Winch, Hi-Start, Up-Start, Zip-Start, Bungee, Zoom??

When thermal soaring, you need some method of launching unless you have a handlaunch glider (HLG).  The main options are a Winch, Hi-Start, Up-Start, Zip-Start and Bungee.  For a description of a winch and a hi-start, see R-C Sailplanes.  For an illustration of a winch launch, see Soaring League of North Texas.  That page depicts a launch where someone was too heavy on the pedal, destroying the plane.  Picture the plane coming loose from the line and sailing off instead....  A good drawing is at Extreme Products.

Here is a question from the rec.models.rc.soaring newsgroup and the answers which should explain what the the variations of a hi-start are:

QUESTION: (Albert Vallone)
> >In the lexicon of soaring I have seen the terms Hi Start, Up Start, and
> >Bungee used almost interchangebly.  There deesnt seem to be any
> >standard.  Are there different configurations?
ANSWER: (Joel)
> A histart is piece of tubing around 100 feet with about 400 ft of line
> connected to it.  An upstart is a smaller version with 50 ft tubing and 150-200 ft
> line, and a bungee is just the tubing, probably around 50 ft.  A zoom launch is
> about 20 ft of tubing and maybe 10-30ft line if at all.
[Note from David:  these are typical lengths of tubing and line, there are many variations.]

FOLLOW-UP ANSWER:  (David Cole -- yep, that's me....)
I've also heard that in some places outside the USA they call a hi-start a
bungee -- Joel's descriptions are correct for the USA.

Another version is a zip-start, which is about 10 feet of small tubing and 20-30
feet of line.  Many handlaunch glider (HLG) pilots use a zip-start to get about
the same launch height as a good hand launch.  In our club, zip-starts are
always an option in HLG contests, as we have several older guys and people who
have thrown out their shoulders.  Our club has a number of zip starts with the
same tubing and a limiting line within the tubing so they can only be pulled
back a certain distance, thus evening the field.

Where to buy

For info on where to buy hi-starts and tubing of all sizes, see my Sailplane Links page.  There is a section titled "Hi-start and tubing links" on that page.

I have a Pinnacle M hi-start (100 ft tubing, 400 ft line) for my 2-meter, a Pinnacle S up-start (50 ft tubing, 200 ft line) for my 1.5 meter HLGs, and a zip-start (10 feet tubing, 20 ft line) I made for my 1.5 meter HLGs using tubing from Hollyday.  All three are great, but there are less expensive choices available.  I also have a zip-start made with tubing a friend gave me -- it is the exact same tubing the other guys in my club use for their zip-starts, allowing us to even the playing field for our friendly all-up-last-down handlaunch competitions we do over and over when we are all flying handlaunch.

Here are the specs on my hi-starts:
Pinnacle M hi-start    100 ft tubing    400 ft line    Tubing is 5/16" OD, 3/16" ID, 1/16" wall thickness, color is red
Pinnacle S up-start      50 ft tubing    200 ft line    Tubing is 7/32" OD,   1/8" ID, 3/64" wall thickness, color is red
Zip-start - black         10 ft tubing      20 ft line    Tubing is 3/16" OD,  1/16" ID, 1/16" wall thickness, black Hollyday tubing
Zip-start - amber        10 ft tubing      20 ft line    Tubing is 7/32" OD,   1/8" ID, 3/64" wall thickness, color is amber

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