What trikes are people using as Tugs?

A discussion restricted to the topic of hang gliding.
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chrisjonesbath
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What trikes are people using as Tugs?

Post by chrisjonesbath »

All,

What trikes are people using as tugs out there?

We've been using a 30-year-old Pegasus XL with a Rotax 462hp for many years in the UK and it is coming up for retirement, or rather, it is well past its sell-by date. I thought I'd ask around and find out what others are using, how they climb and what airspeed they tow at?

Our trike options are historically a little limited here in the UK due to tough airworthiness rules, though thanks to recent rule changes we have the possibility now of using almost anything under 300kg (660lbs) take-off mass. There is one off-the-shelf trike tug available here in the UK, the super lightweight FoxTug, which can achieve tows of 1000fpm at a mid 30s airspeed.

I'm particularly interested in any other trikes that can tow in the mid-30s mph with a climb rate of 600 fpm or greater when towing. Is anybody using something like this?

The wonderful 3-axis MB Dragonfly is a non-starter for us, unfortunately.

Any input appreciated.

Chris
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Andrew Vanis
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Re: What trikes are people using as Tugs?

Post by Andrew Vanis »

Greg Ludwigg might be a good resource. in Houston and Florida I believe. He tows with a trike and is a airline pilot and airplane flight instructor so may have a good sense of what your laws may require.

if you can't find him directly, send me your contact info and I'll forward

AndrewVanis@gmail.com
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Martin
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Re: What trikes are people using as Tugs?

Post by Martin »

Curious, what is the story about the "Dragonfly being a non-starter"? Must admit, I follow a bunch of the UK Microlight groups, bureaucracy in the UK seems pretty harsh... making a simple health declaration for the pilots becomes an endless online experience.

Martin
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chrisjonesbath
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Re: What trikes are people using as Tugs?

Post by chrisjonesbath »

Thanks Andrew, I'll chase it up. I'm still hoping others might chip in at some point.

Chris
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chrisjonesbath
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Re: What trikes are people using as Tugs?

Post by chrisjonesbath »

Martin wrote: Sat, Jul 03 2021, 09:09:30 am Curious, what is the story about the "Dragonfly being a non-starter"? Must admit, I follow a bunch of the UK Microlight groups, bureaucracy in the UK seems pretty harsh... making a simple health declaration for the pilots becomes an endless online experience.

Martin
Yep, bureaucracy and cost are just two of the factors that rule out the Dragonfly.

We can now use single-seater tugs with a take-off mass of less than 300kg without all the bureaucracy thankfully. This would mean that some trikes currently two-seaters can be converted to single-seat and avoid all the permitting hassle. This has opened up the possibility for us in the UK to use trikes from outside the UK that once were beyond our reach. Our largest trike manufacture went for increasing weight and speed and long ago stopped producing anything suitable for use as a tug. They have now been sold and moved all manufacturing to India.

To show you how mad the old system was (which still applies to two-seaters). Many years ago a French trike manufacturer had a great slow trike call the Fun which made a nice tug. They were not allowed to sell it in the UK as their manufacturing quality wasn't certified to CAA standards. So an enterprising Brit got all the bits from France drilled a few holes and declared himself a UK manufacturer after jumping through all the major hoops. Oh, how safe we felt knowing that the trikes were no longer assembled by those Frenchies who had only been designing and building them all those years.

Thankfully our CAA is now convinced that low mass single-seaters don't present a threat to the public thanks to 40+ plus years of positive evidence. The market for light trikes is going through a bit of a boom, but there is not much tug potential in the machines designed with small engines for XC flight.

I'm trying to find out what others are using as tugs so I can make an informed decision on what our next tug might be. Our current one was built in 1987!

Chris
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Richreinauer
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Re: What trikes are people using as Tugs?

Post by Richreinauer »

I’m using a Sabre Wildcat with an Aeros Still 17m wing. Sabre is no longer in production, but there are some still around. The problem here in the US is the Bureaucracy and cost of getting a weight shift control private pilots license to tow. I’m the only person I know in my area who can legally toe with my trike. I don’t know why a sport pilots license would not be sufficient for towing, but it is what it is.
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CloudHopper
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Re: What trikes are people using as Tugs?

Post by CloudHopper »

It's ironic that here in the USA the authorities have made it more difficult for taxpaying citizens to fly recreationally, while at the same time making it easier for urban thugs to steal and kill without fear of incarceration. Also, the laws against illegal aliens are being disregarded while taxpayers shoulder the cost of their transportation and upkeep, unless they are trying to flee Cuba. What rules? Just fly!
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