Aircraft tie-downs failed; pilot/owner's fault ??
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$250k storm damage was reported when a pilot used those ‘inexpensive', hardware-store, cam-lock-sliding straps (worn & wet) instead of a ‘good’ rope. How is your airplane secured? Or how about the airplane ‘up-wind’ of you ??

4 Replies
Votes

Even good rope can be tied wrong. A brief survey of the tiedowns on the airplanes near yours should be enough to find obvious problems. I would report them to the FBO to fix. There's no point in getting into an argument with another pilot on the ramp.

Votes

When a wind storm flipped my Ercoupe over, the motorcycle tie-down straps I had on it held.  The eye bolt in the wing broke.

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I'm amazed that some pilots do not remember from their flight training how to tie a “hurricane knot" or “taut line hitch” using a rope, which is the usual way to secure an airplane on the ramp. There are lots of devices on the market that make it easier but not necessarily more secure. Complicated tie down straps have more potential points of failure. I carry 3 fifteen foot lengths of 5/8" double braided nylon rope in the tie down kit in my airplane in case there are no ropes on the ramp or if they look worn. I've landed at many airports where there are no ropes. AOPA has a good article on tiedowns at https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2017/june/flight-training-magazine/tiedowns . I've seen pilots who get the hurricane knot wrong by not pulling the second loop so that it is under the first loop. The knot will slip if this isn't done. When I land at an airport where no tie down rings are available, I can usually back my Maule MX-7-180 into the grass and use ground anchors such as Fly Ties (https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/pspages/flyties.php?clickkey=53740) or The Claw (https://millennium-outdoors.com/product/c-100-aircraft-anchoring-system/?v=7516fd43adaa). My personal favorite is “The Claw” because the larger separation of the three spikes is less likely to loosen the ground in a small area. I don't like spiral anchors because the triangular top section can bend or break and they are more difficult to use in hard ground. Having a portable tie down kit in the airplane is essential for back country airstrips.

Votes

A reminder that ‘hardware store’ rope is typically garbage.  Very weak.  If you are going to use rope, use a quality rope like Sta-Set line that is used on sailboats.  It is available from marine dealers, Ebay, etc.  Sta-Set is typically about 40-50 times stronger than hardware store rope of the same size.