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Here is a shot of an aerotow, taken from the launch point. As you can clearly see, there is a tug plane ahead of the glider, towing it into the air (until around 2000 feet, when the pair separates).
Or can you? The glider and tug are ascending through heat haze, on a rather dull English day. Hmm.
Actually the 'haze' comes from the digital touch up process - I have magnified the glider and tug to make the photo easier to understand. In the original, you can barely find the pixels containing the planes in the air: