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"We didn't all use them, but I was one who did. When I had a release failure on tow behind a Moyes' tug, I went for it and it worked flawlessly!"

Jim Zeiset
Jan, 1997 (Green Team) at the Hay Tow meet, Australia


The light weight, low cost, sure fire, place anywhere,
Tow Release for Hang Gliders and Paragliders


for chest-only or with main V-bridle

As a MAIN release, the Linknife can be place at the ARS (no, not the same arse the Oz pilots are fond of using, but at the Apex Release Site, between the bridle and towline, similar to Static Line). Also see the Linknife Operation (takes 1 minute to load).

Another MAIN release spot is at the keel, on the weaklink but not needing a rapid link because the direction of pull is mostly perpendicular to the weaklink. Run the pull string down your harness main to your shoulder. Some pilots have been tying the pull line to a whiffle ball and clipping the ball to somewhere convenient. (see below for a little more on this)

For backup, the Linknife can be used at the pilot's shoulder or at the bottom end of the main V-bridle.

A 4-strand weaklink (full strength) will set up easily at the ARS. My personal favorite for a weaklink is 130-pound test braided dacron kite string, tied with a grapevine knot (a large pilot may way to use 150# line). Starting with 18-20 inches of string, this gives me a large enough loop to work while wearing gloves. Insert the first loop through the towline, then pass the 2 end loops through the Linknife above the O-Ring as shown below. Place both loop ends in the rapid link. Don't forget to close the rapid link.

If releasing from the keel, a weaklink 1/2 the strength of the above 4-strand should be used as the tow force is spread half-and-half between keel and pilot.

An alternate PITCH LIMITER line can be attached to the glider's nose. See Opinion Page for more information on this concept.

Aerotowing release placement (illustration)
The above illustration shows several arrangements:

Keel releasing –– as a Main releaseor as a backup (see below for more on routing this)

On the chest or in front of the harness bridle –– this would be only as a backup release position when using the release at the keel. When using a V-bridle (chest to keel) do not place the main release on the chest).

At the ARS (Apex Release Site) –– (this is my personally preferred position) used with or without the nose line, this release position eliminates any potential unthreading problems. It does come with one risk, that of the 1/4" rapid link being blown back at your face, but that's not a problem if the bridle material is of sufficient strength to prevent bungee action.

Here are a couple of other options for keel releasing:

1 – route the pull string along the harness shoulder lines to either your chest or directly to your hand.

2 – route the pull string through the downtube. A friend just did this on his glider, custom making a couple of rollers at the top and bottom of the tube so there is no binding. He terminated the end at the base tube with a loop of plastic tube so he could hold it easily.

One thought might be to run the string inside a plastic tube. This will likely cause more drag on the string and make it harder to pull. so if tubing is to be used, keep the total length and bends short as possible.

IMPORTANT: make sure the direction of pull is perpendicular to the weaklink so you don't cut the bridle material and that it doesn't hang up anywhere.

Linknife Tow Release photo



Linknife — $20 each + shipping.
Club/dealer discounts available.

Bridles (aero or static), include Linknife,
rapid links and setup instructions

Convenient Ordering:

Note: Using PayPal is very simple. You do NOT need to be a member of PayPal to make a purchase. You may use a credit card like any other system. If your order is to be shipped outside the US or prefer to pay by check, please contact me.

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US orders (1-9) @ $20.00 each + $1.50 shipping.

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Quantity orders (10+) @ $15.00 each + $5.00 shipping per lot of 10.
Use PayPal's "Send Money" option or drop me a note and we'll work it out.
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US orders (1-9) @ $20.00 each + $7.00 shipping.

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Other orders – please write with your specifics for quantity
and shipping method. Use PayPal's "Send Money" feature for
the total amount. (Recently sent 10 to Turkey.)

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BRIDLES – Static Line Towing and Aerotowing
All bridles are made from red 900-pound heat set and stretched braided dacron with woven and hand-sewn loops in the ends. Measurements are what I've found to work; if you have a different need, gimme a call.

Static Line Tow Bridle - aka: 2:1 Hewett Center of Mass Bridle

For foot launch towing with a static or payout winch. Kit contents include:
(A) Main line is 22' loop-to-loop.
(B) Waist line is 3' which allows tying an overhand loop knot to keep the shackle, self-locking carabiner or whatever you choose, from sliding side-to-side.
(C) Keel line is a 6' length of plain bridle material without finished ends, for you to tie however works best for your glider.
(D) Four (4) 1/4" rapid links
(E) Linknife Release with extra O-ring.

COST: $70.00 + $5.00 mailing to US addresses.

Kit does not include the static tow waist bridle release mechanism (such as sailboat shackle) or release pull string as there are too many optional ways of setting this up. Custom bridles are available; please call or write with your specifications.

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Aerotow Bridle - 1:1 V-line

For aerotowing via foot or dolly launch. Kit contents include:
(A) Main V-line is about 8' loop-to-loop.
(B) Chest bridle is 3' long and attaches to one end loop of the main bridle with a larkshead knot or, if the release is placed at the keel, a secondary/backup release can be placed here.
(C) Keel line is a 6' length of plain bridle material without finished ends, for you to tie however works best for your glider.
(D) Two (2) 1/4" rapid links for at the bridle apex and attaching the main bridle at the keel,
(E) Two (2) 1/8" rapid links for attaching the chest bridle to the harness shoulder loops
(F) Linknife Release with extra O-ring.

COST: $55.00 + $5.00 mailing to US addresses.

Kit does not include the release pull string as there are too many optional ways of setting this up. Custom bridles are available; please call or write and let's see what can be done.

Use PayPal's "Send Money" option for easiest payment.

or send check to:
Peter Birren
1657 W Farwell Ave, #3C
Chicago IL 60626
P: 773-654-3950
E: Email

DISCLAIMER: As with all aviation endeavors, your choice and use of equipment is totally up to you. It is assumed you are an experienced HG or PG tow pilot who is intimately familiar with the style of towing you will be doing. As such, YOU ASSUME ALL RISK AND LIABILITY in the use of the Linknife, as well as all other parts, functions and personnel involved in the towing and flight operations. If you do not have experience in towing, please contact an instructor for expert training. Trying to learn on your own can, and probably will, result in your injury and even death. Many pilots have paid the ultimate price so we may now tow as safely as never before possible. Please learn from their lessons.

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Page last update: June 14, 2017
This entire site and the Linknife™ Towing Release © 2000-2008 Birren Design Company