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Thread: Aircraft tie-down knots and tricks.??

  1. #1
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Default Aircraft tie-down knots and tricks.??

    The other day, while trying to keep my plane from blowing away, I started to think about all the knots and tie-down tricks we use up here. Especially when not on a paved airport.

    It dawned on me that I do not even know the name of the common tie-down knot I have been using for all these decades. What the heck is that knot?

    It winter, its late and I am still up. So I figured I would start a conversation.

    One thing I like to use when nose beaching a float-plane where there are no logs or bushes to attach a rope or line, is to use my folding shovel ( entrenching tool) and then bury my canoe paddle or a piece of drift wood as a dead-man anchor.
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    Taught line hitch?

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    I was originally taught to use a half-hitch followed be a taut-line, or a couple of taut-lines, but a modified bowline with a hitch like this is much safer in wind:
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    This is similar, on steroids:
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
    #Resist

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    Member Barnstormer's Avatar
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    A guy I know came up with a very cool tie down system that uses no knots, is stronger then the ropes we generally use, weighs less, and is quicker to deploy. He uses two fall-rated carabiners on an endless adjustable loop… a system that adjusts from 3 to 11 feet (or whatever length you want), has a minimum breaking strength of 4,496 pounds per side, and weighs 3 ounces for two tie downs.

    The line is 1/8" Sampson Amsteel Blue, a synthetic winch line that's stronger than equivalent diameter steel cable, UV stabilized, doesn't absorb water, and is almost immune to stretch or flex damage. He's tested the system to 4,200 lbs with zero slip or line damage.

    Here is a picture of his proof-of-concept:



    And here is what his final product looks like. I got him to make a set for the SQ2 and the 185, got them extra long, and had him throw in some additional "soft link" which are extra lengths of Amsteel Blue with loops at each end in case I need to "reach out".

    Last edited by Brian M; 01-12-2016 at 09:03.
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    Member Barnstormer's Avatar
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    And here is a picture of it in action (apparently I can only include two images in a response) before I tidied up the extra length:



    I've been using this system for a couple of months now and am very pleased. As a bonus I now have a bunch of fall-rated carabiners onboard the plane at no extra weight penalty since I know longer carry my old tie down ropes.
    Last edited by Brian M; 01-12-2016 at 09:04.
    Phil Whittemore
    If you're not living on the edge you're taking up too much space.

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  7. #7

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    I thought the common tie down knot was called a hurricane hitch. I may be wrong, that's what I was told long ago.
    Another good trick on small Pipers is to wrap around the strut and thru the tie down ring. Instead of just through the ring.
    In damaging winds it will take a lot more to bend or break the spar attach brackets.

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    (close) Taut Line Hitch
    Quote Originally Posted by AK Mauler View Post
    Taught line hitch?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearsnack View Post
    wrap around the strut and thru the tie down ring. Instead of just through the ring.
    Good idea if winds are high but in daily use I found the rope wears a lot on the fabric just above the strut so I usually use the tie ring. Atlee Dodge tie downs are supposed to be the strongest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BQuad View Post
    Good idea if winds are high but in daily use I found the rope wears a lot on the fabric just above the strut so I usually use the tie ring. Atlee Dodge tie downs are supposed to be the strongest.
    When I rebuilt the -12, a bit of my research (and the much better in-depth knowledge of my A&P) indicated that the tie ring was a known place for corrosion (i.e. "rust") to accumulate, creating a known failure point. I also thought that I'd just do the strut thing and my A&P doing the rebuild swore a blue streak that I wouldn't do that to his new fabric job.

    Bottom line is I went with the Dodge kit and, although the -12 hasn't been outside in many strong blows, I was happy to have the Dodge rings on the few times it was exposed to 40-ish mph blows.

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    Would like to see the videos done at 0 to -30 with winter mitts or gloves outside of a hangar. I don't know any cub pilots using single tie down "taut" hitches most will use multiple double hitches.

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    Herring spotting for the Togiak herring seine season has resulted in a few destroyed airplanes over the years. As a spotter, I flew that herring season both on floats and on wheels and decided that I preferred wheels for that fishery.
    After several airplanes were destroyed while tied down on Nunavarchak Beach in a 100+mph wind in the early eighties we figured out a fairly fool proof way of tieing down airplanes on wheels. We would completely bury four tires (hauled in by our fishing boats) edges down in a square array on the beach with them spaced so that the airplane could be secured in any one of four directions. Each tire had a sturdy loop of rope tied through it just visible above the surface of the gravel beach.

    The primary protection against the strongest winds was a line looped through the rope on the tire directly out in front of the airplane (several feet) and tied to the gear legs just inside of both main wheels.
    This line was pulled tight. The wing tiedown lines were tied with less tension so that any jerking resulting from strong gusts was absorbed by the two lines going to the landing gear legs. The tail tiedown was left slack enough so that the tail could fly in a strong wind with the wings virtually level. This arrangement worked very well. Some of the spotters even had contests during storms with the wing tiedowns untied. With engine off, they would try to see who could keep all three wheels off the ground the longest in strong gusts or a strong sustained wind.

  13. #13
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Can anyone else see Barnstromer's photos??? I get a thing that says invalid attachment.
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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Does anyone have any photos of their ice auger anchors ???
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Can anyone else see Barnstromer's photos??? I get a thing that says invalid attachment.
    I just updated them to make the pictures viewable.

    Looks like a pretty slick option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    I just updated them to make the pictures viewable.

    Looks like a pretty slick option.
    Thanks Brian for getting the pictures working.
    Phil Whittemore
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    <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6n_lSM_71g" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">



    The video was done after a few toddies.... but it shows the tie downs that Phil has picks above in action. The ice anchors have never let me down in some pretty high winds!

  18. #18

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    I would have to see the knot to tell you the name. I think Bearsnak is correct because the taut line hitch that I use for tent is not what I tie my plane down with. It is similar but not the same.
    DENNY

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    That setup is pretty slick, I would not mind having a set for when I'm out and about.

  20. #20
    Member Barnstormer's Avatar
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    Set you a PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rjusten View Post
    That setup is pretty slick, I would not mind having a set for when I'm out and about.
    Phil Whittemore
    If you're not living on the edge you're taking up too much space.

    https://share.delorme.com/PhilWhittemore

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