Be Careful When pushing Back Your Aircraft

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pelmet
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Be Careful When pushing Back Your Aircraft

#1 Post by pelmet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:51 am

Saw a Cessna recently with its tailfeathers removed. Apparently, the pilot was pushing it backwards from the ramp onto a grass area and the combination of its speed and the conditions of the unpaved surface adjacent to the ramp caused it to tilt taildown when the main gear reached the the soft surface. The elevator/tail struck the ground forcefully and was damaged. I suppose if the soft ground adjacent to the ramp looks like it could present difficulty in being traversed, there can be a tendency to push the aircraft backwards even more forcefully but it can lead to a tailstrike in a manner different than the kind we see on landing as the elevator can be pushed forward.

Might be best in some circumstances to push back more slowly, into a different location, etc. I seem to remember seeing near tailstrikes with tractors pushing back aircraft as well. Be careful when moving a tricycle gear aircraft backwards on soft surfaces.
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Re: Be Careful When pushing Back Your Aircraft

#2 Post by Chris M » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:11 am

Put the control lock on before pushing the plane around - it keeps the elevators near neutral and the first thing to hit the ground will be the tail tie down ring. If you're pushing hard enough to cause damage in that kind of setup you need to lay off the wheaties.
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Re: Be Careful When pushing Back Your Aircraft

#3 Post by pelmet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:27 am

Chris M wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:11 am
Put the control lock on before pushing the plane around - it keeps the elevators near neutral and the first thing to hit the ground will be the tail tie down ring. If you're pushing hard enough to cause damage in that kind of setup you need to lay off the wheaties.
Thanks Chris and good point that I had forgotten to mention. The control lock was not installed in this case and the elevator was hanging down lower than it would have been with the lock installed. That being said, I think that a tailstrike could still happen even with a lock in although I suspect that it would be less damaging with the lock in.
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Re: Be Careful When pushing Back Your Aircraft

#4 Post by J31 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:57 pm

Chris M wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:11 am
Put the control lock on before pushing the plane around - it keeps the elevators near neutral and the first thing to hit the ground will be the tail tie down ring. If you're pushing hard enough to cause damage in that kind of setup you need to lay off the wheaties.
Well yes and maybe not. It depends how the control lock sets the elevator. Some are close to neutral while others lock the elevator in close to a full down position.

Never had any problem with the tail feathers hitting the ground on the C120, C140, C170, C180, C185! :smt040
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Re: Be Careful When pushing Back Your Aircraft

#5 Post by Chris M » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:58 pm

J31 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:57 pm
Never had any problem with the tail feathers hitting the ground on the C120, C140, C170, C180, C185! :smt040
Not fair! Those all have that fancy little tail protector thingy. It's even got springs!
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Re: Be Careful When pushing Back Your Aircraft

#6 Post by oldtimer » Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:47 pm

I would sometimes use the booms to push the tail down so as to raise the nosewheel off the ground on a Cessna 337 Huff Puff to spin the airplane around. Once I got some "help" on the opposite boom and the plastic cap on the bottom of the fin and rudder touched the ground. No apparent physical damage but when I got into the pilots chair, I found the rudders would not rudder. The plastic lower cap was deformed enough to jam the rudders.
To park a Metro 3 off the taxiway and into a parking spot in Terrace B.C., we would use Beta to back off the taxiway. Stopped the airplane (only once) with brakes. Quick forward thrust action on my part prevented a disaster. Never did that again.
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pelmet
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Re: Be Careful When pushing Back Your Aircraft

#7 Post by pelmet » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:19 pm

oldtimer wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:47 pm
I would sometimes use the booms to push the tail down so as to raise the nosewheel off the ground on a Cessna 337 Huff Puff to spin the airplane around. Once I got some "help" on the opposite boom and the plastic cap on the bottom of the fin and rudder touched the ground. No apparent physical damage but when I got into the pilots chair, I found the rudders would not rudder. The plastic lower cap was deformed enough to jam the rudders.
Correct, you always want to check the C337 rudders on the walkaround for the gap beteen the bottom of the rudder and the lower section(actually it is aluminum with a lower plastic cap). I have seen one damaged when enough wet snow accumulated on the horizontal stab/elevator to eventually tip it aft damaging the tail. A homemade tailstand can be used to prevent this. If you have the experience, you can literally jump and put all your weight on the boom(to push the tail down for spinning the aircraft just the right amount) without it hitting the ground. Did it many times. Just keep your legs down to be able to stop the tail from slamming down.


Stopping an aft moving airplane with brakes is a risky proposition. Maybe very gently if there is no other way. Guys doing powerbacks(or turboprops) in jets stopped it with forward thrust....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOaXw4Ek0xU
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Re: Be Careful When pushing Back Your Aircraft

#8 Post by PilotDAR » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:49 pm

Well yes and maybe not. It depends how the control lock sets the elevator. Some are close to neutral while others lock the elevator in close to a full down position.
I agree with J31, the control lock is not certain success. Some 172 control locks hold the elevators mid way down, problem not solved. I dislike using the seatbelt as a control lock, but if you have to, it's better than elevator damage.
Never had any problem with the tail feathers hitting the ground on the C120, C140, C170, C180, C185! :smt040
Yeah.... well, I have :oops: . 'Taxiied a 185 on skis, 'held the elevator fully up to make the tail ski steering as effective as possible. I hooked a balance weight on a tiedown stake buried in the snow. I spent a couple of days repairing an elevator!
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Re: Be Careful When pushing Back Your Aircraft

#9 Post by J31 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:34 pm

PilotDAR wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:49 pm
Well yes and maybe not. It depends how the control lock sets the elevator. Some are close to neutral while others lock the elevator in close to a full down position.
I agree with J31, the control lock is not certain success. Some 172 control locks hold the elevators mid way down, problem not solved. I dislike using the seatbelt as a control lock, but if you have to, it's better than elevator damage.
Never had any problem with the tail feathers hitting the ground on the C120, C140, C170, C180, C185! :smt040
Yeah.... well, I have :oops: . 'Taxiied a 185 on skis, 'held the elevator fully up to make the tail ski steering as effective as possible. I hooked a balance weight on a tiedown stake buried in the snow. I spent a couple of days repairing an elevator!
Ouch!
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