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Thread: The "BEST" tie downs

  1. #1
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    The "BEST" tie downs

    I know this subject has been beat to death and you know what they say about opinions. After watching my 180 do a 180 at New Holstein and rip the CLAWs out of the ground, I am revisiting the subject. The ground was soggy and muddy. The tail tie down failed because I had it fastened to the tail spring loaded handles. The 60+mph first gust ripped the eye off of the handle leaving the claw in the ground. When the plane spun 180 into the wind, it pulled up the Wing Claws. Thanks to those who clung to it and helped me tie it back down. I spent the next 20 minutes clinging to a strut, drenched, and freezing. Scared the beejesus out of me.

    I am looking for discussion as to what folks use and why and in what kind of soil.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

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    tptailwheel's Avatar
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    I use fly-Tyís, they have never I mean never failed me in winds less than 1mph, but I wouldnít trust them in more than that. Itís nice to have a bunch 12 inch nails flailing about when you are trying in desperation to secure your aircraft. I think duck-bills are the best answer to your question.
    Tom

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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    #68 Duckbills for most places. I buy them by the dozen and keep a tempered steel drive rod and 8# hammer handy. For more permanent applications a #80 Duckbill is hell for stout but it takes a machine to drive them. Or a young guy that's really good with swinging a sledge at a rod that starts at chest height. Neither will work worth a damn in rocky soils. You'd need an alternate solution for that.
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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Duckbills are indeed the best plan for "temporary" tiedowns in a big wind. That said, you're not going to make many friends of folks who mow lawns in parking areas if you leave duckbills in the ground, or if you dig them out with a shovel. They really aren't intended to be "temporary", they are designed as permanent stays for power poles, etc.

    So, at places like New Holstein or OSH, duckbills are a no go, frankly. That said, I used duckbills as permanent tiedowns in Fairbanks for both my personal and work airplanes for many years. They will hold a lot.

    I use Fli Ties, but, like the Claw, they aren't going to hold well in really wet soils, or sandy soils, etc. And, the same goes for rocky soils.

    Frankly, I've never found any truly temporary tiedown that would absolutely hold an airplane in all conditions.

    But, that's why we carry hull insurance.

    MTV
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    An aircraft cable cutter removes all traces of duckbills. When I moved parking spots the airport made me cut several on the ground and in the float pond. Those in the water had expensive stainless cable. Cutters come in several sizes from a few strands at a time to one snick and gone.

    Gary
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  7. #7

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    Fly Ties held pretty good for me, but when faced with long term storage I bury a cinder block with chain about three feet down.
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    Watching youtube, there is a video by a guy with a duckbill with a second cable attached to the end. The second cable allows you to pull it out of the ground after use.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=i3-JSzO9xiw
    Last edited by MoJo; 07-28-2019 at 01:23 PM.
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  9. #9
    Bill.Brine's Avatar
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    I am happy with the Abeís system.
    $$ but so is my plane


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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Duckbills are indeed the best plan for "temporary" tiedowns in a big wind. That said, you're not going to make many friends of folks who mow lawns in parking areas if you leave duckbills in the ground, or if you dig them out with a shovel. They really aren't intended to be "temporary", they are designed as permanent stays for power poles, etc.

    So, at places like New Holstein or OSH, duckbills are a no go, frankly. That said, I used duckbills as permanent tiedowns in Fairbanks for both my personal and work airplanes for many years. They will hold a lot.

    I use Fli Ties, but, like the Claw, they aren't going to hold well in really wet soils, or sandy soils, etc. And, the same goes for rocky soils.

    Frankly, I've never found any truly temporary tiedown that would absolutely hold an airplane in all conditions.

    But, that's why we carry hull insurance.

    MTV
    FWIW I scrape a hole and drive the duckbill until the loop is below the surface, then attach a carabiner to that. Or attach the carabiner first and gouge it loose later. When I leave scrape some dirt over the loop and there's no trace. I've also scraped holes to tuck and bury the tether when they stuck out. Easy problem to manage.
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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Tried to order one for the tailwheel but the website is messed up.



    Quote Originally Posted by Bill.Brine View Post
    I am happy with the Abe’s system.
    $$ but so is my plane


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    fobjob's Avatar
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    I’ve used 15x3 inch auger type anchors. Perfect for Midwest soil, for Idaho, forget it....you can get even longer ones...
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcGJFuEUQxs going to make one of these with some tubing i have laying around, looks easy to make, light weight, did i say light weight, at my place when done i will just push the cable down the hole or will try pulling out with the loader tractor just to see. dont think i will end up with more than 3 bucks in each one.

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    New Holstein silt is really a tough hold, I use the Claw most everywhere and have ever since they hit the market but at New Holstein I use these.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    From Home Depot, they also now have longer ones... I use a 2’ pice of heavy wall alum pipe to put them in and remove.

    New Holstein also calls for special tent stakes...
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    The idea is to get whatever's driven in the ground or screwed in the ice to pull sideways as much as possible. Sometimes it takes two or three tied together at a common point. The more vertical the pull the lower the resistance to pulling out.

    Gary
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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    FWIW I scrape a hole and drive the duckbill until the loop is below the surface, then attach a carabiner to that. Or attach the carabiner first and gouge it loose later. When I leave scrape some dirt over the loop and there's no trace. I've also scraped holes to tuck and bury the tether when they stuck out. Easy problem to manage.
    Stewart,

    My Point was if you start scraping holes in people’s (or airports) grassy areas, you are going to become persona non grata in most of the places these would be used in the Lower 42. Sand bars on a river, sure. Irrigated airstrips that look like a golf course....not so much.

    MTV

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    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Foy View Post
    I know this subject has been beat to death and you know what they say about opinions. After watching my 180 do a 180 at New Holstein and rip the CLAWs out of the ground, I am revisiting the subject. The ground was soggy and muddy. The tail tie down failed because I had it fastened to the tail spring loaded handles. The 60+mph first gust ripped the eye off of the handle leaving the claw in the ground. When the plane spun 180 into the wind, it pulled up the Wing Claws. Thanks to those who clung to it and helped me tie it back down. I spent the next 20 minutes clinging to a strut, drenched, and freezing. Scared the beejesus out of me.

    I am looking for discussion as to what folks use and why and in what kind of soil.
    Eddie, there is nothing wrong with the claw when used correctly. Any of these systems that are not tied correctly will fail. There were lots of different systems on lots of MUCH lighter airplanes during that big wind at New Holstein, and yours was the only one that moved much at all.

    As important are the ropes. Those little clamp type straps will not hold up when they get shaken (not talking about ratchet straps here). I know at least one guy at new holstein that will likely reconsider using those in the future.

    I have both the claw and Flyties (which I prefer and which got the highest rating in Aviation Consumer tests a few years back), and have never had a problem even in higher winds than we had this year at 8D1.

    sj
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    My apologizes for our web site not working properly...I just went there and you're correct...my business email has been down for the last few days too...when it rains it pours!

    Please call or email me and I'll answer any questions any of you may have about our tie down systems. My phone # and another email address is listed below.

    Cheers,

    Bill "Abe" Ables
    541-263-1327
    bjables@eoni.com
    Bill, N2604D, '52 170B
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    >>>>>>> when faced with long term storage I bury a cinder block with chain about three feet down.
    Previous system at the cabin was some SS bars (construction project leftovers) weighed down with prolly 150# each of a combination of cinderblocks and busted concrete pieces, all buried to about 4' deep with a chain running up....done in my younger days. That system withheld some hellacious blows (can only estimate speed, but they would multiple shingles and the stovepipe off the roof, and happen when Palmer was reporting 70 + winds) but I did have wing covers with spoilers on.

    That system got lost in a runway re-grade. Currently use the duckbills and they've held up in a couple of blows that I'd estimate were approaching 40 mph, without the wing cover spoilers, but with Atlee's hurricane straps. Fortunately, all the big blows are parallel to the runway and (so far cross my fingers) from the east, so the plane has been pointed the right direction each time.
    Back In Alaska
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  20. #20
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    In case you wondered why ratchet straps may eventually fail in high winds>>>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=518lOCDuduk

    I watched one tear itself apart in a few hour blow at the end stitching.

    Gary
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    I usually don't tie my cub down when camping, I usually just turn tailwheel 90 degrees, but if I do ( 20 mph and greater wind) it is with duckbills. If I was to go to a mowed strip I would consider driving the wire loop down into ground with simple rope/muletape loop attached. When you leave cut the rope and pull it out. Be prepared to cut the wire as Gary said as they sometimes have a bit of pullback once in the ground. You could just as easy bury it if you have a good shovel (which we should all carry), just make a simple cable width slot in the ground shove cable to to bottom and stomp on it to make it go away. I have seen a Cessna 160 pull out that angel iron/big spike type in 20 mph wind. I think you really need something that will withstand at least a 1,000 lb or more pull when the wind is blowing hard. the advantage of duckbills is just add a second set if needed. The driving rod and ax to drive them is the big weight a set of three duckbills is pretty lite. I usually carry two sets, more if on a long trip. I always use rope and would avoid anything with a simple open hook like ratchet straps. If I am out for a week I consider wingcovers with the lift killers on top. I really don't want to sit for a year waiting for my cub to get fixed because I was to lazy or cheap to keep it safe if a blow happens.
    DENNY
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Aircraft with spring gear like to swing-sway-even bounce more that others it seems especially in crosswinds. We can chock the tires (blocks or rope circled in a tight donut) and set the brakes to resist twisting and tail swinging, but in a blow the wings will eventually work on ropes and tie downs to the point they can loosen and allow movement. One thing I tried with some success was tying the lower gear together near the tires or skis and then put ropes to the wing ties to form shape resisting triangles. Wing pulls up and the weight and inter-gear rope resist.

    Gary

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    The Abe website showed pull tests in the soil of different airports. That is a great idea! Looks like a good system.

    https://abesaviation.com/pages/test-results
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    aktango58's Avatar
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    We had a job requiring lots of anchors in sand. We were able to switch to duckbills after we did a pull test, we have big duckbills, and pulled between 1,200 and 1,800 pounds when driven 3' in sand.

    I still have a box of them, some with cables I carry. Lots ready for cables if you need a couple.

    Position to wind and direction of pull is as important as type of anchor. When the ground is really soft, dig a hole, burry a log with rope around it, and fill it in. If really big blow, burry the tires.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  25. #25
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Big blow? Raise the tail on a tripod or ??? to lower AOA and always carry spoiler covers.

    Gary
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  26. #26

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    Duckbills in river sand? If the river comes up enough to cover the duckbill tether you can lift the Duckbill out by hand. They not ideal for all conditions.

    Nose to the wind there's no reason to tie the tail. Cross wind a chock at the tailwheel will usually work fine. In any case you don't need an exotic tie down at the tail since the only load is lateral.

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    SJ's Avatar
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    One thing to watch if you decide to go the duckbill route and you don't own the land and don't want to create a "semi permanent" tie down, is that a lot of the fly in events you might go to don't allow them because almost everybody leaves them behind (and they don't bury them as SB suggests) and they get caught in the mowers.

    sj
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  28. #28
    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    Big blow? Raise the tail on a tripod or ??? to lower AOA and always carry spoiler covers.

    Gary
    Gary, we have had great luck with 50mph+ winds many times at New Holstein with standard tie downs and the plane facing AWAY from the wind. Some argue that this causes negative g-loads, etc. but, if you face into the wind in, when it hits 50, most of these planes are flying and will yank the wing tiedowns out - and if the tie downs are strong enough, bend the wings (we all remember those shots from that windstorm in Anchorage a few years back). It is important to lock your controls if you can, and obviously neutral or stick forward is better, but the few instances of a plane getting loose - even when it hit over 70 once - was poor tie down technique (in the mega blow year, the guy used dog tie outs for a poodle).

    sj

    P.S. We had one plane that was pretty much held in place ONLY by the tail, which will work in nose downwind.
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  29. #29

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    I drove some 68s in my yard this spring. Couldn't sink them completely in the rocky soil. I just about hit them every time I mow the lawn and I know damn well they're there!
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  30. #30
    Ursa Major's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    Gary, we have had great luck with 50mph+ winds many times at New Holstein with standard tie downs and the plane facing AWAY from the wind. Some argue that this causes negative g-loads, etc. but, if you face into the wind in, when it hits 50, most of these planes are flying and will yank the wing tiedowns out - and if the tie downs are strong enough, bend the wings (we all remember those shots from that windstorm in Anchorage a few years back). It is important to lock your controls if you can, and obviously neutral or stick forward is better, but the few instances of a plane getting loose - even when it hit over 70 once - was poor tie down technique (in the mega blow year, the guy used dog tie outs for a poodle).

    sj

    P.S. We had one plane that was pretty much held in place ONLY by the tail, which will work in nose downwind.
    Being one of those who was affected by the Anchorage windstorm a few years back, I'll offer my experience. My cub was tied down (Merrill field) facing generally away from the wind. When the wind blew, it was mostly from the rear slightly quartering from the left. The tie downs and wing attach points stayed attached, but both rear struts buckled and the wings were bent forward. The elevator hinges were also cracked and I had to replace one elevator. I had spoiler wing and tail covers on at the time.

    Those aircraft tied nose into the wind on other rows were mostly undamaged. Given a choice, I'd tie down facing the wind. Of course, the conditions I experienced are unusual (103 mph winds), but it was a learning experience. During the rebuild, I installed (in addition to one new wing) heavy duty lifetime struts and Atlee Dodge tie downs and spar reinforcements. Given a choice I'd still tie down facing the wind (and probably elevate the tail to kill lift).
    Mike
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  31. #31
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ursa Major View Post
    Being one of those who was affected by the Anchorage windstorm a few years back, I'll offer my experience. My cub was tied down (Merrill field) facing generally away from the wind. When the wind blew, it was mostly from the rear slightly quartering from the left. The tie downs and wing attach points stayed attached, but both rear struts buckled and the wings were bent forward. The elevator hinges were also cracked and I had to replace one elevator. I had spoiler wing and tail covers on at the time.

    Those aircraft tied nose into the wind on other rows were mostly undamaged. Given a choice, I'd tie down facing the wind. Of course, the conditions I experienced are unusual (103 mph winds), but it was a learning experience. During the rebuild, I installed (in addition to one new wing) heavy duty lifetime struts and Atlee Dodge tie downs and spar reinforcements. Given a choice I'd still tie down facing the wind (and probably elevate the tail to kill lift).
    What he said ^^^. When I lived in Kodiak, I spent a lot of quality nights baby sitting airplanes tied down at Municipal Airport. When it was windy, I’d drive to the airport, and frequently check tiedowns, chicks, etc on my personal and assigned planes. While steady winds can be bad, it’s often the gusts that cause real problems. One night as I checked on my plane, I noticed a Super Cub next to it, with rear struts start to buckle. I got under the wing and tried to hold it, when a city cop came by, and called the owner. Rigged 2 x 4s on aft struts, wrapped with line.

    Was too too windy to risk turning it around. Plane was damaged, but not too bad.

    Living and working in Cold Bay and Kodiak taught me more than I ever wanted to know about big winds.

    Given the choice, I will never intentionally tie an airplane down facing away from the wind. Sometimes we don’t have a choice, but airplanes and their structures simply were never designed to sustain forces from that vector.

    But, like a lot of things, tail into the wind works right up till it doesn’t. But when things fail, it gets ugly quick.

    And it’s often the gusts that bite you.

    MTV
    Last edited by mvivion; 07-29-2019 at 09:13 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ursa Major View Post
    Being one of those who was affected by the Anchorage windstorm a few years back, I'll offer my experience. My cub was tied down (Merrill field) facing generally away from the wind. When the wind blew, it was mostly from the rear slightly quartering from the left. The tie downs and wing attach points stayed attached, but both rear struts buckled and the wings were bent forward. The elevator hinges were also cracked and I had to replace one elevator. I had spoiler wing and tail covers on at the time.

    Those aircraft tied nose into the wind on other rows were mostly undamaged. Given a choice, I'd tie down facing the wind. Of course, the conditions I experienced are unusual (103 mph winds), but it was a learning experience. During the rebuild, I installed (in addition to one new wing) heavy duty lifetime struts and Atlee Dodge tie downs and spar reinforcements. Given a choice I'd still tie down facing the wind (and probably elevate the tail to kill lift).
    My 180 took that storm from the right rear. I watched the struts buckle on the Cub next to me and another up the row. I watched a PA-11s struts buckle in a different storm with much lower winds. Last summer when my Rev was parked outside I preferred the wind to be quartering on the nose. Nose to the wind would pull much harder on the ropes. Slat wings make tying down even more important. They want to fly! Things we learn.
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  33. #33
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Foy View Post
    ….The tail tie down failed because I had it fastened to the tail spring loaded handles. The 60+mph first gust ripped the eye off of the handle leaving the claw in the ground.....
    Did I read this correctly, that you tied down to the eyes in the tailcone-mounted pull handles?
    Curious why you would choose to do this, rather than tie down to the eyebolt at the tailwheel
    (assuming you have one), or to the tailwheel assembly itself.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    Hypothetically speaking, if you had only a set number of weight to tie down to in the backcountry, obviously a sh!t ton would be ideal—

    but how much weight would be minimal per wing if you could only tie down to an object? 100lbs? 500lbs? Assume for this question airplane is positioned correctly, ropes are correct strength etc etc

    I’m not asking about the 1% (“rogue wave” etc)—but maybe wind/gusts up to say 45mph


    thx

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    My cub will fly all day with a 1,000 lb + load at 45 mph. Start from that and go up.
    DENNY
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  36. #36
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    In Seldovia one of the local guys brings a tractor trailer to the airport and sets it blocking the main wind direction. Then most guys here bring a vehicle out and tie to them. We get lots of high winds here but the old dodge hasn’t moved yet.were lucky that we can do this, the wind in the 60’s -80 happen in the fall and winter most.
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  37. #37
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    My cub will fly all day with a 1,000 lb + load at 45 mph. Start from that and go up.
    I've seen a number of guys tie their airplanes down to a 5 gallon bucket full of concrete, that weighs maybe 100 pounds?
    Always makes me wonder what they're thinking.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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    A local did the heavy bucket thing. Spring gear 140 that rocked enough to get the buckets swinging. I heard they moved some and damaged the plane but were removed by the time I got to the airport to look. Doesn't blow much here unless a thunderstorm or dust devil gets legs.

    Gary

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    Stewart,
    One summer I had a Helio on floats tied down on beach on Iliamna Lake, Kahkonak bay, venuturi effect through Pile Bay slot, it blew so hard it lifted one float out of the water. Slats were going in and out, and they do that flying at about 55mph, the plane was tailed up on beach and pretty level flight attitude. Sitting in it wind was steady indicating 60 MPH and gusting higher. Had to sink some 55 gallon drums in the lake to tie to to keep the Helio from levitating! Wind blew for over 5 days. Did not get much sleep, cabin was moving non stop.
    John

  40. #40
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    Wind Story: Kodiak's Red Lake outlet 1970. PA-18 doing salmon surveys landed in windstorm expecting worse yet to come. We (summer temp fish counters) were tasked to fill the floats with buckets of water as nothing to tie to nearby. Blew and rained for three days pilot said 50-60 on his AS and was the reason I assumed the cabin had cables over the top for anchors. When it quit we (us temps again-plane crew were supers) pumped and dipped out what we could then drug and pried the plane up on shore to empty the underwater portions.

    Gary

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