Updated June 28, 2019






    1. For aircraft uses other than sightseeing rides for hire

    2. For glider uses defined as rides for hire

    3. Hull insurance deductible policy


    1. Safety Report

    2. Safety Officers




    1. Qualified Field Ops Personnel (QFOP)

    2. Arrival and Preflight

    3. Moving an HRS Glider


    1. Direction of takeoffs

    2. Staging for the launch

    3. On the runway

    4. Takeoff

    5. Routing and Release


    1. Tow ropes and weak links

    2. Rope break emergency plan






    Appendix A - Glider landing patterns

    Appendix B - Terrain

    Appendix C - Safety Review 2019 Webinar

1. WELCOME TO THE HOOD RIVER SOARING GLIDERPORT: The gliderport is located at the east end of Ken Jernstedt Airfield – 4S2, 5.5 miles from downtown Hood River. The gliderport is operated by the volunteer membership of Hood River Soaring (HRS) under a concession agreement with the Port of Hood River, which owns and controls the operations for the entire airfield. Visit this link: Ken Jernstedt Airfield – 4S2 for details about primary airfield operations.

HRS maintains the gliderport for the enjoyment and education of soaring by its members and visitors. Please be aware that the gliderport has hazards associated with aircraft operations. You are responsible for your safety and the safety of any guests you bring to the gliderport. Your understanding of the following standards and your active participation in daily operations is vital to ensure everyone’s safety.


2. SAFETY REVIEW CERTIFICATION: All HRS members and visitors are required to read and certify understanding of this manual prior to flying at the airport. HRS members are required to recertify annually by reviewing the manual at the startup of the new soaring season. After reading this document, click here to certify that you have read and understood it.  


3. PURPOSE: Hood River Soaring (HRS) provides this manual to its members for the purpose of consistent, safe, operations.  All PIC rated pilots shall know and understand the standards described in this manual.  Any deviations require detailed briefing, and pilots assume added responsibility when choosing to deviate.  Without this brief, all members should expect that the standards will be followed.  These standards are specific to Hood River Soaring at Ken Jernstedt airfield.  This document is also not intended to replace or repeat regulations, handbooks, instructions, or other documents required to be understood prior to flying as a PIC.

This is a living document that may be changed at the will of the Hood River Soaring Board of Directors in order to continually improve the safety and efficiency of our operations.  It is a repository for lessons learned and best practices and shall be reviewed and re-adopted annually or more frequently as required.


4. INSURANCE:  HRS maintains group insurance policies with coverage in the amounts of $100,000 per person or per passenger bodily injury liability, $1million property damage liability, and $1million each accident or occurrence. HRS members who are valid, meaning their HRS club dues and SSA membership status are current, are covered by these policies in accordance with the following rules:

1. For aircraft uses other than sightseeing rides for hire:

  When in flight, HRS owned aircraft (gliders and tow planes) will only be operated by pilots who are valid HRS members and who possess the current and valid ratings and certificates for the aircraft to be flown, and if required a current and valid medical certificate.

  All pilots who have a Private Pilot certificate or better for gliders are required to have demonstrated to a certificated HRS flight instructor the piloting skills required for the specific glider being flown.

  Any pilot that does not have a Private Pilot certificate or better for gliders must remain under the direct supervision of an appropriately certificated HRS flight instructor for all flights. Prior to solo, student pilots are required to receive the instructor’s appropriate written endorsement(s) for the same make and model glider.

2. For glider uses defined as rides for hire: Only pilots maintaining a COMMERCIAL or more advanced glider pilot certificate, and who have demonstrated to an appropriately certificated HRS flight instructor the piloting skills required for the sailplane being flown, are permitted to conduct rides for hire.

3. Hull insurance deductible policy: In the event of an incident leading to an insurance claim the pilot in command (PIC) shall pay $500 to HRS towards the deductible, unless the PIC was engaged in revenue-generating activity on behalf of HRS at the time when damage occurred, i.e. towing, sightseeing rides, and instruction.

In all such cases, the HRS Board will review the circumstances, pay the deductible as appropriate, and attempt to educate club members about lessons learned from the experience.


5. SAFETY PROCESS:  Hood River Soaring seeks to provide safe and efficient soaring opportunities for its members, patrons, and the general public. HRS and its members acknowledge that glider and glider-tow operations present dynamic situations and piloting challenges that are unique within general aviation.  The human factor element will ensure that the club will forever fail to reach zero defects.  Because of this, HRS has implemented a robust safety process, which allows for a non-retributive collaborative environment where pilots can learn from each other.  The safety process is not concerned with individual performance; rather it is concerned with group performance.  Success depends on teamwork and communication.

  • “If you see something, say something.”

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your fellow pilots, field manager, etc.

  • It’s okay to call an operations ‘time out’ and get pilots together for a safety huddle.

1. Safety Report: An element of this process is the safety report.  HRS club members will issue a safety report regarding all operations, normal and otherwise.  This report is the responsibility of the senior club member at the conclusion of every day of operations.  The word “senior” is used to identify the field manager if present, CFI-G if present, a Commercial Pilot if present, and finally the Tow Pilot, if only private tows are being flown.  The senior member may delegate the report to another club member if another perspective is required.  The report will include, the length of operations, number of tows, and any unusual occurrences (defined as any deviation from standards or brief as applicable) and can be in the form of an informal email, or phone call.  The distribution on the report will include at a minimum the safety officer, tow pilot, and present instructors.  The safety officer will determine whether information needs to be passed to the board, senior members, or wider audience.  S/he will make this determination based on the value of the information as it applies to continued safe operations.  Those items s/he deems valuable may contribute to the modification of this document.   Safety emphasis will always be on group performance.

2. Safety Officers:

  Stan Voynick – President, HRS

  Mike Kingen – Director of Safety

  Bret Russell – Safety Assistant

  Rick Kemper – Chief Tow Pilot

  Mark Stanfield – CFI-G

  Jeff Pinnock – CFI-G



  • Currency – per 14CFR 61.57, 3 takeoffs and landings in 90 days in category, class and type (if required).

  • AC 61-98D – “Pilots should design a currency program tailored to their individual operating environments and needs, which should emphasize proficiency beyond the minimum currency requirements.” Hood River Soaring will foster currency through a two-pronged approach:

o Annual Safety Meeting attendance or HRS approved alternative

o Personal currency program review with a Commercial pilot or CFI-G



  • Review the flight operations schedule with TeamUp.

  • Use TeamUp to:

o schedule an aircraft reservation or a private tow;

o schedule an instructor;

o volunteer to work as field manager or field ops personnel (if you are not qualified then get qualified!).

  • Make sure you are ready, willing and able to fly safely: ‘IMSAFE’ (Illness, Medication, Stress, Alcohol, Fatigue, Eating)

  • PAVE – (Pilot/Personal pressures?  Aircraft airworthy?  enVironment suitable? External pressures?)

  • Check NOTAMs, TFRs and weather.



1. Qualified Field Ops Personnel (QFOP):

  Any HRS member that flew with HRS at 4S2 in the prior calendar year as a glider-rated pilot or post-solo student glider pilot is a QFOP for the current year.

  Any HRS member that is a glider-rated pilot or post-solo student glider pilot but did not fly with the Club at 4S2 in the prior calendar year must be checked out to become a QFOP.

  Check out may be conducted by any QFOP HRS member.

  The QFOP conducting a checkout should notify the HRS Safety Officer of a completed checkout.

  Any HRS member that is not either a glider-rated pilot or post-solo student glider pilot may become a QFOP upon checkout by the HRS Safety Officer.

  Checkout requires demonstration of knowledge of:

o  4S2 operating environment;

o  aircraft ground handling procedures; and

o  launch procedures (including cable hookup, wing running and hand signals)

QFOP status of club members is shown in the online Member Contact List, which is available to be viewed only by HRS members.

2. Arrival and Preflight:

●  Arrive in time to be ready to go at the appointed hour, check field conditions, complete flight preparations, meet and brief passengers, etc.

  Check in with the field manager to confirm the schedule and review ops plan.  The field manager can change the schedule as necessary!

  It is the PIC’s responsibility to pre-flight the glider.

  It is also the PIC’s responsibility to keep the glider exterior and interiors clean, especially canopies. Note that plexiglass canopies are easily scratched. Make sure that you are properly trained in cleaning plexiglass before attempting to clean the canopy.

  The PIC is responsible for the glider from the time s/he unties it until s/he:

o  hands off glider to another PIC who accepts responsibility for the glider; or

o  returns glider to the correct location, ties it down and secures controls and canopy

  If the glider is damaged, the PIC is responsible for repairs/loss according to the HRS hull insurance deductible policy.

3. Moving an HRS Glider:

  No person may assist in moving an HRS glider unless s/he is a QFOP or is operating under the active and direct supervision of a QFOP.

  Only HRS members may operate the golf cart.

  Only HRS members that are QFOP or under the active and direct supervision of a QFOP may:

o  ground tow a glider with the golf cart or another vehicle; or

o  assist in launches involving an HRS tow plane or HRS glider.



1. Direction of takeoffs: HRS tow pilots shall not use Runway 7 for launch operations for commercial glider rides or non-glider-rated pilot instructional flights.

2. Staging for the launch:

  While the PIC is ultimately responsible for the safety of the aircraft on the ground and in flight, the Field Manager is responsible for running a smooth operation and will determine launch sequencing (and will appreciate cooperation from all parties!)

  The runway hazard area is that area within 50’ of the runway.

o  The hazard area is marked with safety cones and/or a white stripe on the ground.

o  All people, aircraft and vehicles shall remain clear of the hazard area unless launching, landing, or retrieving.

  No glider shall be moved through the runway hazard area for glider launch until:

o  The PIC has completed the preflight, positive control check, etc;

o  The PIC has all ancillary items on board (weak link, radio, water, map, hat, etc.);

o  Any passengers are in the glider and belted in, where practicable;

o  The PIC has assessed weather, runway conditions, traffic, IMSAFE, PAVE;

o  The PIC has received permission from the Field Manager or designee to stage for launch; and

o  The PIC or FM has made a CTAF radio announcement that the glider is taking the runway.

●  Glider PIC’s are strongly encouraged to have a radio and to use it as necessary to communicate with other pilots, the tow pilot and field manager (‘glider ground’).

●  Prior to launch, the glider PIC and tow pilot shall communicate and agree re tow instructions:

o  Speed, altitude and direction; and

o  Special instructions (boxing the wake, soft release, low tow, simulated rope break, etc.)

●  It is strongly recommended that the glider be positioned for takeoff within 600’ of the end of the runway (i.e., 3 runway stripes). Exceptions may be made (e.g., pattern tows).

3. On the runway:

●  Once the glider is stationed on the runway, all personnel not needed to launch the glider should immediately clear the runway and runway hazard area.

●  There should be no more than two QFOP’s involved with the glider launch. One more is allowed for purposes of training or checking out QFOP’s.

●  The glider’s south wing will be placed on the runway and the wing runner will be positioned on the south side of the runway unless there are gusty winds with a strong northerly component that could create a safety issue.

●  QFOP will use standard ground signals to communicate with the tow pilot.


●  QFOP will retrieve the tow rope from the tow plane and unspool it; as the towplane taxis forward:

o  The rope will be walked back toward the glider’s nose, where the tow ring will be dropped;

o  QFOP will walk toward the south edge of the runway (staying in front of the glider’s wing) while unspooling the rope and dropping it on the runway;

o  The towplane will stop taxiing when the tow rope is almost fully unspooled; and

o  QFOP will continue unspooling tow rope until rope is fully unspooled.


●  QFOP will return to the cockpit area and present the tow rope to the glider PIC for inspection.

●  Note that HRS tow ropes are terminated with a combination of both Schweizer and TOST rings. Therefore, the glider PIC will tell the QFOP which ring to attach to the tow hook: “big ring” for Schweizer or “little ring” for TOST hookups.

●  It is the glider PIC’s responsibility to provide QFOP with a weak link when flying a glider with a takeoff weight under 670 pounds. NOTE that all weak links used for HRS operations must be reinforced with a vinyl tube in order to prevent the weak link from wrapping around the tail wheel of the tow plane (See 10.1: Tow ropes and weak links.)

●  After hookup, the glider PIC will confirm to QFOP that the canopy is closed and locked, whereupon QFOP will clear the wing of the glider (and move clear of the runway and runway hazard area unless running the wing).

●  After clearing the glider wing, the wing runner may signal the tow pilot to taxi forward to take up any remaining tow rope slack even though wing has not been raised.

●  The wing runner will raise the glider’s wing after:

o  seeing the PIC’s thumbs up signal; and

o  making one last 360 degree scan to confirm no traffic or other safety issues.

  If there is a strong crosswind component, the PIC should remember to use offsetting aileron to keep the wings level and assist the wing runner.

  After any remaining slack in the rope is taken up, the wing runner will signal tow pilot with a wind milling arm motion upon seeing the waggle of the glider rudder.

  The wing runner will release the glider wing after a few steps and then continue running south to clear the runway and the runway hazard area.

4. Takeoff:

●  On the takeoff signal from the glider pilot (rudder waggle) and QFOP (wind milling arm), the tow pilot will make the radio call for takeoff and begin the takeoff roll.

●  The formation will assume that radio communications will be ineffective on takeoff while the tow plane is at high power. All communication will occur via tow plane and glider aircraft signals, and standard (or briefed) routing will be the primary objective of the tow plane until sufficient altitude (1000 ft AGL) is achieved to troubleshoot abnormalities.

●  The tow pilot will expeditiously advance power to full, maintain runway centerline with proper crosswind inputs, and stick aft.

●  The glider pilot will maintain centerline with proper crosswind inputs and attitude.

●  For a scenario where the glider lifts off first, the glider will maintain centerline with proper crosswind inputs, and attempt to maintain no more than 5 ft off the runway, until the tow plane lifts off.

●  The tow plane will attempt to achieve briefed airspeed prior to leaving ground effect.

●  The tow plane will maintain runway centerline until passing 50 feet to ensure the glider has the best opportunity to land at the far end of the runway upwind should the rope break.

●  The turn to the cross wind will be based on headwinds ensuring that the track of the formation across the ground provides at least one avenue for landing out for the glider until reaching 200 feet when a 180 degree turn to the downwind landing is achievable.

●  Once past 200 feet, the tow plane should adhere to normal traffic pattern navigation and will reduce engine power by 50-100 RPMs for noise abatement.  

5. Routing and Release:

●  In all cases, the tow pilot should maneuver the formation so that, upon release the tow plane can make a descending left turn, and the glider can make a right turn.

●  Soft release will be pre-briefed to the tow pilot which is the standard for the Schweizer hook equipped aircraft.

●  All routings are traffic and wind dependent. It is the responsibility of the glider PIC to ensure a non-standard pattern is briefed if winds dictate.

●  While in tow formation, it is the responsibility of the tow pilot to monitor traffic and if required, deviate from prescribed patterns to avoid closing on traffic. In these scenarios, the tow pilot will prefer climbing overhead the field until the traffic conflict is resolved.

●  Pattern Routing:

o  The standard pattern tow releases the glider at 1000’ AGL over the high school.

o  If the glider does not release, the tow will continue by turning East and then south, climbing overhead the airport.

●  3000’ Training Tow:

o  The 3000’ training tow will use the paperclip pattern to climb primarily overhead the field.

o  The 3000’ tow can end up over the town of Odell or over the town of Hood River, based on flow into the airport.

●  Ridge Routing:

o  The glider should release at briefed release altitude or as desired, along the ridge.

o  The tow pilot will maintain a race track pattern along the ridge and continue climbing until glider release.

●  Scenic/White Salmon/South Valley Routing:

o  The tow pilot will fly a “paper clip” pattern overhead the field ensuring safe gliding altitude prior to turning to the North or South as briefed.

Tow rope termination.jpg


1. Tow ropes and weak links:

●  HRS uses tow ropes with a manufacturer’s rated breaking strength of 2,000 Lbs. HRS tow ropes are terminated at the glider end with a combination of a Schweizer tow ring and a TOST tow ring (see Figure 1).

The tow ring is secured by QFOP using either a locking Brummel eyesplice or a bowline knot.

The locking Brummel eyesplice is used preferentially whenever possible.

A tennis ball or other protective device is positioned just ahead of the knot to protect it from abrasion by being dragged on the ground.



●  All PIC’s operating gliders with a maximum allowable takeoff weight of less than 670 pounds shall supply a “weak link” adapter.  NOTE that all weak links used for HRS operations must be reinforced with a vinyl tube as illustrated (see Figure 2). This reinforcement is required in order to stiffen the weak link preventing it from wrapping around the tail wheel of the tow plane.

Figure 1: TOST and Schweizer tow rings tied to tow rope

Weak Link.jpg

Figure 2: Weak link reinforced with 1/2" vinyl tubing

2. Rope break emergency plan:

●  Below 200 feet – land ahead or to the right avoiding the tow plane if it is still on the ground. The tow plane will move to the left.

●  Above 200 feet, maintain air speed and return to the runway for a downwind landing, or if altitude and conditions allow, perform an abbreviated/normal pattern.

●  Depending on the altitude of the glider during a guillotine event, the glider pilot will release the line over unpopulated areas (first priority), and where the rope can be recovered (second priority).

●  After an actual rope break or guillotine event further flight operations shall be suspended until the two involved PICs complete a face-to-face debrief.

11. SOARING PROCEDURES: HRS follows the FAA Glider Flying Handbook "rules of the road." All pilots are advised to consult the handbook which may be downloaded at Glider Flying Handbook. The following procedures are excerpted from the handbook:

●  The use of a radio during ridge soaring is recommended for the purpose of communicating with other ridge traffic.

●  Make all turns away from the ridge.

o  A turn toward the ridge is dangerous, even if gliding seemingly well away from the ridge.

o  The groundspeed on the downwind portion of the turn is difficult to judge properly, and striking the ridge is a serious threat.

o  Even if above the ridge, it is easy to finish the turn downwind which may take the glider over the ridge crest; this puts the glider into heavy sink.

●  Do not fly directly above or below another glider.

o  Gliders spaced closely together in the vertical are in each other’s blind spots.

o  A slight change in climb rate between the gliders can lead to a collision.

●  When overtaking a slower glider traveling in the same direction along the ridge, always pass on the ridge side, anticipating that the other pilot will make a turn away from the ridge.

o  Sometimes the glider to be passed is so close to the ridge that there is inadequate space to pass between the glider and the ridge. In that case, either turn back in the other direction (away from the ridge) if traffic permits or fly upwind away from the ridge and rejoin the slope lift as traffic allows.

o  If the overtaking glider encounters sink, turbulence, etc., it must maneuver away from the ridge.

o  If using a radio, try to contact the glider by the registration number or other identifier and then coordinate the passing.

●  When two gliders are approaching head on, the glider with its right side to the ridge has the right of way.

o  Pilots must be familiar with 14 CFR part 91, section 91.113, Right-of-way rules: Except water operations, and section 91.111, operating near other aircraft.

o  A glider with the ridge to the right may not have room to move farther to the right. The glider with its left side to the ridge should give way.

o  When piloting the glider with its right side to the ridge, ensure the approaching glider sees you and is yielding in plenty of time.

o  In general, gliders approaching head-on are difficult to see; therefore, extra vigilance is needed to avoid collisions while slope soaring.



  • The Initial Point (IP) for landing runway 25 will begin at the “high school” at 1600 - 1700 ft MSL and will use a right hand pattern to the north of the field.

  • The Runway 25 traffic pattern will be entered via the 45 to right downwind to intercept the WAAAM Blanik which is the beginning of the downwind.

  • The Initial Point (IP) for landing runway 7 will begin at the bend in the Hood River at 1600 - 1700 ft MSL, and will use a right hand traffic pattern to the south of the field.

  • The Runway 7 traffic pattern will be entered via the 45 to right downwind to intercept the bend in Orchard Road which is the beginning of the downwind.

  • All gliders will primarily land on the paved surface. If the paved surface is occupied, gliders should land on the grass.


  • It is the responsibility of the PIC to either transfer control of the glider to another PIC or otherwise to securely tie down the glider in its designated flight line location

  • Upon securing the glider in its flight line location, perform the following end of flight checklist:

o  remove ballast;

o  lock the rudder and ailerons;

o  turn off all electronic instruments;

o  disconnect battery;

o  connect battery charger and place on wing;

o  remove any personal items from the cockpit;

o  store all glider accessories in the cockpit;

o  latch the canopy;

o  cover the pitot tube and/or install the canopy cover if provided;

o  perform a final walk around to confirm that nothing is overlooked and to double check the security of the tie downs.

  • PIC’s are responsible to log all of their flights and tows within 24 hours of their final flight of the day:  

o  Use the PIC Flight Entry Form to log the flight and tow details.

o  Use the form to report any aircraft maintenance squawks.

  • Whenever possible, allow time to stay at the gliderport to assist with operations, cut the grass, talk to visitors, engage in hanger flying, learn how to make a weak link, etc.



  • The tow plane shall not launch with less than 15 gallons of fuel as indicated on the external fuel gauge.

  • The tow pilot’s primary responsibility is the safety of the tow airplane.

  • The tow pilot will guillotine the tow line whenever flight controls reach a stop in a stable situation, or dynamic movement of the aircraft puts control into question.

  • The tow pilot’s secondary responsibilities are to safely navigate the formation and communicate position to non-participating aircraft, particularly when taking the runway.

  • The tow pilot will pull forward as the ground crew is pulling the line back and forth along the wing. The tow pilot will stop the pull forward movement when the line reaches the spool and will not continue until signaled by the ground crew.

  • The tow plane will not takeoff with less than 15 gallons of fuel as indicated on the external fuel gauge, more than 1.5 hours of Tac time since last refueling, or 10 tows (whichever happens first) for any local flight or tow.

  • The tow plane will make a traffic call prior to entering the runway hazard area.

  • The tow plane will enter and exit the runway through designated areas, or within ½ a wingspan of a light beyond the wingtip (maximum distance from light).

  • The tow plane will initially park near the glider offset in heading so as not to send prop wash towards the glider or ground crew.

  • For the first flight of a tow pilot, runup checks will be conducted at this point, ensuring prop wash is not pointed at glider or ground crew.

  • Runup checks for the tow pilot will include flight controls checks, proper position of switches and engine controls, and a check of all flight and engine instruments. Aircraft runup needs only to be completed during the first event of a tow pilot for the day.


15. AREA LANDMARKS: Within this manual, Appendix A shows the runway and landing patterns and Appendix B shows the local terrain. The following is a list of important area landmarks:

  • Dog Bowl – a point on the East Hood River Valley ridge southeast of Ken Jernstedt airport which represents the southern terminus of the main ridge soaring area. Dog Bowl is often one of the better locations for lift along the main ridge.

  • The Notch – large break in the East Hood River Valley ridge due East of Ken Jernstedt airport. The Notch is another location where the lift is often best along the main ridge.

  • High School – Hood River Valley High School (distinguished by a prominent track and football field), which represents the point on the ground coinciding with the initial point for gliders entering the downwind for a landing on runway 25.  Gliders will circle here waiting for their planned altitude at which they will fly to the downwind.

  • WAAAM Blanik – glider parked at the WAAAM driveway and highway 281 which represents the point on the ground where the downwind to runway 25 begins.

  • Hood River Bend - represents the point on the ground coinciding with the initial point for gliders entering the downwind for a landing on runway 7.  Gliders will circle here waiting for their planned altitude at which they will fly to the downwind.

  • Orchard Road Bend – the bend in Orchard road which represents the point on the ground where the downwind to runway 7 begins.


APPENDIX A - Glider landing Patterns:

The landing patterns shown here illustrate the recommended initiation and turn points for gliders landing on 4S2 runways 25 and 7.  Base legs as shown are approximate and will vary according to wind conditions and the chosen touchdown point.

Note: These images are best viewed on a large screen.  Viewing on a mobile phone is not recommended.


Ken Jernstedt Airfield 4S2.jpg

LANDING PATTERN FOR 25 (2D illustration)

Landing pattern for 25 - 2D.jpg

LANDING PATTERN FOR 25 (3D illustration)

Landing pattern for 25 - 3D.jpg

LANDING PATTERN FOR 7 (2D illustration)

Landing pattern for 7 - 2D.jpg

LANDING PATTERN FOR 7 (3D illustration)

Landing pattern for 7 - 3D.jpg

APPENDIX B - Terrain:


The maps linked to this appendix show the terrain most commonly flown by gliders launching from and returning to 4S2.  Useful landmarks are named to help orient pilots who are new to flying in the Hood River Valley.  This appendix is a work in progress.  Watch for more terrain maps to be added!

Click on the sections below to link to their corresponding maps.  Note: These images are best viewed on a large screen.  Viewing on a mobile phone is not recommended.

Hood River Valley.jpg
Upper Valley Thumbnail.jpg
Lower and mid valley thumbnail.jpg
The ridge thumbnail.jpg

APPENDIX C - Click to view: Safety Review 2019 Webinar