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Tow launching – September 07

Ben and I took the day off on Tuesday 4th September as we had booked a tow conversion course up in Derbyshire at Airways Air Sports. We left London at 6am; the forecast was good and we had high hopes to complete the required 10 launches needed for our tow conversion ‘ticket’.

We met up with Shelley in the morning who took us through our 20 minute brief about the winch, the call signs (Take up slack, Stand-by and ALL OUT) and the various safety points to be aware of.

Andy met us at the launch at the other end of the field. Before the first launch he told us to RLF… (RUN LIKE F$*K!) We started by just doing a 40ft flight before moving onto high circuits from the top of the winch line. By 2pm we had done about 5 successful launches. On my third launch my Topas did not respond well to some input and Andy became worried that I was going to enter a flat spin before hitting the deck! Luckily Dave on the winch slowed it down and I landed safely but things can happen so quickly near to the ground. I borrowed an Ozone Mojo from the school and continued on that to be safe!

The wind had swung round to become westerly and there were a few novice pilots there also using the winch. Dave moved the winch but of course now we were only using half the field so we could not get the height we needed to continue our 5 remaining circuits. Andy said that we would need one more day and suggested coming back tomorrow. The forecast was again good but when we arrived the following day at 9am it was blowing hard and quite misty. We waited until midday, Andy had a go on the winch but it was sadly too windy for us to be constructive. We drove home and now look forward to the next available day to complete our tow conversion.


Judy Leden and Chris Dawes run the school up there and I cannot rate it highly enough. Everyone is friendly and we shall be back soon for sure!
This bottom photo shows the home made winch – the engine of which was a Citroen 4 stroke beauty complete with parasol and Dave, the operator!