How to Boat Tow Paragliders for a SIV Course

so today we are getting ready for a SIV
session in our Coronian spit lagoon and here you can see our winching boat. A
really old one but built especially for winching now. Winch is mounted inside
you can see it here and we’re preparing the gear we will collect some wings and
do the first round to bring the guys in to the other shore. Then I will come back
pick another group and that’s how we will begin. So basically what you can see
here is the winch which is bolted in there is a special frame underneath the
floor to hold it firmly. The winch control is laying down here. I will
control it from here. We hope to do at least ten flights today and continue
with thirty twenty fives in the next two days this is the first SIV which we are doing
in this Lagoon we have to take up one deck we’re at one in front of us quite a
good wind today up to six meters and the gas so we hope for at least 900 meters
altitude morning we are at our takeoff on a sandy beach on the corona and spit
it’s not too deep here but just enough to unload the stuff and get ready for
the guys we will do at least 30 flights today we have a gas tank of 45 litres
almost full now and four tanks 20 liters each so it’s 120 litres of gasoline so
we hope at 30 flights we will be able to do so in that case we will use less than
5 liters every toe I hope we will end up using 4 liters every toe we have some
wind today so about the takeoff the takeoff is really clean here with some
dynamic soaring possible with the correct wind direction every time I come
here I have to jump out from a boat pull up the engine leg because it’s not
hydraulically adjusted so I do it manually every time and every time I
have to tow I push out the boat out to reach enough depth to lower engine leg
so the boat you can see it’s quite easy to move you get used to it really fast
and here is our engine leg I have to unlock it here manually BMW techniques
of 70 every time I come here back here I jump
out from the boat bring back the rope and there is one guy who picks up the
rope drags it to the pilots and I can prepare for the next lounge so yesterday
we did 12 flights and it was around 15 minutes each flight towing up to 900
meters it was really really good conditions since the wind was strong and
a bit challenging actually when the wind is too strong because we have only three
kilometer stretch of land here and if you cross it there is a sea so to have a
civil window for all the manoeuvres and in case you prove your rescue you have
to be quite far away so that’s why we had to apply a lot of pressure for the
pilot pull him up above the boat and the line
was going straight down here so we were towing him into the lagoon not as much
concerned to tow that damn high we had a challenge to tow them into the wind and
then they ended up in nine hundred or one kilometer altitude but it was
time-consuming the boat speed with that wind was around 15 kilometers per hour
so very very slow towing it takes time but yeah it is possible it is really
good view good location we will sit two guys in the front
because we are a rescue team as well so we tow it pilot and then we wait until
he finishes his maneuvers and then we go back so it takes some time as well so
the towing cycle depends on how fast the pilot finishes it’s his program not only
how fast you can go back and forth and we could save time by having additional
boat which is only for very sq but in this case with very small team we have
only six seven pilots waiting doing the SIV course so in this case we decided to
work only with one boat and not to hire additional one which would increase the
expenses for construction and everything so

2 thoughts on “How to Boat Tow Paragliders for a SIV Course

  1. Looks good, great location and good team work. We have been using a G7 Parawinch for boat and car towing in Australia for five years with thousands of tows. I like the small size and light weight for a boat. We have used it extensively for SIV and XCoastal flights and I can recommend it. We regularly tow to 300m to 1000m AGL depending on the activity. For your interest the technique we use for stronger winds are:

    a. Pilots use a reverse launch technique, far easier in winds over 5kn (9kph).

    b. We only do SIV in winds up to 10kn (18kph). Over that there is too much risk that a reserve deployment will result in the pilot drifting over land – we want the pilot under reserve to land in the soft water. However, for XCoastal we tow with winds on launch up to 14kn (26kph).

    c. When the winds are above 8kn (15kph) the boat does not have to travel far to get the pilot high. This is actually good as less petrol consumed. However, it can result in the pilot being too close, or even above launch. In very strong conditions they can be towed high and ping off behind launch. Too much height and too close to launch is no good for SIV. To position the pilot in the right area we tow them into position at or around an air speed equal to the wing's glide speed. Of course this means the boat's ground speed is significantly less than the glider air speed at trim (best glide : L/D)- just subtract the wind speed from approximately 44kph (+/- 2kph). Once they are 40m above launch we slow the boat down so they are no longer going up and can penetrate into the wind. The boat drives and the pilot flies into the wind as far as needed without increasing height. If the pilot starts to sink we slightly increase speed to regain clearance height. Note that wind gradient means that the wind is slightly lighter below 40m making it easier to penetrate. Therefore do not tow high then try and get the pilot forward, instead you must launch and tow low into position. Once we have the pilot away from shore and in position to gain height we increase the speed and lift them to the desired height and location. It's easy and the crew get better at it with more experience.

    Boat towing has incredible potential, not just for SIV but also for amazing XCoastal flights. The Parawinch is particularly good for this.

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