Tiedown Knots

Did you ever arrive at your destination airport and discover that you really don't know how to properly tie down the airplane? If so, take a look at these easy to tie knots and with a little practice you will be ready the next time you tie your airplane down.

There are different kinds of knots one can tie, but I have chosen to illustrate the two most commonly used, the double locking half hitch and the bowline.

Obviously the type of lines available at different tiedown spots are varied but chains offer the best security followed by nylon rope with at least 3000-pound breaking strength (1/2" diameter) for singles and 4000-pound breaking strength for light twins.

It is important to never tie the lines directly to the struts but instead use the tie down rings provided. Ropes can easily slip to a point where even slight side pressures can damage them. Allow for about an inch of movement "play" when the lines are tightened but be careful not to overtighten as this could exert inverted flight stresses on the aircraft.

The tiedown lines should also be angled forward from the wings to the anchor spot and aft from the tail to the anchor spot. This will give the best protection and security to hold down the aircraft.

Double Locking Half Hitch

The animation at the left shows the first set of half hitches being tied, a second set (identical to the first) should be tied about six inches to one foot below the first to complete the knot.

• Run the line through the tiedown ring from the back of the airplane to the front.

• Circle the line under, then over, the aft line, then through and behind the loop (front line) for the first half hitch.

• Repeat and circle the line again under the aft line, then over and in front of the just created half hitch, then through and behind the front line loop.

• Pull down to lock the first set of half hitches and then tie a second set 6-12" lower to complete the tiedown knot.


The animation at the left shows the bowline knot, it should be tied about six to twelve inches below the tiedown ring.

• Run the line through the tiedown ring from the back of the airplane to the front.

• Create a loop on the aft line by twisting a section of rope backwards towards you so that the loop faces the front of the airplane and the aft line (running down to the ground) is behind the line (running up to the tiedown ring).

• Thread the line through and over the loop just created, then under the aft line, circle it back around and over the aft line.

• Finish the knot by threading the line back through the loop and pull it tight.

Don't forget to set the brakes and install the gust locks if you intend to leave the aircraft for the night or extended period of time.

Hopefully these knots will serve you well and if you would like more information about securing your aircraft take a look at the Federal Aviation Administration's circular AC20-35C "Tiedown Sense".

Click here to get the FAA Tiedown Sense advisory circular AC20-35C.

Goodyear Inflatoplane

Have you ever heard of an inflatable airplane?

Believe it or not the Goodyear Aircraft Company built 12 of them between the years 1956-1962!

Inflatoplane folded upThe Goodyear Aircraft Company built this airplane in response to the U.S. Army request for an aircraft that could be used as a possible rescue plane that could be dropped in a hardened container behind enemy lines.

The airplane was made of a special sandwich of rubberized materials called "airmat".
Inflatoplane folded upThe inner portion of this airmat material was composed of numerous meshes of nylon threads which, when inflated with air, would form a strong "I" beam structure.
The shape of the wings and other flight structures were maintained inflight by a steady circulation of air provided by the aircraft's engine after the initial inflation of the airplane, (which took as little as 25 psi. and 5 minutes to inflate) and was said to be quite rigid. The fuselage was made of airship fabric with high-strength, fan-shaped patches of rubberized material providing attachments for struts and metal supports that connected the landing gear and the pilot's seat to the aircraft.

Goodyear made two versions of this aircraft, a single place, GA-468 and a two place GA-466.

The GA-466 was the two-seater version, 2 in (51 mm) shorter, but with a 6 ft (1.8 m) longer wingspan than the GA-468. A more powerful 60 horsepower (45 kW) McCulloch 4318 engine could power the 740 pounds (340 kg) of plane and passenger to 70 miles per hour (110 km/h), although the range of the plane was limited to 275 miles (443 km).

Goodyear Inflatoplane (Single Place) GA-468
• Manufacturer: Goodyear Aircraft Company
• First Flight: 3/13/1956
• Crew: 1
• Wingspan: 22 ft. (6.7 m)
• Length: 19 ft. 7 in. (5.97 m)
• Maximum Takeoff Weight: 240 lb. (110 kg)
• Powerplant: 1, 2 stroke Nelson, 40 HP. (30 kW)
• Maximum speed: 72 mph. (116 km/h)
• Cruise speed: 60 mph (97 kph.)
• Rate of Climb: 550 ft/min (152 m/min)
• Service Ceiling: 6,500 ft (1,981 m)
• Total Fuel: 20 US gal. (76 L)
• Range: 390 miles (630 km)
• Takeoff Distance: 250 feet
• Landing Distance: 350 feet

FAA Allowed Maintenance

Did you ever wonder what maintenance on a certified aircraft you could (or could not do) as a non certificated airframe and powerplant mechanic or repairmen pilot?

FAR Part 43 specifies who may do what to an aircraft in the way of maintenance, repair or alteration. It requires that only properly certified mechanics work on aircraft and authorize them for return to service.
FAR Part 43 does allow preventative maintenance to be performed by a certificated pilot, holding at least a Private certificate, on an aircraft owned or operated by that pilot, provided the aircraft is not used in commercial service. click here to view AC 43-12A; Preventative Maintenance

Maintenance Allowed by the FAA for Aircraft Owners/ Operators
• Removal, installation, and repair of landing gear tires.
• Replacing elastic shock absorber cords on landing gear.
• Servicing landing gear shock struts by adding oil, air, or both.
• Servicing landing gear wheel bearings, such as cleaning and greasing.
• Replacing defective safety wiring or cotter keys.
• Lubrication not requiring disassembly other than removal of nonstructural items such as cover plates, cowlings, and fairings.
• Making simple fabric patches not requiring rib stitching or the removal of structural parts or control surfaces. In the case of balloons, the making of small fabric repairs to envelopes (as defined in, and in accordance with, the balloon manufacturer's instructions) not requiring load tape repair or replacement.
• Replenishing hydraulic fluid in the hydraulic reservoir.
• Refinishing decorative coating of fuselage, balloon baskets, wing tail group surfaces (excluding balanced control surfaces), fairings, cowlings, landing gear, cabin, or cockpit interior when removal or disassembly of any primary structure or operating system is not required.
• Applying preservative or protective material to components where no disassembly of any primary structure or operating system is involved and where such coating is not prohibited or is not contrary to good practices.
• Repairing upholstery and decorative furnishings of the cabin, cockpit, or balloon basket interior when the repairing does not require disassembly of any primary structure or operating system or interfere with an operating system or affect the primary structure of the aircraft.
• Making small simple repairs to fairings, nonstructural cover plates, cowlings, and small patches and reinforcements not changing the contour so as to interfere with proper air flow.
• Replacing side windows where that work does not interfere with the structure or any operating system such as controls, electrical equipment, etc.
• Replacing safety belts.
• Replacing seats or seat parts with replacement parts approved for the aircraft, not involving disassembly of any primary structure or operating system.
• Trouble shooting and repairing broken circuits in landing light wiring circuits.
• Replacing bulbs, reflectors, and lenses of position and landing lights.
• Replacing wheels and skis where no weight and balance computation is involved.
• Replacing any cowling not requiring removal of the propeller or disconnection of flight controls.
• Replacing or cleaning spark plugs and setting of spark plug gap clearance.
• Replacing any hose connection except hydraulic connections.
• Replacing prefabricated fuel lines.
• Cleaning or replacing fuel and oil strainers or filter elements.
• Replacing and servicing batteries.
• Cleaning of balloon burner pilot and main nozzles in accordance with the balloon manufacturer's instructions.
• Replacement or adjustment of nonstructural standard fasteners incidental to operations.
• The interchange of balloon baskets and burners on envelopes when the basket or burner is designated as interchangeable in the balloon type certificate data and the baskets and burners are specifically designed for quick removal and installation.
• The installations of anti-misfueling devices to reduce the diameter of fuel tank filler openings provided the specific device has been made a part of the aircraft type certificate data by the aircraft manufacturer, the aircraft manufacturer has provided FAA-approved instructions for installation of the specific device, and installation does not involve the disassembly of the existing tank filler opening.
• Removing, checking, and replacing magnetic chip detectors.
• The inspection and maintenance tasks prescribed and specifically identified as preventive maintenance in a primary category aircraft type certificate or supplemental type certificate holder's approved special inspection and preventive maintenance program when accomplished on a primary category aircraft provided: They are performed by the holder of at least a private pilot certificate issued under part 61 who is the registered owner (including co-owners) of the affected aircraft and who holds a certificate of competency for the affected aircraft
   (1) issued by a school approved under 147.21(e) of this chapter;
   (2) issued by the holder of the production certificate for that primary category aircraft that has a special training program approved under 21.24 of this subchapter; or
   (3) issued by another entity that has a course approved by the Administrator; and The inspections and maintenance tasks are performed in accordance with instructions contained by the special inspection and preventive maintenance program approved as part of the aircraft's type design or supplemental type design.
• Removing and replacing self-contained, front instrument panel-mounted navigation and communication devices that employ tray-mounted connectors that connect the unit when the unit is installed into the instrument panel, (excluding automatic flight control systems, transponders, and microwave frequency distance measuring equipment (DME). The approved unit must be designed to be readily and repeatedly removed and replaced, and pertinent instructions must be provided. Prior to the unit's intended use, an operational check must be performed in accordance with the applicable sections of part 91.
• Updating self-contained, front instrument panel-mounted Air Traffic Control (ATC) navigational software data bases (excluding those of automatic flight control systems, transponders, and microwave frequency distance measuring equipment (DME)) provided no disassembly of the unit is required and pertinent instructions are provided. Prior to the unit's intended use, an operational check must be performed in accordance with applicable sections of part 91.

Of course all maintenance actions, including preventive maintenance performed by the certified pilot, must be recorded in the aircraft maintenance records.
The FAA has a free video which includes a sample logbook entry click here to view it...(there is a slight delay so wait for presentation)

World's Fastest Helicopters

The first time that I ever went flying was in a Bell 47 helicopter at the county fair. The fastest speed that it would go was 91 kts. (169 km/h). Helicopters have developed a lot since then and it got me to wondering what is the speed of the fastest helicopters now?

Here is a list of the ten fastest helicopters in the World as of this year (2017 Listed in order):

Top Ten Fastest Helicopters

Eurocopter X3
Airbus Experimental Compound helicopter
Maximum Speed: 255 kts. (472 km/h)

CH-47 Chinook
Boeing Rotorcraft Systems
Maximum Speed: 170 kts. (315 km/h)

Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant
Maximum Speed: 167 kts. (310 km/h)

AW101 (EH101) Merlin
Agusta and Westland Helicopters
Maximum Speed: 166 kts. (309 km/h)

Agusta Westland
Maximum Speed: 165 kts. (306 km/h)

Maximum Speed: 162 kts. (300 km/h)

KA-52 Alligator
Maximum Speed: 162 kts. (300 km/h)

MI-28N Night Hunter
Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant
Maximum Speed: 162 kts. (300 km/h)

Mi-26 Halo
Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant
Maximum Speed: 159 kts. (295 km/h)

AH-64 Apache
Hughes Helicopters (1975–1984), McDonnell Douglas (1984–1997), Boeing Defense, Space & Security (1997–present)
Maximum Speed: 158 kts. (284 km/h)



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