# Thoughts on folding or removable wings for keeping a plane at home

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by cluttonfred, Nov 2, 2017.

1. Nov 3, 2017

### Dana

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The real problem, Marc, is not with trailering a plane but with where you live. I wouldn't last a week there before running screaming for the hills.

Dana

2. Nov 3, 2017

### pictsidhe

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If you want to squeeze a wider thing in your trailer, put it in at an angle, or vertically. Vertically could mean no disassembly. It should be well worth a loading/unloading doodad on the trailer. I like the idea of towing a Pou as God, err Henri, intended myself: On its wheels.

3. Nov 3, 2017

### Little Scrapper

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There's another option. It's unpopular, I'll be hated, disagreed with and probably told to shut up but there's another option. Make more money and don't settle. Don't compromise.

What's the goal? To fly when you want and let's face it, when you get to the airport or strip you want to be efficient. The most efficient means possible is to build/create a scenario where you show up, open the hangar, pull the airplane out , pre-flight and go flying.

I don't know about you guys but man my life is busy. I can't possibly entertain the idea of trailering and dealing with the complexity of folding wings. The designs most people really want don't have folding wings, that's the honest truth. It's easier to solve the money problem than it is to solve the folding wing problem.

So let's just say $500 a month is more than your finances currently allow. Would$200 a month be ok? Probably. So there's a $300 a month difference between getting what you really want vs getting what you don't. That's only$3,600 a year, it's pretty easy to make an extra $3,600 a year vs trying to deal with the other methods. It's just that most people are programmed to think it's not which is kinda sad. If the regulars here all put thoughts together on how to make more money I bet the problem will be solved quicker than trying to compromise by dealing with a folding wing airplane and dealing with that monstrosity and all the baggage that comes with it. Again, I get it, highly unpopular idea but I'm a firm believer it's a better solution. There's opportunity everywhere. But let's say making an extra$3,600 to cover the expenses isn't easy for someone. Ok, I still think there's a better solution than dragging around folding wings. How about coming up with a plan to build/buy/invest in your own hangar? Have people pay you rent and make sure you have a spot.

All I'm saying is there's many ways to get what you want, you don't need to settle and reinvent the airplane. If you are in a high hangar rent district all that spells is.............. O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y. Try to look at life through a different lens if you can. Become friends with a guy who owns a private strip (that's what I do). Or get 4 guys together and see if someone can work the math, focus on solving other people's problems and you'll find your problems will be solved for you.

4. Nov 3, 2017

### Hot Wings

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That is an option. And one that we should all be pursuing daily? An analogy:

You are cold. Heat is expensive.

Solutions:
Earn more to pay the gas bill or - buy some insulation AND earn more.

I like the second.

5. Nov 4, 2017

### Topaz

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True, true, and true, but it doesn't satisfy my biggest itch: Design and build. I know how a lot of you guys feel about this, but for me the design aspect is absolutely as important as the building and flying. My education was in aerospace engineering, and I loved it. The fall of the Soviet Union kept me out of that career and put me into my current one, and I have no regrets. But the same passion for design that put me in that original path is still there, and fulfilling it is a life-dream.

Yeah, sadly, little argument there. I grew up here, and love southern California. But, without straying too far into politics and off-topic for this thread, it's just not what it was anymore, and the ratio of like:not-like about this place is getting smaller every year. The wife and I have had very serious discussions about moving out of state, but we both have an aging parent in their twilight years who would be unable to make that kind of big move, and are in need of our help on an increasing basis. We'll likely move eventually, but not for several years.

You know I'm a business owner, too, so you won't get any argument from me. One of my favorite quotes:

Anything which is physically possible can always be made financially possible; money is a bugaboo of small minds.

― Robert A. Heinlein, "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress"

Again, no argument in principle, but there's also some other sides of reality. I'm newly married. We need to buy a house, make it a home, keep putting the stepdaughter through university, get my Parkinson's-afflicted dad settled, and so on. I can certainly spin up another $3,600 a year - heck, that's only a small-to-moderate sized single extra project for me - but "airplane" isn't the highest priority in the line for those funds and they wouldn't be going to renting a hangar, believe me. Nor the next$3,600, or the next, or the next after that. My choice is "do it on the cheap", or "wait 5-10 years". I don't want to wait anymore. I've been here on HBA for twelve years with no airplane to show for it, and still miss aviation events with friends because it's too much time to drive in a very busy business-owner's life. Very tired of waiting. I love soaring, but you can't travel with it, so I'm spooling up a Sport Pilot ticket so I can have a traveling airplane. But that airplane, if I can have it fast enough, has to cost as little as possible and store without costing a dime - because all the dimes are going elsewhere, where they belong.

I know I'm not alone in this sort of situation; it's a cliché in homebuilding and why we see so many builders at opposite ends of the age spectrum and relatively fewer in the middle. Family comes first, aviation comes second.

Sorry about all the whining. Some days it just gets a little big.

Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
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6. Nov 4, 2017

### Riggerrob

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Tiger Tim, you are lucky.
When we get mild, wet snow in Canada it can be heavy enough to collapse house roofs! I have seen wet snow ruin a wing on a Homebuilt that was tied down outside. I have also seen a Cessna 172 that accumulated too much wet snow on its tail. The imbalance flipped it over ..... beside the seaplane ramp!!!!! No structural damage, but guess how much it cost to overhaul the engine, instruments and radio????

7. Nov 4, 2017

### Little Scrapper

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Money allows the buying of insulation. But yeah, making more money is a great option.

Topaz. Perhaps a good solution for you would be to buddy up with a couple guys and share a hangar? There's gotta be a a few unique options to get you going, whatever I can do to help let me know.

9. Nov 4, 2017

### mcrae0104

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Check out their wing fold demo next year at OSH. I think they have done one at 10 and 2 every day for the past several years.

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10. Nov 4, 2017

### Riggerrob

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Dear Clifton Fred,
Your pseudo wood pile is a great example of thinking-outside-the-box. But a bright fellow could take that concept several steps farther.

Did you see the tiny hobbit house that my buddy built last year?
No?
Don't feel bad as most other people missed his masterpiece too.
He was building "tiny houses" when a customer commissioned him to build a "hobbit house." My buddy is a solid framer and brilliant at cabinetry, but he never learned anything about painting after kindergarten. The final product was about the same size as an ISO 40 shipping container. Plumbing and wiring was all "to code." The interior had beautiful wooden arches and cabinets. The doors and windows were round and as great as any hobbit ever built.
But the paint job????? Did I tell you that my buddy is not a very good painter? It was three or more colours, blotchy and sporadic.
Anyways, I helped him settle it on the new site. Then he drags out the oddest collection of tent poles you have ever seen: all different lengths. He bolted these poles to the corners of the tiny house and tossed an army-surplus camouflage net over top. NOW it looks like a hobbit house! The lumpy shape blurs into the blackberry bushes and coniferous trees behind and most passers-by never notice the hobbit house!

I will admit that my story may have GROWN a FEW EMBELLISHMENTS over time, but the moral remains the same: "a little camouflage can bore the neighbors."

11. Nov 4, 2017

### pictsidhe

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Thinking outside the box? But I thought Mark wanted something that would go in a box?

12. Nov 4, 2017

### Little Scrapper

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A box that turns in to an airplane.

Why do I need to do all the thinking around here?

13. Nov 4, 2017

### gtae07

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Back on topic, I think the key to making it not be a hassle would be a design that unloads and sets up in an absolute minimum of time. If I can go from setting the parking brake on my truck to ready for preflight in less than five minutes, that's no worse than pulling up to the hangar, opening the door, and pulling the airplane out. It does mean I have to swing by the house and get the airplane first, but I can live with that.

Panther-style folding wings with sailplane-style control connections might be the way to go. Keep the fuel in the fuselage or fixed wing roots to save plumbing complexity and eliminate potential mistakes while assembling.

And this is how he chooses to tell us... sneaking it into a discussion on folding wings

I get you on the family first, though. With a toddler at home and a wife looking at possible brain surgery next year it's hard to get time and money together to work on the airplane.

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14. Nov 4, 2017

### Topaz

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I feel the same way. Heck, even fifteen minutes is acceptable to me, as I can do the preflight while I'm setting up the airplane. I've yet to see anyone with a small plane get airborne within fifteen or even twenty minutes of opening the hangar doors, so I don't see case for the "takes too long, I won't do it" complaint. Sailplanes can be hooked up in 5-10 minutes and be rolling out to the launch point, if you're in a hurry. With, as you say, the fuel in the fuselage and self-connecting controls, I don't see why a sportplane should be any worse. Should be easier, actually, since the wings are smaller.

Ain't I a devil... :gig: Well, yes, married July 15th of this year, to my girlfriend of the last 10 years. You guys don't need to be bored with the details of my personal life, although I've broken that rule five ways from Sunday on this thread... :roll:

Sometimes life puts other priorities in the way, and not always fun ones. All my hopes for your wife speedy and complete recovery!

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15. Nov 4, 2017

### mcrae0104

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If you take a close look at the first photo I posted, there's a quick-disconnect for the fuel. I suppose this is a potential point for assembly error, but it is just about as simple as it can be done (for a wing with an RV-style leading edge tank). Also you'll see a little spring on the wing rib just forward fof the spar, which contacts a washer on the side of the fuselage for the fuel gauge sender. Pretty slick.

16. Nov 4, 2017

### Topaz

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We've discussed this before, somewhere. I'd pull it up if I could find it, but I'll just summarize instead.

Putting the fuel in the wings on a folding-wing airplane introduces multiple potential failure points and modes:

* Fuel quick-disconnects: What's their failure mode, fail open or fail closed? If the former, you're dripping or spilling fuel all over your trailer, on the road, near the hot exhaust of your car. Can you say, "BOOM!"? If they fail closed, you're looking at potential fuel starvation as soon as the engine drains the gascolator and fuel lines inside the fuselage. That's probably during climbout right after takeoff. Crunch.

* Same question for the fuel indicator and sender: How does it fail? Does it give no indication at all ("empty tank" as, say, Honda cars do), or does it just continue to show the last amount indicated by the sender, as do Toyotas? The former is good - it makes the pilot think there's no fuel even if there is - while the latter is bad: It could lead to someone taking off with less fuel than they think. Crunch again.

* Worst of all, worse than the other two, is the need to provide a gas cap and vent system for the tank that seals and vents in any orientation. That's more taxing even than most aerobatic setups, because the wing could be weeks in an "unusual orientation", rather than minutes. Filler caps would need to hold seal against whatever "head" is developed by a full tank with the wing in folded position, and the vent lines would need to provide free venting regardless of whether the wing is extended or folded. Atmospheric pressure changes with the weather, and you don't want your tank collapsing in the hangar because you parked it right before a storm and then a high-pressure system moved in. The vents can't "break" with the wing fold, as a result, but have to provide both free venting in both positions and be free from siphoning in both positions. And also must not allow "slosh" in the tanks to spit fuel overboard during trailering over bumps, through turns, grades, etc. If Panther has figured it all out somehow, more power to them, but it's harder than it sounds at first glance, and is quite a design problem.

For all the hysteria these days about fuselage tanks (and yet anyone would fly in an Aeronca Champ, go figure), in the case of folding wings, putting the fuel in the fuselage eliminates a ton of potential failure modes that have to be designed-around in as fail-safe a manner as possible.

17. Nov 4, 2017

### gtae07

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Ah, they've improved it! When I saw it at Oshkosh a few years ago it was a manual hookup with a short flex hose, IIRC. Nifty

Airborne that fast? No. But I've gone from pulling up at the hangar to taxi in less than 15. The trick with folding wings is not adding appreciably to that time--fifteen more minutes to fold/unfold on each end is a deal-breaker.

Thanks! She has some more testing in February to hopefully nail down the origination point of the seizures, and that will tell us which of the available treatment options is likely to be best. Best case, they're focused mainly or exclusively on one side (preferably the right), because that gives us treatment options with better odds of eliminating them completely, or even just knocking them down to the point she gets auras but doesn't lose consciousness. It would mean putting up with some level of memory deficit in certain areas but I think she's willing to take that hit, at this point.

Never take being able to drive for granted...

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18. Nov 4, 2017

### Riggerrob

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Victor Bravo has a good point.
I favour storing a folded airplane inside because I hate wasting time wiping dust, bugs, ice, snow, etc. before I can go flying.

Neighbourhood also determines the level of theft/vandalism protection required. If I parked my airplane in a nasty area - say Compton, California - I would definitely want to hide it in a strong steel shipping container.. Steel buildings discourage amateur thieves .... and most thieves are amateurs.

I also favour an airplane that can be ready to fly within 15 minutes. I want to be able to pull it out, remove "travel locks," pull a wingtip to flight configuration, release a handle (built into wing tip), confirm primary lock pins in the cockpit and complete my walk-around.

All wires, fuel lines and control linkages should remain permanently connected.
Second-best is linkages that automatically connect (like naval aircraft) as the wings extend. And I want plexiglas inspection windows over all major bell cranks, etc.

Primary lock pins should be blatantly obvious in the cockpit. It should be impossible to sit in the cockpit, turn the ignition, look out the window without a loose primary lock poking me in the buttocks. A good example is the Cessna 150's (internal) control lock that blocks the starter key until it is in the "flight" configuration.

Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
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19. Nov 4, 2017

### blane.c

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I checked with the airport manager, airplane or trailer they don't care what I park in the tie down as long as I pay the rent, I told them it was 27 foot trailer 8 foot wide and eleven foot tall still no problem. I plan to park trailer at airport with ultralight in it spring and summer, and only drag the whole thing home when it needs something more serious done to it than I can do in the field. I am building two, wheeled wing cradles, they are basically a open frame that positions flat under each wing to support it while it is being detached from the airplane, then they will pivot so the wing will rotate 90 degrees and roll into the box trailer. I built trailer box stout to be a secure place to store the ultralight from weather and vandals.

20. Nov 5, 2017

### Riggerrob

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Dear gtaeo07,
Great picture of "the box the Twin Otter came in!"
Skyvan is my all time favourite jump-plane. Just the right size with a perfectly-sized ramp.

Are you suggesting that we stow wings and tail inside the fuselage when we are not flying? Hah! Hah!

I was babbling about boxes, ISO shipping containers and hobbit houses in an effort to jolt reactionaries out of their nay-saying.
For example, one nay-sayer grumbled about the risk of shipping containers flooding. Yes, I am familiar with the floods that have plagued Skylark (Lake Elsinore) and Corona Airports. Oddly! Southern Californians seem to be the only people surprised by spring floods!
May I suggest that a bright Homebuilder could invent a way to turn seasonal flooding to his/her advantage?
River flood plains can be the perfect place for sport airfields. Heck! All the airports within an hour of Vancouver are built on flood plains: Vancouver International Airport, Boundary Bay, Delta Heritage Airpark, Langely, Fort Langely, Langely, Pitt Meadows, Abbotsford (x2), Chilliwack, Hope and a few ultralight strips. Pemberton Airport is beside a fast-flowing, glacier-fed River.
All those airports are zoned as: "agricultural or aviation use only." Since most are within the Agricultual Land Reserve (see the book "The Hundred Mile Diet") there are severe restrictions on permanent structures that are not "agricultural." OTOH gov't officials do not care about temporary buildings or trailers on pilings.
Since Canadian weather-guessers are pretty good about predicting spring floods, we always get a few days or a week's warning before flood waters get dangerously high.
A bright bunch of homebuilders, gyro-copters, gliders or skydivers could band together on a seasonal lease of a pasture down near the river. Every Halloween they drag their trailers home and every spring they host a work party to return trailers/shipping containers/tents to that pasture.