Kite towing


The idea

   There are many thing in common when flying both kite and glider. The purpose is the same : you try to keep something up in the air, in the quiet shuffle of the wind...
    So when the two hobbies join together, the result is quite interesting. Let's have a look to the following story.
   I take part in two clubs : "vent de fou" (crazy wind or wind of crazy), which deals with kite, and the MACE, which is concerned with models. We studied together the technical aspect of the experiment, following the experience of B Hannus from Strasbourg, and the result was quite satisfactory.
Who does'nt fly ??

The equipment

The modelers :

the release hook    Different type of glider were towed by our kites. At first HLG gliders were tested, for they are both light and strong. This was very useful for the first experiments. Others kind of glider were towed, but it was not as easy and comfortable. Among the others were a little aerobatic glider (1.40m, 700g), and a "cliff racer" (1.70m, 1.600kg, Rg14) which need quite a big height to recover after released...
   The release of the glider is radio controlled, even if you can build a mechanic release system on the lifting messenger. It is located in the nose of the glider, which is quite important, you will see why later. You are then always able to stop the climbing if something goes wrong. The system is very simple, have a look to the drawing. It is so simple that it can't failed, for their is no mechanic parts !!! We use the same for aerotowed gliders.

The kite flyers :

how to build a rokkaku    The last kite and best kite to have been used was a delta quite. The advantage is that it climb with a great angle (up to 60-70 !!). So the messenger doesn't carry the glider too far down wind. A "Rakkaku" kite will achieve the job very well also. He is very stable up in the air, and moreover, it is very easy to build !!
the lifting messenger    The glider itself was towed to the top of the line via a messenger. It is a kind of small kite that climb along the line. When it reaches the top of the pattern, it go back down to the earth thank to system that shuts down the sail. And then the weight play its role, and it comes down. The issue is to build a messenger that will glide easily on the line, and will be reliable. If not, you will have to work on the kite, instead of flying your sailplane.
   The first messenger was not very large, and it could not carry up more than 600-700 gr of "dead" payload without a lot of wind, that prevents from enjoy the flight of a light glider. A second one was built, with a greater sail area. And the shutting down system is not the same

For further information, and a great web address on messenger, click here..

   The structure was made of carbon (you can use hard wood) and glass fiber spar, while the sail was in "rip stop spi".This items are commonly used for kites.
   All this things are not too hard to build, and you don't need to be a "professional sewer" to achieved such an experiment !

Flying tests :

   Two kind of towing were experienced. At first, the glider was simply attach at a string behind an aerobatic kite. This was kite dangerous, for such kite climb quite quickly, and the glider keep directly in the strong turbulence involved by the kite. I took my video camera with me, and the tape reminds us of the rolls made behind the kite when climbing. Not very comfortable, so to speak...

Only one thing to do : wait to reach the top of the line !    The following test were more serious. They were made with all the stuff described on this page, and achieved very good results. The first thing to do is to prepare the kite and its messeger. Hang the kite line strongly on the ground, or ask someone to care if there are wind gusts that could interfere with the kite stability. And then hook the lifting messenger on the line, and check it to see wether it is willing to go back down. That's all. If it is really reliable, you will not need to attend to this any more : just hook the glider, and then fly, and fly...
   To free the glider you need to release it slowly, for the kite line can bend, and you have to prevent the glider to hit the ground. Once it is gone, you only have to wait to be high enough to release the sailplane. During the climb, if the glider is light, it "tries" to fly, and act not simply as a "dead" payload, but take part in the lift as well. That is why you have to put the release hook in the nose, to that the glider helps to climb.

    Reaching the top, as you release the glider, it have to get nose down, and seems to stall heavily. This is a drawback to the hook location, but I tried a hook put at the tail, and you needed almost the same height to recover, but the climbing was not so easy. Lets have your choice !!

   Now, its up to you to try. Let me know about your experiment !

Further information :

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