[QUOTE=SoaringDude;23946639]Last year at Visalia I saw and used a bungee setup that had a spacer line between the parachute and the tow-hook ring (see attached pic).... But I've also had close calls where a steep zoom almost tangled the parachute in the plane's tail-feathers. So I assume the spacer line is to keep the parachute out of the tail's way.
The bungee you used at Visalia was mostly likely a SASS Club bungee that I built for the club. A little history on the set up. Most of my flights begin with a zip start launch. As a matter of convenience they are quick to set up. But more important to my purposes, as the launch height achieved is very low, they demand the most of one's piloting skills. First to make a proper read of the air as to when to launch and where to go once up, and second, as the launch is low, you have to make the most of your flying skill to get up and out.
Having made literally thousands of zip start launches, I think I have buggered them up just about every way imaginable over the years. The extension is the resultant "fix" to minimize the most common snafus you can create with a poorly executed zip launch. Primarily it places the parachute shrouds well ahead of the nose so as to preclude any part of the plane becoming wrapped up in them if you dip too deep prior to the zoom. A secondary advantage to the design is it gets the chute out of your grip area. I find I can grip the plane much better without out a collapsed, slippery chute between my hand and the plane. The plane is much more secure in my hand as I walk back tensioning the line.
I have found that with this setup, when I do mess up the launch, the extension is what the plane ends up flying into and more times than not the line will slide free of the plane and allow me to fly clear. The extension consists of about 3'-5' of parachord. I use a parachute with no ring in the top and tie directly into the chute shrouds. My personal set up does not use a ring to attach to the plane. I tie a loop and connect the loop to the tow hook. The reason for this is (again learned the hard way) when the plane flies into the line, the ring has a tendency to help wrap the line around the plane. Sort of like the way you might swing a set of car keys on a lanyard around in a circle and then let it wind its way on to your finger. Same thing happens on the plane. So without the ring, the chances of the line clearing the plane is greater. And that ring will really dent your plane when it smacks a surface! Additionally, no rings in the system = less weight the plane has to haul up the line = higher launch.
So there you have it.