The visibility that the pilot has in the Pawnee is soooo much better than a high wing airplane. I like the fact that I can see in almost a 360 degree radius around me. The rear view mirror works well to see when the rope is taught and you can see the wing runner as well while on the ground. During tow, the glider is in view in the mirror if it is in a normal tow position behind the towplane. If the glider is boxing the wake or doing slack rope maneuvers, the pilot cannot see the glider. The tow pilot can also see when the glider releases.
The Pawnee is definitely a different breed than the C-182. As Larry mentioned in the previous message, we found out just how uneven our grass runway is. Accelerating down the runway, the pilot feels every bump in the runway. Sticking the nose down and keeping it down without having it pop into the air and settle back down on the ground takes some practice. I finally got the feel of it after about my 5th tow while playing with different trim settings for takeoff.
Finally, on my last tow for the day I did a really nice wheel landing, it was a thing of beauty :-). Something I haven’t done since 1986. The key, is trim and power. Trim nose down and fly it onto the ground with a little bit of power. Once the mains are on the ground reduce the power to idle and the tail will settle to the ground. If you want to keep the tail up, push the stick forward and add a little power.
Overall, I think our tow pilots will come to really like towing with the Pawnee and our glider pilots will like towing behind it. It is showing that is accelerates quickly and gets off the ground fast. It has good climb rates, comes down quicker (like Larry said), lands at a slow speed (I use 65mph over the fence w/full flaps) and I never saw the oil temperature get over 190 degrees.
Certain precautions are needed when maneuvering the Pawnee in and out of the hanger. Where and what you can hold while pushing or pulling will be briefed by your towpilot. The wingtips on the Pawnee are made of wood and require extra care when operating around them.