peak winds exceed 22 knots (25 mph.) The 2-22 and 1-26 can take off if no pilot is aboard when wind speed reaches this level. Official Weather Reference is www.noaa.gov, pick ‘Peculiar MO’ and look at the hourly weather graph.
  • Preferred that the Harrisonville or Pleasant Hill weather station report at least 3 mile visibility and 3000’ ceiling.
  • The Libelle and Ka-6 should not take off or land with a tail wind. The 1-26 and 2-22 are better off taking off to the south and landing north when the wind is under 10mph due to the down hill slope when heading south.

Launch Operations

  • Unless radio communication with the airborne glider and tow pilot exist, Glider launch operations should be suspended and the tow plane should clear the runway if a glider is at or near the IP (1200’ or less) to ensure the airborne glider has safe landing alternatives.
  • The Ka-6 and Libelle require tost tow rings. These rings MUST NOT be used on the Schweizer gliders. The tost rings can wedge on a Schweizer tow hook and not release.
  • Only those people necessary to perform launch operations should be on the runway during launch operations
  • Nobody else (other than the person hooking up the rope) should be in front of the glider when the rope is hooked up.
  • The person who hooks up the rope should move out clear of the wing tip as soon as practical. Don’t stand in front of the wing to scan for traffic.
  • Wing runner must check for traffic, inform the pilot of a clear traffic pattern, and get a positive response from the glider pilot before leveling the glider wing.  Leveling the wings signifies that the tow pilot can take up slack.
  • Glider launch operations should be suspended if a glider is on the runway waiting for retrieval.
  • Wing runner is encouraged to stop the launch by lowering the wing if they have any doubt that the launch should proceed.
  • Standard SSA signals are to be used. Wing runner should stand at the left tip to be seen in the tow pilot’s mirror.


  • The glider pilot ABSOLUTELY MUST release from tow immediately if the tow plane is lost from sight or if they suddenly rise more than a wingspan above the tow plane.
  • Any abnormal procedures to be performed during tow (wake boxing, simulated rope breaks) should be coordinated with the tow pilot before launch.
  • New tow pilots are often suprised how high they need to be to clear others with the rope. 300′ over the threshold is a good rule to protect our gliders & neighbors.
  • The tow pilot should take the glider no more than 2 miles from the field.
  • The tow pilot should take the glider to the up wind quadrant.
  • Radio Equipped aircraft should announce their intentions on 123.5
  • All pilots should formulate emergency plans for rope breaks/engine failures prior to flight.
  • All pilots should be aware of standard procedures and signals for emergencies.
  • Recommended towing pattern is generally a left hand pattern, make a box around the airport then head into the wind. On southbound takeoff jog right immediately after takeoff to take advantage of better rope break options with an offset to the west side of the runway.
  • A consistent towing pattern makes it much easier to plan ahead for rope break options.
  • Tow speed will be 65mph unless otherwise requested.
  • The tow rope should be carried during the landing and not dropped.

Minimizing Tow Plane Maintenance Costs

  • Tow pilots must take care to avoid shock cooling. Rapid power reduction or high speed descent should be avoided, ordinarily the tow plane should be flown at under 80mph.
  • Carb heat and mixture can be used to keep engine temperature up. Power reduction and speed increase should not be done together.
  • Use of more than 2 notches of flaps with power above idle causes tremendous buffeting of the tail and should be avoided. More than two notches of flap should generally be performed at low speed (65mph) and low power.
  • Similarly, protracted use of side slip through the entire descent should be avoided. Slip should generally performed at low speed (65mph) and low power.
  • We have spent 20K on engine maintenance in two events. We have spent 5k on tail structure repairs. A few minutes more turn around time or a few more dollars of gas are much cheaper than new cylinders or major structural repairs.


  • Minimum altitude for circling is 800’. Circling below 1000’ should be done at pattern airspeed.
  • Pattern Speed Should be approximately 1.5*stall + ½ peak wind. On a 20mph day this is approximately 55mph in the 1-26 or 2-22.
  • Keep in mind that if you are circling under 1200’, the launch operation will be halted.
  • Radio Equipped aircraft should announce their intentions on 123.5
  • Landing alternatives should be identified prior to takeoff in the event that the runway is obstructed when a landing is required (cattle, glider being retrieved, tow operation that didn’t look for you). The fields immediately east and northeast are usually good alternatives.
  • If more than one glider is expected to land at a time, the first should set the direction. The first to land should land long.
  • Rolling to a stop on the runway heading is standard procedure.  Turning off the runway heading to get closer to the hangar is not a standard procedure.  Stop, get out and then push off.
  • Please push the tail to the west side of the runway to clear for another glider or power plane.
  • Left turns are preferred for the traffic pattern. A complete pattern with right turns is preferred over a partial pattern with left turns.
  • Approach for southbound landing should be high enough to clear the top of the hangar adjacent to the north end of the runway. This is prudent to avoid turbulence, cars and other mayhem from landing short.


  • The club carries only liability insurance for its aircraft except the Libelle.
  • The pilot in command of a club aircraft is liable for the first $800 of damage done in the event of an accident that is the result of pilot error.
  • The tow plane insurance only covers a passenger in the tow plane when a tow check out is being performed.
  • For members who are uncomfortable with this arrangement, personal hull coverage is available through AVEMCO, Costello, and others.