COLD WEATHER LAUNCHING
It is now December, and as Christmas approaches much of the USA has become cold. I flew yesterday and it was below 30 degrees F all day.
Hi-starts, the subjet of this thread, are made of elastic materials that tend to lose their stretch as they get cold. If they get cold enough they will become brittle, and may crack. You will read varying opinions about when you should and should not use a hi-start in terms of termperature.
A friend and I were using his hi-start with snow on the ground. We did fine for a couple of hours but clearly the hi-start was losing its pull as it got colder. But we were still able to launch and there was a breeze that was helping.
By the end of the day, the hi-start had lost most of its elastic pull. In fact it would not contract. That hi-start never recovered its power. It was permanently damged and was thrown out.
My experience says that my hi-starts seem to start to lose their "snap" around 45 degrees F. As the termperature approaches freezing it drops off more.
So, what do you do if your hi-start is you main launching system and your temps drop below freezing?
Electric winches work great regardless of temperature, but they are big, heavy and expensive. A winch, battery and related "stuff" can run $600 for a used set-up and up to $1200 for a new one. Many do not wish to spend that much on a launching system. What else can we use?
I have come across a new product that is hi-start like in its launch and in its cost, but can also be used in cold weather. This is called a OneWinch. www.onewinch.com
Mechanically it sets-up like an electric winch, but you use your body weight and your legs to launch the plane. The kind of launch you can get with a OneWinch is comparable to a hi-start but you don't have the cold weather issues of rubber.
Today a good hi-start can cost $150 or more. A OneWinch is about $220. So think of this as a second hi-start. Certainly it can be used year round, but it will work in the cold. You can read more about it in this discussion thread.
Starting at post #52 you can read my reports on my experineces with the OneWinch and watch the videos I recorded.
I don't work for this company and receive no royalties or payments if you buy it. I am just sharing my findings about a product that may help keep you flying even when the temperatures start to drop.