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Auto-Towing - why is this not more popular?



 
 
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  #191  
Old April 18th 16, 07:09 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
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Default Auto-Towing - why is this not more popular?

Hello Sean,
here in Croatia we often launching with car: thousands of launchs in last ten years. Have a 1600 m length of space, rope 550 m and 350-400 m height (Blanik with two pilots).
Please give me some details about Hobbs (www site if you have).
In this year we want to launch at 1000 m.
Best regards Boris
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  #192  
Old April 18th 16, 02:27 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Sean[_2_]
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Default Auto-Towing - why is this not more popular?

Boris, thanks for your reply.

It is great to hear about all the auto launching that is going on (many replies so far) worldwide, including your club in Croatia. For me, auto launching still seems greatly underutilized here in the USA. It still appears to be, by far, the most affordable (and simple) method of glider launch (if the flying site has the space).

I still find it ironic that many club members (or customers of commercial operations) seem to complain about costs (here in the US) but very few clubs or commercial operations seem to practice auto launching in general. I think being towed into the air by a car has more romance or appeal that a noisy airplane at 400 ft per minute! Many club members (and leaders) seem almost nostalgically tied to the idea of having an expensive and maintenance hungry towplane or winch. To a certain segment of these clubs the towplane or winch is probably their favorite part of the club. Perhaps the idea of auto towing might Be a threat to or risk taking away the importance of the expensive toy? For me, auto luanching seems even more nostalgic and cool, especially for training and club ops.

At my commercial operation in Michigan, a tow to 2000 AGL is now just under $50. Towing expenses are the highest portion of training costs. Therefore this is an important cost to manage. Imagine how many more pilots would be able to afford glider training if towing costs were reduced by 30, 50, 50 or even 75 percent? The 50 training aero tows required to get a glider rating can cost up to $2500. Imagine if that cost was only $1000? Many will cite that soaring clubs have lower aero-tow fees. True, but you must also factor in that the student must the pay for the club membership and put In the required time serving the club in return (time=money). That is a real cost as well.

Unfortunately for me, the location I fly from is an active public airport (rarely used but still public) and auto launching is not a great option for them. This is also true of a good portion of other clubs and commercial operations here in the USA unfortunately. That said many do have the space to auto tow. Perhaps more US clubs should be located at facilities suitable for auto towing?

In regards to Hobbs New Mexico, USA, it is a huge abandoned WWII air base with greater than 10,000 foot runways (800 feet wide). I just did a search of "glider club Hobbs New Mexico" and nothing really came up. This might be associated with the SSA (Soaring Society of America). I'll keep looking for more info and perhaps some video. I'm sure someone here has more knowledge about the Hobbs operation that conducted the auto towing during the 2015 18 meter/Club/Open nationals.

Sean
  #193  
Old April 18th 16, 03:01 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Frank Whiteley
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Default Auto-Towing - why is this not more popular?

On Monday, April 18, 2016 at 7:27:57 AM UTC-6, Sean wrote:
Boris, thanks for your reply.

It is great to hear about all the auto launching that is going on (many replies so far) worldwide, including your club in Croatia. For me, auto launching still seems greatly underutilized here in the USA. It still appears to be, by far, the most affordable (and simple) method of glider launch (if the flying site has the space).

I still find it ironic that many club members (or customers of commercial operations) seem to complain about costs (here in the US) but very few clubs or commercial operations seem to practice auto launching in general. I think being towed into the air by a car has more romance or appeal that a noisy airplane at 400 ft per minute! Many club members (and leaders) seem almost nostalgically tied to the idea of having an expensive and maintenance hungry towplane or winch. To a certain segment of these clubs the towplane or winch is probably their favorite part of the club. Perhaps the idea of auto towing might Be a threat to or risk taking away the importance of the expensive toy? For me, auto luanching seems even more nostalgic and cool, especially for training and club ops.

At my commercial operation in Michigan, a tow to 2000 AGL is now just under $50. Towing expenses are the highest portion of training costs. Therefore this is an important cost to manage. Imagine how many more pilots would be able to afford glider training if towing costs were reduced by 30, 50, 50 or even 75 percent? The 50 training aero tows required to get a glider rating can cost up to $2500. Imagine if that cost was only $1000? Many will cite that soaring clubs have lower aero-tow fees. True, but you must also factor in that the student must the pay for the club membership and put In the required time serving the club in return (time=money). That is a real cost as well.

Unfortunately for me, the location I fly from is an active public airport (rarely used but still public) and auto launching is not a great option for them. This is also true of a good portion of other clubs and commercial operations here in the USA unfortunately. That said many do have the space to auto tow. Perhaps more US clubs should be located at facilities suitable for auto towing?

In regards to Hobbs New Mexico, USA, it is a huge abandoned WWII air base with greater than 10,000 foot runways (800 feet wide). I just did a search of "glider club Hobbs New Mexico" and nothing really came up. This might be associated with the SSA (Soaring Society of America). I'll keep looking for more info and perhaps some video. I'm sure someone here has more knowledge about the Hobbs operation that conducted the auto towing during the 2015 18 meter/Club/Open nationals.

Sean


At the old Enstone Gliding Club, we autotowed with 500m of parafil and an XJ-6 Jaguar. 1500ft launches with both L-13 and G-103 and 5-10kts of headwind.

At Hobbs, their straight autotow system is simple and works and uses solid wire. The slurry on the one runway is highly abrasive on synthetic ropes. We winch launched there using Amsteel Blue and it showed. If there were 50-100 gliders there regularly, a reverse pulley would be the way to go. It is effective and efficient but requires some safety clearance room at the pulley end. On a surface like Hobbs, solid wire is the only real option but it can be used on hard surfaces as they know.
As shown before.
http://www.coloradosoaring.org/think...ey/default.htm
Cotswold now uses winches.

A reverse pulley makes best use of a fixed length and lays the wire for the next launch. With a side arm on the launch vehicle to lay the rope on a soft surface while driving on a hard surface, then synthetic ropes could be used with the glider operating from the soft surface. Nice airfield without lights or a purpose built field with lots of gliders. Nice to have common prevailing winds too.

Frank Whiteley
  #194  
Old April 18th 16, 03:03 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Bruce Hoult
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Default Auto-Towing - why is this not more popular?

On Monday, April 18, 2016 at 6:09:54 PM UTC+12, wrote:
Hello Sean,
here in Croatia we often launching with car: thousands of launchs in last ten years. Have a 1600 m length of space, rope 550 m and 350-400 m height (Blanik with two pilots).
Please give me some details about Hobbs (www site if you have).
In this year we want to launch at 1000 m.


What can you say about maintenance time and costs for the launch vehicle?
How many launches an hour can you do? (assuming a queue of gliders waiting)
  #195  
Old May 21st 16, 12:53 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
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Default Auto-Towing - why is this not more popular?

Hello Dan, can I come next year for the Ground Launch Weekend? Please for details about location and near big town. How long is Roach Dry Lake and how long is usefull part for launch?
Here in Poland we have old millitary hard runway (12.000 f). We want to achieve over 3000 f height.
Boris from Croatia, Slovenia and Poland
  #196  
Old May 21st 16, 08:47 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Dan Marotta
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Posts: 3,910
Default Auto-Towing - why is this not more popular?

Hello Boris,

Roach Dry Lake is about 6 miles long, I think, and they use about 2/3 of
that for launching. They use a truck with 1,800 feet of rope and
release altitudes are usually about 1,350 feet. They have the ground
launch weekends in April and October. Check here for details and
contact Las Vegas Valley Soaring Association directly for the latest
information. http://www.lvvsa.org/#!safaris/c5n2
http://www.lvvsa.org/#%21safaris/c5n2

Since I now have a Stemme, I don't need assisted launches any more, but
I may still come just because the people are so nice.

Regards,

Dan


On 5/21/2016 5:53 AM, wrote:
Hello Dan, can I come next year for the Ground Launch Weekend? Please for details about location and near big town. How long is Roach Dry Lake and how long is usefull part for launch?
Here in Poland we have old millitary hard runway (12.000 f). We want to achieve over 3000 f height.
Boris from Croatia, Slovenia and Poland


--
Dan, 5J

  #197  
Old May 22nd 16, 02:33 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Sean[_2_]
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Default Auto-Towing - why is this not more popular?

I am so happy to see an auto towing event being organized. Sadly, my glider has no CG hook. I'll have to borrow something!
  #198  
Old May 22nd 16, 03:09 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Bill T
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Default Auto-Towing - why is this not more popular?

Club function. We do it twice a year if the weather cooperates. Not too much wind and a dry lake, no rain in the previous two weeks.
El NiƱo is making it tougher to get it done.

LVVSA.org.
BillT
  #199  
Old May 23rd 16, 10:02 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Boris Kozuh
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Default Auto-Towing - why is this not more popular?

Sean!
Come in summer and fly with us auto tow (Croatia, Aeroclub Split)
Best r. Boris
 




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