Tow winch and trailer

Austin Free Flight Association Forum - Austin Texas

Re: Tow winch and trailer

Postby cascpa » Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:38 am

Hi Bill,
Progress has been slow. A lot of pilots have been gone or are going to comps (Big Spring, Co Fly Week, etc.) or on vacation. It looks like we need to get a bigger trailer to properly set up platform towing. Your comments and considerations have been immensely helpful. I have a working set of plans and designs. I also have a line on a trailer. As folks come back to town and the wicked heat subsides, I reckon we will get things back in gear. Do you have plans to attend the Co Fly Week?
Charlie S.
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Re: Tow winch and trailer

Postby Bill Cummings » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:15 pm

No for the trip to CO. But Robin Hastings and I are planning on a trip to Mingus Mountain AZ Aug around the 16th for about a week.
My Xterra will cost me about $125.00 in gas to go the 500.5 miles to Mingus.
Then I still have to come back. (Ouch)
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Re: Tow winch and trailer

Postby Bill Cummings » Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:45 pm

Charlie, I put up an idea for trailer PL towing over on Joe F's blog about "Launching Methods," that you should consider while rigging up your PL
http://ushawks.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=27&sid=3c4364632fcd1ebc807f8edfadb69c75
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Re: Tow winch and trailer

Postby cascpa » Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:17 am

Thanks Bill.
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Re: Tow winch without trailer

Postby Bill Cummings » Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:42 am

Hang gliding pilot Yellow Dog, AKA, Craig Austin of Duluth, Minnesota is an awesome inventor, weldor, rack builder, and winch builder just to mention a few of his talents that apply to the sport of hang gliding.
He has done work on every hang gliding rack that I’ve had on vehicles throughout my thirty six years in the sport. This might also be true of others in the Sky Line Sky Dogs Club of Duluth, Minnesota (USA)

One time I had him weld up a platform launching rig to plug on to my wife’s Ford Escort. (Thanks/sorry honey.)

The launching yoke that held the hang gliders base tube or control bar would plug in and fasten to the two receivers on the back bumper in only fifteen seconds. The launching yokes, left and right side, were adjustable with hand holds snug against the under side of the base tube. Quick pins held the base tube securely into each of the two base tube launching yokes.

Next Craig made a nose over stop to protect the roof of the car by keeping the glider from tipping forward. It quickly pinned to the roof carriers. It also held the launching release for the nose of the glider. That too was quickly adjustable.

The winch of Craig’s own design fastened to the trailer hitch with a draw bar extender on the back bumper of the Escort. It was held in place with one bolt.

Hydraulic lines from the winch went through the drivers door window and were tied to the roof carriers. The winch brake pressure controller rested on the drivers lap or the riders side front seat.

The hang gliders nose release had an activating cord that went to the roof carrier above the drivers’ door window. When the command was given for releasing, over the radio, the driver would pull on the dangling cord loop by the open window and the pilot and glider would be launched. It was so slick that I’m homesick for it.

Alas the Escort wore out and the winch was Craig’s and I followed my wife to New Mexico so she could work at her new job. That was back in 1997.

For the first launch from the Ford Escort we didn’t even install the winch. We just went to 28 mph and at my command Craig pulled the nose release. Everything went as planned. The glider ascended about 35 to 40 feet where I pulled in on the control bar to round off the climb. I then went vertical to grab the down tubes, fly over to the right side of the road, and landed as the Escort continued down the road.

The second launch I tried landing on the road as the Escort pulled ahead just to see if there would be any turbulence created by the tow vehicle. No problem with that test launch either.

Then we installed the winch. First we locked up the winch brake and did a static tow with a Skyting bridle. After I was at a forty five degree angle above and behind the Escort Craig backed off the winch brake pressure slowly to find out what payout brake pressure I would be satisfied with. Then rigging for platform launch Craig towed me up and I hooked thermal and started to speck out.
But this was a test flying day and not supposed to be a fun cross country day so I landed to do more test launches. (Bummer!)

Craig had everything thought out so well that I can’t recall us having to make any adjustments to the platform towing rig.

That, pilots, is what I call attention to detail.
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Re: Tow winch and trailer

Postby Bill Cummings » Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:30 pm

Party balloons work better than condoms.
Way - way back in nineteen hundred and seventy eight long before the whiper snapper pilots of today knew the difference between the diaper around their reserve, hand thrown, parachute from the one around their butts I was water towing hang gliders with my boat.

As my hang gliding friend, Don Ray, and I progressed to longer and longer towlines we found it difficult for the boat driver or observer to see the signals from the pilot.

Don and I had met each other over citizens band radios.

We decided to water proof a radio and microphone then mount it to the base tube/control bar of our 220 Moyes Midi hang glider.

Back in the day inner tubes were used inside of car tires. Not so now days but they were easy to lay a hand on then. We set the CB radio knobs where we wanted them and taped them so as not to get out of adjustment. We put the CB in a section of inner tube and sealed the ends with wet suit rubber cement. We put extra goop around the cables coming out of tube. Coax antenna cable, 12 volt power cable, microphone cable. We soldered two six volt batteries together and taped the dickens out of them to also be water proof. The eighteen inch center load hustler CB antenna was mounted on the nose plate and the only other concern was how to go about water proofing the microphone.
The Research and Development ground to a halt trying to come up with a good idea.
Finally Don said, “I GOT IT! -- let’s go down to the Hoyt Lakes, Drug store and buy a condom to put over the microphone!” “We could seal it with wet suit cement and rubber bands.”

I objected. Our town with a population of 3,500 was one where everyone knew everyone else’s business. So far there wasn’t anyone able to say that they saw Bill in the drug store buying a condom. (Maybe word would get back to my wife. I could see this situation careening out of control.)
Worse yet would be two guys walking in together wanting to ------- make “The Purchase.”
To put things into perspective I told Don that we should go to his town of Aurora Minnesota (USA), five miles away and, “make the purchase,” at his small town drug store.
“Absolutely not,” he said. He told me it would be stupid to waste that much gas on a condom. Even my volunteering to drive didn’t work.

It finally boiled down to Don saying, “Do you want to shorten the towrope or put more towrope on?”
We took my van down to the drug store so that I could, “forget,” and have to go back to the van and lock my door. Thus stalling sufficiently to put Don through the drug store entrance ahead of me. My plan almost worked.
When I got to the doorway Don was holding it open for me. “After you,” Don said.
I went into the store and stopped to retie my tennis shoe in an attempt to position Don ahead of me. When I finished I noticed that I was still in the lead. Don was pretending to focus his attention on the “Midol” display.
Feeling hot around my ears and neck I lead the way to the prescription counter where Druggist Jim Welch and his two high school age daughters were working.
There was a line of costumers waiting for their prescriptions to be filled. “They look awful busy maybe we should come back,” I said to Don.
He said, “let’s get in line. Here comes more people.”
When the line issued me to the cash register Jim Welch’s daughter asked me, “What can we help you with Mr. Cummings?” I was thinking, gee wiz Mary you don’t have to talk so loud.
I was speechless. Mary’s sister moved in to assist and find out why the once steady procession was now at a pregnant pause.
I opened my mouth but no words came out. Then I got an idea and said, “I need to talk to your dad.” They sent Jim over to talk to me. I said, “Jim Don wants to ask you a question.”
Don said, “Hey it was your idea.”
I said, “No! It was you that said, I got it and let’s go down town and -- make a purchase.”

Don out waited me so quickly I rushed through the hang gliding, CB, water proofing, R&D story and told Jim that we were now trying to water proof the microphone and that Don had the idea to use a ---------condom.
Jim leaned in and said, “What Bill, I didn’t hear the last word?”
CONDOM, I said. Just as Mary Welch turned on and was getting ready to announced that Mrs. Soinso’s prescription was ready over the PA microphone.
The word CONDOM echoed throughout the far corners of the store and back.

Jim Welch erupted in to endless shrieking laughter.
All eyes were now focused on me ---the village idiot!
Jim tried several times to speak but he only got so far until he would start laughing.
Jim kept saying, “I thought I’d heard every excuse in the book about why someone had to buy a condom but I guarantee you that’s the --HAAA, HAAA --”

If ever a floor would open up and swallow me that would have been the best time.
When Jim got a hold of himself he asked me what KIND of condom would I like to buy?
Here I thought it had all ready gone from bad to worse but --NO--IT HADN’T YET.
The rest is still too embarrassing so I’ll skip ahead to where Don and I went back to my van and tried to put the condom on (now cut that out) ON THE MICROPHONE!

With surprising and shocking ease the condom ruptured before we got it on the microphone. I couldn’t believe that anything as flimsy as that could be trusted for any application. Dam@ we had purchased a defective product. Back into the drug store we went. We took a position in the line made up of new customers.
When the line had me once again at the register Jim relieved his daughters to my relief until I said, “Jim that one was defective I want to buy another one.”
At which point Jim said, “Another one what Bill?” (Jim, you’re a door knob!)

Back in the van Don said blow it up first to stretch it out. I looked at him expressionlessly and handed it to him to put to his lips. He blew it up but that didn’t help. This one too ruptured without any fanfare. I promised myself that I would never waste any money on another one.

We went back in the store and found some big round party balloons that worked great with a little wet suit cement and rubber bands. In the boat the driver would wear head phones with a CB radio due to the loud 85 hp outboard motor.
To this day the Welch family always cracks a big smile when the see the village idiot headed their way.
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Re: Tow winch and trailer

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:33 pm

billcummings wrote:If ever a floor would open up and swallow me that would have been the best time.

:srofl:

That's a great story Bill!!! I guess times have changed a bit since the relative innocence of the late 70's!!
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Re: Tow winch and trailer

Postby Bill Cummings » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:36 pm

So Charlie, how much do you want for that Tow-Me-Up winch that you are not using?
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Re: Tow winch and trailer

Postby Nate » Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:07 pm

We met Monday for some planning and BBQ.

Then we moved the winch over to a trailer that was a suitable size. It took some planning and I am not sure everyone is visualizing the same thing, but we have a platform (cradle and nose release) coming together.

We need to get a D bag for the retrieve chute and then we're off to the races.

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Re: Tow winch and trailer

Postby Nate » Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:28 am

Charles -

I am not sure if Bill is interested in the winch or just pointing out what a bunch of no flying pansies we are at AFFA? :lol:

Let's get the cradle configured and go hit the tow lane soon!

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