How to Tow RC Gliders

Written by larry simmons
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Many RC gliders are of the unpowered variety. These remote controlled aeroplanes have no motor to provide the necessary lift to rise from the ground and need assistance to make it into the air. One method of launching your glider is with the use of a tow line. By using a tow system, you can bring your RC glider to speed, providing the initial thrust your plane requires for take-off so that you can enjoy the flying experience.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Winch
  • Turnaround pulley
  • #18 nylon twine, 1,200 feet
  • RC aeroplane
  • Tow Ring
  • Tow hook

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  1. 1

    Plant the winch firmly into the ground where you intend to launch your glider. You'll need an area of 600 clear feet for the towing.

  2. 2

    Plant the turnaround pulley 600 feet away from the winch. Ensure no ground obstacles separate the pulley and winch.

  3. 3

    Attach the nylon tow line to the winch. Run the tow line from the winch to the pulley. Unhook the pulley catch and loop the tow line around the pulley.

  4. 4

    Replace the pulley catch, securing the tow line in place against the pulley. Run the tow line back to the winch.

  5. 5

    Secure the tow line to the tow ring, a stainless steel metal ring slightly larger in diameter than your tow hook. Knot it in place.

  6. 6

    Attach the tow hook to your glider about 1/4 inch forward of the plane's centre of gravity. The toe hook, a metal hook curved into a 90-degree angle, is placed into the belly of your plane, with the hook facing the plane's rear. The centre of gravity is generally located at a point that's one-third to one-quarter the wing width from the front of the aeroplane's wings.

  7. 7

    Slide the tow ring on the end of the tow line onto the tow hook. Hold the glider loosely above your head pointing upwards.

  8. 8

    Press the foot switch attached to the winch. The winch will begin to retract the tow line, winding the line onto the winch spool. Release the glider as the winch begins, and the tow line will quickly move the glider forward.

  9. 9

    Pulse the motor of the winch as the glider moves by powering it on and off to control the take-off speed. If you use too much speed, the g-forces applied can rip the glider apart. Once it reaches an altitude of about 100 feet, the tow ring will slide from the hook on the plane and fall to the ground. Immediately stop the winch from running. At this point, you can control the glider using the remote control.

Tips and warnings

  • If your plane gains speed without gaining height, apply flaps before starting the winch.

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