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Figured out the drogue!

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Figured out the drogue!

Postby Wyatt » Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:09 pm

Hey all! So I've been scratching my head a lot about my drogue parafoil, which according to the guy who sold me the winch should fly straight without a tail. But it didn't. Some further testing last weekend revealed it flew straight in moderate to heavy winds when I wasn't rewinding the line, but as soon as I started to rewind all it would do is fly in circles. And then hit the ground. A lot. So I searched paraglidingforum for some answers, and I came across a guy I did a comp with years ago, who posted that he had solved the dilemma of the parafoil drogue that didn't want to fly straight: he sewed a Spectra line onto the side keels of the parafoil, which connected directly to the tow line in front and connected to a wind sock tail drogue in back. The tail drogue also has Spectra incorporated into it, so the whole system is under tension during the tow. This tension keeps the drogue parafoil collapsed during the tow, but as soon as the line is released it flies merrily away, much like the standard round drogue. Much simpler and less prone to failure than the pouch deployment method which was included with the drogue I bought, and with the added tail my friend claimed it would always fly straight. Here's some pics that he sent me:
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Here's what it looks like right after launch
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Here's the pilot's view
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Here's the kite with the Spectra used as a bridle and sewn into the keel of the drogue kite
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Here's the windsock drogue tail
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Here's what the kite looks like collapsed under tension while integral to the tow line


So I spent a lot of the day measuring and splicing Spectra, and sewing it onto my drogue kite. Then I went out and gave it a shot. We had winds of about 15 mph this afternoon, so I figured the rewind motor would provide much more airspeed than the drogue would usually see during tow. Sure enough, it flies great, even when rewinding! my friend claims the kite really needs a tail, and the key is that it should be at least 10 feet from the kite.

So I'm super stoked that my drogue might actually not let the line hit the dirt. I'm going to be getting married here on the 3rd, then a week of honeymoon, but as soon as I get back I plan on doing lots of towing. Probably some in eastern AZ and some in the Cruces area, if anyone is interested in coming out. Jan Z, your presence would be greatly appreciated again :).
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Wyatt
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Re: Figured out the drogue!

Postby Bill Cummings » Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:43 pm

All right Wyatt, :salute: :thumbup:
You have to be the first person I know that finally snuffed all the snafus with line recovery.
I'll be busy until about the middle of September but after that you can put me to work when you're near Las Cruces.
Later Edit:
I have landed on the big dry lake west of Lordsburg (years back) but have you checked that area for towing?
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Re: Figured out the drogue!

Postby Wyatt » Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:04 am

Now, I wouldn't say that I've snuffed out all the snafus just yet, I've only tested it once and without a pilot actually dropping the thing. But my buddy has been using this system successfully for years now, so I'm optimistic.

Yeah, that would be a great place to tow, miles of flatness with no obstacles, in every direction! Unfortunately due to the frequent traffic fatalities in that stretch of the I-10 because of dust storms, the Lordsburg Playa has been shut off to all vehicular use since 1996. The Playa used to be a big destination for land sailors ("dirt boats"), used to have meets and competitions there, but no more. I kite buggying too, and of course my eye was on that Playa until I found out the bad news.

But I've found several prospective tow roads in the area, so I won't be without roads. Had's favorite, Hwy XXX, looks like a great prospect for an E-W road, even way down in the eastern part of the state. And I got plenty of N-S roads.
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Re: Figured out the drogue!

Postby Wyatt » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:39 pm

So I went to the Dixon White fly in last weekend and had a chance to tow someone and the drogue works quite well. Still had the line hitting the dirt, but my smart wife suggested we just keep driving for a while after the pilot pins off, and that will actually make the kite fly the line HIGHER, so the line won't hit the ground. Haven't tested it yet, but it makes sense. Didn't think to do that because I'm used to round drogues, which will invariably lose altitude even if you keep driving. Looking forward to testing the theory more!
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Re: Figured out the drogue!

Postby Bill Cummings » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:37 pm

Hey Wyatt I think your wife is right with the gliding line recovery chutes.
On higher wind days I've watched as the winch operator had to stop rewinding and allow the line and chute drift down wind since it had climbed right above the winch. So by pulling forward on light wind days a, Goldy Locks situation can be realized. :D
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