Howto:Do aerotow over the net

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With FlightGear 1.0 and later, you can practice aerotowing over the net using the multiplayer system. At this time, only few towplanes and gliders are capable of participating in MP aerotows. These are:

Towplanes are marked by Category:Glider_tugs



  • Once the planes are lined up and hooked, the tug pilot slowly advances to tighten up the rope. The glider pilot need to inform the tug pilot when the rope is tight. Never start towing with full throttle!
  • The takeoff roll should accelerate smoothly and not too fast.
  • The glider will lift off first. This moment is critical: the glider urgently needs to pay attention to not ascend now. Instead stay just briefly above the tug plane to stay out of the propeller vortex. Failing this will force the tug plane into a descent (preventing it from takeoff): your wing lift is way stronger than the elevator of the tug plane!
  • After takeoff be sure to closely follow the tug plane:
    • like just described, stay just a little above it.
    • on turns, the gliders nose should point to the outside wingtip of the tug. Fly a little(!) less bank than the tug plane in order not to shortcut the fly path.
    • The tug pilot needs to avoid sharp turns or fast change of speed. He constantly monitors airspeed in order not to get too slow (stall!) or too fast (danger for the glider).
    • The glider pilot need to make sure he will not get too close to the towing plane. Employ airbrakes if necessary.
  • When disconnecting, the tug plane is expected to fly a left bank and the glider to the right. The pilots need to confirm the successful separation.
  • The tug pilot will usually return with a steep descend back to the airfield in order to save time. Watch engine temperatures!


The following example uses the J3 and the Bocian, though if you are new to aerotowing use the Beaver; it's much easier due to tow with.


Taxi the J3 within 60m to the Bocian. The Bocian pilot has to press Ctrl+O (Shift+o). Both pilots should see a radio message that they are connected to each other, then the J3 pilot can taxi. Until we have the instrumentation designed that is capable of displaying the distance between the two aircraft, the J3 pilot should watch /sim/hitches/aerotow/tow/dist and /sim/hitches/aerotow/tow/dist-time-lag-corrected in the property browser. Be very slow if the dist gets near 60m, the length of the tow. Increase the speed slowly. Both pilots should try to lift off gently - the glider pilot should be particularly careful not to lift the tail of the towplane. Either pilot can release the tow by pressing Shift+O (Shift+o).


If you are not using a local network connection, both pilots should log in on the same server to minimize the time lag. The time lag will still rather large. Therefore /sim/hitches/aerotow/tow/dist and /sim/hitches/aerotow/tow/dist-time-lag-corrected differ significantly (the second value is the estimated dist, the other pilot is seeing right now).

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