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Sep 03, 2011, 01:17 PM
glider pilot in training
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Home made winch launching, part 2


Took the spare parts beast out again this morning. I have replaced the 7A hobby batteries with a true car battery and the 30A relay with a proper ford solenoid, HUGE improvement. My tower hobbies Vista and my 2 meter fling both launch with authority, Sure it was a full pedal launch but in more than the mouse fart gusts we were having i might get away with kiting one up.

After about two dozen launches for both my planes and my friends Gentle lady, i noticed the battery was sagging a little so we took a break and gave it a charge with my flying partners generator/battery charger, it's meter said it was at 50% and it took 45 minutes to top it back off, The perfect amount of time for me to have ran to my shop to pick up my Bird of time and us something to eat and drink.

We had been launching with 800 feet between the winch and the turnaround, with line left on the spool so we go an stretch it all out to 1200 feet both ways for the BOT. Let me tell you folks that's a lot of string and with every 10 foot of string i think i'm getting a inch or two of stretch which i suspect my 3 meter Bird of time will need.

So there i stand, plane and radio in hand, chute on hook an a ton of wishful thinking. i've never launched this plane on a winch before, heck i haven't even hand more than two good launches with it on a heavy duty highstart but ta hell with it if it breaks i'll rebuild it so i stomp the pedal and put the winch to humming. As the line starts to build tension i feel it, that wonderful warm gust of breeze that tells you "hey there's a thermal upwind of you with your name on it" So i let the bird go and within moments i watch her rotate and start climbing.

I guess i timed it right because half way up i hear the winch bog down for the first time and my partner start yelling "Tap it! Tap it! so i let up on the pedal and the drum not only stops but begins to reel out line as faster than it had came in. as i start tapping the pedal my buddy Jim is guesstimating for every 10 foot that gets wound back on 15 is being pulled out and within 20 second from launching i'm out of line, the drums empty, 1200 between the winch and turnaround and another 12 to 13 hundred in the air when it snaps, right at the drum, sounded like a gunshot but i don't care, My Bird of Time is all i'm looking at. it's still climbing, chute an line still on the hook but then it drops away. now this whole time i'm still tapping on that silly pedal and Jim's running out across the field towards the turnaround, trying to catch the line But i don't care But birds up and in the groove.

What a image that must have been, one guy tapping away at a empty winch and the other hotfooting it across the field in chase of a loose line an chute.

Ah, good times.
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