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Towable ? Long range towing ?

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Pilot-34

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Any thoughts or recommendations on an airplane you could tow cross country?
Mission
A quick return from west coast to to mid Illinois for one person and 50 pounds of gear
Must be towable enough to make a trip or two a month
Could anything survive that sort of abuse ?
 

jedi

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Yes! I think you are looking for an aircraft that you can tow cross country in a trailer and use at either end. Is that correct?

Twister!

Silence Twister - Wikipedia

If you have the money, I have the plane (and trailer)!

Are you talking 50 pounds or baggage in the plane? That may take some planning. 350 pound useful load but CG could be off, depending on?
 
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Vigilant1

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I don't know of one. What I've read indicates towing is tough on airplanes, especially if on their own gear. Lots of vibration of various frequencies, rocks and other debris, etc. I'd look for another option rather than make the compromises required in the airplane.
If there's a need to travel and arrive on a date certain, GA isn't the answer unless the flight is less than about 600 miles. That's because 600 miles is about the limit most people plan for a one day drive in a car, and a car is probably your only viable backup plan if the weather is IMC, icing enroute, or other situations for which most GA planes and/or pilots are not suited.
 

jedi

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Apparently there is confusion on the OP question.

If the plan is to aerotow long range I can assist with a SGS 2-32 glider and a Cessna 175 towplane that will also do the job, including baggage. (Insert smilies here!)

Can you be more precise in your desires?

The secret is that there are very few aviation related problems that money will not solve. (I just made that up but there is probably a plaque with that saying somewhere in the Pentagon. )
 
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wsimpso1

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Any thoughts or recommendations on an airplane you could tow cross country?
Mission
A quick return from west coast to to mid Illinois for one person and 50 pounds of gear
Must be towable enough to make a trip or two a month
Could anything survive that sort of abuse ?
Specifics help avoid confusion. When you say towing, how you intend to tow is an important issue. So are the associated issues of meeting up with the tow vehicles and hardware.

Are planning to tow behind a road vehicle? Will it be the same road vehicle each time? Towing an airplane on its own landing gear and tires is not a long distance thing - neither the tires nor the bearings will stand highway speeds for long, and when a tire or bearing tears up, you are likely to tear up the airplane too. Towing an airplane on an open trailer or a dolley set can also be rough on it - airplanes tend to be fragile in the face of aggregates used in roads and in the face of morons you will attract at every stop you make. Towing in a closed trailer is done all the time, but that means somebody has to drive the trailer and a tow vehicle back to home base while someone else is flying.

Sailplanes are routinely moved all over by dismounting the wings and tail, then sliding it into purpose made trailers for towing behind cars and trucks. It helps that sail planes are designed for regular disassembly and reassembly. There are a number of airplanes that fit the bill. Diamond's motorglider, all of the Sonex airplanes, RV12, and others are all designed around frequent teardown and reassembly.

Are you planning to tow behind another airplane? That is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Two airplanes worth of drag, both birds need a pilot, and runway operations get complicated on a cross country. But you could do it...

Billsk
 

Hephaestus

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My hunch,

The usual time this pops up is someone doing RV deliveries. Goal is get back to Iowa from usually Texas/California or Washington as fast as possible. And do it again.
 

TFF

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You are looking at an economic question. Personally you have to ask theses tests questions. Would it would be better to have two cheap airplanes in separate places? Would it be cheaper to fly there and have a cheap car in place? Certain times of the year flying or towing will be not the best, is that ok?

To me a trailered airplane long distance will not be A quick deploy like a ten mile trip. You will have to lock it all down with a trailer that will have to have a dedicated load for a light weight airplane. It’s not going to be a universal trailer, it will need to be customized. Yes there are pictures of flat towed airplanes, but I bet they don’t have 5000 miles under them on the road.
Dollar per mile it might be cheaper to fly. A Mooney flying to the in-laws in my case equals the same fuel cost as my old Suburban and my present truck. Get there in a third of the time too. Different airplane different numbers but the airplane cross country is hard to beat on many levels. Beater car or truck stashed ready to go at destination. A guy a friend flys with has five Beater cars around the US.

You have to consider even if it’s not cheaper, is is significantly more expensive? Everyone’s budget is different but a variance of 5-10% is pretty low. The whole point of the exercise is about convenience really. What is really going to be convenient at the dollar mark? Let’s say over five years to really have depth.
 

Pilot-34

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Lol yeah I get it it’s so tough it’s pretty near inconceivable!
No I don’t wanna tow a trailer just a airplane
I really need george jetsons briefcase.!
If I’m going to use a trailer I need to put the trailer in the plane for the return.
 

Pilot-34

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My hunch,

The usual time this pops up is someone doing RV deliveries. Goal is get back to Iowa from usually Texas/California or Washington as fast as possible. And do it again.
Pretty close I don’t do RVs and I don’t have any time crunch
Lots of time to goof off on the way back
 

BBerson

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The small wheels and bearings on my trailer will last more than 2000 miles over the rough Alaska highway. I did it. Just use the proper bearings.
 

Vigilant1

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Strictly talking money, unless the situation is very unusual, it normally ends up being more expensive than buying a commercial ticket.
 

proppastie

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Fly the plane and rent a car when you get there, fly the plane back. If you hit IMC sit and wait it out. No airplane could be towed that long distance on it's own wheels....Do you have cross-country flying experience....just do it, watch the weather and learn to be patient. If you have a schedule and can not break it then drive or fly commercial.
 

Pilot-34

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Lol yeah pretty cheep to fly commercial or drive a rental home usually about $200
 

Hephaestus

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Running some 12" trailer tires as your mains is probably do-able. That'd give you 2100lbs towing legal...

Which is harder swap nose gear for trailer towbar, and protect engine/prop (tricycle) or install towbar and ensure the tail doesn't get damaged by running backwards for a few thousand miles? Either way the wing fold mechanism and latches probably need serious reinforcement.
 

dino

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Messerchmitt Monsun Bo209, aerobatic, foldable and designed to be towed on its own wheels. Problem is finding one
1592077518298.png
 

wsimpso1

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Running some 12" trailer tires as your mains is probably do-able. That'd give you 2100lbs towing legal...

Which is harder swap nose gear for trailer towbar, and protect engine/prop (tricycle) or install towbar and ensure the tail doesn't get damaged by running backwards for a few thousand miles? Either way the wing fold mechanism and latches probably need serious reinforcement.
Sounds like it could work. Main wheels and bearings would have to be roadable trailer type. Taildragger airplane would work backwards with a towbar that picks up the tailwheel and holds it off the ground. Tricycle gear airplane would take some creativity. Maybe a nose wheel strut that comes out with a couple bolts and a towbar goes in. Wing tiedown system would have to be sturdy and collapsible. A different option would be to make whatever rig you have go in a box for standard UPS shipping back home while your fly. You could even swap road tires for airplane tires and ship the road tires home.

My big fears involve stone damage and morons who just have to poke and prod every time you stop.

Billski
 

proppastie

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Sounds like you are delivering cars. What are you going to do with the tow bar? Can you rent oneway towbars. Or do you plan to put in the plane fo the flight back
 

Hephaestus

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My thinking on the towbar would be a lot like the harbour freight cheapy trailers - keep the plane weight down so you can run a light 2" single bar (taildraggers maybe 2 for simplicity). But if it fits in the back to fly - Or could be bolted to store below the fuselage...

The trailer wheels would suck in some conditions as aircraft tires. and you wouldn't be relying on them as much for suspension... But that's things you can control/mange/plan for...
 

Pilot-34

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Sounds like you are delivering cars. What are you going to do with the tow bar? Can you rent oneway towbars. Or do you plan to put in the plane fo the flight back
No point to doing it if everything doesn’t go in the plane for the trip back
Yep the tow bar etc all goes in the airplane for the trip back
 

proppastie

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Sounds like whole new design, trailer wheels, big enough for a bolt on bumper jack plus signal lights for the plane. Or maybe small enough to cartop carry, including cartop angles. Too bad the PPC are so slow.
 
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