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Thread: Shortwing as a tow plane?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Eufaula, OK
    Posts
    100

    Default Shortwing as a tow plane?

    Anyone here have knowledge about using a shortwing as a tow plane?

    Thanks,
    Jeff

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Langwarrin Vic. Australia
    Posts
    91

    Default

    Jeff - I have about 700hrs towing in a Tripacer - while not quite as good as a Supercub , and experienced tow pilot will give the Supercub a run for the money.

    We wound the rear strut forks in a bit to increase the "droop" on the trailing edge supposedly to increase lift??? but I was never convinced this actually worked.
    I must point out that towing is bloody hard on the aeroplane - full power slow climbs followed by a fast descent. I have watched some tow pilots rip the throttle closed, roll into a descending left turn and come down so fast you can hear the cylinders crying out in pain as they cool and crack .
    We were able to avoid most of the problems with cracked cylinders, by using power and coming down a lot more slowly (and I fired any pilot who didn't). The other problem with a Tripacer is the brakes - the johnson bar really gets a hammering and a much better option would be toe brakes and discs.

    However they are still a very good little tug and will leave a 172 for dead.

    Curly

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Eufaula, OK
    Posts
    100

    Default

    Thanks Curley,
    I only have enough tow experience to claim I've done it and that was in a 150 hp Citabria. I was thinking my 160 hp PA-20 might work if I can find someone willing to use me. I'm hoping for more banner towing than glider. Banners required less time at full throttle and we flew a normal pattern to land while the gliders were full power to altitude and idle to the ground (drop rope and land in same pass). I hate to abuse my baby that way but I need to earn some extra money and, to me, anything in aviation beats everything else.

    Do you use a mirror to keep an eye on the glider? If yes, where is it mounted?
    thanks,
    Jeff
    Last edited by 11767; 11-15-2009 at 10:28 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Leeds, AL.
    Posts
    711

    Default

    I have towed with my PA-20 fairly extensively both gliders and banners. My aircraft had an extended lip on the cowling exit and two oil coolers and plane booster wing tips. The problems are as described above. I used the PA-18 Schweitzer hook (with 4 hooks so more banners could be towed without landing). The installation was field approved.
    Keep an eye on the temps and a hand (or leg) ready to pull the release, if necessary.
    The banners are a lon steady pull and the pickup is interesting.
    The gliders are a long slow climb with a tow that can kill you if you are not careful.
    If you don't yet have a problem with the fabric at the left wing root vibrating at low speed high power you will have the opportunity to check that out too.
    Personally I would rather tow with a Super Cub with the longer wings, but a Pacer can do it too. You use what you got.
    Good luck with your towing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Langwarrin Vic. Australia
    Posts
    91

    Default

    Jeff,

    We had a small auto rear vision mirror mounted on a bracket clamped to the front strut. It was not all that successful as the vibration "blurred" the vision but you could tell where the sailplane was (high or low tow) and see it go when released. The emergency release was mounted on the floor next to your left knee.

    As you have done some towing I guess I don't have to remind you to stay off the turps the night before. Stinking hot, windy, turbulent towing does not mix very well with a hangover!

  6. #6
    dkeifer10 Guest

    Default

    Yes , there is a Pa 22-150 at New London airport in forest va with a tow hook. Owner says it does good.

  7. #7
    N2759P Guest

    Default

    A PA22-150 on our field was used to tow a glider for several years. As I recall it was a little anemic at first but with a prop overhaul and repitch by Jim Fix the time from brake release to glider release was cut almost in half and it worked quit well. Unless you would be doing a lot of long cross country work the climb prop is nicer anyway and only gives up 5 or so MPH.

  8. #8
    vagerbond Guest

    Default Short Wing Tow Plane

    Quote Originally Posted by 11767 View Post
    Anyone here have knowledge about using a shortwing as a tow plane?

    Thanks,
    Jeff
    Yes, google "bob cannon" or L16 and you'll probably get extensive information about Bob's banner tow operation at Meadowlark Airport which has been closed for years now. What a mecca for air minded beach bums it was. Located in Huntington Beach, CA and it was home to two airplanes I owned over the years. Bob's operation picked up at dropped banners at the airport and towed them along the beach. Joe

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