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Old Nov 18, 2012, 09:55 AM
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terminal eagle's Avatar
Joined Apr 2005
216 Posts
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Last edited by terminal eagle; Nov 18, 2012 at 04:43 PM.
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Old Jun 04, 2014, 02:26 PM
Asher Carmichael's Avatar
Guntersville, AL
Joined Jun 2004
771 Posts
In an effort to move out of my age-induced luddite mentality (we've always done it that way) I'd like to make a couple of observations and ask a few questions.

First, I've noticed in perusing the photos and video from the 2014 HH Aerotow that towlines no longer seem to sport flags, indicators or any other addition such as the dubious anti-kickback badminton birdie all of which seemed to be de rigueur just a few years ago. Also, I've been hearing from some that they think that deleting these accoutrements means a lighter assembly which in turn mitigates drag, belly in the line and consequently leads to smoother tows, especially for lighter models.

For years we used 3mm parachute cord (with weaker loops at each end) because that was what the Europeans exported to us in the way of technique back in the '90's. I think part of the attraction was this cord was available in vibrant colors, was sufficient diameter to be easily seen, at least on the ground if not in the air. It had minimum stretch, was colorful and you could hang all manner of laundry on it if you wanted to (read flags and badminton birdies.)

It appears in most pics from the HHA that the towline is still relatively stout, perhaps for visibility. There appears to be no addendums to the line.

So what is the current consensus. Do you like/use indicators? If so, what material and size? Birdies? Are these items remnants from a niche RC movement's infancy?

Line? If we need no indicators and want to reduce drag and weight, why have a larger diameter line? Spectra is available in 500 lb test, is .050 in diameter and weighs 2.8 oz for 100' vs 7 oz for a comparable braided Dacron line. Add a few swivels, weak loops and it's almost like nothing's there. It is, however, nearly 10 times the price, about $15 for 100'. You do have a choice of color... if its white or black.

While these options are personal preference on an individual basis, those clubs that sponsor and host aerotow events might benefit from some group-think here. While we still see the occasional custom hook-up attachments for sailplane releases, I can't ever recall someone bringing their own towline.

So where are we with towlines in 2014? What do aerotow events need to offer in the way of lines to meet the needs of those who sometime travel good distances to attend?
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Last edited by Asher Carmichael; Jun 04, 2014 at 02:38 PM.
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Old Jun 05, 2014, 11:56 AM
Quebec Aerotow Association
Charlescd's Avatar
Canada, QC, st-jean-sur-richelieu
Joined May 2010
617 Posts
While we still see the occasional custom hook-up attachments for sailplane releases, I can't ever recall someone bringing their own towline.
I hang my head in shame

Daniel (my tow master) uses a nylon double braided line from: http://www.rainbownetrigging.com/product.php?PNUM=2820

If i remember correctly it's anywhere from 300-500lb test. Smaller braided nylon where the tug is. On the sailplane end there's 2 ping pong balls (holes drilled out and kept in place with crimps) a few inches from the quick link. I then use nylon fishing line on the sailplane release as the weak link.

After 4-5 tows you have to make a new nylon fishing line release as it begins to weaken. Lucky a reel of fishing line is dirt cheap and it can last for years. If in trouble -- chances are it will break
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Old Jun 05, 2014, 12:22 PM
Registered User
New York
Joined Feb 2002
3,158 Posts
Once you've decided on your tow line, don't forget the most important thing...your AutoWinder!
(Now how's that for a shameful and unabashed product plug!)

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Old Jun 08, 2014, 04:20 PM
Will fly for food
davidjensen's Avatar
Bellevue WA,
Joined Dec 2003
7,268 Posts
The string at the HH aerotow at one point was white. After 2 tows the string is dark dirt colored after being dragged through the soybean field a few times. I was surprised that they did not use any type of flag for visibility purposes.
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