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10K milestone achievement for Tom

Photo Credit; Susumu Morita

This past Saturday, April 27th, Tom accomplished his 10,000th tow. What a great achievement. I was not on the field this day but did a quick "virtual" interview with Tom to learn more on how did he get to such an amazing milestone.

Jean-Marie; "Tom, tell me more about your pilot career, I don't know that much about it?"

Tom; "I received a Private Airplane rating April 1967, Commercial March 1971, Instrument August 1971, Glider Commercial March 1996."

Jean-Marie; "How did you end-up towing gliders?"

Tom; "I started towing gliders at Sandhill Soaring on September 1994 after relocating from the California Bay Area to Michigan. I actually joined the Sandhill Soaring Club to fly gliders but they saw that I had a few hundred hours of tail wheel time so they asked if I was interested in towing. So my towing career began at Sandhill Soaring located 35 miles North of Adrian."

Jean-Marie; "But what about flying gliders?"

Tom; "I have owned a couple of high performance gliders but my tow schedule often kept me from flying gliders on those great soaring days, so I decided to sell my gliders and tow as a priority and fly club gliders.

Jean-Marie; "What motivated you to keep towing?"

Tom; "Towing was just a way for me to stay current in airplanes and since retiring from work in February 2000, I was free to do weekday towing as well as some weekends which allowed me to do a lot of towing. So my priority has been towing and glider flying when available on good soaring days.

Jean-Marie; "When did you join Adrian Soaring Club?"

Tom; "I joined Adrian Soaring in 2006, Mark Coleman and me were the only tow pilots so I towed Wednesdays and Sundays and he towed Saturdays. I came to the Adrian Club with 5,000 tows.

Jean-Marie; "What is your next milestone?"

Tom; "My plan is to continue towing until I can no longer get in and out of the Pawnee or some other health reason prevents me from flying. I have stayed current in gliders since 1993 with about 800 hours glider time and have accomplished Silver Badge, Gold Badge, and Diamond Goal.

Jean-Marie; "Thanks a lot Tom for the few tows I did with you on the other side of the rope and the few more that I am planning to do. 10,000 means that a lot of glider pilots have been behind you on the rope and I am sure they all thank-you for such dedication to our our sport and our Club. Your knowledge, experience and leadership is so inspiring."

Please send an email to with whatever you want to say to Tom, and I will keep posting it here.

Congrats Tom, on your milestone 10,000th tow! You are truly an Ironman! Now onto the next 10,000!

Vaughn Bateman

Tom congratulation on your 10,000 tows. It’s always a great day when I am behind a experienced leader who is showing me the right path to take.

Jim Thompson

Congratulation Tom on achieving 10,000 glider tows. What an amazing accomplishment! Thank you Tom for all the hard work it took to reach this point and we look forward to flying behind you for many more.

David Huck

Wow! That's awesome, Tom! Thank you so much for all of the wonderful tows, and for all that you have done for the club. You've put an amazing amount of time and effort into making this club run. We all owe you a huge debt of gratitude. I sure miss the days when you and I used to carpool together (either by car or 182!) to get to ADG. It was great fun sharing the stories and the ride. Thanks for everything! Take care.

Kerry Brown

Congratulations, Tom. I was one of witness of your 9Kth tow and I saw your 10Kth, towing Rick on the ASK13, on photos and the movie shared by Susumu. We have Jun Takahashi (96) here in Japan, who is keeping a title of the oldest active commercial pilot on the Guinness World Records. But probably you are towing more than Jun Takahashi has done. Please take care of yourself and I hope we enjoy flying with you as much as we could. Regards, Yasuo Uehara

Tom, Congratulations on 10,000 tows. That’s 10,000 times you’ve made a glider pilot happy by leaving them off in lift. Keep it up!

Thanks for all you do for the club.

Bill Neiderman

Congratulations, Tom! It has been so fun to help you out a bit over the last couple seasons. Never have we had a bad day at the airport with you around. I am forever grateful for the time I've been able to spend under your guidance. Now for many more tows, laughs, smiles, and good times! Brandon Schultz

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