Winching in reverse from the Nose Gear?

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dmloftus
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Winching in reverse from the Nose Gear?

Post by dmloftus »

I've been reviewing a lot of posts in the forums about tugs and winches. I've seen opposing statements about winching from the rear tie-down. My new T hangar has a slight grade and 1" door tracks and it's a LOT of effort to get the plane in by myself. Usually if I'm flying alone I'll get the gas truck to top me off and ask the driver to help give it a shove! Two different Diamond tech support guys say it's probably ok to winch from the rear tie-down if you don't overly stress it, but what does that mean?! They will not take an official position as they say no one has really stress-tested it like that. I certainly don't want to risk damaging the empennage. I saw a few notes about people pulling their planes nose first into their hangars but my T hangar isn't deep enough for me to do that. So I have been looking for any info on pulling the Diamond nose gear from the back. I've been searching other forums for some ideas and came across a very interesting idea on the Cirrus COPA site:

https://forum.cirruspilots.org/t/its-un ... r/55165/31

Basically you create a rig that allows you to clip onto either side of the tow bar attachment points and pull the plane in backwards. Diamond tech guys were intrigued, but again wouldn't give any official answer. Certainly the nose gear is far stronger than the rear tie-down and pulling it backwards with a winch shouldn't be any different than pushing hard against it with a tow bar as long as you can keep it moving straight back. Has anyone tried such a maneuver? Thanks!
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Re: Winching in reverse from the Nose Gear?

Post by Chris »

We used to winch using the tail tie-down (for years) but it always made me nervous. MarkA figured out a way to winch the aircraft backwards by looping some straps around the main gear struts. Only slightly more work to get it set up, and I’m sure it’s less stress on the airframe this way. I don’t know if he’s posted a description on the forum here, but if I can dig one up, I’ll provide a link.
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Re: Winching in reverse from the Nose Gear?

Post by Chris »

Here’s a link to the method that Mark and I use.

I also recommend coming up with something that you can drape over the door rails to make the transition easier. We use some custom cut wood slats since we have multiple tracks to go over, but something like a sturdy rubber mat might also work depending on the profile of the tracks.
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Re: Winching in reverse from the Nose Gear?

Post by ZAV »

An electric Best tug and some rubber threshold ramps work for me in a similar situation.
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Re: Winching in reverse from the Nose Gear?

Post by Boatguy »

I use the BestTug, plywood ramps and extension lines out into the alley on which to line up the gear..

Not clear that the BestTug is best though. Something lifts the nose wheel up entirely and would be easier than the lift/turn dance needed with the BestTug.
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Re: Winching in reverse from the Nose Gear?

Post by dmloftus »

I also recommend coming up with something that you can drape over the door rails to make the transition easier. We use some custom cut wood slats since we have multiple tracks to go over
Thanks Chris, I have custom plywood slats before and between the tracks, also wider ones to bridge a lateral drain channel.
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Re: Winching in reverse from the Nose Gear?

Post by dmloftus »

Not clear that the BestTug is best though. Something lifts the nose wheel up entirely and would be easier than the lift/turn dance needed with the BestTug.
Thanks Russ. I only need this when I fly by myself. Two people can get it in, and I have a 45' hangar with plenty of room on either side so I have some room for error. Just need something that can help me get up the incline solo. Another pilot has a Best Tug Alpha 2 or 3 down the way for his SR22. He is still challenged with the incline. Trying the less expensive experiment with the winch before shelling out $3K for the tug. I hate to spend that cash and find it's still a challenge. The other issue with DA40's is there isn't a lot of weight on the nose gear. Many people complain their tug wheels slip so they push down on the tug handles only to raise the nose gear off the ground. Do you ever have that issue?

Definitely the cradle tugs that lift the nose wheel seem great, but most of those are around $5K and up. Hoping this $200 winch and a bit of ingenuity work well enough for the few times I need it.
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Re: Winching in reverse from the Nose Gear?

Post by tahoemark »

I like the idea. Seems like nose gear should be more than tough enough (survives flight schools!). Just need to figure out how to have an even pull to keep nose gear straight.
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Re: Winching in reverse from the Nose Gear?

Post by MarkA »

The link below is to the thread about the winch configuration we use with our DA40 that uses a harness attached to the main gear.

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7098

The thread includes links to the parts list and a YouTube video of the winch in action. Since our winch has a long control cable, you can also attach the tow bar on the front wheel and drive the plane into the hanger using the winch without having to push down on the tail. The tow bar takes a bit of practice but is a little less work.

Enjoy
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