The eTug Group was formed in 2005 by a group of glider pilots who were concerned that rising aerotow costs were having increasingly negative effects on the viability of individual gliding clubs and the gliding movement as a whole. Their idea was to create a high-performing yet economical tug based around an automotive engine of proven reliability. They converted a Pawnee PA25 using a GM LS1 V8 and a belted PSRU and commenced proving it as a seriously improved tug compared with any other towplane available.
Now, over 1,300 hours and 18,000 launches later, eTug has been approved
by CASA for certification in the Limited category for the purpose of glider towing.
Gliding clubs can now arrange to have their Pawnee PA25 towplanes converted to eTug specifications.
Pawnee PA25 VH-CUR was originally converted in 2006 as the prototype test vehicle for the eTug project. For the past 7 years she has been in constant use as a working towplane at GCV, Benalla as part of the Club's tug fleet.
Pawnee PA25 VH-PIJ is the second eTug iteration, and is certified in the Limited category for the purpose of glider towing. Following her certification, the aircraft is towing at GCV Benalla as well as demonstrating eTugs' capabilities around the country.
Originally operating as Experimental, eTug VH-CUR is now certified in the Limited category for the purpose of glider towing. Further iterations of eTug will be similarly certified following the necessary approvals process.
Conversion of Pawnee PA25s is now being undertaken at Lilydale, Victoria. The process of conversion, inspection, approval and training will typically require six to eight weeks from the time your aircraft is delivered to the facility.