For decades, hang-glider and paraglider pilots have used two types of winches : payout winch (with a moving car) or stationary winch (usually on a trailer).
For both, in addition to the pilot, at least one extra person is needed: the winchman. It is also better to have an "assistant". For the stationary winch, the assistant stands next to the pilot to make up for a bad visibility from the winchman. For the payout winch, the assistant avoids the additional driving task to the winchman. To do without the assistant is possible but can be more challenging...
In any case, this necessary logistics limits the pilot's autonomy and makes the winch practice less appealing.
During all those years when we were in charge of a paragliding school on flatlands, using several stationary winches, we used to dream of remote-controlled self towing that would change our way of flying off and make people discover the free flight.
In order not to reinvent the wheel, we looked for firms that might have built such a device! Of course a lot of people had had the idea but only very few enthusiasts had embarked on the adventure, very often with limited means and only for their own use.
The only remote-controlled winch ever commercialised in 2007 (a Danish winch) had little power and autonomy (with an electric battery-operated engine). Tandem flight was not possible with, neither flying all day long. It did not really match our needs. From 2012 up to now, their website has shown that they were investigating new possibilities.
We met a paraglider pilot from Brittany (France) rather well advanced in his research for a more powerful remote-controlled winch. He had created a machine on a trailer somewhat similar to our vision even though it lacked a lot of the necessary elements for a professional and safe use. There remained much work and the choice of an electric engine operating with a generator did not make things easier. Friendly exchanges and even some test flights took place.
Another young french company had a go at it; they had heard of our involvement in remote-controlled winch concept and they approached us to help them in the creating of a remote-controlled petrol engine winch of reduced size.
So we successively presented those two unfinished projects mainly to professionals in 2011 and 2012, at the Icare Cup, in order to draw their attention to the concept.
The young company finally threw in the sponge facing many difficulties...
At the same period, the other machine from Brittany was still on its developing stage and its designer was more devoted to the conception of a payout winch...
We were rather embarrassed for after several years of support, exchanges, promotion and even testing, it had not resulted in an operative winch, neither any reusable technical element!
Anyway, we pay a great tribute to those who believed in the idea and who started acting. They enabled us to measure the difficulties that we knew would be great.
Aviawinch was born out of necessity. We had no choice but to create the winch of our personal and professional dreams.
To perfect our plans and ensure the making of prototypes, we then joined contractors who were very keen on industrial designing and engineering conception, developers and other talented people (see page "Team"). So the conception and realization started with the goal of fulfilling all our precise specifications necessary to an efficient and safe use in all the situations of flight: single, tandem and teaching.
After thousands of workhours and the registering of two patents, our goal is finally in sight!
There are not so many things to finalize: rationalize and seal off a few systems, pass (and above all pay) the EC norms of electromagnetic compatibility, improve its outward look and test and test again...
So it is with pleasure that we disclose to you the complete concept of Aviawinch.
From now on we need you: tell us if you, too, would like to fly off so freely!
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You might not be the happy owner of one but you could use it in a club and even later buy one with a few friends.
The more numerous you will be to show your interest, the more you will help us finance and launch our production. Thanks in advance!
If you have the goal of using the Aviawinch (club, school, tandem flight centre, paraglider manufacturer, enthusiast...) that could constitute an intention of buying, we invite you to register by clicking below. It does not commit you at all but it will be useful to convince our financial partners.
Those who have registered and then will be the first ones to confirm their former intention will enjoy certain advantages (effective opening of pre-orders according to the interest displayed and the number of purchasing intentions received)
Enjoy your discovery of a new era of towing and happy flights to you all!