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Weak links for aero tow - Help needed

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Robert Armstrong 212/02/2015 16:05:16
234 forum posts
23 photos

I understand that weak links (and swivels) are advised in aero tow lines. How weak? Anyone got any advice please. We lost a glider on tow at the club recently which could perhaps have survived if there had been a weak link.

Does there need to be a weak link at both ends of the tow line or is it just at the glider end? I would think that one at the tug end might be useful as well, possibly not the same weight as the glider end weak link.

Edited By Robert Armstrong 2 on 12/02/2015 16:05:52

Ultymate12/02/2015 16:56:52
1701 forum posts
62 photos

Hard to put a figure on the strength of the weak link it depend a lot on the size and weight of models involved. I would definitely recommend a release on both the tug and the glider and usually have the weak link at the tug end in case the trailing line gets snagged on final approaches

Frank Skilbeck12/02/2015 22:30:37
4600 forum posts
101 photos

I must admit I've never seen a weak link in the tow line, and don't have one in my tow line, but I do have a tow release on the tug as well as on the glider, that way the tug can dump the glider if the glider can't release. Like on this video at 20 seconds and 4min 20 seconds.

At the aerotows they use the same line to tow everything from the 3m lightweights to the big 6m plus gliders, so what would be a weak link for a 3m glider wouldn't tow a 6m ship.

Also have a look here and here for aerotow tips, but no details on weak links!

Why would the glider in question have survived with a weak link?

Edited By Frank Skilbeck on 12/02/2015 22:39:22

Edited By Frank Skilbeck on 12/02/2015 22:41:12

reg shaw12/02/2015 23:25:43
639 forum posts
562 photos

I don't use weak links at any end of the tow line. The essential thing is to have a strong reliable release at either end though. I've seen so many accidents when both the tug and glider cannot release only to find that the servos or the release itself is woefully inadequate. Fit an over the top release and servo and you'll always get away.


simon barr13/02/2015 08:59:43
1041 forum posts
16 photos

Yeah, I agree.. I don't use a weak link either. But the tugs do have decent servos on the releases, and I have never had a problem yet.. And I have had to dump a few "out of balance" gliders over the years.

Andy Meade13/02/2015 09:49:17
2746 forum posts
704 photos

Usually the weak links are there to save the tug if the tow line snatches in a fence etc on landing, and so should be a sized for the tug, not the glider.

Robert Armstrong 220/02/2015 13:47:28
234 forum posts
23 photos

So, how strong should the weak link be? Break at twice the weight of the tug? More or less? Any help appreciated.

Martyn K20/02/2015 14:00:33
5041 forum posts
3677 photos

Enjoyed that video - thanks Frank..

Andy Meade20/02/2015 14:13:21
2746 forum posts
704 photos

Some good reading here for weak links

FAA (for full size) seem to spec the weak links between 80% and 200% of the glider weight (from that link given above).

Best bet would be to ask on the RCAerotowing forum, or ScaleSoaringUK for a definitive answer on this.

Speedster20/02/2015 14:57:27
375 forum posts
163 photos

In my Club we use a loop of 0,6 mm fishing line at the glider end.

Perfekt for gliders up to around 4 meters, and have saved more than one glider

As 1:25 in video

And on the 3 meter Piper Pawnee tow plane we use a dobbel loop of the same, this will save the tug.

Robert Armstrong 223/02/2015 09:27:05
234 forum posts
23 photos

Thanks. Exactly the information I was looking for.

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