It’s those wacky Eighties again, and this time we’re experimenting with (nearly) simultaneous launches from parallel strips separated by a standard row of runway lights. The orchestration consists of a Pawnee, an L-19, two 2-33s and a pair of towlines. Our honorary conductor is a fifteen-year old line girl, herself a soloed student pilot, diligently connecting the aircraft.

All seems in readiness, a total of four birds and six occupants poised to take up slack when one of the tow pilots cuts his engine, climbs out and walks to the middle where loops of line meander everywhere. We all look curiously at him and he looks furiously at all that rope. It’s not obvious of course, or someone else would have noticed, but it is right there for all to see. The glider on the grass strip has somehow hooked itself to the tug on pavement… and vice versa!

You can guess the rest.

And that’s how some failed experiments ultimately become successful: by never quite getting underway!


Okay then, what should we try next?