What is the best way to reel in winch line? - Page 2 - RC Groups
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Jan 07, 2013, 09:45 AM
Play loud, Fly high
Gil Gauger's Avatar


Ryan, I kneel just outside the path of the line in front of the winch with the towel in my right hand and the switch in my left. Only my right hand is in the path of the winch line. I am a guitar player and my left hand dexterity is pretty well developed. Try it on the other side if tapping with your right hand works better for you. I also intentionally rig my chute so it can't pass through the turn around. I tap down to the stake, walk out and remove the chute and pickup the stake, and only then come back and wind in the line. I forgot two turnarounds at the field many years ago before developing this habit.
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Jan 07, 2013, 10:38 AM
Flying = Falling (Slowly)
dharban's Avatar
Whenever possible, make it a two man task. One man runs the winch and watches the line and one man guides the line onto the spool. Stop winding when the end of the line is 75 feet or so away from the winch and wind the rest in by hand.

If the chute can go through the turnaround it is useful for spotting the end of the line (and it facilitates, as Gil mentioned, forgetting the turnaround sometimes).

If you are not rewinding with the chute on TAKE ANY METAL STUFF (RINGS, SWIVELS, ETC.) off the end of the winch line. If you misjudge on the retrieve these things are really deadly. I saw a clubmate lose a pretty nice chunk of flesh AND muscle in a mishap like this.

While it never occurred to me, using a cordless drill to rewind is not a half bad idea. It substantially reduces the amount of damage an errant winch line can cause without much of a downside other than a very little extra time. Every modeler I know owns one or more cordless drills and how many of us have been so lucky as to have never had a winch or battery failure that made it impossible to rewind anything? Sure, we're all used to doing it the way we have always done it. And while I don't use a winch much anymore, I will probably give it a try just to see how it works.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Happy Landings,

Jan 07, 2013, 10:48 AM
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rdwoebke's Avatar
Once again guys, thanks for all the feedback on this. There has been a lot of good ideas/suggestions/commentary.

I hadn't really thought about metal things on the end of the winch line being dangerous but then I don't have anything at the end of my winch line because I have always cut the line from the chute because for my gear it won't go through my turn around. And by "always" I have probably setup my winch maybe 20 times ever. I have occasionally thought of doing a quick link or a snap swivel instead of having to cut and tie the chute on. Now the comments here make it so that I in fact won't be doing that.

I'm not sure I really can wrap my head around how a person would wind the line with a cordless drill. Currently I'm not getting how that would work. Maybe somebody could post some pictures or a write up of this?

Thanks guys!!

Jan 07, 2013, 10:57 AM
Ryan, no need to cut lines, just make two knotted loops, one on the chute leader and one on the winch line and slip them together. (Wish I could draw you a picture) Simple when you see it. You could even put a welded ring in between if you need it for a retriever line or something.
Jan 07, 2013, 11:01 AM
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rdwoebke's Avatar
Thank you, Jim, that is another interesting suggestion. I think I understand what you mean. It would be useful for me because I share the same chute with my high start and winch.

The high start I have definitely used more than 20 times.

Jan 07, 2013, 11:09 AM
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rdwoebke's Avatar
Also, it might help to have some pictures of my winch for all of you awesome folks to use to make suggestions for me.


Jan 07, 2013, 11:27 AM
Registered User
Originally Posted by rdwoebke
...I'm not sure I really can wrap my head around how a person would wind the line with a cordless drill. Currently I'm not getting how that would work. Maybe somebody could post some pictures or a write up of this?
Details would depend on the winch construction. I have seen a hex socket bolt at the end of the winch shaft and a piece of a ball-shaped hex wrench chucked onto the drill.
Jan 07, 2013, 02:12 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
Originally Posted by jetmaven
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
I always remove the chute to avoid damage to the turnaround pully. That metal ring going through the turn around will damage the pully causing line brakes. So all metal is removed befor I reel it in.
Jan 08, 2013, 06:12 AM
turn, turn, turn.
I just wanted to point out one more time, that a lot of these drills have torque settings... I would set it just heavy enough to pull the line, and no more.
A snag would stop it.
Jan 08, 2013, 03:45 PM

Drill Motor Used for Wind-up

I've attached several pictures of our drill motor wind-up system. Two of our guys, Tod and Mac, decided that we needed a safer and simple method of winding up the line after flying.

The modified hole saw blade shows the notches necessary to fit over the winch drum thru bolt. I've also included a picture of the simple threaded 'clip' we use to connect / disconnect the winch line from our retriever line or parachute. We tie about a two inch loop knot at the end of the winch line that the clip slips thru. We get the clips from Home Depot in the hardware dept.

Hope these help.

Las Vegas Soaring CVlub
Jan 08, 2013, 03:50 PM
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rdwoebke's Avatar

This helps a ton. Thank you very much. I am going to post some pictures of my winch drum and try to come up with a similar plastic piece attachment for a cordless drill.

For me it would also save some wear and tear on my ancient winch motor.

Jan 08, 2013, 05:24 PM
Registered User
Vegasray - that has got to be the most stuffed drum I've ever see, how much and what weight , just curious .
Jan 08, 2013, 06:02 PM
Jetmaven - our winches are both filled with 1200 feet of 400 lb/test Nylon braided line from Memphis Net and Twine. We fly on desert gravel,stones, rocks (no grass) so we need a fairly thick line to resist abrasion. Over the years we found the 400 lb line works best.

Jan 09, 2013, 07:20 PM
Registered User
Holy cow ! I believe I have the same approximate size drum with almost 2000' of 250 test #24 line from Memphis and it comes nowhere close to what you have loaded up . I trust and hope you have a landing area not as menacing as where the line is laid out .
Jan 09, 2013, 07:42 PM
LSF303-AMA Fellow
tkallev's Avatar
Best way to reel line in on a winch?


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