Most articles I’ve read about towing model gliders involve a 100cc petrol engine and a unique relationship between the tower and the person being towed. Contrary to the best write-ups’ this is simply just not the case.
A few friends and I let’s just call them Dave, David and Mick decided we wanted to give this “Towing lark” a bit of a go. So having rekindled a few old models from the attic we preceded to the field to see what we could do. Firstly David thought that a brick layers plumb line would be sufficient for us to use as a towline but it worked out to be far too heavy (especially with the leftovers of cement hanging on it). The small SAS thing was used in the first instance so we could gauge any serious problems without causing any damage as this was the first time we had tried this and if we were honest it was certainly a case of the blind leading the blind.
For some peculiar reason it was me who was elected to do all the towing and although it was all good fun this needed to be thought about very seriously. During the following weeks we committed a multitude of airframes to the task, very stable trainers seemed to be favourite as they were so stable. However, these were not really powerful enough, and then one day whilst passing a local model shop I saw one of Chris Foss’s Wot’s Wot hanging on the ceiling, a quick enquiry enabled me to picked it up for next to nothing. This air frame seemed to be quite stable to fly and the previous owner had beefed it up for what ever reason to a point where a 50 metre piece of nylon cord (this is what we ended up using) made no difference to its flying characteristics what so ever. So plop an OS 0.61 on the front and a way we go.
Well, believe it or not 0.61 wasn’t big enough and more power was needed and we eventually settled on an OS 0.91 Surpass because of the immense drag that generates during the towing process, the 0.91 was just right for the job and providing we kept to towing glider under a four foot wingspan all seemed to be in order.
Later we progressed to an Avicraft Panic which proved itself much more versatile for the job as I could land it at the end of the runway time after time exactly in the place the next glider pilot wanted it to be.
As we enjoyed ourselves through the summer weeks we introduced several small upgrades that enhanced our fun filled afternoons 1. We tied and old duster to the end of the tow line so that we could see where the line was in comparison with the ground 2. Added a 2oz fishing weight to the middle of the line so ALL the slack in the line could be taken up whilst the towing was taking place. 3. Fitted a release mechanism to the tow plane to ensure both ends of the tow line could be released for what ever reason.
So what was the top end of all this spent time and enthusiasm – Just producing more laughs than we had had for a long time. Have a go you won’t regret it. Just glide for fun.
During the event we invented several release mechanisms and became very capable pilots during the releasing process. In the event you want to learn more please don’t hesitate to contact us. www.ashfordmodelsupplycentre.co.uk
We look forward to hearing about your towing adventures.
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