Pedal Operated Bungee Launch System/Ramp for FPV/Gliders/Light EDF Models



HobbyKing released a launcher for $23 which is nice and cheap.


Its a bit small for something like a Skywalker X8 but I recon if you buy two and make a big one, one can launch a Skywalker X8.


You can see it here



Views: 5710

Comment by Trung Nguyen on July 23, 2013 at 7:29am

I wonder if someone has integrated servo actuation on a similar launcher for a fully automated launch sequence.  Obviously, stepping on a pedal is pretty simple, but it's just so un-robotic.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on July 23, 2013 at 8:09am

Yes well worth carrying a battery out and having a receiver on board Trung.

Comment by Stone1295 on July 23, 2013 at 8:15am

Thanks for posting this up.  I have been looking at catapult launchers lately and this one is new to me.


The one I'm probably going to buy is this one:


It says it can handle planes up to 5lbs.



Comment by Dwgsparky on July 23, 2013 at 11:16am

While as an automation engineer I love the thought of a fully automatic launch sequence PLEASE do not do this.

It is probably one of the most dangerous ideas you will see on the forum. !!

We make catapults for sale and our normal catapult has approx 30pounds of static tension at launch, it usually has a 2-5 pound aircraft on it and at the top of the ramp its doing 20-25mph. you will be badly injured it the aircraft or the catapult hits you.

The final release /no release decision must come from a human, not a program.

Just to clarify these are Bungee launchers not catapults. Both can be dangerous.


Comment by Gary Mortimer on July 23, 2013 at 11:42am

The best automated launch system on the horizon is this one

Tad Mc Geer will be talking about it at sUSB Expo at the end of the week in SFC. Chris A will also be speaking.

The best recovery system out there is the Scan Eagle skyhook.

I find a small ridge or hill assists in launching wings, along with a light wing loading...

Comment by Trung Nguyen on July 23, 2013 at 1:08pm


I don't think an automated launch assist system needs to be considered inherently more dangerous than hand launching a pusher prop wing, for example.  Like everything else, the hardware and software would need to be properly designed/operated, and safety features added where needed.  Arduplane itself is, of course, a controller capable of fully autonomous control of aircraft and vehicles traveling much faster than 20-25mph.  It is constantly making decisions without user input.  There is risk throughout the process of power up, launch, flight, and landing - all of which needs to be considered and minimized.  I would even argue that a properly designed, remotely operated bungee launch system could enhance safety over launching planes from close proximity - hand or bungee.


Cool vid, but that launcher is on the other extreme of automated complexity.  Is it necessary?  The aircraft can take off vertically.  It seems like you just need something to point it up.  Is there perhaps a requirement to eventually stage and stow the aircraft with zero human presence?

Sorry to the OP for going so far OT.

Comment by Dwgsparky on July 23, 2013 at 1:57pm

Hi Trung

interesting comments.

I have always been a believer in either bungee or catapult launch for safety and a positive launch. I totally agree that anything is better than a hand launch and like others I have the scars to prove it. My system has a foot operated or pull cord release, both work very well and safely.

The problem with automating this process is that the human aspect gets in the way. a kiddie suddenly runs in front of the launch area, you spot that the aircraft is not in the bungee, someone lands in your path etc. thats when someone gets badly hurt or killed. with an automated system you have to do an action to STOP the launch, with a manual system you do nothing. that is a huge difference in terms of safety engineering. 

The APM is great, BUT it is not and never will be a failsafe device. eventually a failure will occur and the system will launch at the wrong time. Bungees are more dangerous to the aircraft and people because they cannot be stopped and they cover a large area, some are 50-60 metres long . the aircraft can be dragged at low level for the entire distance for example if a motor or battery failed.

A catapult is a short range device that can be used with less danger but they can still kill. I designed my catapult to be as safe as possible with security pins etc but I still will never pass in front of it when its loaded. just the same as I will never point a gun at anyone..check these videos! 

Comment by Christiaan van Vollenstee on July 23, 2013 at 11:36pm

We are building one, and we have found to work the best is using skateboard truncts and wheels and bearings running inside a aluminium housing, as for the servo Idea I think you would have to use one hell of a strong servo, I won't go there personally because its just excess stuff to cary and setup and yes there is the human factor. 

Comment by Jack Crossfire on July 24, 2013 at 5:06pm

But it's not going to sell unless it's 3D printed.  Laser cutting is too 2009.

Comment by Eduardo Núñez on November 6, 2013 at 2:31am

Could you tell me ext. and int. frame tubes diameters?


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