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Hi-Performance and Sailplanes RC hotliners, electric pylon racers, F5B, F5D, sailplanes and gliders

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Old 02-12-2012, 05:05 PM   #1
earthsciteach
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Default Length for sailplane tow line?

I've rigged up a tow line attachment for my HZ Super Cub and RCd an old chuck glider with a release mechanism. How long should the tow line be?

Thanks!

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:20 PM   #2
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I think the guys at our field use about 100', but I don't think it extremely critical.

I know you don't want the line too short, as that gives the glider a much smaller safe area.

Try to fly the glider as close to straight behind the tow plane as possible, that make flying the tow plane easier. If the glider pulls sideways or up/down it can make the tow plane hard or even impossible to control.

I have ridden in real full size gliders, and that is the rules that the glider pilot must follow.

If you ever get a chance to ride in a full aerobatic glider, do it !!!! I rode with very good stunt pilot back in 1983, and I will never for get that ride.

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You become a master at repair.
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:22 PM   #3
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I'd love to fly sailplanes. I may just take lessons one of these days!

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:52 PM   #4
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Back in old days ... we used all sorts of models as tugs - best were well powered large trainers ....

We would set the tow point on the wing at or near CoG to stop the towed model from interfering with pitch control / yaw of towing model ...... have a look at a water skier and his boat ...

Line ... anywhere from 15 to 30ft for small to medium models ....... a lot more for bigger. Glider to fly dead astern but slightly above tug.

Too short a line will create a hard to control glider behind. It's as well to go for maximum you can get away with and then cut back if needed after trials.

Its a good idea to drop the line from the tug as well ... we used similar release hook via radio on both glider and tug. Dropping the line near flight-line.

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Old 02-12-2012, 10:55 PM   #5
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All good suggestions...We tow a DG300 Club (heavy) and a Radian (light)behind a PZ Supercub. Both use a 100' 25lb fishing line with a Orange/Red streamer just ahead of the sailplane....its nice to see the line come off to confirm your release! HAVE FUN!
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:17 PM   #6
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I'll be taking plenty of extra monofilament to school tomorrow in case my current 22 ft does not work well. Not exactly sure what the test is, but its off of my surf casting reel, so it is probably around 25 lb. Obviously, its been too long since I've gone surf fishing!

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:26 PM   #7
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Well, light sailplanes can use alot lighter line. I just found that 100 feet behind the tow plane gives me more room to stay in position...you dont feel like your skiiing behind a powerboat. You'll see alot of slack in the line, but I have never had any issues with that as well. We also use a climbing left turn (wide circles)..then we both agree when its time to straighten out and call release.....just like the real ones...tow plane goes left and sailplane breaks right. My radian always climbs after release, the DG300 just leaps forward.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:06 PM   #8
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Something I forgot to mention with long lines ... they allow for glider pilot being a little late in his turn order and saves the tug dragging the offender round !!

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Old 02-13-2012, 10:07 PM   #9
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We attempted a tow flight after school today. Winds were 10-15 mph. Not ideal, but we were determined! I flew the tug and my friend flew that glider.

On the first attempt, the glider wingtip caught the ground and it flipped upside down. The Super Cub had not even gotten off the ground.

On the second attempt, both planes got airborne, momentarily. The glider pin wheeled causing the cub to stall and crash. No harm done to the Cub, but the fuselage of the glider snapped at the tail. I think a longer line, standoffs on the glider wingtips, and less wind are in store.

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by earthsciteach View Post
We attempted a tow flight after school today. Winds were 10-15 mph. Not ideal, but we were determined! I flew the tug and my friend flew that glider.

On the first attempt, the glider wingtip caught the ground and it flipped upside down. The Super Cub had not even gotten off the ground.

On the second attempt, both planes got airborne, momentarily. The glider pin wheeled causing the cub to stall and crash. No harm done to the Cub, but the fuselage of the glider snapped at the tail. I think a longer line, standoffs on the glider wingtips, and less wind are in store.
Bummer about the glider.

We use a Great Planes Big Stick 60 converted to electric for our towing.
Works a treat.. check out:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/show...110#post589110

For the tow line we use Bricklayers Stringline.. about 30M long.. and then a piece of fishing line as the breaking length at each end of the tow line with fishing swivels and a loop in the fishing line to connect to each plane.

As for the tail.. if you look at the pics in post #2 of the above thread, you will see the pic of the anti foul lines.
Make sure you put something like this on the tug as it will stop the tow line getting tangled and things stop moving when that happens.
Also... if the glider is not keeping enough height behind the tug the tow line can pull down and damage the tail of the tug.
Originally this was just fishing line poked through the vertical stabiliser and tied off at each tip of the elevator.. but we now use Bricklayers Stringline for that as well.

The Stringline is great as you can get very bright colours which make it easier to see both on the ground and in the air.

http://www.brickiestoolshed.com.au/p...gory.php?id=70


I know of some other aerotowing people that use venetian blind string as they seem to think it doesn't twist as much.. but personally I have never tried this.. but have seen them use same and it works rather well.. even on large 7m gliders.

http://www.blindsparts.com/servlet/t...ent/Categories

The tow release I have on the tug is
GR1065 Aero-Tow Cable Set
http://www.modelflight.com.au/produc...-6827-205.html

A good reference is the following page:
http://www.iflytailies.com/aerotowing-tow-line/

We are towing 3M gliders that weigh over 3kg with the current setup.. and have no problems at all.

http://youtu.be/kBCKZNRixy0

Here is a video taken a few months back:
http://youtu.be/E39RQ28Tc2E

Hope this helps.

Gwalch
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Old 02-14-2012, 12:07 AM   #11
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Thanks, Gwalch. I will check those out! I did add an anti-foul line to protect the tail surfaces. I think my two biggest issues are too short of a line and no ailerons on the glider.

I'm using 25lb monofilament as the tow line. Each end of the tow line is tied off to a barrel swivel. The tug has a snap swivel to attach the line. I devised my own release mechanism on the glider using a servo and X mount. Too bad we weren't able to get the glider high enough to try the release in flight!

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:16 AM   #12
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rcaerotowing.com

just sayin...
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:56 AM   #13
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Great link! Thanks.

All of my landings are three point landings if you count the spinner, too
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