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Old 07-19-2016, 11:39 PM   #1
Robert J
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Aero Tow


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Hello ,
A flying buddy & myself have been looking at trying to tow gliders . I removed the motor from a Goldburg Electra that was a dog with the old school motor & battery pack & installed a home made release . I also added a release to the top of a Citabria that is powered with a Saito .80 . First try was with a hand launch on the glider , a little shaky , ended with a minor crash followed by field repair . Second launch was the same but managed to get it up & turn a couple times for altitude . This was followed by a very good thermal flight . Best this model ever had . I have also fitted a release to nose of a Craft Air Golden Eagle . We thought that we had this figured . This time we pulled the glider off of the ground , lovely take off , large turn to right , straight & level to gain altitude , keep the glider from following to high above the tug , another turn to the right . Thats when things came apart .
The Electra has a good size fin & smaller rudder . The Golden Eagle has a large rudder , very small fin . Do you guys use the rudder on the glider to follow the tug or do you let the glider follow on the line ? I have a feeling that I was using to much rudder & this caused the glider to go into a real bad back & forth & it tried to get inside the turn of the tug , kind of overtake it . Some minor damage but easy to repair . Good thing the tug pilot used his release when he realized what was happening .
Any information anybody can supply on the best way to perform this task would be appreciated .

Thanks Robert
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Old 07-20-2016, 12:16 AM   #2
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Re: Aero Tow

Basically, when on an aerotow the glider just uses the ailerons to keep the wings level. Stay off the rudder. The glider will follow the tug.

I'm not sure if the Electra has ailerons...if not, towing may be difficult.

I always tell the glider pilot, if it doesn't feel or look right, then release. Better to have a short flight than drag the tow plane into the ground with you.

Also too much towing speed may cause the glider to go into oscillations... side to side or in pitch. If that occurs, pull the release.

Good luck...aerotowing is a LOT of fun!!!
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:52 PM   #3
OLD PRAIRIE RED NECK
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Re: Aero Tow

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogman View Post
Also too much towing speed may cause the glider to go into oscillations... side to side or in pitch. If that occurs, pull the release.
That, my friend, is where your problem is at, guaranteed! The secret to successful glider towing is matching the tow plane's speed to the glider.

There are 5 of us that over the last 15 or so years have been getting together a couple times a summer to tow gliders for the day. Here is what we have been using for tow planes:
Kadet Senioitas; OS .26 4 stroke, OS .30 4 stroke, Saito .30 4 stroke and Eflight .15
Kadet Senior; OS .40 FP
Kadet LT 25; OS .40 4 stroke
Kadet LT 40; GMS 45 2 stroke

These are the gliders we have successfully towed:
CG Gentle Lady; 2 meter 2 channel
Sig Riser; 2 meter 2 channel
GP Spirit; 2 meter 2 channel
Oly II; 100" 2 channel
Sigitta; 3 meter 2 channel
Eze glider; motor removed 3 channel

Observations:
The Senioritas and Senior were by far the best match as their best rate of climb matched the gliders well especially throttled back a bit. It made following with the gliders a piece of cake! The least successful was the LT 40 - too fast even throttled back and hanging on the prop. Flaps may have helped.
The worst towing experience was with my Riser behind a Spacewalker powered with a Saito 1.80. He took off at full song, kept it at 10 feet off and flat, yelling "Get it under control" as my glider flat spun across the field like a pinwheel! Absolutely nothing I could do and fortunately the tow line snapped!

As for rudder vs ailerons, the Eze glider was noticeably easier to keep in position but the others work just fine too.
Remember when towing 2 to 3 meter gliders SPEED IS NOT YOUR FRIEND!!
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Originally Posted by mogman View Post
Good luck...aerotowing is a LOT of fun!!!
Absolutely a hoot!

By the way, we found that hand launching is the very best way to get these gliders in the air. Trying to drag them across the field very seldom worked out, kept catching the grass with the wing tips and ground looping.
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Last edited by OLD PRAIRIE RED NECK; 07-22-2016 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:24 PM   #4
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Re: Aero Tow

Robert

Just go here to learn everything about Aerotowing.

www.scalesoaring.com

I just came back from one of the bigger aerotow events, it was amazing!

Bottom line is....the airplane being towed needs ailerons......period!


Blake
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Old 07-25-2016, 07:56 PM   #5
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Re: Aero Tow

couldn't agree more with the above comments , accept if you are flying a more scale ship with a CG release , you then need to pay attention to the tug and the tug pilot and listen to him/her....flying both the models and the full scale counterpart ,(full scale is much easier) to fast is deadly and so i too slow... fortunately my first aerowtows were done in Wenatchee behind a very experienced tug pilot , and my blanik and i made it through them... if you can hit an event do it and gain some very valuable experience...

soaring models and full scale is the ultimate experience

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Old 07-26-2016, 06:47 AM   #6
OLD PRAIRIE RED NECK
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Re: Aero Tow

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1kenda View Post
Just go here to learn everything about Aerotowing.www.scalesoaring.com
(qualifyer)Big scale gliders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1kenda View Post
Bottom line is....the airplane being towed needs ailerons......period!
Even the tow plane doesn't have to have ailerons! A lot of very successful fun can be had with very little expense and no specialized equipment if you want to. That I believe was what the OP was trying to do. We don't even install tow releases on either end. And only one wreck in 15 years of towing, can you match that?
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Old 07-27-2016, 06:25 AM   #7
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Re: Aero Tow

New thread time!
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