Towing a dead plane in the air?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Dav8or, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    We've all seen glider ops and we all know that in WWII there were towed gliders that held a whole platoon of soldiers with their gear. This got me to thinking, has anybody ever towed a broken down powered plane to a place to be repaired? For discussion, say a Piper Warrior with a rod sticking out of the block on a road, being towed by another plane of a larger size to a suitable repair station?
     
  2. bqmassey

    bqmassey Line Up and Wait

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  3. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Never say never, but I surely have not heard of that being done.
     
  4. JHW

    JHW En-Route

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    for starters, where would you attach the cable ?
     
  5. Tim

    Tim Line Up and Wait

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    A 206 got towed off a beach in Mexico back in the 80's
     
  6. N801BH

    N801BH Touchdown! Greaser! Gone West

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    Well, seeing how it has a rod sticking out the side of the crankcase. I would say wrapping the tow line around the prop /crankshaft would work.. It is not like you are trying to not do further damage to the engine..:no:

    Personally, I bet it would work but both pilots will be instant test pilots.. It would make a great youtube video too...:rolleyes:
     
  7. flyingmoose

    flyingmoose Pattern Altitude

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    Heck go for it and see if it works.
     
  8. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    That would make one great video.
     
  9. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Never heard of towing a plane but a helicopter???:D
     

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  10. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Of course they've towed "dead" planes as well.
     

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  11. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Well if it's anything at all like we towed broken down cars in the sticks, you'd wrap a tow strap around the prop and attach that to chain connected to the towing plane's tie down hook.

    I can't image what could possibly go wrong.
     
  12. flyingmoose

    flyingmoose Pattern Altitude

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    That looks like a complicated lift.
     
  13. Geico266

    Geico266 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In Alaska they towed a high wing by removing the doors and running a rope from the tow plane to the broken plane through the cabin. The pilot of the dead plane carried an Axe and cut the rope over the airport and deadsticked it in.

    Story was told to me by a DAR that before he retired worked in AK for the FAA.
     
  14. Dale99

    Dale99 Filing Flight Plan

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    In the movie cliffhanger, they had a cable going from one plane to the other to transfer briefcases of money.

    Yes, I know thats the movies
     
  15. Mike5250

    Mike5250 Line Up and Wait

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    Anything goes in alaska!
     
  16. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Prop on a single.
     
  17. Geico266

    Geico266 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    How would you disconnect the rope for landing? Or emergency release? :dunno:
     
  18. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Trip knot or trip pin.
     
  19. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Seems like a knife would be easier to use in a cabin than an axe for the purposes of cutting a rope.
     
  20. jnmeade

    jnmeade Cleared for Takeoff

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    Snap Shackle
     
  21. tmyers

    tmyers En-Route

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    Nice Avatar there Matt!!!!
     
  22. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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  23. Vinny

    Vinny Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You mean they didn't just lash the dead plane to the top of the powered plane with some sisal? I expect better from you, Alaska.
     
  24. Vinny

    Vinny Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sure would have been a lot easier to bring the mechanic, his tools, and the engine 60 miles rather than pursue a ferry permit for 15 months, but hey, I guess it worked in the end.:dunno:
     
  25. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Pattern Altitude

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  26. N801BH

    N801BH Touchdown! Greaser! Gone West

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    Impressive.....
     
  27. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    Nice write up. I figured somebody had to have done it somewhere. My only questions from this write up are, why do test tows with a motorcycle and where are the pictures?

    And... where are these pictures and video?
     
  28. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    i've never seen the pictures or video. I'm sure bob has prints at home and the video is probably on a VHS tape somewhere. This was before smartphones, go pro's, and facebook. bob is about 85 yrs old now so he's not going to be putting it on YouTube anytime soon

    Don't know why they used a Gold Wing except maybe to prove a point that it didn't take that much power to get the plane in the air.
     
  29. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    I've never heard of it, either, and I'm pretty sure if the FAA did ex post facto, everyone involved would get barbecued.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  30. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    see the link i posted
     
  31. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    15 months to get FAA approval? I suppose it would still have been easier in the long run to pull the wings and flat-bed it, but I guess if you put enough effort into the process, you can get the approval.
     
  32. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    See my clarification.
     
  33. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    yea but now there is precedence :D
     
  34. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Yeah -- if you want to do that enough to spend the time and effort to get the approval. I still think it would have been cheaper and easier to fix the engine in situ.
     
  35. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You think replacing an engine with a different engine for an STC was financially better than towing home which took less than an hour?

    He didn't want to fix the engine, he wanted to junk it and put on a 470. Do that at home. So, the alternative is to remove the wings, and truck it. Something I have a bit of experience with and it's not fun, interesting, or profitable. The whole thing could have been done with some modest tow tests on the ground(which they did) and then do the deed.
     
  36. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Actually, it took almost a year and a half.
     
  37. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Negative. The tow home took less than an hour(as I stated). Dealing with the FAA took the rest of the time.

    Having removed and installed wings on several planes, it's not something I'm fond of flying in later. Unless it's the type of plane where wing removal is normal and the designers allowed for it like the EXP versions. Besides, there's no reasoning for it as shown by the link to the guy that did the task. Simple towing engineering models showed it would work, and it worked just as predicted.
     
  38. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    The story mentioned above is 40 years old. Something tells me that based on liability, I'd seriously doubt that a FSDO will ever again allow that type of operation to take place. Something not addressed in the story was insurance. Most insurance policies will insure a non-airworthy aircraft for flight if a valid ferry permit is obtained. I can't imagine in a million years an insurance carrier being ok with this operation, ferry permit or not.

    Edit: the STC was from 1974. The story was three years prior to whenever it was published. I think my insurance issue is still a valid point, and I'm curious if the insurance carriers knew about this "tow".
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  39. Mike I

    Mike I Line Up and Wait

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    But that stunt was done for real:

     
  40. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    More than an 84% increase I'd say. Holy ****.