Chapter 11. Safety, Ground Operations, & Servicing

Tiedown Procedures for Land Planes

Securing Light Aircraft

Light aircraft are most often secured with ropes tied only at the aircraft tiedown rings provided for securing purposes. Rope should never be tied to a lift strut, since this practice can bend a strut if the rope slips to a point where there is no slack. Manila rope shrinks when wet; about 1 inch (1") of slack should be provided for movement. Too much slack allows the aircraft to jerk against the ropes. Tight tiedown ropes put inverted flight stresses on the aircraft, many of which are not designed to take such loads.

A tiedown rope holds no better than the knot. Anti-slip knots such as the bowline are quickly tied and are easy to untie. [Figure 11-10] Aircraft not equipped with tiedown fittings should be secured in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Ropes should be tied to outer ends of struts on high-wing monoplanes, and suitable rings should be provided where structural conditions permit, if the manufacturer has not already provided them.

Securing Heavy Aircraft

The normal tiedown procedure for heavy aircraft can be accomplished with rope or cable tiedown. The number of such tiedowns should be governed by anticipated weather conditions.

Most heavy aircraft are equipped with surface control locks, which should be engaged or installed when the aircraft is secured. Since the method of locking controls will vary on different type aircraft, check the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation or engaging procedures. If high winds are anticipated, control surface battens can also be installed to prevent damage. Figure 11-11 illustrates four common tiedown points on heavy aircraft.

The normal tiedown procedure for heavy aircraft should generally include the following:

  • Head airplane into prevailing wind whenever possible.
  • Install control locks, all covers and guards.
  • Chock all wheels fore and aft. [Figure 11-12]
  • Attach tiedown reels to airplane tiedown loops and to tiedown anchors or tiedown stakes. Use tiedown stakes for temporary tiedown only. If tiedown reels are not available, 1/4" wire cable or 11/2" manila line may be used.

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