Towing a dead plane in the air?

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

  1. james Grant

    james Grant Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aerojock
    I just came across this page. I knew both Cessna pilots involved in towing the Cessna of the Mexican beach. They did it twice. The picture shown is of the second flight. On the first flight they took the prop off the plane being towed. From what the pilot in the lead ship told me was
    that on the second flight the engine in the lead ship quit as it go to the Brownsville airport. Here is another view of flight #2. The pilots on that airport back then had giants sets to do they things they did. I wish I had more pictures.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
    Tantalum likes this.
  2. Omalley1537

    Omalley1537 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2015
    Messages:
    682
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Sean
    An F-4 with a failing/failed engine and hydraulic system was towed to some extent by a refueling tanker as well.
     
  3. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2018
    Messages:
    1,324
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    benyflyguy
    Start it:eek2::eek2:
     
  4. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2012
    Messages:
    3,637
    Location:
    Hopewell Jct, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Shepherd
    You beat me to it.
     
  5. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Messages:
    11,052
    Location:
    Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Spun Out
    My 172 had to be towed from a state road to an airport due to a big hole in #4 cylinder and oil all over the hull, but it was only a few miles and was accomplished with an F150 and a tow bar. It was harder to get it through the airport gate than it was to get it under and through the bridges overpasses.
     
  6. james Grant

    james Grant Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aerojock
    From what I was told the rope was wrapped around one gear (the right gear I think) and taken through the cockpit and tied to the other gear. There were two people in the tow plane, a pilot and another person holding a hatchet. If they want to do a cut away they would really do a cut away by cutting the rope with the hatchet. They never had a chance to see if it would work. Do not try this at home or anywhere else.
     
  7. Baron62

    Baron62 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2016
    Messages:
    192
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Baron62
    WOW on the Cessna story. Where there is a will there is a way!

    I used to work for Kaman Aerospace and we developed the KMAX helicopter specifically for external lift. Key instruments like rotor speed and load weight were mounted outside the helo so you could see them while watching the load. The aircraft empty weight was roughly 5200lbs and it would carry 6000lbs loads. I would watch the ex-military test pilots come back drenched in sweat after a test flight. Commercial operators like Scott paper would move 1.2 million pounds of trees a day with the KMAX. Better be fast on pickling the load when needed. They are still in production today and also droned when needed.[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  8. Maxnr

    Maxnr Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2018
    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    NW FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bob Dingley
    I read an account of a O-52 "Owl" (pre WW2 observation plane) towed by a C-47. The O-52 was used as a tow plane by an Army glider training unit and had an engine failure at a remote field. They brought in a C-47 and towed it home. All hands were "glider people" and the recovery was "Ops normal."

    One of my fellow pilots had a history as a Special Forces pilot and one night over our milk and cookies, he told me of a couple test programs to extend the range of helicopters. In one, an H-21 was hooked up behind a C-123. They took off in formation, the H-21 gradually reduced power until it was in autorotation. They flew around for a while like this and then cut loose. Another test used a pair of UH-1B's that joined up with a C-130. They got into a sweet spot in the wing tip vortice of the C-130. They were able to reduce power and fly together for a while.

    None of these were as good as just installing an in flight refueling boom on a helicopter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  9. texasclouds

    texasclouds Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    681
    Location:
    Bryan, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    I’m an Aggie, but have never kept my axe sharp enough to cut a rope quickly. I would try towing a plane if neither of them were mine.
     
  10. james Grant

    james Grant Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aerojock
    Since your an Aggie I have to ask. Were you using the blunt end of the axe? LOL
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
    midwestpa24 likes this.
  11. texasclouds

    texasclouds Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    681
    Location:
    Bryan, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    ;-)
     
  12. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,575
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Lindberg
    *you're
     
  13. james Grant

    james Grant Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aerojock
    Sorry man, I just had to. My Dad was an Aggie and I just can't pass an easy set up.
     
    Eric Stoltz likes this.
  14. -KLB-

    -KLB- Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2018
    Messages:
    178
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    -KLB-
    Funny story, I was a Aggie before my father. Aggies always do things different.
     
    Zeldman and james Grant like this.
  15. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    2,005
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    3393RP
    I came across a Wikipedia page for the Dyke Delta, a 1960s EAB double delta wing configuration. There's a brief mention of the plane being used in tow tests by Kelly Aerospace, the same company that performed the NASA/DOD funded towed test flights with a F-106 behind a C-141.

    The Dyke Delta was involved in NASA-funded flight-testing. Kelly Aerospace towed the Delta behind another aircraft to obtain flight towing and engine-off (glider) controllability data for use on future space-travel designs.

    The Dyke Delta flew quite well in tow and in a glide. Over the years, the JD-2 structure was evaluated by the University of Utah and the Wright Patterson Air Force Base (Ohio) Structural Laboratory.


    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyke_Delta

    [​IMG]
     
  16. psween

    psween Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2015
    Messages:
    73
    Location:
    7MN3
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    psween
    The pilot of that F-106 was a past co-worker of mine, Mark 'Forger' Stucky, who is now a test pilot for Virgin Galactic. He just flew the SpaceShipTwo test flight that made it to 50+ miles up. He has some great stories to tell!
     
    3393RP likes this.
  17. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    21,780
    Location:
    UQACY, WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iMooniac
    SCCutler and Eric Stoltz like this.
  18. mooneyflyfast

    mooneyflyfast Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Paco Jones
    The story of the Cessna being towed from the beach in Mexico was included in the book "Over and Back". It is about the smuggling of electronics into Mexico in the 80s after Mexico enacted something like a 50% tariff on electronics imports. I loaned my book out and never got it back so this is based on recollection.

    He says there were 3 Cessna 207s returning to Brownsville after a smuggling run. They were flying along the Mexican coast on the way back when one had engine failure and had to land on the beach. If it was found it would be confiscated or destroyed and the pilot, if caught, would be facing a long stay in a Mexican jail. One of the other planes flew to Brownsville and the pilot went to a hardware store, bought some strong nylon rope and flew back to where the stranded plane was. They attached the rope to the prop of the disabled plane and somehow to the seat belt restraining systen of the tow plane.

    They had miles of hard packed beach and were taking off into the prevailing southeast wind. Both planes were light with little fuel and no cargo. I dont believe either pilot was experienced in glider towing but they made it to Brownsville OK and landed. I don't recall anything about cutting the rope. I believe they landed hitched together.

    This is a fascinating book. These guys were flying 206/207s, Queen Airs, TBones, DC3s, C46s, etc. Always grossly overloaded, mostly at night and landing on roads and clearings hacked out of the brush with smudge pots, They navigated mostly by dead reconning with a few VORS and DMEs Much of the time they required refueling to get home so if the ground crews didn't show up or didnt bring gas they were stuck. Some of them returned home with bullet holes in their planes. Some didn't return home at because they were in Mexican jails or victims of crashes into mountains.
     
  19. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2016
    Messages:
    233
    Location:
    KADS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Plano Pilot
    I was wondering if they were part of that, thanks.
     
  20. james Grant

    james Grant Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aerojock
    I did not know there was a book on it. I will look on ebay for it. You are correct that they did not have to cut the rope. They landed together. They would often take off in flights ranging anywhere from 2-8 C206/207s. They would hug the ground for ground efeect, climb over the trees at the end of the runway and go back down and hug the ground. It would take several seconds to reappear, only then you knew they had made it off.

    I worked in the tower at Brownsville then though I was not working that day. They story told then (about the first flight) is that these two airplanes called inbound as a flight of two. No big deal they do it all they time. As they entered the downwind the controller noticed they were even lower than normal so she looked at them through binoculars. She noticed the rope and told the other controllers that there was a rope between those two airplanes. Controllers being controller were not going to fall for this joke so no one looked. She repeatedly tried to get them to look. The told her "we are not falling for this one" and refused to look. It was only when they cleared the runway and saw an airplane being towed down to customs did they believe.
     
    Zeldman likes this.
  21. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    10,297
    Location:
    NM or the emergency room...
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    Man, I am getting the urge to tow a plane.... might be a new business opportunity.... Your plane not running.?? Need it towed to your favorite mechanic.?? We have a rope and hatchet, just call BR5-4921 and we will tow your plane.

    Anyone want to volunteer their 182.?? I can borrow a 206....