Tie-Downs in the LZ? Dust devil event and risk


On the 9th, my glider was hit by a dust devil in the LZ, just after landing and parking it. Fortunately had an early warning, heard Kathy indicate inbound, so i ran back around the wing and grabbed the nose wires, holding the wing about parallel with the ground. Mike Rapp responded quickly and held the keel down. Together, we managed the keep the thing grounded, but it took a whole lot of effort and that lasted about 10 seconds. Thank you Kathy and thank you Mike!

Now, with us Hangs parked near the shade structure where people congregate, maybe it would be prudent to have a strip of several tie-down points about one wingspan away from the structure? Mid-day landers could then tie their wing down to prevent loss of equipment or possible serious injury due to unpredictable dust devil events which are equally common and hazardous this time of year.

I've thought about this risk at the 750 launch a while ago (being there alone) and drove a piece of rebar with a loop welded to the top of it deep into the ground. I always tie in when setting up or waiting on conditions. Stand at the streamer pole, heading toward left leg of CSS sign, walk 20 paces, move the biggest rock you see, its there. One problem i can think of with a tie-down in the LZ is that the lawn mower might not like steel loops just above the ground. Perhaps a small "no mow" strip? Or maybe they can be placed low enough down?

The situation on the 9th was handled well and kept under control, due to Kathy's vigilance and Mike and I being nearby enough. However I believe there is a more general danger of such events and less fortunate outcomes are possible; let's come up with an elegant solution to contain this real risk to our equipment, pilots and bystanders.









We could possibly do something like they have at Wallaby.

They have a tesioned cable run between two points and they tie the gliders down to that.

The downside would be that when the grass is cut, it would be a hazard.

The upside is that we could leash all the dogs and children to it when there are no gliders there ;)



Very beneficial risk management idea. Valid mowing concern. Ok, let's get creative and propose ideas that would work so well they would actually be used and would also allow the mowing job to not be greatly affected.

After you landed then remove all batten , fold wing , hold loose wing sail then parking your hang glider on area ,,, you get some bbq dinner time and chat with pilot friends ...then you roll up your tight wing then hang glider in bag.. and haul your hg bag to your car rack...

Anchors for tie downs are a great idea. Consider the following in the design:

Lawn mower

Pedestrian trip hazard

Underground sprinkler lines

There are loads of ways to accomplish this.  If the tie down cord stows on the glider there is no hazard to the lawn mower.  I have heavy PG brake lines on my gliders that act as tie downs. They stow under the nosecone and weigh next to nothing. Good to have because when you need one, you have one attached to the glider.

One that comes to mind is  "Flush mount D ring"

I think the D-Ring is a great idea in maintaining mower compatability and preventing pedestrian trip issues. It makes sense. The only downside is this idea assumes the pilot has a tie-down cord with them. As simple as that may seem, that requirement alone might retard the utilization to a certain extent. A lesser concern is that the D-Ring would have to be easily located, though its buried in the grass.

Likely best to have an all-in-one solution here. As i think about it...what about a valve box? So, the anchor is driven into recessed ground, within a common valve box. The tie down cord is also coiled and housed within the valve box, which is left covered when not in use. This is perfectly mower and pedestrian compatible and generally LZ friendly.


Shaggy, all your ideas remain compatible with this design as well.




I looked up "recessed D-ring" on Google images.- wow that is a lot of choices!  You see them inside tractor trailers for securing cargo.  Such a recessed or flush-mount D-ring could be mounted atop a concrete cylinder, maybe poured in a 5-gallon bucket.  Then the whole thing could be buried so the top is flush with the surface - no trip hazard, no mower contact.  Meanwhile, speaking of rebar (Dan) maybe it would be a good idea to start with some simple recessed rebar loops like the one I used the other day at Winchester bowl, that another pilot there said John Heiny had pounded into the ground there years ago.  Simple.  Cheap.  Immediate.  Low-tech.  If they get lost, use a metal detector?  I'd suggest pounding a stick of rebar into the ground most of the way, then heat it up with a torch and bend it over like a candy cane, then pound it in the last few inches, so it is buried, with the top flush with the surface.  A little strip of orange ribbon could be attached to keep it from getting "lost", and a few could be placed in a row making them easier to find.  Orange spray paint?  After using the rebar ones for a while, it might be easier to determine best placement, since during actual use, better positioning might become apparent.  Or just start with the concrete cylinder-mounted recessed D-rings, knowing that they might want to be moved at a future date if the position needs adjusting, once people get used to using them.  Of course retractable underground cables with clips would be nice, but how fancy can we afford to get?  Plus fancy stuff tends to need servicing, and can break, get clogged with dirt or rusty, or stop working.

per 7" valve box, which are by design recessed into a lawn. A tie down cable and anchor would be housed therein.

Everything there and ready for use. Easy to find with no trip or mower hazard.


Update July 13, 2016   ===  Here simples draw and make this picture .. 

 DHG have other way for my customer needed  in 1996,  they happy with it 

All is Stainless Steel  ( wont get rust ( like cheap metal ) include rebar rod is stainless too

....  Any comment ? 


See shaggy's comment, that is all that is needed for a hang glider. Essentially a stake.

We do not need tie ins that are intended for a loaded trailer or a yacht or a C-130 and rated for 10000+ lbs.

Also no concrete is necessary or even wanted in this application.

Thanks Nate ......important safety liability issue.   Gliders can be replced.   A bystander with an eye poked out is a bit more of a challenge.

I hammered a bunch of stakes in at both Elsinore launches 8 years ago.  They are still there and one or two people still use them.   Then EVERY ONE USES THEM once they see a dusty blow through.  I believe the cheif reason they don't get used is that they're kinda hard to see ( blend in w/ the rocks n dirt up there.)

I google "sports field marker cone " 


Champion Sports 9" Saucer Field Cones (Each)These are 2" tall but they may have shallower ones that we could set below the level of the mower blades.........................Just a partial possibility?????


I recall POTM had tie downs at the N side. I cant remember their config.

Any POTM lurkers here can post a photo?

This Draw  is 1000 Words  to tell ==  what i say ... 

Read this ==> 

Here is DHG drew  custom made  Tie Down   ( This Device safety from Lawnmower  clear the ground ) 

Any Idea Comment ? 

Updated Add on Picture Example  the Aircraft secure tie down on flat ground as grass 


Pitch and putt in the morning or on blown out days.  We already have a 19th hole.   We could put a tee on the training hill.  I'd lose the in-transit mixer, but other than that, I think DHG has a great idea!

Yeah, you make a convincing argument. I'm cool with it but only if there is a windmill. Makes the shot way more challenging because of timing.

i keep writing to the PGA about this, about how to make their sport moderately watchable, but they never have gotten back to me.

Simples picture,   we can make a copy  the image from scratch  

also add  anchor  below the Tee Bowl  for extras secure the tie down

Read this ===>>> 

Update:  about digging soil  to deep then  concrete fill and hold them 

read this ==>>> 

DHG ( Any Comment  ? ) 

From what I remember POTM Nside tie downs were cement pads covered with playground rubber that couldn't/shouldn't be mowed.....

Why not just break down the glider?

I mean, I generally want to get a drink of water or something, but  why does your glider need to spend a lot of time set up in the LZ?


Was still in my harness and hadn't even taken my helmet off yet. I was by the keel removing the GoPro shortly before i heard Kathy's warning. Had I have tied down immediately upon parking, absolutely the risk would have been better mitigated. So, an anchor would be a nice option to have.

I've seen others wings go airborne by the shade structure several times in the past. One time even pretty late in the afternoon (Gene's tandem Falcon - and he had landed not 5 minutes earlier). There was a fellow pilot's shoulder dislocated in attempt of trying to wrestle that one down.


These are 7" dia valve boxes from  Home D....$5.98  ea.  We could trim them down to the right depth, sink them in below mower blade level,  pound the stakes inside them, attach a length of line whatever with a snap beener on the end, paint the covers day glow orange and see if they get used.   Maybe try 4 - 5 as a test and if they are used add more.


Yep, agreed...that's the right sized valve box and the right approach (starting with just a few and observing the utilization). At least this solution has everything needed to secure the wing right there on the spot and doesn't assume the pilot is carrying or finding extra items.

What does everyone else think?

The green covers would have to be attached beneath to the case by a short length of shock cord or shark line both of which I have too much stock on hand.



I use 18" sections of brightly colored chain as an alternate tie down anchor to hold my sailplane down at Elsinore airport.  Similar to the anchor point DHG pictured I embed the majority of the chain in a concrete footing that was poured in a small hole.  I cover the last few inches of (cured) concrete with dirt so the concerte remains below the ground level and is not a trip hazard.  Only a couple of links of the chain is visible coming out of the dirt.  This may still be a mowing Hazard.  

It may trip and more hazard to mower also it visible handle above grass line level ...

Four Compare design for tie down.

Dog tie down = 18"chain =7"dia cup w\cover = DHG draw

Here picture .....

"Spaggy". Seems to me it should be a word. Will need to find some uses for this brand new adjective you've invented; perhaps describing a spaghetti-like nature.

The idea, as I see it, is to combine #1 and #3 on your draft picture. Basically we put a 7" recessed valve box down and a stake within that, coiling the tie inside when not in use. So everything is flush with or under ground level. The top\lid is shock corded to the box to prevent it from being lost.

Alan has a good point about critters. When i was a kid I used to (very successfully) hunt frogs in exactly such valve boxes. One can fix the frog issue with a little mesh underneath the lid hole\vent. But its true that black widows just love such places and not much one can do about that, maybe spraying every so often. It it gets used enough that will be less of a problem.



If tie downs are installed in front of the shade, there will be HG constantly parked there. The view of the LZ and landings blocked. I would recommend locating them in the area that Wills Wing uses for HG breakdown.

Not to rain on the suggestions of various sprinkler box options (pun intended), but they could create a nice home for various Arachnoids and other critters that may have a nasty bite or sting for anyone reaching in.  The colored chain suggestion I made could be done with literally only one link exposed that could sit lower than the mower blades reach unless we are giving the grass a Parris Island recruit cut.  I think there would only need to be between 6 and 12 +/- permanent tie downs (anchor points).  If these were lined up and spaced evenly they could have several cables or rope lines clipped to them just for fly ins that would allow for significantly more gliders to be tied down.  Having a more organized tie down area (more compact) may help keep the LZ from shrinking so much as the day progresses during crowded fly-ins.  

I hate missing someone   WACK  when the view is all blocked up.

Keep these ideas coming and when I Get back from N Carolina on 7/27 I will get together and propose a small parts budget and plan layout to the BOD for approval of some test installations.



Sorry for coming in late to the discussion.

As you might know I mow the LZ, usually every Thursday. I cut the main bulk of the field at 3.75" but around the Shade Structure I lower the deck to 3.0" because of the lower lying grass that grows there. I mow out approximately fifteen feet from the Shade Structure at 3.0" and also just north of it in the takedown area is also 3.0". 

Our Commercial Mower is a Wright, and at just south of ten thousand daollars it's our baby. A lot of energy goes into the science of the grass, we have a small dedicated team that monitors it and the water it uses twice daily.

I would need to see a system that in no way interferes with the mower, because of costly repairs that are done at a dealer service center in Orange County. But I'm sure there's something out there, and I hope my imput helps.

Ground anchors can be installed flush or even recessed below ground level for lawn mower clearance. The club can offer, lengths of paragliding cords as a tie down, for a $$ donation. You can use it on XC's and can be stored under nosecone or harness. Cheap loaner ropes can be stored in the shade structure.

As someone tasked with mowing many rock-strewn acres every year, using sometimes a yard tractor and more usually a hand mower, I'm amazed that I can often go right over pretty big rocks without striking them.  If blades are set at 3" height, it's not necessary for something to be recessed into the ground to avoid blade contact.  A two-inch rock will not be struck, in my experience anyway.  Rocks seem usually heavy enough to just sit there.  Just yesterday I was noticing many many rocks over an inch in diameter in the grass of the LZ.  They don't seem to be a problem.  Probably the trip hazard is the biggest reason for anchors to be completely recessed, or maybe better yet, simply flush.  The valve box seems like maybe overkill if a simple orange D-ring can be flush with the ground.  Keep it simple.  I'd just remember Rob's story of how much upward force he perceived on a tie-down, even with all his weight pulling down on a glider, during a recent dust-devil, and make sure there's enough anchor down there to withstand the max forces it may see.  Rebar driven 3 feet into the ground may be more able to resist being pulled out than a screw-in dog anchor.  If you decide you don't like it, a sledge-hammer can be used to just pound it in another couple inches and it disappears.  Also, for digging or pounding rebar etc. into the ground, it helps to use water to soften the soil first.  I dig a small preliminary hole and pour water in over a couple days, until the ground is soft going down quite a ways, and it becomes way easier to pound in a signpost, rebar, etc., or to dig a bigger hole.  I tell people "Let the water do the work".

yep, torqued down enough, that just might work.

its also easy to remove if so desired. cool design.


The Steel Coil may Rust and Weak Point  (( May not good ideas ,  there cheap made for sure. ))


(=> if they made from stainless that GREAT to last long years and strudy during winter season !! )


( Cheap Metal Coil got broken due Rust  => Picture Check here =>> 

Any ideas 


Imagine a recessed or flush anchor unit, where you could just bend over and pull up a retractable tether, hook it to your glider, then kick a lever that locks the tether from further extension until you unhook it and unclick the lever and it all retracts again when you are done, leaving no trip hazard  This might be safest and get the most use, since you don't have to locate your own rope, which maybe is "in the car" etc.  But reliablity might be a factor.