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Thread: Fold wings and tow?

  1. #1
    Eric Witherspoon's Avatar
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    Fold wings and tow?

    I've seen this question on multiple forums / threads. New homebuilder, looking for something with folding wings - for the express purpose of keeping the airplane at home, and towing it to/from the airport and re-rigging for every flight. Does anyone actually DO this? Or is it just a marketing dream?

    They often cite cost as a reason - can't afford a tie down, much less a hangar.

    I don't do this myself. My reality is, after spending 3 years and 1000+ hours crafting my flying machine, I'm paying for a hangar. Even if I had the above idea when I started, that after spending years and the many hours of building, I probably couldn't bring myself to risk hauling it over the highways for every flight - or risk the ongoing damage possible in my garage...
    Murphy's 13th: Every solution breeds new problems...

    http://www.spoonworld.com

  2. #2
    rosiejerryrosie's Avatar
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    I used to do this with a MiniMax 103. Took about a half hour to mount the wings each time. You are correct - there was more damage done to the airplane towing it than was ever done flying it. A real PITA and I rented hangar space as soon as I could. But, for those without access to a hangar, it is a definate solution to being able to fly and house an airplane. Better than not flying at all....
    Cheers,
    Jerry

    NC22375
    65LA out of 07N Pennsylvania

  3. #3

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    I feel like I just answered this, maybe on another forum. I unfold / fold the wings of my Kolb every flight. Takes 10 minutes each way. I don't tow it every time though; I generally keep the plane in the [enclosed] trailer at the airport, and only bring it home occasionally when I need to work on it (in the winter, I keep it it at home and tow it to the airport for the occasional flight). At the airport, I pay the outdoor tiedown rate, a lot less than hangar rent (not that there are any available hangars anyway).

  4. #4
    Banned
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    Sonex Onex, all aluminum with folding wings.

    http://www.sonexaircraft.com/index.html

  5. #5
    Eric Witherspoon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. Anyone else with any experience I'd like to hear it. I believe Dana's response makes pretty good sense - if it's got easy-fold wings, and if you can leave an enclosed trailer at the airport (or squeeze it into an otherwise "full" hangar) - that might be a good way to achieve some additional functionality with folding wings. As to the Onex, no customer completions yet, though I have seen it up close - and (see my avatar photo) I believe they make a good airplane . Also the easiest wing-fold I've ever seen - there WILL be some added utility with wings THAT easy to fold. If you haven't seen it, it's about 15 seconds either folding up to store or unfolding for flight.
    Murphy's 13th: Every solution breeds new problems...

    http://www.spoonworld.com

  6. #6
    Although the wings don't fold, both the Volks Plane 1 & 2 were designed so the wings were quickly removeable and the plans included details of a wing rack and tow bar that fit on the plane. Add a light bar with a license plate and it would be towable on road for fairly short distances. The VP 1 plans are still available. The VP 2 plans are no longer sold, but details are available in the yahoo group. My own plane has folding wings (Fisher Horizon 1) but I would be very leary of towing it on its wheels on the highway and would want extra bracing on the wings in the folded position. I am designing a special trailer for it now which will probably use very heavy duty truck tarp to keep it out of the wind and elements when it is being towed.

    Cheers
    Daniel

  7. #7
    I leave my plane folded in the garage. takes about 5 minutes and I am ready to fly The Rocky Mtn
    wings Ridge runner is a great plane Love it - I have a trailer and it tows real easy.
    I used to tow to the airport and kept the plane at home. I moved out of town. Now I keep it in the garage and fly out of my back yard.
    A friend with a Kitfox used to keep his at home and trailerd to the airport every time he wanted to fly
    Kitfox Avid flyer Ridgrunner Skyraider Kitfox Lite are all great quick fold designs
    some of the Kolbs fold too but with a little more effort. I had a Mini Max that I made a trailer for. The wings came off fairly easily
    but it was really a two person job. good luck Da_point_man
    212-b.jpg

  8. #8

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    Dyke Delta

    Check out the Dyke Delta. Explicitly designed with folding wings and made to tow behind a car.

    The original designer, John Dyke is still doing this with his prototype, for the past 40+ years!!!

  9. #9
    EAA Staff
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    A couple of other good designs with wing folding capability to consider:
    1) the Fly Baby, designed by Pete Bowers, which won a EAA design contest in which the main criteria were folding wings, trailerable, easy to build and safe to fly. Great website http://www.bowersflybaby.com/ and builder's forum http://groups.yahoo.com/group/flybabylist/
    2) The Sonerai I, II and IIS, plans and support available from Steve Bennett at Great Plains Aircraft http://www.greatplainsas.com/sonerai.html and builder's forum http://sonerai.proboards.com/

  10. #10

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    Check Out the Highlander, Too

    An excellent design with wings that fold in about two minutes: the Highlander, from Just Aircraft: http://www.justaircraft.com. Read about it on the Wings Forum, too: http://www.wingsforum.com/viewforum.php?f=218&start=0, and check out these videos from Steve Henry: Teaser for his DVD:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHXnQCE0kG0; Deadstick takeoff in a Highlander: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeQP-H_31JQ; Highlander crosswind capability: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=al5eA4WvqOk; Playing around on a circle track in a Highlander: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSEpHZp-Ra8
    Last edited by SheepdogRD; 10-28-2011 at 03:04 PM.

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