Bi-Directional Step Towing

The pilot launches near the winch and tows up over the pulley. In this picture the main towline drum would be paying in and the retrieval line drum paying out. We made the leader line (that goes from the jct. to the pilot) long so that if there was ever a problem causing one drum or line to hang up, the pilot would have the length of a football field to release or turn. The hydraulics make for a very smooth tow keeping the line tension constant and compensating for higher winds aloft or thermals. The drum will slow down, stop, or even payout as necessary.

When the pilot gets to about 10 degrees of directly over the winch he signals the operator to drop tension or just starts his turn. The operator drops tension on both drums (allowing them to payout if necessary) while the pilot turns back toward the winch, at which time pressure can be brought up on the retrieval line.

At this point the pilot is getting towed downwind toward the winch. Although you don't gain as much altitude on the downwind leg, you can gain a few hundred depending on field length, wind, glider, operator, etc.We can generaly bank the glider as steeply as we want to.

Step towing a paraglider on this system means you never have to fly downwind pulling line off the drum. You are being towed from the front in both directions and therefore have more time to react should there be a problem with the line.

The pilot turns into the wind and tows up higher (picture not to scale of course). On this system you can release at any time, on the upwind or downwind leg, without causing a backlash at the winch. If you hit a thermal, go with it. When the pilot releases, the end of the towline is pulled back to the launch area for the next pilot in line in less than a minute using the retrieval line.

Step towing in this way you are limited to staying between the winch and the pulley. With each step you get diminishing returns in altitude.

Click here and watch our PG launch video. (93K) Requires a media player that plays .avi files.

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