Winch Launching

At Camphill airfield, gliders are launched to a variety of heights, using high powered winches. These winches are mobile and are generally located on any flying day at the upwind end of the airfield, to provide glider pilots with a safe launch to the maximum height possible on the day.


If the west wind is strong enough to sustain a glider whilst soaring along the line of the ridge, launching will take place from the east side of the airfield, with the winch launch vehicles located near the windsock. Gliders will be launched to a height of around 300ft – 800ft above the airfield, joining the ridge at this point.

On occasions, perhaps 2 or 3 per day, simulated launch failure exercises will be flown to test or train pilots. Here gliders will join the ridge at any height, before attempting to contact ridge lift and start climbing away.


It is clear therefore that any HG or PG flying along the west side of the airfield when glider launches are taking place, could be placing themselves in danger of meeting a glider flying at 90° to the ridge, at speed, from either a launch or a launch failure (real or simulated).