At one time or another, every R/C pilot has had to request an assistant to hold his plane while he was starting it both for safety reasons and to keep the plane from moving backward or forward during/after the starting process. Our club field, like many, has an elevated starting bench (with restraints), but still requires someone to hold the plane.
R/C Airogrip's safety restraint is an excellent flight line accessory to secure your plane, without assistance, while you start your engine. The Airopult will hold the plane from moving forward after starting and will keep it from rolling backwards as you apply your electric starter. With the plane firmly secured, you can safely move to the rear of the plane, and when the coast is clear, permit the plane to move forward under its own power. Or you can move it by holding the tail of the plane and walk it out to the runway.
It appears to me this product has undergone much research and engineering and is a top quality production.
|Manufacturer:||RC Airogrip SL|
|Price:||EUROS €130 including postage (Approx £106 UK/ $172 USA/ $165 AUS)|
My Airopult arrived in a relatively small box that measured 28.5” x 6.5” x 4” and weighed 7.78 pounds. It was very well packaged, and everything was included, with the exception of some tent stakes (the Airopult has to be secured to the ground, and concrete, asphalt, grass, or dirt may not all need the same restraining devices, so the choice is left up to the consumer). You will need at least two of whatever choice you require for your setup, and a hammer to secure the pegs. The hole for the stake is 1 cm in diameter or about ¾”. I have found the front two stakes are not necessary, but I still ‘nail’ them into the ground.
The Airopult has a ‘V’ arrangement. The tail of the airplane is placed near the vertex. Here is also where your foot (pedal) control and hold-down stake are located. By loosening the red knob, the ‘V’ angle can be opened up to the desired angle, and then the knob should be re-tightened. By raising and locking the rear hinged and padded restraints, your plane cannot move forward.
You now have to add a restraining arm and slide the forward fasteners restraints to accommodate your model’s landing gear. The restraining arm will be located BEHIND the landing gear to prevent the plane from moving backwards when you push your starter against the engine.
You have 4 extension arms (two on each side) that will permit you to secure your plane if its distance from the front of the horizontal stabilizer to the rear of the landing gear is 1.3 meters or less (about 51”). That ought to cover the vast majority of models. Each extension arm simply slides into the previous one. Most of the time only two extensions (one on each side) were needed, but the other two are there if the need arises.
The model is restrained from moving forward by the tail restrictors and cannot move rearward because the front restraining devices. To start the plane, move to the rear and (with your foot) slide the RED indicator to the right. It will show a green color. Step on the foot pedal, and immediately the rear restraining devices (which are spring-loaded) will fall forward and permit the plane forward. If the tail feathers touch the front retainers, they also will fall forward.
It's safe, simple and it works! I’ve seen many devices that hold your plane by the tail, but this is the first one I’ve seen that prevents your plane from moving forward AND backward. The website has some video that I recommend you view a couple to watch the Airopult in action.
This device also has an application for electric planes. It will secure the plane while plugging in those electrons. More than once I’ve seen a motor go from ‘dead’ to full throttle in an instant. Not saying this has happened to me, but perhaps a smaller version is needed in my workshop just in case it should. (cough cough)
One configuration did give us a minor problem with a small PT-19 electric. When the rear restraining arms would fall, they would fall on the wing, but because the arms are so well protected, no damage occurred. You will need about 15” distance between the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer and the trailing edge of the wing if you use the foot pedal release.
I played with my Airopult by trying different planes to see if I could come up with an arrangement for which they hadn't accounted. The Airopult secured all planes I tried - large and small. Then I came across a plane that has a very wide landing gear, a World Models “Sport Wings 90” by The WingsMaker. I placed the forward restraining device against the rear of the wing instead of the landing gear, and BINGO! It worked! I guess I was too lazy to spread the two arms out to secure the landing gear with the forward restraints.
For those of you who fly with nose gear, Airopult has that covered for you as well. The front retaining devices have a wire extension that can be secured behind the front landing gear strut to keep the plane from rolling backward. With a plane designed with a nose gear, the tail feathers are positioned much higher than planes with tail wheels, so the rear retaining devices are very tall, measuring a full 15” off the ground.
We tried a variety of airplanes – from a trainer to a 3D machine - and all went well. The Airopult performed as advertised and impressed everyone there! The only problem was the use of the foot pedal. For some reason, if the guys would very gently press the pedal, only one of the retraining arms would fall. When they would step normally on the pedal, both arms fell effortlessly. As they became more familiar with the unit, both restraining arms would fall and they could taxi to the runway.
Who needs a unit like this? I would say almost every modeler who is interested in safety should. And every modeler who has been sent to the Emergency Room because their ‘secured’ plane lurched forward and inflicted some prop strikes surely would. With your plane secured in the Airopult, you do not need anyone to hold you plane.
I was impressed with the instructions. They state that they should accompany the unit if the Airopult is ever sold or loaned to another individual.
My son flies large planes, and I am his pit crew when I visit him. Guess who gets the honor of holding his (150cc engine) plane while he starts and runs it up? The normal procedure is to stand in front of the horizontal stabilizer. That’s the easy part. Now try stepping OVER the fuselage so he can taxi! With the Airopult, I will get to stand to the side and watch – I like that!
Aa carrying bag would be a nice addition, but for the time being, mine is stored in the box it was shipped in and safely tucked into our club’s storage unit.
This product does work as described and if you feel the cost is too high, estimate the cost of one trip to your local ER. I am going to ‘store’ my Airopult at the flying field since common sense sometimes gets lost in the rush and bustle of the flight line. Perhaps this item would be a great addition to your club!
I can honestly say I like this product and will be using it on a regular basis!
•System works as advertised •Simple to use •Accommodates the majority of airplanes being flown •A REAL safety device •High Quality materials used •Automatic 'reset' when pedal is stepped on.
•Some of the connectors can be hard to remove because the ball link has to be pressed in so far (but that's also a good thing!) •Cost might prevent individuals from purchasing - recommend club purchase in that case.