Go Back  RCU Forums > RC Airplanes > Questions and Answers
Reload this Page >

Towing a flag/banner

Notices
Questions and Answers If you have general RC questions or answers discuss it here.

Towing a flag/banner

Old 08-21-2008, 09:05 PM
  #1  
xlr82v2
Thread Starter
My Feedback: (1)
 
xlr82v2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ellis Grove, IL
Posts: 377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default Towing a flag/banner

Hey all,

Just wondering if anyone knows how to properly rig up a US flag to be towed behind an RC airplane...

My club is putting on an RC airshow the first weekend in September, and I'd like to tow a 2 1/2'x4' american flag behind my UltraStik 60 for the opening ceremony/national anthem.

I know I need to use an arrowshaft/dowel or similar for the back of the flag, with a weight on the "bottom" end so that it will fly upright, and not twist around. But, how much weight is needed?

Also, how do you rig the towline? Should it go to the top of the "spine" of the flag and to the bottom, or some point "above" the bottom of the spine?

Thanks for any and all help you can give... and pics of your setups would be greatly appreciated from anyone who has done this before!!

Thanks again!
Old 08-22-2008, 11:34 AM
  #2  
jjhayes
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Newark, OH
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

Check the archives for Model Aviation and Model Airplane News one of them did an article about constructing and towing banners a few years ago. I remember reading and saving the article for future use so if I have time over the weekend I will look thru my old magazines.

JJ
Old 08-22-2008, 08:59 PM
  #3  
BOB MOORE
Senior Member
 
BOB MOORE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Nederland, TX
Posts: 274
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

I have been towing banners and such since the 60s. I always use a fishing swivel on the tow line to keep the banner from twising up/\. I also use a Dowel in the leading edge of the banner with some lead on bottom . The amount of weight you will have to try> I do not use a dowel in trailing edge, just leave it flap in wind. I have found out for me to attach the tow line to the bottom of the fusalage below rudder. If it is a taildragger I hook the line to tail wheel bracket. My first banner tow plane was a Mighty Mambo with an Veco ..49 The last tow plane I had was a Sig Kadet with an OS .40
Old 08-23-2008, 06:19 AM
  #4  
MinnFlyer
Senior Member
My Feedback: (4)
 
MinnFlyer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Willmar, MN
Posts: 28,519
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 5 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

Make sure to attach the tow line in a "V" from the top to bottom of the shaft. It's also a good idea to attach the tow line to the "V" closer to the top than to the bottom to have gravity help keep it upright
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	By76508.jpg
Views:	64
Size:	56.9 KB
ID:	1017252  
Old 08-25-2008, 04:21 PM
  #5  
xlr82v2
Thread Starter
My Feedback: (1)
 
xlr82v2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ellis Grove, IL
Posts: 377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

Thanks for the help guys!

I'm going to try to get the flag rigged up here in the next day or 2 and test flown by the end of this week.

Again, Thanks!
Old 08-25-2008, 04:37 PM
  #6  
xlr82v2
Thread Starter
My Feedback: (1)
 
xlr82v2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ellis Grove, IL
Posts: 377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

Thanks for all of the help guys!!

I sure do appreciate it, and I think the spectators will to.

If anyone is around Chester, Illinois on September 6 and 7, be sure to stop by the Breezy Hill RC Flyers field on the West side of town... we're putting on an airshow/RC fly-in for the Chester Popeye Picnic. Anyone who is an AMA member is welcome to fly... and we're also going to have a couple of trainers on buddy boxes ready to fly for anyone who is interested to get some stick time on to help get people interested in flying RC. Should be a good time.
Old 08-25-2008, 05:47 PM
  #7  
littlebearcub
My Feedback: (4)
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: , OR
Posts: 18
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

This is awesome. I plan to do this with my 1/5 scale cub when I finish it. Will be a real croud pleaser.
Old 08-29-2008, 03:14 PM
  #8  
xlr82v2
Thread Starter
My Feedback: (1)
 
xlr82v2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ellis Grove, IL
Posts: 377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

Hey guys,

Just wanted to follow up on my help request...

I installed a tow release hook through the landing gear mounting block/landing gear (just forward of CG) on my UltraStik 60 and set it up with a micro servo so that I can release whatever I'm towing with a flip of a switch. Works great!

I set up my 2 1/2' x 4' flag with a 1/2" dowel for a spine, and used a 9/16 nut epoxied to the bottom end of the dowel for a weight. I set up my bridle so that the tow ring is about 40/60 off center, with the ring toward the top. I used a 24' towline with 3 #64 wing rubber bands for a shock absorber.

Well, yesterday evening was the moment of truth... Flight Test.

We laid out the towline to the left of the airplane on the runway, and my buddy Steve held the flag for launch. Remember, this is a US flag, so it CANNOT touch the ground... it has to be held. I taxied out onto the runway where we had laid the end of the towline, got on my belly and hooked it up to the towhook, ran up the engine, and asked Steve if he was ready. He said he was as we both ensured that there was nothing for the towline to get snagged on, and we both gave the thumbs up. I dropped the flaperons on the US60, and set full throttle. The takeoff roll was about 6-8 feet, and it was airborne and climbing at about a 60 degree angle. As the towline followed the airplane, it eventually played out and snatched the flag from Steve's hands, and it was flying! It initially was flying horizontal, but as the weight took over, it was soon flying vertical. The whole setup works wonderfully! The airplane is very controllable (especially after you raise the flaperons... the first flight I forgot to raise them after takeoff in all the excitement, which made it a little "interesting") while towing the flag, although you can definitely tell that there's some drag back there!!

We did 3 flights with it, just to practice picking up the flag on takeoff, and catching it after release, and each and every one went smoothly... never even had to think about cutting the flag loose to save the airplane, for any reason. The releaseable towhook works great... I used a Hitec HS81 servo with a piece of #4 steel rod (a leftover smooth end of a 4-40 threaded rod) through a 7/16 dowel rod that I drilled lengthwise for the steel rod. I made a wedge shaped cut in the dowel with the band saw to make a "clevis", and the steel rod is the pin. Flip a switch, the "pin" retracts up into the top of the dowel, and whatever you're towing is released. Pretty foolproof, works great, lasts a long time!


I'll try to get some photos of the flag in flight next week as well as some photos of the release mechanism, since we all know a picture is worth a thousand words.

So, just wanted to give you guys who helped me out a big THANKS!!
Old 08-29-2008, 03:27 PM
  #9  
SlabBro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: havana, IL
Posts: 273
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

I've been watning to do a flag setup also for the operning of the little league season. My son flies and it was his idea but i've never really known what would be intailed in that kind of setup. I would really like to see the pic of the release also. Props to you for 3 good flights
Old 08-29-2008, 03:53 PM
  #10  
BarracudaHockey
My Feedback: (11)
 
BarracudaHockey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 24,329
Received 67 Likes on 56 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

Here's how my buddy does it
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Vt57733.jpg
Views:	147
Size:	79.1 KB
ID:	1021727  
Old 08-29-2008, 05:04 PM
  #11  
xlr82v2
Thread Starter
My Feedback: (1)
 
xlr82v2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ellis Grove, IL
Posts: 377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

Hey, that's pretty wild!! Never seen a heli towing a banner/flag before!!

Here's some pics of my towhook... hopefully they're pretty self-explanatory. One thing though that may not be... if you build one like this, be sure that you drill the hole in your dowel slightly off-center, and then cut the notch to make the "clevis" so that the hole is toward the aft side... ie. you want the "meat" of the dowel toward the leading edge, and the pin at the aft.
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Qo41447.jpg
Views:	39
Size:	67.2 KB
ID:	1021757   Click image for larger version

Name:	Hc92386.jpg
Views:	34
Size:	76.4 KB
ID:	1021758   Click image for larger version

Name:	Yd83282.jpg
Views:	34
Size:	62.8 KB
ID:	1021759   Click image for larger version

Name:	Qj20942.jpg
Views:	34
Size:	89.2 KB
ID:	1021760   Click image for larger version

Name:	Uf50103.jpg
Views:	41
Size:	84.3 KB
ID:	1021761  
Old 08-31-2008, 11:00 PM
  #12  
Tommygun
Senior Member
My Feedback: (2)
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Burlington, NJ
Posts: 1,338
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

Wow, that is really cool, thank you for posting the thread. Have you towed anything else besides a flag? I'd be afraid with my luck a crash or some other screw up might cause it to inadvertantly touch the ground.
Old 09-01-2008, 01:41 AM
  #13  
xlr82v2
Thread Starter
My Feedback: (1)
 
xlr82v2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ellis Grove, IL
Posts: 377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

I've towed a soda can on a 60' length of 10# fishing line. That looks kind of wierd, an aluminum can chasing the airplane, with no visible tether.

Today we did some more practicing with the flag, doing launches and recoveries (cutting loose and catching the flag) and we had the towline snag twice on the tailwheel and get hung up... had to land with the flag still in tow. Fortunately, it was rather uneventful... but the pucker factor was high the first time it happened.

We ended up taking off the tailwheel, and reduced the chance of getting the towline snagged on release by probably 99.8%. The ground handling isn't quite as good though
Old 09-01-2008, 09:51 AM
  #14  
Tommygun
Senior Member
My Feedback: (2)
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Burlington, NJ
Posts: 1,338
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

How do you keep the flag from touching in that case, was somebody able to run fast enough to catch it?
Old 09-02-2008, 07:35 AM
  #15  
MinnFlyer
Senior Member
My Feedback: (4)
 
MinnFlyer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Willmar, MN
Posts: 28,519
Likes: 0
Received 5 Likes on 5 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

xlr82v2, how about some pics?
Old 09-02-2008, 05:34 PM
  #16  
xlr82v2
Thread Starter
My Feedback: (1)
 
xlr82v2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ellis Grove, IL
Posts: 377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

Unfortunately, the flag did touch the ground during landing for safety reasons, although the recovery team was right there and had it back up off of the ground ASAP. By removing the tailwheel, I believe that we've reduced the probability of the towline snagging after release by 99.9%... It would nearly be a miracle if it were to snag on the tailwheel bracket now... the only way it could snag would be for the #1/0 brass fishing swivel to catch the tailwheel axle in one of the eyes. And then, even if it did, it would only take a little shake of the tail to shake it off and let it fall free. I think I might have a better chance of winning Powerball than that happening...

I'm sure hoping to get some pics this coming Saturday and Sunday when we have the airshow. I won't be able to go out to the flying field until then...

I definitely should have some pics, and hopefully will get some video to post as well... cross your fingers!
Old 09-02-2008, 06:07 PM
  #17  
kid chuckles
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: cando, MO
Posts: 926
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

Well is guess if your flag did hit the ground, after the flight you could have a flag burning ceremony also. That might be cool also if need arises. I doubt alot of youngsters know flag etiquite and this could be eye opening for them. Good luck and let's see some video or at least pics.
Old 09-03-2008, 08:04 AM
  #18  
xlr82v2
Thread Starter
My Feedback: (1)
 
xlr82v2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ellis Grove, IL
Posts: 377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner


ORIGINAL: kid chuckles

Well is guess if your flag did hit the ground, after the flight you could have a flag burning ceremony also. That might be cool also if need arises. I doubt alot of youngsters know flag etiquite and this could be eye opening for them. Good luck and let's see some video or at least pics.
Why would we want to do that?

There is nothing in the flag code that says it should be burned if it ever touches the ground. It would be nice however, if they would teach the flag code in school like they used to... there's a lot of disrespectful uses of the flag going on these days that everyone thinks is OK, a lot of misinformation out there.

http://ushistory.org/flag/#q01
Old 10-23-2008, 05:27 AM
  #19  
xlr82v2
Thread Starter
My Feedback: (1)
 
xlr82v2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ellis Grove, IL
Posts: 377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

Finally, I got some good pics of the flag being towed!! Sorry, no video yet. I know there is some out there though...

I think it looks pretty good... Old Glory Flying High!!
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Pm34725.jpg
Views:	41
Size:	12.4 KB
ID:	1057279   Click image for larger version

Name:	Mh20997.jpg
Views:	56
Size:	10.1 KB
ID:	1057280  
Old 08-13-2009, 02:35 PM
  #20  
gunneredwards
Senior Member
My Feedback: (4)
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 291
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

how do you rig the flag? would a simple Y harness work or do you need to have the apex off center to keep it stable? I assume the length of the tow line is to keep the flag out of the prop wash, any idea how short it could be?
dan
Old 08-14-2009, 08:02 AM
  #21  
xlr82v2
Thread Starter
My Feedback: (1)
 
xlr82v2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ellis Grove, IL
Posts: 377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

Gunner,

I rigged the flag with a "Y" setup, in an approximate 60/40 setup. On the bottom of the flag "spine" I put a weight to keep it upright. You might be able to use a 50/50 Y to tow your banner, it would just require a heavier weight I would imagine... I've never tried a 50/50 setup.

I chose the length of the towline so that I could get the airplane off the ground and "snatch" the flag out of my helper's hands and avoid dragging the flag on the ground. If you are towing a US Flag, DO NOT LET IT TOUCH THE GROUND IF YOU CAN AVOID IT, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE DOING A PUBLIC DISPLAY. It's very bad ettiquette, and I can't stress that enough. The veterans in the crowd will let you know about it. If you're just towing a banner, it doesn't matter. IIRC, my towline is 30' long, which allows me to get the airplane off the ground and in a 45 degree climb before the line plays out, and then the flag is just snatched out of the helper's hands, and doesn't touch the ground. With my airplane, that works up to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit with no winds... if the temps are much over 90, I just dont' have the performance to get the flag up without it touching. Headwind helps tremendously.

The long towline also lets the flag be the center of focus, and not so much the airplane. We do our flag tow at our annual airshow while the National Anthem is playing, to start off the show.

Also, if you're towing a US Flag, be sure to have someone available to catch it...
Old 08-14-2009, 09:07 AM
  #22  
Sandmann_AU
Senior Member
 
Sandmann_AU's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: BrisbaneQLD, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 648
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner


ORIGINAL: xlr82v2
this is a US flag, so it CANNOT touch the ground...
Huh? Why not? Can the flags of other countries touch the ground? What happens if it does - do you sterilise it, or get a politician to bless it and say three hail marys over it or something? What happens if your plane's painted in US flag colours, do you have to catch it instead of landing it? What if you're wearing a t-shirt with a flag on it and you're at the beach - do you have to hang it from a tree before you can lie on the sand?

There's some really weird customs floating around the world... no offence intended, just seems odd to me.

Old 08-14-2009, 10:16 AM
  #23  
xlr82v2
Thread Starter
My Feedback: (1)
 
xlr82v2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Ellis Grove, IL
Posts: 377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Towing a flag/banner

The flag of the Unites States of America represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing, therefore there are rules and regulations governing how it is displayed.

It is shameful that these are no longer taught in school... there is a LOT of disrespectful use and display of our flag these days.

http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/faq.htm

http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagcode.htm

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.