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Old Nov 09, 2012, 05:41 PM
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New York
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Tow Line Questions

What's everyone using these days re typical tow line length and breaking strength of tow line?

TIA,

Steve.
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Old Nov 09, 2012, 07:56 PM
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100-120' Heavy enough so it won't break......that's what the loops are for!
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Old Nov 09, 2012, 09:03 PM
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Corner Ketch, DE
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Steve I like using mason line in orange for the small stuff under 3 m and polypropylene line at 200lb with larger sailplanes and the big boys same line but at 150 feet

Chas
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Old Nov 09, 2012, 09:14 PM
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90'-100' fluorescent braided Dacron line(5/32"), 9"x6' ripstop flag tagged in about 10'-15' ahead of the sailplane end and a badminton birdie 1'-2' from the loop. Appropriate weak links at each end, swivels and 300 lb quick links as required
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 12:03 PM
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Which begs the question, what are you using for weak links? I've seen a fair number of wings folded on tow (including mine), but never seen a so-called "weak link" let go!

Dave Smith
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 12:34 PM
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Twisted mason line.....
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 12:54 PM
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Can you confirm that the twisted mason line will break? I guess I'm looking for confirmation that the weak link actually behaves like one (i.e. might save your plane from becoming the weak link), instead of just being a slightly less robust part of the towline.

DS
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 12:59 PM
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I would not recommend twisted Mason's Twine. I know it is easy to get and all but it imparts a lot of twist in the line as it stretches. Your best bet is braided nylon. I have had things ball up in a wad of line from the twist even with ball bearing swivels.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 02:35 PM
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Good point Dave,
Undoubtedly these links are not tested per se. On the sailplane end I am referring to the loop for the release which is sized for the release as well as the sailplane, more for ease of attachment. The towplane end functions sometimes as a lighter line to avoid beating the airframe too much and also for ease in attaching to the release as well. So, the term weak link is used in the sense that it is generally smaller line when larger tow lines are employed. I have seen some work as true weak links but only once or twice and not by "design".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seadog View Post
Can you confirm that the twisted mason line will break? I guess I'm looking for confirmation that the weak link actually behaves like one (i.e. might save your plane from becoming the weak link), instead of just being a slightly less robust part of the towline.


DS
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Miller View Post
I would not recommend twisted Mason's Twine. I know it is easy to get and all but it imparts a lot of twist in the line as it stretches. Your best bet is braided nylon. I have had things ball up in a wad of line from the twist even with ball bearing swivels.
For the tow line itself.....no.....but that is not what the comment was in reference to......its best for the loops at the ends of the tow line which should be stout braided line. I have seen the twisted loops break.....this summer we were towing a 50 pounder and broke two of them in a row before the plane even left the ground.....had to make a loop from braided winch line.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 09:10 PM
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Asher, Bob,
Most guys around here are using this for the tow line http://www.memphisnet.net/category/t...tebraidedseine

Starting around #25 and going up to #36.

A strong large fishing swivel at the sailplane end, weaker tow loop ( sometimes mason line )
and a doubled over surveyors tape about 10" from the nose of the sailplane.

Pretty much works out without any problems. One thing you dont want is a towline breaking. That's what the loop is for.

Here's and article on towlines for anyone who cares to read it.
http://www.rcaerotowing.com/2262-con...-tow-line.html
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:35 AM
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Danmark, Nordjylland, Sæby
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Swirvel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lbuff1 View Post
Asher, Bob,
Starting around #25 and going up to #36.

A strong large fishing swivel at the sailplane end, weaker tow loop ( sometimes mason line )

http://www.rcaerotowing.com/2262-con...-tow-line.html
A swirvel is good, specialy in this case

We use a fishing line as the weak link.

Advance towing (1 min 41 sec)


Regards
S
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 08:41 AM
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I'm often confounded by the "weak link" concept that keeps coming up.

Certainly no correlation to scale -- where tow line strength is everything -- and how can one weak link in an otherwise stout towline possibly hope to accommodate a range of glider types, flying speeds and weights or weather conditions? That's where communication between pilots comes into play to achieve a proper rate of climb, speed, etc., while making judicious use of the release switch when thing get unsorted. And, of course, properly rigged and functioning releases on both glider and tug. Relying on a weak link amounts to nothing more than employing hope that a piece of string makes up for all the aforementioned steps and safeguards.

The braided nylon product from Memphis Net and Twine is quite good stuff. As said above, always braided never twisted. A quality snap swivel on the glider end certainly helps eliminate line twist. Emphasizing the word "quality." As for loops, I always make/use my own. It's great when events offer these to participants and we certainly do the same at our events, but I prefer a known quantity and actually have a couple different types of loops for certain sailplanes.

My $0.02. Have a great day.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:41 AM
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New York
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The guys who put on the big aerotow in Interlaken provide monofilament loops as both the weak link but also because the loop stays stiff and engages easily in the rotating finger style glider tow release typically found on many sailplanes. At the end of the day, strong release servos are the best insurance.

Thanks for all the input,

Steve
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 12:42 AM
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United States, MN, Minneapolis
Joined Jan 2003
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tow lines

Up here in Minnesota...we like to use a fishing product called
Planner board line...it is 150 pound test but it is smooth and does NOT tangle easily and we use weak links at both ends...

the best part is it is ORANGE and we can find it easy in the green lawns we fly off...

YMMV.....Kevin
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