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Thread: Windy Tiedown

  1. #1

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    Windy Tiedown

    What do you guys with J-3 cubs do to keep your planes from flying in windy conditions? Unfortunatly some of us have no hangars, Do you double rope, put somesort of spoilers on the wings, ??????

  2. #2

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    1st make sure you are tied down facing into the wind, if not turn the plane into the wind, 2nd install the Atlee tie downs out board of the strut, I use the atlee tie downs and the ones on the struts.

    You can buy wing covers that have a spoiler and all or partial mesh to let the wind through.

    http://www.alaskawingcovers.com/

    remember if the plane is flying slightly that is 900lbs of lift the ropes do not have to hold. This is bad if the wind is gusting and has the plane jumping against the ropes.

    John
    72A
    chugiak Ak

  3. #3

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    Josh,

    My answer is based first on the fact that I don't live in Alaska or someplace that regularly gets strong, sustained winds (plus the fact that my J3 is kept in a hanger - of sorts). Since you asked about tying down a J3, I've read up on what the U S Government thought shoud be done with the military J3, the L4.

    In both the Flight Handbook for the L4 (1943, revised 1953) and the Erection and Maintneance Instructions for the L4 (1943, revised 1951), in both drawings and the written description they say tail INTO the wind, tailspring tied to an anchor driven into the ground with the exposed portion pointing away from the tail. The wings are to be tied to anchors driven into the ground with the exposed portion pointing to the front of the plane.

    The instructions clearly show to tie the rear stick using the lap belt from the front seat.

    That's what Uncle Sam said. But of course they weren't working from prepared fields with permenint tiedowns!

    I'd suggest, if you tiedown at an airport with permenint tiedowns, try to get one that is protected from the wind by hangers or nearby trees. Tie securly (NO slack in the ropes or chains) and use external gust locks.

    Your information doesn't show where you are located, but if it's REALLY windy, I think spoilers can help keep the plane from trying to fly on the tiedowns. Good quality ropes or chain, doubled if necessary never hurts. If it is REALLY, REALLY windy there have been many Cubs tied down with the tail into the wind that have had their REAR lift struts fail due to the wind pressing down on the trailing side of the wing. There were pictures posted on here at one time.

    John Scott

  4. #4
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Do NOT use chains for tiedowns!!! Please. There was a terrible accident in Alaska that involved an airplane that had been secured outside all winter with chain tiedowns. The brackets that connect the wing struts to the wing spars were bent and fractured, from constantly banging against the slack in the chains. The wing folded up after takeoff.

    After this happened, the FAA strongly urged everyone with a Cub in Alaska, and particularly ones that had been secured with chains, to carefully inspect those brackets for fractures or bending. All four on the airplane I was flying at the time were badly bent. The previous user had used chain tiedowns before I got there.

    Good secure nylon ropes (climbing ropes are actually strong, compared to hardware store stuff) are the way to go.

    I would install the Atlee Dodge tiedowns as noted above--they fix the problem noted above and they are much stronger than the stock tiedown rings.

    Finally, get a set of the spoilers for the wings.

    Make certain your tiedowns are strong enough. Remember, that little airplane is capable of lifting (therefore exerting) a lot of weight.

    MTV

  5. #5

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    NEVER EVER tie a cub with the tail into a strong wind the rear struts fail and the wings fold forward and are destroyed I have seen this several times in high winds ar birchwood airport in Chugiak AK.

    John
    72A
    Chugiak AK

  6. #6
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    I have heard that some will tie their a/c with the nose 90 degrees to the wind. That way the a/c isn't trying to fly and is also not subjected to a tailwind.......as long as the wind doesn't clock or back.

  7. #7
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  8. #8
    Grant's Avatar
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    If I am not mistaken F.E. Potts devoted some time to this in his book.

  9. #9

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    All of the prior post have great information. When I see the wind is going to blow hard, I install my mesh covers with spoilers, double my ropes,and park a couple of vans in front of the cub to break up the wind. I have even run extra ropes to the vehicles on occasions, in case the state tiedowns come loose. I have spent a few sleepless nights watching my plane and the ones tied down close by.

  10. #10

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    Leave the tail untied, let it fly.
    I can understand how letting the tail come up would decrease the lift on wings and the pull on the ropes, but in some of the winds we've had lately I can envision the tail of my plane bouncing up and down like a lowrider on rhoids. (Then again, maybe my landings are even worse on the tail of the plane.)

  11. #11
    moneyburner's Avatar
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    If it is REALLY, REALLY windy there have been many Cubs tied down with the tail into the wind that have had their REAR lift struts fail due to the wind pressing down on the trailing side of the wing.
    Don't ask me how I know about THAT! And lets not forget the front struts, and the spars, and the fuel tanks, half the ribs, the tank covers . . .

    Quidquid Latine dictum sit, altum videtur

  12. #12

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    Thanks to the feed back guys! Does the spoiler wing covers really work? Im more looking to protect the fabric and paint from U.V. rather than frost or snow since im in Florida. We do have cold fronts that blow pretty hard especially in the winter. Thanks

  13. #13

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    A little off the topic, but comes from years of experience with a cub tied down outside. If you are tied up next to several other airplanes, make sure to check the outside tie down of the the airplanes on either side of you. You would be amazed at how poorly a lot of people tie their airplanes down or what poor shape their ropes are in.

    I can think of three times when an airplane right next to ours was flipped or moved in a violent storm. All three times they went away from our cub because we spent a few extra bucks buying the neighbor's plane better tie downs and securing them the way they should be. Our cub made it threw each of those storms untouched.

  14. #14

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    I will second J3HeavyJr's post. The way other people tie down their planes with dog anchors at fly-ins bothers me. Remember, the easier the anchor goes in, the easier it pulls out. I use 18" screw in anchors with the 3" disc at the bottom for temporary tiedowns. I work up a sweat screwing them in with a 18" length of pipe. At home, for visiting planes, I placed inverted U-shaped lengths of 3/8" rebar in concrete poured in post holes with sections of 3" pvc surrounding the top, flush with the ground. A plastic test cap inserted in the pipe keeps the dirt out when not in use.

    Ron

  15. #15
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    Speaking of tie downs I heard a story once about a Naval Air Station that had its maintenance (Engine Run) tie downs labeled for the aircraft type. At one point they had used these tiedowns for the Corsair F-4U (labeled F4) as the years went on the labels were always repainted and kept in bristol fashion annually by the screw-ups on base. Later in the century the F4-Phantoms came along and they started using some of the old F4 tiedowns until someone was doing a full afterburner test when all hell broke loose. Not that any of us will be doing afterburner tests but just a story to relay. I'm sure it was a hell of a ride for that plane captain.

  16. #16

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    TJ, I respectively disagree to "let the tail fly" I have watched tails flying and in gusty winds the tails get pounded, out of the planes, due to the hard shock when the tail drops. It would be better to set the tail upon a box or something to get the tail up in a fixed position.

    To extend the discussion: should the ropes be real tight or snug? I prefer snug I don't mind the plane moving around some in the ropes. I also let some air out of the tires to provide more give. I also use spoilers and they really work well if you keep them in position. A plane in strong winds requires babysitting. Those that are watched and damaged are far fewer that those neglected and damaged.
    Pete

  17. #17
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  18. #18

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    These big boys needed some better tiedowns . . .

    http://www.cowtown.net/proweb/tornado/tornado.htm

    Hank

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