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Old May 08, 2015, 09:42 AM
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Safety TIps for Tug Pilots

Guys, I always dread the prospect of flipping the wrong switch on tow and creating havoc.

Here are two TX programming tips you might want to consider:

1. Program the choke switch so it only works when the engine is at idle. I used a logical switch to accomplish this.

2. Program the engine kill switch so it only works at idle. You can accomplish this a number of ways e.g. flight mode, etc.

Steve
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Old May 12, 2015, 05:04 PM
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I use the knobs for these functions. That means you will not hit it by mistake!

Brian, an EAJ
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Old May 12, 2015, 10:44 PM
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Simplest option is to have the choke operated manually only and not from Tx - therefore it can only be opened or closed when the model is on the ground and stationary. I also put my engine kill function on a rotary knob which has to be rotated well past the mid-point before the ignition is killed. I would have to be very clumsy indeed to operate it by mistake and so far I have never been that clumsy.
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Old May 12, 2015, 10:59 PM
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Preventing towline interfering with tail

On a completely separate safety issue I would be interested to know from tow pilots what steps they take, if any, to prevent the towline fouling the fin/rudder and taiplane/elevators. I generally fit a tensioned wire, usually monofilament fishing line, from the top of the rudder/fin to the edges of the tailplane which acts as a 'fender' and stops the tow line getting trapped in between or around any of the moving control surfaces. The photo of my 1/5 Pawnee empennage shows the arrangement. I am not sure if this is really necessary or I am just being paranoid and wonder what experience or ideas others may have to offer?
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Old May 13, 2015, 07:26 AM
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You're not paranoid, Fishbed. In aerotowing, if it can go wrong, it will. I use the same setup as well. The other tug destroying option is to snag the towline on an immovable object, typically as the plane comes in to land. I lost 2 tugs this way. Not fun.
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Old May 13, 2015, 09:08 AM
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So this is why a wise man invented an automatic Tow Winder.No I see said the blind man.Paul
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Old May 13, 2015, 09:48 AM
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Yes, indeed. And to make matters worse, the blind man was too lazy to install an AutoWinder in the last tug that was destroyed because the line snagged on a tree branch. Talk about the cobbler with kids with no shoes! Never again.
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Old May 13, 2015, 10:07 AM
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Steve,

Do you own a chainsaw? :-)

Guys used to drop the towline before landing, but that took more time to pick up the line and rebook both the tug and the towee!

Brian, an EAJ
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Old May 13, 2015, 10:19 AM
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No chainsaw but I was able to pick up a 100# sack of agent orange on eBay!
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Old May 13, 2015, 10:31 AM
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OK, I admit I'm not a tug pilot, but isn't putting the kill switch on a rotary knob, sort of "out-of-the-way", counter to using it as a safety (emergency, like right now!), function? Not trying to start an argument, just asking!

Dave Smith
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Old May 13, 2015, 11:17 AM
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Dave, your point's well taken but everything's a tradeoff. Personally, I put a higher priority on not accidentally killing the engine vs. taking more time to deliberately killing it. I'm sure if you ask 6 pilots, you'll get a variety of opinions.

Steve
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Old May 13, 2015, 11:23 AM
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I have been towing for over a decade and have found this to be true. Keep it simple. The choke is operated manually with the release switch located on the top left of the transmitter. The engine kill switch located on the top right of the transmitter. The engine fail safe is tested each time the tug is assembled. That is with the radio system on and the throttle at full, turn off the transmitter, the throttle should go closed. If this is not the case reset the fail safe before starting the engine.
I too have snatched the tow lines on unmovable objects but have luckily only lost one tug to this.
The tail guides are necessary to keep the towline from over controlling the rudder servo on takeoff. My finger rests on the tow release until the glider is airborne as this is the most critical step in the tow. The turns need to be wide with the speed adjusted for the sailplane in tow.
If you follow this you will usually get a "Thanks, great tow" from the sailplane pilot on his release.
This is the best reward for being a tug pilot.
Gene
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Old May 13, 2015, 03:31 PM
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Over the years of enjoying this hobby ive found the bracing wires really aren't essential but a good quality rudder servo sure helps. Reguarding kill switches and chokes, I've always run my choke on rhe LH SLIDER with flaps on the RH and the kill switch lh upper panel with tge tow release on the retract switch but most importantly

ALL of my tow planes are THE SAME!!

haven't had an issue.
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