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By WhackityWhack
#404136
I would really like to hear from experienced tow rated pilots:

What are the advantages of Pro Towing vs. 3 Point Towing? I think most people start out 3 point towing and it seems to work pretty well; so why would a person start pro-towing?

Is pro-towing more risky? (I assume the term PRO means you need to be more experienced to do it?)

I am only asking about aircraft towing here. Thanks.
User avatar
By DMarley
#404145
I understand that the keel-mounted release on the two-point tow can be risky, if only because that release may fail to release (if improperly maintained or designed). If so, you are then bound to release by the harness-release, which could end up creating a very bad day if the v-bridle wraps onto the tow-line. Imagine being towed solely by the keel, above the center of gravity without any means of releasing (perhaps the weak link would snap) . T'would be real bummer.

Releasing by the keel-release sometimes results in the v-bridle wrapping onto the tow-line. You have a backup release just for that instance. It's your harness-release (most likely a barrel-release).
What would be better is a backup keel release.... like two keel releases. But that becomes chunky, more complicated, and some wouldn't like the slight extra drag.

Pro Tow has none of the slight extra drag and weight that comes with the keel release. In racing, that *slight* extra drag could mean the difference between 1st and 4th place, or....

Some would also say that pro-tow setup is
a) much simpler and without the possible (if improbable with proper maintenance) dangers associated with the keel release

b) easier to tow by (if you have the skills)

c) A keel release on a double-surface glider is not as straight-forward a system as on a single surface.
User avatar
By DMarley
#404152
True. However, with a release on the carabiner, you have all the negatives of a keel-mounted release and much less of the positives (keel-mounted release is supposed to help align the glider to the tow-line force direction, whereas a carabiner-mounted release may not provide that alignment). But, all the towing force is then not concentrated where the harness bridle is attached.... it is more or less halved, which perhaps relieves pitch effort on some gliders.

As it's name would suggest, a Pro Tow bridle system is primarily to reduce complexity, drag, and weight for those who can handle the possible extra work-load.

I'm bettin' that Davis or someone of similar ilk would be a better source of merit-weighing.
User avatar
By Lucky_Chevy
#404161
When using a pro-tow setup the pilot is pulled through the control frame changing the flight position. There is less strain on the pilot using a conventional system since approximately half of the tow force is placed directly on the glider. The conventional system has two weak links: one mounted at the chest on the opposite side of the release, and the second at the release (beaner-mounted in my case).

Some pilots say they feel they have more control over the wing when pro-towing, it feels about the same to me. In rough conditions I really appreciate the lighter loads being placed on my harness.

Towing forces can build very quickly in aerotowing when a pilot is close to a lockout. I feel like my conventional system has a lot more leverage and
mechanical advantage and could release easier under higher loads than a typical barrel release. (The link knife system was developed to solve that problem by using a spring loaded cutter to slice through the weak link every time you release.) With either system, just release early to make it a non-issue. Both systems require the pilot to remove a hand from the base bar to use the release. As an aside, the main benefit of the Russian mouth release if the ability to release while keeping your hands in flying position.

I've seen some pilots try to split the difference between the two systems. They mount a fixed line to their keel or beaner and use the standard barrel releases on their chest. This is potentially a very dangerous setup if the lines get snagged and hang up after release. Applying tow forces to the keel or beaner alone is not stable and will result in a rapid loss of control.

Simplicity is a major advantage of pro-tow. The tow line on the pilot is simpler and there is less line to store after release. There is not the added drag of the fixed release which I feel is fairly minimal. Having to rig and de-rig my release when I aerotow does take a couple of minutes.

I feel that a standard towing setup is more forgiving than a pro-tow setup. Since I do less than 30 aerotows a year I feel more comfortable using a conventional tow system . If I aerotowed more I might consider pro-towing.


Dan
By dbhyslop
#404169
Both systems require the pilot to remove a hand from the base bar to use the release.

Read more: viewtopic.php?t=36090#ixzz5MnaIn0or
My conventional-style release from Lookout allows me to release while keeping both hands on the bar. During the entire tow I have the release strap around two of my fingers with a little slack. I slide that hand about three inches inboard on the bar and I'm off tow. The downside is the mechanism is wrapped around the basebar and in the way for the rest of the flight. It would be nice if I could run the cable through the downtube like a VG cord. The other downside is the actual release blowing around in flight ruining my videos and scratching my helmet on the ground. Maybe I should try a bungee to pull it tight to the keel while not under load.

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