This information comes courtesy of our friends at Minimax Aircraft Tugs (with a few inserts from the cheeky idiots that work for us). Minimax Tugs are available on Flyboy Accessories for virtually any GA aircraft.
If moving your aircraft has become difficult and will weigh in on your decision to take a flight, it is probably time to consider purchasing an aircraft tug. There are several factors to consider in your decision making to help ensure you purchase the proper tug with the right power source. As pilots, we can all agree that you can never have too much power when you really need it.
Minimax Aircraft Tugs are highly engineered and designed to be affordable, light-weight, portable, and capable of towing aircraft to 4,000 lbs. gross weight. With this said, there are some considerations which should be understood before purchasing. Namely, what is the slope into your hangar and what type door track or curb do you have to cross to hangar your plane.
Slope is calculated as a percentage of rise and run with 45˚ being 100%. (i.e. 3” rise in 10’ run = 2.5%)
To understand slope (gradient) consider for every 1% gradient the energy required to move an object up-slope will increase by 15%. This means at 1% gradient your plane is now 15% harder to roll. At maximum 2.5% gradient it is 37.5% harder to roll. Our tugs will move your plane and negotiate a maximum 2.5% gradient. Any gradient over this is enough for your plane to roll under the influence of gravity. 6% gradient is the generally accepted maximum allowed in road construction.
Door tracks or thresholds are typically the most problematic area of moving one’s aircraft, but are relatively simple to overcome. If you have a 1” high curb or track, a ramp 40” long x 1” high will create a gradient of 2.5%. For every 1/4″ of obstacle height the ramp must be at least 10” long. We have found that most Cabinet Shops will come to your hangar to take measurements and estimate making the ramps (2-pcs. tapered hardwood 8” wide) for each aircraft main wheel. The aircraft nose wheel typically does not require a ramp.
In our experience low aircraft tire pressure is the number one reason for poor towing performance. It’s good practice to check tire pressure often.
Most Minimax Tugs are available with multiple options for powering your tug. Many ship standard with a 20V Cordless Dewalt system, and typically come with an option to upgrade to a Dewalt 110V or a Milwaukee 28V Cordless System. If you have any questions about which power system may be right for you, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, just buy the most expensive one. Because you can always use more power.
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