What is the best way to reel in winch line? - RC Groups
Thread Tools
Jan 05, 2013, 05:23 PM
Panda Panda Panda Panda Panda
rdwoebke's Avatar

What is the best way to reel in winch line?

Hello fellow sailplane enthusiasts,

I have been flying RC gliders for almost 20 years now but I haven't been overly experienced with winches. I have been to lots of contests and shagged lots of chutes but most of my personal flying has been from hand launch or high start. I now have a fixer upper winch that I flew from about half a dozen times last year.

The way I have reeled the line back on the winch is a method I think I have seen done in the past. I take the brake off and put a foot on the winch line and kind of slowly reel it in by holding the winch pedal and sort of tapping it in. But that method I think probably isn't the most safe and it tends to leave little groves in the bottom of my tennis shoes. Suggestions for a better method? I think I have seen clubs with some sort of heavy duty gloves. Years ago I used to work in a factory on a hot press and we had these heavy duty gloves for handling hot sheets of aluminum that I bet would be about perfect for this sort of thing. If the gloves is the best method where do I get the gloves?


Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Jan 05, 2013, 05:58 PM
Mark LSF # 3792
We use heavy duty leather gloves in my club, similar to welding gloves. They're real cheap if you have a coupon for Harbor Freight. Protect the hands and wrists well. Also, they help with the soles of the shoes. BTW, they're not as abrasive as the ground, might make the line last longer too.

Jan 05, 2013, 06:43 PM
Play loud, Fly high
Gil Gauger's Avatar

Line retrieval

Ryan, I leave the brake functioning, wad up a towel (which I use for landing target), and grip the line in the folds of the towel. I get as far from the winch as my footswitch will reach and use one hand on the string and the other on the switch. Maintain a little tension and guide the lay of the line on the reel. I have found the towel safer than a glove, as any snag will just slip it out of my hand.
Jan 05, 2013, 06:54 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
I presume this is to pull the line in at the end of the day.

I keep a leather palm work glove in my winch bag. I don't put it on, I fold it over and run the line through it to provide some tension. Then I just tap the winch till the last of the line come in.

Be sure to remove any swivals or other metal from the line before you run it through the turnaround. they will nick the pully which will lead to line damage and line breaks.
Jan 05, 2013, 08:24 PM
Panda Panda Panda Panda Panda
rdwoebke's Avatar
Thanks everyone for the feedback/ideas. This is exactly what I need to know.

I think I'm going to try the towel method next time.

So the thought is to stand as far from the winch drum as possible when doing this?

Jan 05, 2013, 10:48 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
Actually I kneel right next to it but not in line with the line.
Jan 06, 2013, 03:22 AM
Registered User
RWCLOUD's Avatar
I forgot my gloves the other day. so I used the top of my hat
Burned a hole right across my favorite Colts hat!

But for our club winches, we made an adapter for the drum and use a cordless drill to wind the line back in, much safer then tapping on the pedal

Blue Skies......................Tim
Jan 06, 2013, 08:57 AM
turn, turn, turn.
I was thinking the safest way would be a ratcheted cordless drill, with the ratchet... set at a light loading.
Jan 06, 2013, 10:11 AM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
Safest? You guys seem some serious danger occuring during reel in of the line?
Jan 06, 2013, 10:22 AM
Panda Panda Panda Panda Panda
rdwoebke's Avatar
I'm not really sure, Ed. I'm thinking the method I had been using is probably kind of dangerous to my feet. At minimum dangerous to my shoes. .

Jan 06, 2013, 10:39 AM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
Yes, if you use your shoes you could hurt yourself. I saw one of our teen members burn a pair of sneekers almost all the way through a brand new sole. Dad was upset about this as these were $150 sneakers.
Jan 06, 2013, 06:07 PM
Registered User
Yes, it can be dangerous , I have a scar to prove it . I use a pice of 12" piece of 1" aluminum pipe to keep the "reel in "distributed on the drum .it works fine if you pulse the pedal sparingly and don't get greedy . When that chute is ,by all appearances ,one pulse away, don't be fooled . It will leave a mark.it comes in faster than you think as the drum fills up . I wish we had a low speed alternative
Jan 06, 2013, 07:10 PM
Panda Panda Panda Panda Panda
rdwoebke's Avatar
On my setup I cant run the chute through the turn around so it always has to be cut loose. But for the rest of you that is good advice.
Jan 06, 2013, 07:13 PM

Winch Line

Similar to the Fresno guys we use a cordless drill motor. We made a simple adapter from a suitable sized hole saw blade and cut two notches to fit over the winch drum thru bolt. A bit slower then pedaling the line in but so much safer.

Las Vegas Soaring Clkub
Jan 06, 2013, 07:53 PM
Registered User
Vegas ray , idea sold , thank you .

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Question What is best way to replace wing on HZ Champ winginman Scratchbuilt Indoor and Micro Models 4 Oct 04, 2014 11:09 PM
Question whats the best way to get tail feathers straight tankreefer The Builders Workshop 20 Apr 13, 2012 01:28 PM
Question What is the best way to balance motors ?? G-unit Multirotor Drone Talk 3 Mar 16, 2012 10:36 PM
Question What's the best knot for splicing winch or retriever line? Miami Mike Sailplane Talk 28 May 15, 2011 08:17 AM
Discussion What is the best way to cut out your foam for the straightest lines possible. wamsy55 Foamies (Scratchbuilt) 23 Jan 29, 2009 02:34 PM