Syncro towing

Years ago i had heard talk of someone towing two pilots on a split line.
Does anyone have images or video or more first hand experience with such a set up?

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Bjozz Iceland's picture

Thank you for excellent description. You guys must have a video of one of those 20 tows. Can you please share them with us

Bjozz Iceland's picture
EspenAa's picture

Me and some other guys here in Norway have done this some times during the last years, i think maybe its been 20-something tows in total. In the beginning we thought the wings and wingloads had to match, but it turned out it didnt have much to say, if it was bigger freestyle and small full on acro glider. We have not tried with lower range gliders. We dont do it so often because it takes some time to set up every time and its more strain on the towing system, plus you need to be very experienced pilots and boatdriver. We have had a couple of incidents that proves this to be more risky than normal towing, mostly right after takeoff, like if one pilot dont have a clean start and the wing falls behind. You can easily get two injured pilots like this.
How we do it: Split the tow line with 30 m each from the split. We have added 5 extra meters to the one line as a small safety, but this is probably not necessary. On takeoff, the gliders must be almost wingtip to wingtip and have radio communication with each other and the boatdriver. Keep a close eye on each other the whole time. In the takeoff moment I look more at the other pilot than the boat, you want to be close, but of course not collide. In the air we can change sides a lot, because we normaly have an unsymmetric pull on the towline, with one pilot going up and the other down. We stabilize this by gentle braking when you go down and release on the way up. If not you can quickly end up with quite some altitude difference and slack line for the pilot going down. This is also a risk, because the line can get behind you, around the reserve handle, tow release or legs. I normaly keep my foot on the line to get control of it until we dont swing up and down so much. Another risk is lockout in the turn, as with normal towing, but this is more difficult. If we get to far apart we get pulled to the side by the other pilot in addition to the pull of the boat. So for the whole flight we dont get further appart than a few meters.
When releasing, this doesnt have to be at the same time.
Its a cool thing to do if you want to do a syncro run, but as I mentioned it should only be done with pilots and boatdriver with a lot of previous tows behind them. A black belt in towing, as we say.

owka's picture

It´s possible, but difficult. If you will try to tow two pilots with different wings and wing loads so probably it´s impossible. You can text for Parawinch guys, they have experience with two pilots towing :)