Planning is the key for a successful and safe cross-county tow. [Figure 12-15] Fuel consumption during any tow operation is high. Plan conservatively, using the maximum fuel consumption for your particular tow plane and also plan for the possibility of a diversion along your route of flight. Study your route of flight on current sectional charts paying particular attention to airspace, both controlled and special use.
Since a tow line break is a constant possibility, always plan your route of flight over landable terrain and, while in flight, strive to keep the glider over landable terrain. Tow and glider pilot fatigue is a real hazard. Make sure you are properly rested and in good medical condition prior to the flight. If the flight is particularly long, plan rest stops along the way, if feasible. Think about water requirements to keep hydrated and the inevitable physiological requirement. Use aircraft trim to ensure the maximum tow speed of the glider is not exceeded and to help reduce pilot fatigue.
Two-way communication between the glider and the tow plane is essential during cross-country tows. Ensure portable radios and glider batteries are fully charged prior to the flight and conduct a radio check as part of your pre-flight activities. [Figure 12-16]