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Cheap plane tug

Old 26th Mar 2019, 07:21
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Cheap plane tug

So, finally figured it made sense to get one of these - but perhaps not at the full price.

Secondhand is rare, which got me thinking - there must be non-aviation machines that are both more available and cheaper (no longer the 'exotic' aviation item).

Anyone found something that does the same job more cheaply?

Thanks, Sam.
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 08:37
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Way back, a group at Thetford used an old milk float. The batteries were shot for road use, so cheap, but they kept it on trickle charge and was enough for hauling the Commanche in and out of the hanger.
DW
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 09:00
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Golf buggy...? Horse..? several huskies...? old go-cart..?
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 09:04
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I converted a Mobility Scooter to pull my aircraft up a seriously sloping floor hangar. The scooter cost me 20 and a couple of hours with a welder making suitable bracketry, also altered a towbar to fit and hey ho it works brilliantly and has done for the last 5years.
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 09:12
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Some have converted a snow blower.
The below is from a well known Van’s RV forum.
Tip: Build Your Own Tug - VAF Forums

”The RV-10 turned out to be a little challenging to push back into the hanger by myself, especially when the ramp has snow and ice. The latest discussion about pushing by the propeller on a CS prop convince me I needed to come up with a tug fast and I did not like the idea of using an electric winch. I found a snow blower at Lowe's.com that would work. 208 cc electric start engine with 4 forward and 2 reverse speeds. It was on sale for only $499.00 with free shipping to the store. 4 bolts removed the auger assembly as a unit and I had some scrap steel from other projects to fabricate the arms and pins. It is built wide enough to allow use with or without wheel fairings. The arms bolt onto the frame with 5/16" bolts. The forward bolts are threaded into a 1" round aluminum rod that fits between the frame sides and provides rigidity to the arms. I had some scrap sheet aluminum that I cut, fit, bent, and painted to finish off the drive belt guard exposed since the auger assembly was removed. I already tested it on snow and it works great getting the RV-10 up the grade and over the concrete 1" lips.”
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 09:56
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Modify a lawn tractor aka ride on mower.
They should be widely available used.
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 10:06
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Another vote for a lawn tractor. We used one at a flying school with a regular ball-type tow hitch at the back. The other piece of kit was a sturdy towbar that fitted that tow ball. We did find that the towbar connections on the C172 nose gear sometimes got damaged due to carelessness. Keep in mind that you can easily overstress things this way.
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 12:36
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Tow ball, a piece of old heating line, an unused old tow bar for the plane and couple of screws to put it together ... tow it with the car - no need for a separate vehicle. Yes, you best need a reduction gear as in a real all-terrain vehicle.
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 13:48
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A lawn tractor, and if it has to be cheap, get a used one with mower deck rusted apart.
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 17:12
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A local Starman owner has a remote controlled crawler that picks up the tailwheel.
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 18:45
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Surely the first question should be asked.....what aircraft needs to be towed?
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 18:51
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Originally Posted by Evanelpus View Post
Surely the first question should be asked.....what aircraft needs to be towed?
Microlight?
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 18:56
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You could get yourself a wife....



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Old 27th Mar 2019, 09:22
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B2N2 tops all the suggestions so far

However, FWIW, we used my old Fordson Major for the bigger machine(s), and a quadbike for anything smaller.

Noting Shoestring's post - I did try a mobility scooter on the C47 but that didn't work too well:


Last edited by First_Principal; 27th Mar 2019 at 09:43.
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 09:50
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Tug sold (owner never replied to my message). BUT, still more interested in imaginative solutions.

PA32, in answer to another post.
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 09:52
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Mobility scooter will move a rolling load of 2000kgs?
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 10:27
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Quote... Mobility scooter will move a rolling load of 2000kgs? As long as it is slightly downhill. It would never climb a 1:10 slope.

Just wondering how that Snowblower turns with all the wheels pointing in the same direction. Does it require the front wheel to be lifted..?
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 10:38
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Downhill it'll move itself!
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 11:06
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B2N2 I thought the idea was to get a cheap option, and you have suggested getting a wife???
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Old 28th Mar 2019, 11:41
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Originally Posted by scifi View Post
Quote... Mobility scooter will move a rolling load of 2000kgs? As long as it is slightly downhill. It would never climb a 1:10 slope.

Just wondering how that Snowblower turns with all the wheels pointing in the same direction. Does it require the front wheel to be lifted..?
Snowblower only has 2 wheels.
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