I have been building winches for almost 20 years now. I build my own F3J winches but I specialize in club or thermal duration winches. I build a club winch based on the best Ford long shaft motor you can buy. It is made in the USA and is much better than the China knock offs you buy for $80. This is a standard club replacement winch or a very good winch for an individual to own to launch any plane from two meter balsa wood planes to the modern 4 meter composite planes.
My second winch I sell is based on the 4.4 horse power Ramsey motor. The winch is slightly more powerful than the Ford motor and is very smooth. It gives just a little more zoom or ping at the top of your launch. This motor is the perfect winch motor for our hobby.
NOTE 1: The Ramsey motor will not retrofit on a Ford long shaft winch. The mounting holes are completely different.
NOTE 2: If you are not familiar with winch launching you must get help while learning. You can easily break your wings while launching if you do not have experience.
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If you have ever burned your fingers while retrieving your winch line with the old fashioned style retrievers you know the dangers of using your hand to "catch" that moving retriever string. The hands free retriever will "catch" the string and wind it on the reel with you never touching the retriever or the string. Just push a hand switch or step on a foot switch and the hands free retriever does all the work for you. Let go of the switch when your parachute or strap is about 20 feet out and you have retrieved the winch line. Push another button and the retriever resets itself down to the launch position ready for the next flyer to launch.
I sell two styles of retrievers. 1) The competition retriever. I use a powerful Ramsey motor to give the quickest and most powerful retrieves. Use this in major contests or if you fly in side wind or down wind conditions frequently. 2) The club model. I use a direct drive electric bicycle motor on this model which gives plenty of power at a slightly slower speed. It is much lighter for those who need to carry it out to the launching area.