I came across a highly portable (5 lb) launch system that could be an alternative to a hi-start or an electric winch. It can be used to launch HLG through Unlimited sizes.
Here is the site. There are photos and video of the system in use.
FIRST TEST REPORT
I was in Sudbury Massachusettes with my friend Mike. We were there for a 2 day Eastern Soaring League TD contest at the CRRC field. We arrived Friday around 3:30.
While I set-up my 122" 60 ounce Thermal Dancer, Mike set up the Onewinch. The box was opened for the first time. Mike took a quick look at the instructions and headed to the field. Neither of us had tried this before but Mike said it was very easy to set-up.
There was very little breeze so this would be a good first test with no real wind assist.
We did not use the belt for this test. It seemed better to have one focus on the Onewinch and one on the plane.
On the first launch he pulled while I launched. I have to say this thing works very well. It was like a good hi-start launch. The plane went up steadily and I got a mild zoom at the end.
Mike only had to pull back about 20 feet or so and said it was not hard to pull. I was pretty pleased.
Now we switched. He launched while I pulled.
Note that I have my tow hook set at a pretty agressive position so the plane tends to climb pretty steeply. You have to keep up the pressure or the plane will stall due to this hook position.
Whether my pull was not steady or he got off angle, the plane went well off track and pulled hard enough that I felt I was stalled and should not pull any harder, I just kept the pressure on. Maybe I could have pulled harder, but this was a first test so I did not want to risk breaking anything.
We did about 8 launches and everything worked well. I think I am going to like the Onewinch.
As the pilot the feel is very more like a hi-start than a winch. But you don't need as much room on the field. Also you don't have the long stretch walk and no holding the plane aginst a hi-start's pull while you get ready. So in that respect I like it better than a hi-start.
DON'T FORGET TO BRING A CORDLESS DRILL
Included is a great adapter that allows you to use a cordless drill to wind up the line at the end of the day. I forgot to bring a drill. While we had no trouble winding up the line, and the process is very easy, the attachements are provided to use a cordless drill. The drill would make the take down and wind up a piece of cake. This process was well designed and very well thought out.
First impressions are very good.