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Thread: Can a 105 hp tow gliders

  1. #1

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    Can a 105 hp tow gliders

    I did a search but could not find the answer. If a 105hp PA18 cannot or should now tow, what is minimum HP? 500 ASL

  2. #2

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    I've seen 65HP J3s tow gliders. Not very well, and a light glider, but they can tow. A PA-18-105 Special should do OK as long as it is sea level and with modest weight gliders, perhaps nothing more than a 2-22 or K7. Just remember that climb rate is a function of excess horsepower, so your climb won't be great. With something like a 1-26, or K-6 it will do fine. With gliders that weigh over 1000 lbs, not so much.
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    Penguin's Avatar
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    What are you towing?

    The quick answer is 150hp will work pretty well for the clean and light gliders, and even the training gliders most of the time. Several 150's - 160's towing at sea level. A single place glass glider will be happy behind a 150, but not so much a 2-33 or 2 pax Blanik on a really warm day. It'll do it for sure, but the margin is thin. For a data point, I'm towing here in CO with a Jensen STC'd 180hp PA-18, but that's a different beast. 9k+ DA most of the year (field is at 7k) and even on the cold days performance is meek. Where are you? Are summers warm? What is typical DA? Is there steady wind? With a heavy 2-33 behind you, 5 knots of wind on the nose makes a HUGE difference. Towing off grass or pavement? If grass, is it cut regularly? Towing year round (ie: cold winters, hot summers)?

    Keep an eye on engine cooling. Long durations at high AOA, full power and slow speeds can be damaging. Also think about reinforcing the tail brace if you are going to tow regularly. Dodge sells a nice little kit.
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    I towed for many years with a PA-18A-150 with a 150 engine. We had a club that had 2-33s, an Lark IS28B2, lots of glass gliders. The Super Cub worked well for all of them. Our stanby tow plane was a PA-22/20 with a 150 HP engine. It worked fine as long as the temperatures were below about 80 degrees. Ground run was longer than the Cub, but climb was about the same once in the air. For the light weight gliders, keeping the speed slow enough was the biggest issue with the Pacer, as best climb is closer to 80 and 1-26s like to tow closer to 60.

  5. #5

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    [QUOTE=Penguin;777030]What are you towing?

    The quick answer is 150hp will work pretty well for the clean and light gliders, and even the training gliders most of the time. Several 150's - 160's towing at sea level. A single place glass glider will be happy behind a 150, but not so much a 2-33 or 2 pax Blanik on a really warm day. It'll do it for sure, but the margin is thin. For a data point, I'm towing here in CO with a Jensen STC'd 180hp PA-18, but that's a different beast. 9k+ DA most of the year (field is at 7k) and even on the cold days performance is meek. Where are you? Are summers warm? What is typical DA? Is there steady wind? With a heavy 2-33 behind you, 5 knots of wind on the nose makes a HUGE difference. Towing off grass or pavement? If grass, is it cut regularly? Towing year round (ie: cold winters, hot summers)?

    Keep an eye on engine cooling. Long durations at high AOA, full power and slow speeds can be damaging. Also think about reinforcing the tail brace if you are going to tow regularly. Dodge sells a nice little kit.[/QUOTE

    great questions.....Summertime density altitude is usually about 1500 feet deep Southeast. Wind usually 5 knots or more...Grass and it usually cut and fairly smooth. About 3000 feet. Hoping to tow trainer such as 2 seat Blanik

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    Vagante, once upon a time in a land far ago and long, long away, I towed a BUNCH in a 105 Special, with a combination propeller, at ~500 MSL. In fact the very one that was posted on the ads on supercub.org.this spring. I got more time than deserved, especially in the hot summer. Mostly SGS-2-22 and 1-26, so pretty light. Probably a good thing it didn't have a CHT.... My fairly light old L-21B towed a bunch with a 135, at ~500 MSL, but eventually replaced with a 150 HP in the era called "BC": Before cubscout. Real world, a 150 is about the minimum that really works day-in-day-out. If Density Altitude of 4000' or more, think 180 'cub, Scout, Pawnee. Just my experience. I was struggling today with a 200hp Husky at ~8500 Density Altitude, with a Grob G-103, moderately heavy glider.

    Thanks. cubscout
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  7. #7

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    I think the issue here is, yes you can tow with a 105 special with the O235. Can it be done efficiently? Not really! A 150 SuperCub from close to sea level can do about 6 rows an hour to 2000’ ago. A 180 SuperCub or 180 Pawnee can get you maybe another tow an hour. A235 or 250 Pawnee should get you about 9 rows an hour if the tow pilot works it. HP gets you climb rate. Even with the 150 SuperCub, to work the airplane you need to thermal on tow, and most students can’t handle that very well, kind of like cracking the whip!

    If you have a 105 Special and want to do the occasional tow, sure it will work. For a club or commercial operation where you likely want to do between 20 and 40 rows a day, the 105 Special is not the airplane to do it unless you put an O320 or O360 in it.


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  8. #8
    Altmuehltaler's Avatar
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    Hmmmm... Once upon a time my father in law used to tow Nimbus II full of water with a PA-18-95. He is no bold pilot. Always concerned about flight safety (he used to be a flight accident investigator). So it is possible to tow with a low powered Super Cub. Although not super comfortable and for sure not every day.
    I guess the most common tug in Europe is the DR400/180R (180hp), PA-18-150 or Husky (mostly 180hp) is number two. All are considered to be good tugs and you find them everywhere from the sea side to mountains. Higher powered tugs are not very common although most gliders here are modern composite designs.
    A PA-18-105 should be good for occasional tows, for frequent towing the mentioned 150/180hp birds are good. If you want to maximize tows/h you need more hp. Maybe a Wilga?

  9. #9
    MN_flyer1's Avatar
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    A climb prop and oil cooler likely would help a lot. My father had a 105 Special (no electric, and flaps) for spraying use. It would haul more than a 135hp cub.

  10. #10
    TulBiplane's Avatar
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    I towed, using a J-3 with an O-235. Field elevation was 750 MSL. I was 20 years old and weighed a lot less than I do now. We never towed a 2 place glider with it, but did an adequate job on single place gliders. Oil temp was always a concern.

    As Dgapilot pointed out. A commercial operation is going to require faster climbs.

  11. #11
    scubber's Avatar
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    2 owners before us, PA-18 (C-90) towed single place gliders out of Batavia, Ny (GVO). in the mid 60's. Elevation is a little over 900'. The Sensenich metal prop was supposedly re-pitched to climb spec and stamped accordingly. In latter years (prop incident) learned that prop wasn't as marked. We were teenagers, so don't remember static, but it would really turn up. Tail would come right up. I do remember that at 70 mph on climb out it would redlline and had to pull it pull it back. Cruise was 82 mph at 2,350 (less in high temps).

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    WhiskeyMike's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by TulBiplane View Post
    I towed, using a J-3 with an O-235. Field elevation was 750 MSL. I was 20 years old and weighed a lot less than I do now. We never towed a 2 place glider with it, but did an adequate job on single place gliders. Oil temp was always a concern.

    As Dgapilot pointed out. A commercial operation is going to require faster climbs.
    I towed a 2 seat tub of a Schweitzer with a 108HP J-3. That J-3 was light and flew well. It also had the big PA-18 tail, which made it beautiful to fly. We could depart off the grass at Plum Island Mass. 2B2. Sometimes the glider pilot would complain that I climbed too slow.

  13. #13
    WhiskeyMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TulBiplane View Post
    I towed, using a J-3 with an O-235. Field elevation was 750 MSL. I was 20 years old and weighed a lot less than I do now. We never towed a 2 place glider with it, but did an adequate job on single place gliders. Oil temp was always a concern.

    As Dgapilot pointed out. A commercial operation is going to require faster climbs.
    I towed a 2 seat tub of a Schweitzer with a 108HP J-3. That J-3 was light and flew well. It also had the big PA-18 tail, which made it beautiful to fly. We could depart off the grass at Plum Island Mass. 2B2. Sometimes the glider pilot would complain that I climbed too slow. I was young and weighed about 148 at the time.

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